Centerburg, OH (1834 – present farming, mill, & railroad town at the geographical center of Ohio)
Classification: historic town
Location: Hilliar Township, Knox County – On US 36 at the intersection of County Rd 21
Centerburg was founded in 1834 & quickly grew to be the largest town in Hilliar Township. With its claim as being the geographical center of Ohio, Centerburg was one of the lucky towns that boomed with the railroad in the mid – late 1800s. There are several historical markers & geographical center of Ohio signs around town, as well as several historic buildings & locations. We happened to pass through there on one of our ghost town trips in 2013. The abandoned train station in the listing picture is next to US 36 on the southeast side of town. One of the geographical center of Ohio signs is along the roadside close to it.
Lock, OH – (1837 – present farming town with less residents than in the past)
Classification: semi – ghost town
Location: Bennington Township, Licking County & Milford Township, Knox County – On Lock Rd at the intersection of SR 657 (Marion Rd NW)
Lock was settled by Isham Abbott (1799 – 1859) & his wife Lois (Everett) Abbott (1807 – ?) in 1836. Isham had a potash business & laid out lots for the town in 1837, naming it Lock for unknown reasons. A post office was established in 1838 at his store & Lock got its first church in 1845. The Abbotts later moved out of town & Lock didn’t grow much over the next few decades without a canal or railroad, although it was still the biggest town in the area.
Washington Hildreth (1829 – 1903) was the most prominent business man in Lock during the late 1800s. He was the last postmaster in town & a member of the Ohio National Guard. An atlas from 1871 shows that Hildreth owned 2 stores, a warehouse, & several lots in town, including Hildreth’s Hall, where members of the Order of Good Templars met. Around that time, Lock also had another store, a cooper shop, 3 churches, a school, wagon shop, blacksmith, harness shop, & a shoe shop. The 1870s appear to be the peak of Lock’s heyday & the community has been dwindling since then.
The last general store in town, which was built on one of Washington Hildreth’s lots, still stands at the intersection of Lock Rd & SR 657. A Congregational Church constructed in 1844 is across the street. There’s also an old Methodist Church on Lock Rd east of the center of town. Washington Hildreth & many other early residents were buried in Lock Cemetery south of town on SR 657.