Case Study  ›  No. 9
Carrollton, Ohio


fig. 1 _ 1885 Carroll County Courthouse

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Carrollton was established as Centreville in 1815 at the intersection of roads to Cambridge, Canton, Steubenville and Lisbon. When the village became the county seat of Carroll County in 1833 its name was changed to Carrollton. Since the 19th century Carroll County has been heavily drilled for oil and gas. Multiple boom and bust periods have characterized this industry’s presence in the county and throughout eastern Ohio. We are currently witnessing a new period of revival in drilling: as of December 2016, with 430 producing wells the county leads the state.

Delights

  • Main Street runs along the northern edge of the town square. It is here that we find a rare surviving example of a working 5&10 store: Ashton’s Ben Franklin. Several other locally owned businesses are here as well. The shop owners of Carrollton are exceptionally friendly and helpful.
  • Picnic tables and benches in the town square make it Carrollton’s open air living room. This relaxing seating area allows local citizens and visitors to sit and enjoy the pleasures of a classic nineteenth-century town square which include the magnificent 1885 Carroll County Courthouse, a row of commercial buildings opposite the courthouse, and the elegant Federal-style McCook house at the top of the square.
  • Within one block of this beautiful commercial and civic core Carrollton has several streets lined with attractive and well-maintained historic houses. Also within a block or two of Main Street and the town square are the public library, post office, and high school. It is easy to live in Carrollton and walk to a fully functional commercial center.

Weaknesses

  • On the east side of the public square we noted several vacant storefronts. This precious real estate would be a choice location for future busineses that will contribute to the vibrancy of downtown Carrollton.
  • Significant tractor trailer traffic which passes through Main Street and the town square impacts the safety and enjoyment of downtown Carrollton pedestrians. Fortunately, the sharp turns and the topography limit the speed at which the trucks can travel. However, the noise and the overpowering presence of these trucks intrude on the experience of the downtown visitor.
  • With new promises for insfrastucture renewal in the US, approvals for pipeline permits and transportation improvements will likely result in even more aggressive drilling in Carroll County. Recent increases of truck traffic on the public square and throughout downtown Carrollton bear witness to the revivals of oil and gas production. Don’t sell out, Carrollton. Your Main Street is precious and has huge value as a community center. If you do not get a grip on the truck traffic, your downtown will become dangerous and unpleasant. This will only enhance the attraction of the outlying strip highway commercial sites forcing the people of Carrollton to drive everywhere for their daily needs.
  • Like many towns across the country, in the 1970s Carrollton began demolishing historic commercial buildings to accommodate parking lots. Though this makes parking easier it makes for a less appealing experience for the pedestrian.

Not to be missed

Ashton’s Ben Franklin — ashtonsbenfranklin.com

  • Locally owned and operated since 1932.
  • It is both a traditional dime store and a museum.

McCook House

  • Recently restored the McCook House built in 1837 by attorney Daniel McCook.
  • Is a hybrid building type that incorporates an office with a residence. McCook was killed defending Ohio from the rebel Confederate forces of the Civil War in 1863.
fig. 2 _ Hardestys Map of Carrollton — drawn by G. A. Eberhart
fig. 3 _ 1837 McCook House
fig. 4 _ Early twentieth century view of Carrollton’s Public Square
fig. 5 _ Oil wells like this brought new prosperity to Carroll County in the early twentieth century
fig. 6 _ Ashton’s Ben Franklin Store
fig. 7 _ West Main Street today
fig. 8 _ Carrollton’s outdoor living room

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