Directory The Village of Thornville/Thornport

The most likely first explorer to what is now Thornville/Thornport was Christopher Gist, who in 1750, began work for the Ohio Company, established by the British government to stem the flow of the French into what is now the State of Ohio. From Gist’s writings, we know he stopped on the shores of the “Great Buffalo Swamp,” and that he camped, fished, and trapped there, writing of the beauties of the area and the abundant wildlife.

Thorn Township, named for the numerous thorn bushes along the southern shore of the lake, was originally part of Fairfield County. In 1804, it was organized as a congressional township, a six-mile square unit. Finally, on March 1, 1817, parts of Washington, Muskingum, and Fairfield Counties were combined to create a new county, Perry, named after Oliver Hazard Perry, the Hero of Lake Erie.

Settlements began to appear on the map as a center of trade for the local farmers.; the largest being Thornville, platted in 1810.
The early industries thriving in the area between 1833-1880 included tailors, shoemakers, a wagon factory, several blacksmiths, and other businesses which attracted people from miles away.

Now that the railroads have moved out, Thorn Township and Thornville enjoy easy access by the nearby Interstate 70 and State Route 13. Visitors can find beautiful Victorian homes, a public swimming pool, a bowling alley, and restaurants. Thornville is home to the large event and music venue, Legend Valley, and the Thornville Backwoods Fest, a primitive arts, crafts, music, and food festival that draws in thousands of visitors each autumn.

Thornport is a small unincorporated hamlet with a rich history. A map of a government survey of the Refugee Tract (the present Buckeye Lake) was signed in 1801 and Thornport was laid out in 1839 by William W. Talbott who had an agreement with Licking Summit Reservoir Improvement Company of Thornville to construct the canal in Thornport.

In 1850, Thornport was a lively community at the head of navigation on the east end of the lake and the only seaport in Perry County. During the boating season, many canal boats could be seen waiting their turn to be loaded with flour and grain for Cleveland. Upon their return, they brought pine lumber, salt, groceries, dry goods, etc.

Modern visitors to Thornport will find a local grocery, several dining/shopping options, along with the active and vibrant Amvets Post.

Source: Buckeye Lake Region Chamber of Commerce