Both the historical and contemporary cultural landscapes of Ohio reflect the legacy of the settlement of a variety of population groups during the state’s early period of settlement. During this formative era, migrants from three of the primary East Coast culture regions, as well as foreign immigrants hailing mainly from Germany, funneled into the frontier Old Northwest via Zane’s Trace, the National Road, The Great Lakes, and the Ohio River. As migrants from each of these hearth areas settled in geographically separate regions in Ohio, they brought with them characteristic values and ideals, including agricultural traditions and material culture traditions. This resulted in distinctive regional cultures and landscapes. Relying heavily on genealogical information, this talk analyzes Ohio’s early settlement history and geography, delineates the state’s distinctive culture regions, and identifies the attendant cultural landscape features that distinguish each of these regions.
Optional Reading: Settling Ohio: First Peoples and Beyond, Brian Schoen and Timothy Anderson