The City of Northwood is situated in the northeastern corner of Wood County and is part of the Northwest Ohio Maumee River Valley Region. This area has a relatively flat topography and lake sediment soils that are highly productive. Swamp forest covered most of the region after a retreat of the glacier, creating an area called the Great Black Swamp, which had a profound impact on the valley, delaying settlement for decades and providing the basis for the present rich soil.
Early French and British trading posts and forts were also located around the edges of the swamp. By the time white settlers began arriving in any numbers in the early 1700s, several tribes had settled along the Detroit and Maumee Rivers... the Miamis in KeKionga (now Fort Wayne), the Shawnee and Delaware at the confluence of the Auglaize and Maumee Rivers, and the Ottawas along the western Lake Erie shore. There were frequent confrontations between the settlers and Native Americans during this time period. Pontiac, Chief of the Ottawas and an ally of the French, laid seige to the British fort at Detroit in 1763. After the Treaty of Paris in 1783 ended the Revolutionary War, tribes inhabiting the area considered the Ohio River as their boundary, but the establishment of the Northwest Territory in 1787 encouraged settlers to pour into the area.
Northwood can trace its origins to when Wood County's nineteenth commonwealth, Ross Township, was enacted on April 18, 1874. The commissioners, under authority of the Act, ordered the election of officers to be held at the Coy School House on May 23,1874. By 1895 the territory, embraced in Ross, had been converted from its wilderness state into a land of orchards, gardens and beautiful farms located near a busy city and in sight of the various railroads that led east and south from Toledo.
In 1898, Edward Ford built a glass factory along the banks of the Maumee River. This corporation is now known as Pilkington Libbey-Owens-Ford and has factories and offices located around the world. In 1923 Carl R. Hirzel built a packaging company that canned sauerkraut and tomatos. This company, with it headquarters in the center of Northwood, is known as Hirzel Canning Company & Farms and has a world-wide distribution of its many products.
The first village to be incorporated in Ross Township was Rossford in 1939. Rossford immediately petitioned the Board of County Commissioners for succession from the rest of the Township. On August 15, 1940, the Commissioners so ordered that Ross Township be divided into a new township to be known as Rossford Township that would be within the limits of the municipal corporation and the establishment of a separate township to be known as Ross Township, of the balance of said Ross Township outside of the limits of the municipal corporation of Rossford.
A special election was held on September 17, 1940, to elect officers of this new Ross Township. On October 1, 1940, at the home of W. C. Sickles, the newly elected Township Clerk, George Dalling, was voted by the other two trustees as chairman of their Board. Mr. Dalling served this community as Chairman of the Board for twenty-two years.
The entire area of Ross Township became incorporated as the Village of Northwood on September 8, 1962. Larry Brough, editor of the Ross Township News, suggested the name "Northwood" because the village was located in the most northwestern part of Wood County. George Dalling served as Mayor until his retirement in 1979.
The 1980 Census indicated that the Northwood Village's population had exceeded 5,000 allowing the village to become a "home rule" city. The voters of the Village of Northwood voted on November 3, 1981 to establish the Charter of the Municipality of Northwood, Ohio. The Village of Northwood officially became the City of Northwood on January 1, 1982, as designated by the State of Ohio. This new city would have an elected seven member legislative Council, an elected Mayor with executive authority, and an appointed Municipal Administrator directly responsible to the Mayor.
Sources: Historical Record of Wood County, Ohio, Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1897; Ross Township minutes 1940-1961; Charter of the Municipality of Northwood, Ohio; Maumee Valley Heritage Corridor website(http://www.maumeevalleyheritagecorridor.org/); and Hirzel Canning Company & Farms website (http://www.hirzel.com/).
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