About Westerville Ohio

Founding of Westerville

Westerville, a suburb of Columbus, was initially founded in 1810 by European ancestors. Residents William, Matthew, and Chris Westerveltnamely, dutch men from New York, became land owners and gave land to the Methodist Church that was named for their family in the 1830’s. About a decade later, the church was purchased and reformed, becoming what is now Otterbein College, named after founder Philip Otterbein, that continues to operate today as Westerville’s main university. In the late 1850’s, Westerville’s was divided into plots of land and officially incorporated with around 300 residents in 1858. Prior to the US Civil War ending, Westerville had many homes that became part of the Underground Railroad including Benjamin Hanby’s home, a famous writer and musician who wrote many songs including the world-renown “Up on the housetop.” His home is now a part of the Ohio and Westerville Historical Societies.

Prohibition Strikes Westerville

This is an image of women sitting with signs saying "This home for Ohio Dry" encouraging prohibition in the 1850s.An 1859 city ordinance banned the selling alcohol which led to the Westerville Whiskey Wars of the late 1870’s. Westerville residents blew up a saloon, not once but twice, owned by a local businessman Henry Corbin, because he was selling alcohol. In fact, Westerville was so anti-alcohol that the Anti-Saloon League moved it’s headquarters from Washington D.C. to Westerville and the town became a prominent part of the US’s Prohibition Movement in the 1920’s, so much so that Westerville was nicknamed The Dry Capital of the World. Despite Prohibition ending in 1933, Westerville stayed alcohol-free for decades after, until 1995, when the city ended it’s alcohol ban, allowing businesses in the northern part of town to sell alcohol in an annexed area of nearly 1,000 acres. It wasn’t until 2006 was the first beer served in Uptown Westerville by local business Michael’s Pizza, the first beer sold in over 70 years. The former home of the Anti-Saloon League was donated to the Westerville Public Library in the 1970s where parts of it remain as a museum.

Government of Westerville

The government type established in 1916 still remains intact today, with a council-manager form, where the city council is in charge of policy while the council itself chooses the executives like the Mayor and chair positions. These elected members serve 4-year terms held in odd years, with the most recent manager stepping down in January of 2021. The new mayor became Diane Conley while other Council members include Coombs, Wright, Blair, Reamsnyder, Heyeck, and Treneff per Westerville’s City Council page. The duties of the council include items such as updating laws and policies, revising spending priorities, and approving budgets or contracts. Many of these items are heard by the Westerville City Council in the City of Westerville office at 21 S State St, Westerville, OH 43081.

In relation to the United States Government, Westerville hosted the largest primary debate in American history in October 2019, with 12 Democratic candidates participating in the event. The event was held at the Rike Physical Education Center, just north of Otterbein Memorial Stadium. This eventually led to the election of 2020 winner who became President.

Westerville Geography

Westerville is located in the Northeast corner of Columbus, Ohio and is in both Franklin and Delaware Counties with the county being the difference between zip codes 43081 and 43082. Westerville is bounded by I-71 and Columbus to the West, State Route 161 and Columbus to the South, New Albany and Johnstown to the east near New Albany-Condit Rd and Galena to the North near Big Walnut Rd. Uptown Westerville is located at the intersection of Main St. and State Street (Ohio State Route 3) at GPS coordinates 40.126668, -82.931881.

Inside Westerville are many parks and lakes including Hoover Reservoir Park, Westerville Reservoir located in the Highland Lakes development, Shrock Lake inside Sharon Woods Metropark, Otterbein Lake near Alum Creek Park North, Inniswood Metro Gardens, Millstone Creek Park, and many more, totalling over 650 acres of parkland and 51 miles of trails inside the Westerville limits. Westerville has two main rivers that flow north and south, Alum Creek from Alum Creek Lake in Delaware and Big Walnut Creek which flows south out of the Hoover Dam Reservoir. Other notable places within Westerville include Otterbein University’s Austin E. Knowlton Center for Equine Science, the Westerville Community Center at the corner of County Line Road and Cleveland Avenue, and three golf courses, Lakes Golf & Country Club, The Golf Club at Little Turtle, and The Medallion Club, a private community near the home of current PGA Tour pro Jason Day.

