City of Van Wert, Ohio

Van Wert (On the Highway since 1913) Pop: 11,000. County seat.

Van Wert was founded in 1834 by Capt. James Riley and named after Revolutionary War hero Isaac Van Wert. The town was settled by the Welsh, German and Irish. It grew as a railroad town and gained the Lincoln Highway at its inception.

Van Wert boasts the first county library in the US, and also a splendid County Courthouse. The town also has two original Lincoln Highway posts downtown; one at the Garden of Senses, and the second at Fountain Park across from the library. The downtown has recently added LH insignia in the sidewalks and placed welcome kiosks at the east and west entrances to town.

  • Central Fire Museum. Third Friday of every month from 1-3 p.m. or by appointment. 800 South Washington St. (419) 238-1010

  • The Van Wert County Museum. 602 North Washington Street (419) 238-5297. Sunday 2-4:30 p.m. March through November.

  • The Van Wert County Museum.

  • The Wassenberg Art Center. 1-5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is free. 643 South Washington St. (419) 238-6837

  •  There are two old Lincoln Highway ceramic plaques that can be seen on the bridge at the western edge of town where the old highway was abandoned.

  • The Brumback Library, the first county library established in the United States. 215 West Main St. (419) 238-2168

  • Three antique shops

  • There are two campgrounds in the area.

  • Three motels in the area.

Lincoln Highway Marker in Fountain Park, Van Wert, Ohio. In the park is the "Garden of the Senses" because it stimulates all the senses with the chosen plantings.


The Brumback Library.

Seedling miles: Much of the funding of road building was secured from private persons and companies. One of the more ingenious activities was the creation of seedling miles. The Lincoln Highway Association solicited donations of cement from manufacturers of Portland Cement who were eager to show off the road building properties of their product.

With the promise of free paving materials, road departments competed with bids, promising to supply the labor, engineering and machinery required to complete the project, which were usually in rural locations that had traditionally been problem spots. Less than 20 seedling miles were awarded nationwide.

Paulding County had but one mile of the Lincoln Highway passing through its southwest corner and was near no population centers and thus had been neglected. A seedling mile was completed here in 1919 and it was not uncommon to find crowds of locals walking, driving and riding bicycles on the new, hard road, similar as shown here. That "mile" is now covered by four-lane Route 30.