Tourist Attractions in Van Wert, Ohio

The city of Van Wert, Ohio was established first as a town in 1848. Some 50 years later, Van Wert was officially incorporated as a city, in 1903. Named for Isaac Van Wert, a hero of the Revolutionary War, the city of just under 11,000 residents is located in the western part of Ohio, mere miles from the Indiana border.

The origin of what would become Van Wert derives from a treaty settlement with Native Americans. The Native Americans had named the location “Black Swamp” due to the mucky swampland that prevented agriculture and came accompanied with disease such as malaria. Once the pioneers established ownership, they set about to drain the Black Swamp in an effort to make it inhabitable for people as well as transform the land to one that might provide crops.

Van Wert became home to a unique product- Liederkranz cheese-which previously was only produced in Belgian and German areas in Europe. The town’s Borden plant, a staple in Van Wert for years, produced Liederkranz cheese until it’s demise in the 1990’s.

The city’s most notable claim to fame and most popular tourist attraction is the Van Wert Peony Festival, which has been held since 1902 and takes place in late May/early June each year. The festival showcases the beauty of the Peony flower, which itself has a rich history in the Far East, dating back centuries even to the likes of the Chinese philosopher Confucius.

A quick glance of reviews of the festival reveals the delight of tourists in regard to other attractions in this historic and traditional American ‘berg.

At the heart of the architecture of Van Wert is the Brumback Library. Built in 1899, this strikingly beautiful building holds the distinction of being the first county library in the United States. The Gothic theme from outside the building is impressive enough, but the inside is equally elegant and reminiscent of the vintage artistry incorporated into architecture throughout American history.

Another top draw in Van Wert is the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. Built in 2007, the Center has attracted notables from all fields of art. Concerts and theater productions are big attractions, and Niswonger also holds speaking engagements, conferences and lectures to the tune of 200 events per year.

We cannot talk only of the most notable attractions, however, without what lies in between, without that which holds the fabric of the city together. The streets of Van Wert are filled with post-colonial buildings, shops and eateries. Strolling through town is akin to strolling into another nearly bygone era. Van Wert is a place that reminds us of our albeit brief, but rich history of our great country. Come check it out!

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