Westerville Demographics

According to 2010 census data, Westerville is home to over 36,000 people in about 14,000 households, equating to about 2.5 people living in each residence. Most of the population is white at nearly 88.5%, with African American as the second-highest race at 6.5%, 2.3% Asian, 1.9% Hispanic, and less than 1% being other races. Of the 14,000 households, almost 60% were married couples living together, 32% had minors under the age of 18, 9% single females, 3% single men, and 10.5% elderly living alone. The average is 41 years old with about 22.5% being children, 32% between ages 18 and 44, and 45% 45 years old and older. There are actually more women living in Westerville than men, with a 53/47 split for gender differences favoring women.

Education in Westerville Ohio

There are a number of Universities inside Westerville, with the main one being Otterbein University, just west of Uptown, a 4 year arts college. Branches of other universities also reside inside Westerville, including Franklin University, Columbus State, Ohio State Cosmetology, Dominion, and Hondros College.

The city contains 3 high schools :

  • Westerville North
  • Westerville Central
  • Westerville South

Not to be confusing, but Westerville Central is actually the furthest North of the three schools. It was built over 25 years after the first two schools were built as Westerville continued to grow and the City had to accommodate more students.

There are 4 middle schools in Westerville:

  • Blendon
  • Genoa
  • Heritage
  • Walnut Springs

There are 16 elementary schools including 4 magnet schools which teach students in a different manner, such as focusing more on Math and Science versus other schools that are more Art and Music oriented.

  • Emerson (magnet)
  • Central College (magnet)
  • Hanby (magnet)
  • Longfellow (magnet)
  • Alcott
  • Annehurst
  • Cherrington
  • Fouse
  • Hawthorne
  • Huber Ridge
  • Mark Twain
  • McVay
  • Pointview
  • Robert Frost
  • Whittier
  • Wilder

By the end of 2024, there will be 5 middle schools and 17 elementary with two new schools currently under construction. Information about all of the Westerville schools can be found on the Westerville City School District website.

Employers and Businesses in Westerville

Central Ohio is known for 3 primary business types – banking, insurance, and healthcare – and Westerville is no different. With two different campus in the area, JP Morgan Chase employs over 6,000 people and has nearly double the number of employees as the next largest employer in the City. Also in the top 10 are two of the biggest hospitals in central Ohio, Mount Carmel and Ohio Health, and education systems including Otterbein, Westerville City Schools, and ESC of Central Ohio.

This is an aerial image of Uptown Westerville during the a Fourth Friday street festival with local business vendors on the sidewalks and people walking in the street as the roads are closed off.

Famous People from Westerville

Despite being a small suburb of Columbus, many well-known people call Westerville home.  The two most notable figures are former heavyweight Boxing champion Buster Douglas and Gabby Douglas (unrelated) an Olympic Gymnast who trained at Buckeye Gymnastics in northern Westerville.

Other famous athletes and sports-related people from Westerville include a number of football players, many of whom went to Ohio State, including Andy Katzenmoyer, Nick Vannett, and Lance Moore. The President of the Columbus Crew SC, Tim Bezbatchenko, is from Westerville, former Cincinnati Reds General Manager Dan O’Brien as well as the announcer Jim Day, and Kaleb Wesson, former Ohio State Basketball player.

More artistically-inclined Westerville residents include composer Benjamin Hanby (as previously mentioned), Caleb Shomo of the rock band Beartooth, TV writer Lauren Hissrich, actor Steven Boyer who has appeared in shows like Law and Order and Chicago Fire, and actress Jennifer Hetrick who appeared in Star Trek, NCIS, Prison Break, and other famous shows.