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Marion, Ohio

City of Marion
West Center Street in downtown Marion in 2007.
West Center Street in downtown Marion in 2007.
Nickname(s): World's Popcorn Capital
Location within the state of Ohio
Location within the state of Ohio
Country United States
State Ohio
County Marion
Founded 1822
 • Total 11.82 sq mi (30.61 km2)
 • Land 11.74 sq mi (30.41 km2)
 • Water

0.08 sq mi (0.21 km2)  0.68

area_total_km2 = 29.5%
Elevation 981 ft (299 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 36,837
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 36,904
 • Density 3,137.7/sq mi (1,211.5/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 43301, 43302, 43306, 43307
Area code(s) 740
FIPS code 39-47754[4]
GNIS feature ID 1061473[5]

Marion is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Marion County.[6] The municipality is located in north-central Ohio, approximately 50 miles (80 km) north of Columbus.

The population was 36,837 at the 2010 census. According to the US Census 2008 estimate Ohio's Columbus–Marion–Chillicothe Combined Statistical Area has 2,002,604 people.[7] Marion is the county's largest city and the center of the Marion Micropolitan Statistical Area (as defined by the United States Census Bureau in 2003). President Warren G. Harding, a former owner of the Marion Star, was a resident of Marion for much of his adult life.[8]

The city and its development were closely related to industrialist Edward Huber and his extensive business interests. The city is home to several historic properties, some listed on the National Register of Historic Places listings in Marion County, Ohio.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Demographics 3
    • 2010 census 3.1
    • 2000 census 3.2
  • Performing Arts 4
  • Museums 5
  • Annual events and fairs 6
  • Media 7
  • Sports 8
  • Education 9
  • Transportation 10
  • Landmarks 11
    • Harding Home 11.1
    • Harding Memorial (Harding Tomb) 11.2
    • Hotel Harding 11.3
    • Marion Cemetery 11.4
  • Notable people 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14


City Hall building in downtown Marion.
A curious visitor to the Marion Cemetery inspects the moving sphere atop the Merchant family grave marker.

The origins of Marion can be traced back to the War of 1812 when Jacob Foos, a surveyor for General Harrison's army, discovered a spring at the top of a hill and established a well there which was named "Jacob's Well". At the time it was a stopover for troops on their way from Ft. Franklin (Columbus) to Toledo. Legend has it that in the middle of the night Foos awoke with a terrible thirst. He began to dig and told his fellow travelers that he was going to dig till he found either water or hell. This well was located near what is now Marion Towers on Delaware Ave. The town of Marion was platted north of Jacob's Well in 1822 by Alexander Holmes with Eber Baker as his agent (Proprietor - administrator) for selling off the village lots. Marion County was officially recognized in 1824. Like the county in which it is located, the city was named in honor for General Francis Marion.

Marion was one of Ohio's major industrial centers until the 1970s. Products of the Marion Steam Shovel Company (later Marion Power Shovel) built the Panama Canal and in the 1960s, NASA contracted with Power Shovel to construct the crawler-transporters that moved the assembled Saturn V rockets, used by Project Apollo, to the launch pad. In 1911, 80% of the nation's steam shovel and heavy duty earth moving equipment was manufactured in Marion, Ohio.

The city is also a rail center for CSX, and Norfolk Southern. Marion is the nation's leader in corn and popcorn produced foods. Whirlpool Corporation of Benton Harbor, Michigan is the largest employer in the city operating the largest clothes dryer manufacturing facility in the world.[9]


Marion is located at (40.586579, -83.126404).[10]

The city is located about 50 miles (80 km) north of Ohio's capital city, Columbus, due north along U.S. Highway 23. Marion occupies most of Marion Township, which is located just outside of the city limits.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.82 square miles (30.61 km2), of which, 11.74 square miles (30.41 km2) is land and 0.08 square miles (0.21 km2) is water.[1]


2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 36,837 people, 12,868 households, and 8,175 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,137.7 inhabitants per square mile (1,211.5/km2). There were 15,066 housing units at an average density of 1,283.3 per square mile (495.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 86.7% White, 9.6% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 1.1% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.0% of the population.

There were 12,868 households of which 33.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.0% were married couples living together, 17.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.5% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.00.

The median age in the city was 37.3 years. 22.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 28.7% were from 25 to 44; 26.6% were from 45 to 64; and 12.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 54.9% male and 45.1% female.

2000 census

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 35,318 people, 13,551 households, and 8,821 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,111.6 people per square mile (1,201.4/km²). There were 14,713 housing units at an average density of 1,296.8 per square mile (500.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.40% White, 7.01% African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.54% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.64% from other races, and 1.20% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.34% of the population.

There were 13,551 households out of which 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.3% were married couples living together, 14.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.9% were non-families. 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.2% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 102.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,124, and the median income for a family was $40,000. Males had a median income of $31,126 versus $22,211 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,247. About 10.9% of families and 13.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.2% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those age 65 or over.

