History of Waterville

Since the earliest days of our nation’s history—and even before—Waterville has been a place where people have met to conduct business.

Long before Europeans arrived here, Native Americans from throughout the Maumee River Valley and Great Lakes Area held councils here at Roche de Boeuf, an outcropping of rock in the Maumee River that remains to this day. (The shape of the rock dictated its name: in English, Roche de Boeuf means Buffalo Rock.) 

In fact, it was at Roche de Boeuf that legendary war chiefs—among them Little Turtle, Blue Jacket, and Tarhe the Crane—planned battle strategies against the armies of a very young America in the late 1700s. 

In 1795, Issac Richardson decided to open a tavern here.  In 1828, John Pray built the Columbian House and opened a trading post, tavern, and inn within its walls. It later became a stagecoach stop.

In the nearly two centuries since, Waterville has been, in turn, a mill town, a port on the Wabash and Erie Canal, and a station on the old interurban railroad line that facilitated commerce throughout Northwest Ohio in the first third of the 20th century.

In the 1970s, our village became a destination for visitors enthralled by our history and architecture and charmed by the creations of a handful of artists who built studios and made their homes here.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and much has changed.  But this has not: Waterville is still an ideal location for people who want to conduct business.   

To read more about the history of Waterville and Northwest Ohio, visit http://www.waterville.org/history.htm.


Own a print of the rock!

The old interurban trolley bridge at Roche de Boeuf is a local attraction for visitors and artists alike.

Teri Utz Bersee, born, raised, and still living in Waterville Township, created this colorful pastel painting of the historical scene. Signed prints are available (with or without archival mats) through the Chamber.

Cost: $45 without mat; $65 with mat