Thursday, October 30, 2008

US 20 In Ohio:Woodville, Lime Center of the World

As US Route 20 in western Ohio heads northwest towards Indiana, it goes through the small village of Woodville, Ohio, which is less than 20 miles southeast of Toledo, Ohio and a short distance from Lake Erie.

Odd that that city is called Woodville, because its claim to fame is that it is the lime center of the world. No, not the green citrus fruit that grows on trees, the lime that comes from limestone. A historical marker on US 20 – called East and West Main Street in Woodville – has the following inscription:

Woodville “The Lime Center of the World.”

Woodville and the surrounding area is situated in the center of a huge deposit of some of the purest dolomitic limestone in the world. The absence of cracks in the rock stratum and relatively level terrain in the area prevents the contamination of the limestone. In recent years, Ohio has ranked as high as first nationally in the production of lime, and fourth in the production of crushed stone. Demand for the lime and lime products as a building material led to the economic growth and development of Woodville.

Another historical marker in the area on US Route 20 designates the Maumee and Western Reserve Turnpike. The marker notes the following:

Maumee and Western Reserve Turnpike
The first road to traverse Sandusky County through the Black Swamp was little more than a muddy path connecting Lower Sandusky (Fremont) and Perrysburg with Woodville. The arduous task of clearing the 120-foot-wide road through the swampy forest was completed within four years. By 1842, the work of stoning the road and draining adjacent lands was completed. Tolls were collected to maintain the road, and it became known as the Maumee and Western Reserve Turnpike. After 1888 it became a toll-free road and today is U.S. Route 20.

But lime is key to the residents of Woodville, as the industry drives their economy and has helped the city to flourish. In fact, there is an annual Lime Festival in September that honors the stone.

According to the Toledo Blade, US Route 20 west of Woodville has been undergoing some extensive work to widen the roadway. The Blade stated back in July that “The 5 1/4-mile project is scheduled for completion by November, 2009. When it's finished, U.S. 20 will have at least four lanes from State Rt. 420 all the way to Fremont. The junction of U.S. 20 and State Rt. 420, which connects with I-280, was rebuilt into an interchange in an ODOT project that was completed last year.”

By the way, in case you were wondering, according to the Woodville web site, The Village of Woodville was named after Amos E. Wood, who, with George H. Price, platted it in 1836. Mr. Wood was later elected to Congress but died before his arrival in Washington.” So that's why it's called Woodville, and not "Limeville."

The US Route 20 Blog homepage can be found here.

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