Performing Arts

The Marion Palace Theatre (c. 1928) is a 1400-seat atmospheric theatre designed by John Eberson in the Spanish Colonial Revival architecture style.[14] It has been in continuous operation since it opened on August 30, 1928. Restored in 1975, it is one of only 16 remaining atmospheric theatres in the United States today. Eberson designed the theatre for Young Amusement Company, at an original cost of one-half million dollars. Inside, the auditorium resembles an outdoor palace courtyard, complete with a blue sky and twinkling stars. It has many original Pietro Caproni sculpture castings. The theatre is a venue for movies, traveling artists, musicals and plays. It is registered on the National Registry of Historic Places. Adjoining the theatre is the May Pavilion, a two-story site for chamber orchestra concerts, bands, black box theatre, wedding receptions and meetings.


Heritage Hall & the Old Post Office The Old U.S. Post Office was built in 1910. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (1990). The building is now used as the Heritage Hall museum of the Marion County Historical Society. The museum is dedicated to the preservation of Marion Count, Ohio history.

Wyandot Popcorn Museum Heritage Hall is also home of the Wyandot Popcorn Museum, the "only museum in the world dedicated to popcorn and its associated memorabilia." All of the classic antique poppers are here - Cretors, Dunbar, Kingery, Holcomb and Hoke, Long-Eakin, Excel, Manley, Burch, Star, Bartholomew, Stutsman and Advance. Not only is it one of only two Popcorn Museums in the world, it also represents the largest collection of restored popcorn antiques.

Warren G. and Florence Kling Home A national presidential site, the Harding Home was the residence of Warren G. Harding, twenty-ninth president of the United States. Harding and his future wife, Florence, designed the Queen Anne Style house in 1890, a year before their marriage. They were married in the home and lived there for 30 years before his election to the presidency. Like James A. Garfield, an earlier U.S. president from Ohio, Harding conducted his election campaign mainly from the house's expansive front porch. During the 3 month front porch campaign, over 600,000 people traveled to the Harding Home to listen to the candidate speak. Harding paid $1,000 dollars to have a Sears catalog house built behind his home so newspaper reporters had workspace to type their stories. The press house is also open to the public.

Huber Machinery Museum This museum contains examples of Edward Huber's early steam and gasoline tractors and road-building equipment. Huber Manufacturing introduced a thresher in 1875, a steam traction engine in 1898, its first motor graders in the 1920s, a primitive hydraulic control in 1926, and the first Maintainer, a tractor-sized integral motor grader, in 1943. Other Huber products included wheel tractors, agricultural equipment, and three-wheel, tandem and pneumatic rollers.

Marion Union Station and Museum More than 100 trains pass by Union Station every day. The museum showcases an impressive collection of memorabilia and the AC Tower, which was once the main switching facility for the Erie Railroad, Marion Division. During World War II, thousands of soldiers passed through Union Station on their way to Europe.

Annual events and fairs

Marion is home to the Marion Popcorn Festival, an annual event that is held in downtown Marion in September, the weekend following Labor Day. The Marion County Fair is held every year in Marion during the first week of July. Saturday in the Park is a children's festival that is held each year in Lincoln Park.


Online, the city is served by Marion City's Official Website.

The Marion Star is the city's only daily newspaper.[15]

Among Marion's notable radio stations are WMRN (94.3FM) country music station, WMRN (1490AM) news/talk (clear channel), WOSB (91.1FM) NPR News and classical music station, WYNT (95.9FM) adult contemporary station, and WDCM (97.5FM) community radio.

WMNO-CA, also known as TV-22 Marion, is a Class A broadcast television station based out of Marion, Ohio, featuring local news and original programming.[16]

WOCB-CD is an independent Christian inspirational low-power television station on digital UHF channel 39, broadcasting local church services and programs, and public events throughout central Ohio.[17]


Marion, Ohio is the home of the Marion Blue Racers, an indoor football team in the Continental Indoor Football League, that plays at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Marion was home to the Marion Mayhem, also an indoor football team in the CIFL, that also played at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum from 2006 - 2010. Marion previously had a professional ice hockey team, the Marion Barons, who played in the International Hockey League during the 1953-54 season. Marion has been home to numerous individual and team high school state championships. In the early 1980s, Tina Kniseley was a roller figure-skating national champion and Scott Duncan was a WUSA National Champion in wrestling.

The Oorang Indians, a traveling NFL team based in nearby LaRue, Ohio, played their only true "home" game in Marion in 1923.


Marion City Schools enroll 4,418 students in public primary and secondary schools.[18] The district administers 8 public schools including six elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school.

In addition to the city schools, there are also 4 other public school districts including: Elgin, Pleasant, River Valley, and Ridgedale. A private school, Marion Catholic, has since closed.

Marion is home to two institutions of higher learning. The Ohio State University has a regional campus at Marion, and Marion Technical College, a community college that shares the Marion Campus with OSU.

Marion is also home to Tri-Rivers Career Center and Center For Adult Education offering career technical educations to high school and adult students in Central Ohio. Tri-Rivers is the site for RAMTEC—the Robotics & Advanced Manufacturing Technology Education Collaborative.


