Downtown Painesville

Historic sites within walking distance of Downtown Painesville's historic Veteran's Park square.

Painesville 1800- 1840
By Carl Thomas Engel, Morley Library

Surveyed by the Connecticut Land Company in 1798 as part of their Western Reserve land holdings, the first settlers came in 1800. The leaders of a band of sixty-six pioneers to this new community were John Walworth and Gen. Edward Paine, formerly of Connecticut but more recently of Scipio, New York.

In 1800 the Western Reserve became Trumbull County and at the first Court of Quarter Sessions, the county was divided into eight political townships. The smallest of these was named Painesville, for Gen. Paine, and embraced what later became the townships of Perry, Leroy, Hambden, Concord, Chardon, Mentor, and Kirtland. The township government was organized in 1802. The post office in Painesville was opened in 1803 with John Walworth as postmaster.

In what was to become the commercial center of the township was a settlement called Oak Openings, its name being descriptive of the scrub oaks and sandy soil. It was here in 1805 that Gen. Henry Champion laid out a village plat and called it Champion. But in 1832 when this portion of the township was incorporated, the name Painesville was chosen. In 1840 Lake County was created from portions of Geauga and Cuyahoga Counties; and Painesville was made the county seat and a court house erected.

Painesville 1840- 1900
By Ohio History Central

Painesville grew quickly, having 1,014 residents in 1840. In 1846, the town contained four churches, fourteen stores, one flour mill, one bank, and one newspaper office. It was the largest community between Cleveland, Ohio, and Erie, Pennsylvania. Painesville continued to grow over the next several decades. In 1880, 3,841 people inhabited the town. This growth was partly due to two railroad lines passing through the community, making Painesville a booming economic center. Four newspapers, five churches, and three banks existed in the town in 1886. Several manufacturing businesses operated in the town. The Paige Manufacturing Company, a machine works, was Painesville’s largest employer in 1886, with forty-eight workers. The Village of Painesville became the City of Painesville in 1902.

Charter Oak Park

Renovated and rededicated in 2003, Charter Oak Park is located across from Lake Erie College and is the site of Painesville's “Charter Oak”, an oak tree transplanted here from Connecticut as a tribute to our Western Reserve roots. Painesville…

Evergreen Cemetery

The older of Painesville’s two burial grounds, Evergreen Cemetery’s rich history dates back to 1859 when the Village of Painesville began to buy land from four Western Reserve families: the Littles, the Blackmores, the Cooks, and the Fraziers. The…

Lake Erie College

Lake Erie College, which traces its roots to the Willoughby Female Seminary founded in 1847. The seminary movement, which was at its height between 1830 and 1860, provided advanced education for women, focusing upon preparation to serve as wives,…

General Edward Paine Monument

General Edward Paine (1746–1841), who had served as a captain in the Connecticut militia during the war, and John Walworth arrived in 1800 to northeast Ohio with a party of sixty-six settlers, among the first in the Western Reserve. General Paine…

First Church Congregational

First Church was founded on June 17, 1810 by Rev. Nathan B. Darrow, a missionary of the Connecticut Missionary Society. Thirteen people gathered in a small wood building which stood on the site of the present Lake County Courthouse. Those present…

Old Painesville Post Office and Freedom Memorial

The memorial honors all who have served in the military. The office, built of brick and sandstone like the courthouse is now the Courthouse Annex. Take a moment to examine its arched windows and Egyptian style columns. Located behind the memorial are…

Painesville City Hall

Located on Richmond Street, the City hall building has stood for over 175 years. Notice the Greek Revival annex to the right, this once was the Christian Science Church. The City Hall was constructed in 1840 as the original Lake County Courthouse. …

Morley Library

The central building of the Morley Library on Phelps Street was provided by the local Women’s Christian Temperance Union, which established a temperance library and reading room in 1878. The public library was created when groups began to donate…

St. Mary's Catholic Church

On March 16, 1849, land was purchased by three trustees of the Catholic Church. Property was located on South State, opposite to its intersection by Washington Street. The first St. Mary’s was established on this location. In 1856, property was…

Main Street Bridge and Abbot's Mill

In 1807 Joel Scott constructed the first dam across the Grand River and the first grist here, and in 1894 Jonathon Abbot became the owner. In 1909 he erected a concrete dam that withstood fire and water. That mill was destructed and new development…

Lake Hospital System

The Lake Hospital System had been located in Painesville since 1902 as Lake County’s first chartered hospital was formed when the New Connecticut Chapter of Daughters of American Revolution (DAR) initiated a drive to provide a hospital for the…

Veteran's Park

A city park since 1800, it is located in Downtown Painesville and is the pride of the city offering beautiful gardens and plenty of open green space. The park has a gazebo that is very popular as a site for weddings and gatherings. Veteran's…