My Town Destination: Plain City, OH
Trip Type: Day Trip
Date of Visit: 7-23-18
Town Ambassador/Contact: Tamara Redmond
Plain City may at first glance look like the the proverbial “One Horse Town” but it has an ideal location, crossing highways 42 and 736, making it an easy place to stop if your passing through on these roads. Plain City has a population of only a little over 4,000 according to the last census, but it has large developments starting to be built, encouraging the town to invest in its downtown infrastructure. There are great new additions being added to Plain City such as Blues Creek Farm Meats- who moved from North Market in Columbus, and A few great destinations up and down the downtown area that include: Willow and Twine, Grub House, Tavern 161, and Tique Tock Antiques which is housed in the most iconic building in town, the clock tower building.
History of the Clock Tower:
(Original Story submitted by Plain City Resident and owner of Tique Tock Antiques, Tamara Redmond)
The Clock Tower Building:
The original Clock Tower Building owners were M. D. Barto and W. J. Keiser, self-made young businessmen, who owned the ground and erected a new storeroom/hardware store in the Clock Tower Building at the corner of Main and Chillicothe Streets in 1902. The building also included wagon makers in the top portion of the 10,000 square foot building.
In 1944 The Clock Tower Building was purchased for $50,000 by M.D. Norris who continued the hardware business. In the 1940s, citizens of Plain City could buy paints and hardware from six different stores, but by 1991 there remained only-Howland’s Hardware in the clock tower building. Then in 2003, Clayton Ross and Walter Branson, real estate investors, purchased the site for $150,000.
The Seth Thomas Clock installment:
The Plain City Clock Tower is a very important landmark not only for Plain City, but for residents in surrounding areas. Its lighted faces can be seen for miles around on a clear night. Seth Thomas Clock Co. was located in Thomaston, Connecticut when the Plain City clock was made September 10, 1902. In 1988 the Seth Thomas Clock Co. went out of business, after over 175 years of production.
The clock in the clock tower building was a gift donated at a celebration on November 15, 1902 by Samuel Taylor (known as “Uncle Sammy”, an 84 year old, longtime area resident and son of the pioneer Richard Taylor), and the structure costing approximately $600 was donated by Barto and Keiser the original clock tower building owners. The clock was dedicated in an all-day affair with many festivities and dignitary speeches, including the then president of The Ohio State University, W.O. Thompson. A free dinner was served to 3,000 people that included 500 pounds of ham, 600 pounds of beef, three bushels of beans, 60 gallons of potato salad, 15 cases of celery, 15 cases of cookies, 6,000 buns, and six barrels of coffee. Can you imagine such a sight? Even in 2003, Plain City only had a population of 3,000 people. The clock tower festivities concluded with fireworks set off from the roof of Farmer’s National Bank when the button was pushed to start the clock.
Quick Plain City History:
Until the year 1800, Ohio Country was inhabited by Mingo and Wyandot Indians, and there was an Indian village just north of present-day Plain City. After 1795, as white settlers began moving into the region, the area around present-day Plain City was referred to as Pleasant Valley.
Isaac Bigelow in 1818, hired a surveyor named David Chapman, and laid out the town of Westminster on June 11, 1818. In 1823, the town’s name was changed from Westminster to Pleasant Valley. From 1832 to 1851, there were six additions to the town limits. In 1851, due to there already being another town in Ohio named Pleasant Valley, the town changed its name to Plain City.
Previous to 1850, Plain City was a smaller trading point than Amity, but after a trunk-line for the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad was laid through its corporation limits, business and manufacturing increased dramatically. The corporation limits were extended in 1868. As of 1875, the town contained five churches, one newspaper, one bank, one brick planing mill, one flour mill, four dry goods stores, three drug stores, three grocery stores, one jewelry store, one hotel, one carriage and wagon store, two harness shops, two wagon shops, two blacksmith shops, and a boot and shoe store. Today, all of these shops are gone, but many of the buildings including the bank and clock tower building remain showcasing the past.
There has been a large Amish Influence in the Plain City area since 1896. Several different sects and congregations that had laid roots and helped to shape Madison County to what you see today. You can read a detailed history here: The Plain City Historical Society.
Today there are several places to visit that are worth the trip in Plain City and surrounding areas, such as: The Cheese House, Corner Cuboard, Millers Furniture, and Yutzy’s Farm Market. Yutzy’s is just down the road from the Der Dutchman, where you can find just about anything and is a wonderful stop, but if you want the small town feel you may want to travel a little further up the road.
There are several great outdoor recreation opportunities in Plain City. The most notable being Big Darby Creek, which run through the town, and offers great fun on the water for paddlers. Also, check out the Heritage Rail-Trail which is part of the Rails–to-Trails Conservancy. Running from Hilliard, Ohio to Plain City, the Heritage Rail-Trail is a 6.1 mile paved trail perfect for walking, running, biking, or inline skating. It also parallels a 4 mile horse riding trail. If you want a little more relaxing experience, you can also check out Past Time and McKitrick Parks.
MTT Antique and Market Finds:
Many small towns are known for having great Antique Shops and Farmers Markets, this can also include Thrift Shops and the like! Here are some great MTT Antique Finds from Plain City:
My Town Today has started a referral section of each article. It’s based on the fun of visiting a town, and seeing what town the majority of its citizens would recommend for My Town Today to visit next.
The referral for this entry is: – Somerset, OH . Stay tuned for My Town Today to pop up there soon.