The City of Tiffin, Ohio, is proud of its heritage and what makes Tiffin one of the best communities in which to live, work and play, and stay.
Tiffin is a city in and the county seat of Seneca County, Ohio, United States. The population was 18,000 at the 2010 census. The National Arbor Day Foundation has designated Tiffin as a Tree City USA. It is the Home of Heidelberg University and Tiffin University. At one time it was noted as a glass and porcelain-manufacturing center.
The history of Tiffin dates back to 1812. The familiar bronze statue of “The Indian Maiden” on Frost Parkway, near Miami Street, marks the site of Fort Ball, which was a military depot of the war of 1812. Fighting an engagement of that war, Eratus Bowe first sighted the location upon which Tiffin now stands. In 1817, he returned to the site and built his Pan Yan Tavern, which later became a stagecoach stop, on the north Sandusky River.
Early homesteaders followed soon after Bowe, and the settlement of Oakley sprang up around the Pan Yan. The main traveled road of the area followed the path of the stagecoaches through Oakley, which was called Fort Ball after 1824.
In 1820, Josiah Hedges purchased a piece of land on the south bank of the river opposite Oakley and founded another settlement. He named this village “Tiffin” in honor of Edward Tiffin, first governor of Ohio and later member of the United States Senate, and a man who had fought to finally win statehood for the Ohio Territory in 1803.
Tiffin was incorporated by an act of the Ohio Legislature on March 7, 1835. These two communities, split by the Sandusky River, were rivals; however, in 1850, seeing that later their interests lay together, the villages merged to form Tiffin, with Fort Ball becoming a part of Tiffin in March of that year.
In 1824, with the establishment of Seneca County by the Ohio Legislature, Tiffin became a county seat. The county took its name from the Seneca Indians, who originally were native to the territory. The discovery of natural gas in the vicinity in 1888 gave new momentum to the city’s industries; new enterprises located in Tiffin, making it a prosperous industrial city.
In the spring of 1913, the Upper Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys were ravaged by one of the most devastating floods in the region’s history. Among those communities, which suffered the consequences of that flood, was Tiffin, located on the Sandusky River in northwest Ohio. During that three-day period, Tiffin sustained more than $1,000,000 in property loss, 46 houses and 2 factories swept away, 10 factories damaged, 69 places of business heavily damaged, 6 bridges within the corporate limits destroyed, and—worst of all—19 lives lost.
Tiffin has been the home of Ballreich’s Bros., a potato chip company, since 1920. While the company’s retail market is Northern Ohio, its products have acquired a reputation that extends far beyond its local retail market and are available for shipping anywhere via the company’s website.
Tiffin St. Paul’s United Methodist Church was the first church in the world to be lit by Edison’s light bulb, and the first public building in the United States to be wired for electricity. Tiffin is home to a large population of German-Americans and a smaller but significant population of Italian-Americans. In 1970 Tiffin’s highest population was 21,896.
Tiffin is the home of the historic Ritz Theatre, built in 1928 as a vaudeville house with an Italian Renaissance design. The Ritz Theatre underwent extensive renovation and restoration in 1998.
In 2002, a F3 tornado hit southeast Tiffin, destroying several homes outside city limits.
A new Mercy Hospital of Tiffin was built and opened in July 2008.
Republican Aaron Montz was elected Mayor of Tiffin on November 8, 2011. He defeated his Democratic opponent Kenneth Gaietto.