Circleville, Ohio, Pickaway County

Established as the County seat of Pickaway County in 1810, Circleville derives its name from the circular portion of a large Hopewell era earthwork upon which it was built. The Circleville earthworks described in 1772 comprised of an 1,100 foot diameter circle connected to a 900 foot square. Town Director, Daniel Dresbach, platted the town directly atop the earthworks, integrating the town plan into the prehistoric landscape. An octagonal courthouse stood directly in the center.

By the mid 1830’s, dissatisfaction arose with Circleville’s unique radial concentric street layout. The Circleville Squaring Company authorized by the State Assembly in 1837, undertook to convert the “peculiar” town plan into a conventional grid, and by 1856 had completed this work in several phases. Circleville occupies a unique place in the history of American town planning, not only as a subsequent development of Native American engineering, but also as the earliest example of urban redevelopment in the United States.

Circleville Pumpkin Show

In October 1903, Mayor George Haswell decided to hold a small pumpkin & corn exhibit in front of his home to celebrate the harvest. This small exhibit featured corn, carved pumpkins and other harvest-themed displays. Because of the prominence of pumpkins in this first exhibit, the name "The Pumpkin Show" was then coined. In the following years local merchants were attracted to improve the size, scope and attendance of the festival. By 1905, riding attractions starting to be featured in the festival. Soon after, with the success of the shows, an annual festival was organized to be held on the city streets to attract merchants, patrons and improve the quality of the festival.

World's Largest PumpkinThe Pumpkin Show has been held annually since 1903. Despite it still being held during the influenza outbreaks of 1918-1919, The Pumpkin Show was silenced for three years during World War II. Aside from this three-year gap, there have been no other recorded occurrences of the Circleville Pumpkin Show being halted - by snow, sleet, or scorching heat. It is currently the sixth largest festival held in the United States, and since organizers charge no admission fee, the festival has become known as the "Greatest Free Show on Earth." The Circleville Pumpkin Festival provides a showcase for Ohio's farmers and their products.

In commemoration of the 100th Celebration of the Circleville Pumpkin Show, nationally renowned muralist and Circleville native, Eric Henn, has begun to transform the Johnson Building at 116 E. Main Street into a 56’x36’ work of art.  Along Route 23 is Circleville, OH, which has a watertower painted like a pumpkin, complete with stem, in honor of the town's annual Pumpkin Show.


Ted Lewis ~ "Me and My Shadow"

Ted Lewis, a vaudeville performer, who was well known for his top hat, cane and clarinet and who sang, “Me and My Shadow” was born and raised in Circleville. Lewis's catch-phrase was cheerfully asking the audience, "Is Everybody Happy?"  There is a and a Ted Lewis Museum which exhibits his memorabilia, as well as a local park that bears his name.  The Ted Lewis Festival is held annually in May and features performances of memorable Lewis hits, including “Tiger Rag,” “St. Louis Blues” and “The Sunny Side of the Street.”


45th Regiment, Ohio Vol. Inf.

Portrait of Joseph Fissell (portait on left) from Circleville, Ohio who was the youngest Civil War soldier from Ohio to serve in the Union Army. He was eleven years old when he enlisted as a musician in the 45th Ohio Volunteer Infantry on August 1, 1862. Fissell served until 1865.

The 45th Ohio was organized at Camp Chase in August, 1862.  Organized at Mount Vernon, Ohio, September 28, 1861, to February 1, 1862. Left State for Commerce, Mo., February 21, 1862. Attached to 1st Brigade, 1st Division, Army of Mississippi, to March, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, Army of Mississippi, to April, 1862. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, Army of Mississippi, to November, 1862. 1st Brigade, 8th Division, Left Wing 13th Army Corps (Old), Dept. of the Tennessee, to December, 1862. 1st Brigade, 8th Division, 16th Army Corps, to March, 1863. 4th Brigade, District of Corinth, Miss., 2nd Division, 16th Army Corps, to May, 1863. 3rd Brigade, District of Memphis, Tenn., 5th Division, 16th Army Corps, to November, 1863. Fuller's Brigade, 2nd Division, 16th Army Corps, to March, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, 16th Army Corps, to September, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 17th Army Corps, to July, 1865.

Genealogy Links:

Circleville, Ohio History

Circleville Pumpkins Show

Pickaway County US GenWeb


Question, comments, and submissions can be sent to

Page last updated August 2010