Marion, Ohio


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

The population was 35,318 at the 2000 census. According to the US Census 2006 estimate, Marion has a population of 36,138, while the Columbus-Marion-Chillicothe, OH Combined Statistical Area has 1,953,575 people. The city is the largest in Marion County, and the center of the Marion Micropolitan Statistical Area (as defined by the United States Census Bureau in 2003). It is nicknamed the World's Popcorn Capital. President Warren G. Harding was a native of Marion.


The origins of Marion can be traced back to the War of 1812 when Jacob Foos, a surveyor for General Harrison's company discovered a spring at the top of a hill and established a well there, which was named "Jacob's Well". 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 and Eber Baker; Marion County was established in 1824.

Best known as the hometown and burial location of President Warren G. Harding and First Lady Florence Harding, 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, linking all four points on the compass. 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.

Marion 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 stage name for Elsie Beerbower, musical theatre star and "Sweethert of the American Expeditionary Forces" (AEF) during World War I was a native of Marion County. The Isaly family of Mansfield, Ohio - inventors of the Klondike bar - chose Marion as the second Isaly's Dairy facility.

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. Meseke's trophy and pageant memorabilia is housed at the Marion County Historical Society.

Mary Ellen Withrow (nee 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.

Marion Cemetery also has the dubious honor being home to the Merchant family grave marker, known in paranormal circles 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 several inches every year as measured by the distance traveled by the unpolished spot on what was originally where the sphere's bottom was mated to the pedestal. While the movement of the sphere is thought to be facilitated by freeze thaw cycles, there been an explanation of patterns that the sphere seems to follow. The movements of the sphere have been documented by numerous news outlets and has been featured in Ripley's Believe it or Not (September 29, 1927).


Marion is located at (40.586579, -83.126404).

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 11.4 square miles (29.5 km²), of which, 11.4 square miles (29.4 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.35%) is water.


As of the census 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/sq mi (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.


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 is held every year in Marion during the first week of July. is a children's festival that is held each year in Lincoln Park. The Regional Dog and Pony Show is a regional event that is held annually in Marion.

Media Marion is served in print by The Marion Star, the city's only daily newspaper.

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 (97.5FM) community radio.

Sports Marion, Ohio is home to the Marion Mayhem, an Arena football team in the Continental Indoor Football League, that play at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Marion previously had a professional ice hockey team, the Marion Barons, who played in the International Hockey League during the 1953-54 season.


Primary and secondary schools Marion Public Schools enroll 4,992 students. The district operates 8 public schools including six elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school.

Colleges and universities Marion is home to two public colleges. The Ohio State University has a regional campus at Marion. is a community college that shares the Marion campus with OSU.

  • Eber Baker, founder of Marion, Ohio.
  • Edward Barnhart, Inventor, Founder of Marion Steam Shovel (later Marion Power Shovel)
  • Danny Day, noted sports artist, painter.
  • John Dean, Nixon Administration Official and Watergate personality. Attended Marion Harding High School.
  • Daniel R. Gamble, stage performer Vanilla D AFRTS Pioneer 1984-1985.
  • Warren G. Harding, 29th President of the United States and Publisher of the Marion Star. Born in the Morrow County, Ohio community of Blooming Grove, his parents moved to Caledonia, Ohio when Harding was a young boy. The Hardings moved to Marion, Ohio in the early 1880s.
  • Edward Huber, Industrialist, Inventor of the gasoline powered tractor.
  • Aubrey Huff, Major League Baseball Player for the Baltimore Orioles.
  • Tony Ionno, noted radio personality and music producer/promoter was born here.
  • Elsie Janis (born Elsie Beerbower) Comedian, Broadway star, "Sweetheart of the AEF".
  • Florence Kling DeWolfe Harding, Wife of Warren G. Harding, First Lady 1921-1923.
  • Huey Lewis, of Huey Lewis and the News lived there for a short time in 1954.
  • O.J. McDuffie, Former NFL player for the Miami Dolphins.
  • Marilyn Meseke, Miss America 1938; Miss Ohio 1931 and 1938.
  • Gerry Mulligan, Jazz Artist also known as "Juru".
  • Taya Parker, international model and performer. Known primarily for her Playboy and Penthouse pictorials and videos.
  • Carrie Phillips, mistress of Warren G. Harding, and the only woman to successfully blackmail a major American political party.
  • Jim Thorpe, Olympian. Resident of Marion and Marion County during the 1920s. Played for the National Football League's LaRue, Ohio Oorang Indians football team and captained NBA native American teams based in Marion as well.
  • Norman Thomas, six time American presidential candidate and one of the founders of the National Civil Liberties Bureau (the precursor of the American Civil Liberties Union).
  • Mary Ellen Withrow, 40th Treasurer of the United States, 1994-2001.