The Marion Municipal Airport is located three nautical miles (4 mi, 6 km) northeast of the central business district.[19]


Harding Home

The Harding Home was the residence of Warren G. Harding, twenty-ninth president of the United States. Harding and his future wife, Florence, designed the Queen Anne Style house in 1890, a year before their marriage. They were married there and lived there for 30 years before his election to the presidency.

Harding Memorial (Harding Tomb)

The Harding Memorial, as it was called by thousands of people, including schoolchildren who donated to its construction fund, is the burial location (tomb) of the 29th President of the United States, Warren G. Harding and First Lady Florence Kling Harding. Later referred to as the Harding Tomb,it is located at the southeast corner of Vernon Heights Boulevard and Delaware Avenue. Construction began in 1926 and was finished in early 1927, the Greek temple structure is built of white marble. Designed by Henry Hornbostel, Eric Fisher Wood and Edward Mellon, the structure is 103 feet in diameter and 53 feet in height. The open design honors the Hardings' wishes that they be buried outside.

Hotel Harding

Constructed in 1924, the Hotel Harding was developed to provide suitable lodging for Warren G. Harding's visitors who came to Marion after his presidency. It was located close to Union Station, the city's main rail station. The building is no longer used as a hotel. Renovated in 2005, the building is now used for low-income senior citizen residences and for college student housing. Its grand lobby remains in much the same condition as the original.

Marion Cemetery

Merchant Family Memorial (The Rotating Ball). Marion Cemetery is the home to the Merchant family grave marker, known for its unintended movements. The marker consists of a large grey granite pedestal capped by a two-ton granite sphere four feet in diameter. The sphere moves on its base a 1/4 to a 1/2 inch every year, as measured by the distance traveled by the unpolished spot from where it was mated to the pedestal. While the movement of the sphere is thought to be facilitated by freeze-thaw cycles, earth tremors, or trapped air or water under the base, there has been no conclusive explanation for patterns that the sphere seems to follow. The movements of the sphere have been documented by numerous news outlets and it has been featured in Ripley's Believe it or Not (September 29, 1927). This has also been documented in Frank Edwards' book, Strange World, from an edition in the early to mid sixties. There are several web pages on the internet concerning this tombstone.

The Receiving Vault. The Marion Cemetery Receiving Vault is a funerary structure in the main cemetery of Marion, Ohio, United States. Constructed in the 1870s, this receiving vault originally fulfilled the normal purposes of such structures, but it gained prominence as the semipermanent resting place of Marion's most prominent citizen, U.S. President Warren G. Harding.

Notable people

Marion is best known as the hometown and burial location of President Warren G. Harding and First Lady Florence Harding. It is also the birthplace and childhood home of Norman Mattoon Thomas, four-time candidate for President of the United States under the Socialist Party of America ticket and co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Elsie Janis, the musical theatre star and "Sweetheart of the American Expeditionary Forces" (AEF) during World War I, was a native of Marion County.

In 1938, local tap dance instructor Marilyn Meseke, was crowned Miss America 1938 - the first year that talent was considered part of the annual competition.

Mary Ellen Withrow (née Hinamon), Treasurer of the United States from 1994 until 2001 is a Marion County native. Withrow is the only person in the history of the United States to have held the governmental position of Treasurer on the Local (Marion County Ohio Treasurer), State (Treasurer of the State of Ohio) and Federal levels of Government.

Other notable people from Marion include:


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010".  
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  3. ^ "Population Estimates".  
  4. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  6. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  7. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Population of Combined Statistical Areas: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  8. ^ Hall, Sherry Smart. Warren G. Harding and the Marion Daily Star: How Newspapering Shaped a President. Charlotte, NC: The History Press. 2014.
  9. ^ "Marion Area Chamber of Commerce...presents". 
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  11. ^ "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Census Of Population And Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  13. ^ "Census 2010: Ohio's top metro areas lost population, except Columbus". 2011-03-09. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 
  14. ^ Hoffman, Scott L. A Theatre History of Marion, Ohio: John Eberson's Palace and Beyond. Charlotte, NC: The History Press (2015).
  15. ^ "The Marion Star". The Marion Star. Retrieved 2008-06-01. 
  16. ^ "About WMNO". WMNO TV-22 Marion Web site. Studio 51 Multimedia Productions. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  17. ^ "WOCB - Ch. 39 - Marion, OH - Watch Online". Streema. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  18. ^ greatschools. "Marion City School District Profile". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  19. ^ FAA Airport Master Record for MNN (Form 5010 PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective 30 June 2011.
  20. ^

External links

  • City of Marion Official Website
  • Marion Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Marion travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • Marion Palace Theatre and May Pavilion
  • President Warren G. Harding Letter Regarding Memorial Near Marion Cemetery, Shortly Before His Burial There Shapell Manuscript Foundation
  • Marion County Historical Society
  • Wyandot Popcorn Museum
  • Spooky Marion: A site dedicated to the odd, bloody, creepy and otherworldly stories culled from Marion County history
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