EARLY COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS
In 1831, the new Ohio and Erie Canal came to Chillicothe, creating decades of prosperity as a commercial hub for the great agricultural lands to the west. Local historian Kevin Coleman explains the result:
Itís very much a quintessential American town. I like to call it the Williamsburg of the West, because Williamsburg in Virginia has been restored to its colonial condition; so it represents America at the time of the American Revolution. But Chillicothe here, beyond the Appalachian Mountains in the New West, represents America very much in the 19th century. We have a lot of antebellum, pre-Civil War commercial buildings that survived. Itís probably because of a disastrous fire in 1852: the town rebuilt quickly afterwards but it slowed down the economy, so those buildings werenít replaced later on. So in a lot of towns where you have high Victorian buildings, we have pre-Civil War buildings still standing.
Quaint old storefronts line Water Street, once the canal route. James Emmittís giant, canal-side warehouse (1850s) still stands on Mulberry Street. Paint Street presents a whole ďmuseumĒ of both early- and late- 19th century commercial architecture, plus the unusual 1850ís courthouse.