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Did You Know That? 20 Fun Facts About Trumbull County in Northeast Ohio

Do you love fun facts or want to get an edge up at your next trivia game? Well, lucky for you, Trumbull County has more than a few interesting attributes. Here’s a look at the county’s oddest history, notable people, and remarkable places:

1. At 25 miles long by 25 miles wide, Trumbull County is the only perfectly square county in Ohio. It consists of 24 townships and one village that are each five miles square.

2. Ever heard of a Packard automobile? Packard Electric Company was founded by brothers James and William Packard in Warren in 1890. Nine years later, the first Packard automobile was manufactured in the city. You can still find plenty of Packard automobiles in Warren at the National Packard Museum. And, the famous Packard Goddess hood ornament lives on as the emblem for Modern Methods Brewing Company.

3. Speaking of the Packard family, James and William’s sister has an interesting legacy of her own. Alaska Packard Davidson was the first woman to work for the Bureau of Investigations, an agency that was the predecessor to the FBI. Her law enforcement career began in 1922, when Alaska was in her mid-50s, and ended just two years later when J. Edgar Hoover became head of the Bureau and asked the women who were field agents – all three of them – to resign. Women did not serve as field agents again until after Hoover’s death in 1972.

4. And speaking of electricity, Warren is believed to be the he first city in the U.S. to fully light its streets with incandescent bulbs. The year was 1911. Before the use of incandescent bulbs, streets were lit with oil or gas lamps or arc lights.

5. Let’s talk hot dogs. Niles resident Harry Stevens was instrumental in the development of America’s hot dog, the baseball scorecard, and the drinking straw. In Niles he is still lauded as the “creator of the hot dog” with the annual Harry Stevens Hot Day celebration, usually held at the end of June or beginning of July.

6. Attorney Clarence Darrow, a public defender in the famous “Scopes Monkey Trial,” grew up in Kinsman. Darrow defended high school teacher John T. Scopes, who was accused of violating a Tennessee law prohibiting the teaching of human evolution. The trial later inspired a stage play and several movies called “Inherit the Wind,” which featured a character named Henry Drummond who was patterned after Darrow. Actors who played the character include Spencer Tracey, Jason Robards, and Jack Lemmon.

7. Trumbull County has one of the oldest continuously operating dirt race tracks in the country. Sharon Speedway opened in 1929 and has seen action ever since. While it’s located in Hartford Township, the 3/8-mile dirt oval is named for nearby Sharon, Pennsylvania. It is owned in part by NASCAR driver Dave Blaney, who was born in Hartford.

8. The famous fictional Chinese-American detective Charlie Chan was created by novelist and playwright Earl Derr Biggers, who born in Warren. Biggers wrote six novels featuring Chan, all of which were originally serialized in The Saturday Evening Post. Biggers also wrote about half a dozen other fiction pieces and was a journalist.

9. Chris Columbus was also born in Warren, Ohio. No, not the one who sailed the ocean blue in 1492 – the film writer, director, and producer whose credits include “Home Alone,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” and several “Harry Potter” movies. Columbus was born in Champion and attended John F. Kennedy High School in Warren. And yes, his production company is called 1492 Pictures.

10. The first man to step on the moon, Neil Armstrong, took off in an airplane for the first time in his life in Warren. He was six years old. Neil and his father flew in a Ford Tri-Motor airplane, also known as a “Tin Goose” from Warren Airways on Parkman Road. The site is now the home of the Apollo 11 First Flight Lunar Module, a half-scale model of the famous lunar lander.

11. Seven U.S. Presidents were born in Ohio – and one was born in Trumbull County. Niles native and 25th President of the United States William McKinley was the first candidate to use buttons, badges, and the telephone to campaign for office. He is memorialized both by the McKinley Birthplace Home and the National McKinely Birthplace Memorial Museum and Library in Niles.

12. Warren is the birthplace of Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl. Warren named a downtown alley for Grohl. The alley full of music-themed artwork is home to the world’s largest drumsticks.

13. Women’s suffrage has its roots in Trumbull County. Suffragette Harriett Taylor Upton’s house on Mahoning Avenue in Warren served as the headquarters for the National American Suffrage Association from 1903 until 1905, when the center was moved to the west wing of the Courthouse. It was later moved to New York City in 1909. The house is now being curated by the Upton Association and can be rented out for special occasions as well.

14. The village of Yankee Lake was formed in 1934 solely to allow local residents to dance on Sundays in the famed Yankee Lake Ballroom. At the time, unincorporated areas could be fined for festivities on Sundays. The ballroom opened in 1928 and still operates today as a concert and events venue.

15. Need a bit of good humor? Harry Burt, the creator of the Good Humor Bar, was born in Cortland in 1875. Burt invented the famous chocolate-covered ice cream bar a few decades later in nearby Youngstown, and set about selling them with a fleet of a dozen street vending carts outfitted with bells. You can still enjoy a Good Humor Bar today – and it’ll likely put you in a good mood.

16. Built in 1831, the Newton Falls Covered Bridge is believed to be the oldest covered bridge still in service in Ohio. The town lattice truss style bridge has survived floods, ice jams, and, famously, a tornado. A covered pedestrian walkway was added to the bridge in the early 1920s.

17. Trumbull County’s Mosquito Lake is the second-largest inland lake in Ohio. The manmade lake was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1944 to control flooding in the area. Today the lake with more than 7,000 acres of surface area is a recreation hub with fishing and boating opportunities and is home to Mosquito Lake State Park and campgrounds. Visitors can also find a beach, marina, dog park, and disc golf course.

18. Trumbull County had one of the first newspaper publications in what was then the Connecticut Western Reserve, and more than two centuries later, you can still read that newspaper’s successor. Thomas Denny Webb first published “The Trump of Fame,” in 1821, though he reportedly wanted to call his paper “A Voice in the Wilderness” – until he damaged several necessary letter keys while traveling. The newspaper underwent a series of renames and mergers, eventually emerging as today’s countywide Tribune Chronicle, which still publishes daily in print.

19. Boxing legend and two-time world heavyweight championship challenger Earnie Shavers grew up in the Newton Falls area. Shavers started boxing at the age of 22 and was known as one of the heaviest punchers in heavyweight boxing history. He fought title fights with Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes in the late 1970s. After officially retiring from boxing in 1995, Shavers became a Christian minister and pastored in Arizona and then in England.

20. Mesopotamia is home to part of the second-largest Amish community in Ohio and the fourth-largest in the nation. The Amish community runs many local businesses in northern Trumbull County, including the popular End of the Commons General Store on Mesopotamia’s historic commons. It is believed to be the oldest general store in Ohio.

There you have it: 20 fun facts about Ohio’s only square county!