Sunday, November 25, 2007

Circleville, Ohio


From top to bottom, Circleville in 1811, 1837, 1838, 1849, and 1856

Daniel Driesback laid out this circular town with radiating avenues in 1810. It was based on a circular mound that had been built by Indians before the city was built. In the centre plaza, on top of the mound, was an octagonal courthouse. Outside the circle though was a grid.

But he grid eventually overtook the circular centre.
By the time James Silk Buckingham visited the site in 1840, he wrote:
“So little veneration …have the Americans for ancient remains…that this interesting spot of Circleville, is soon likely to lose all traces of its original peculiarities. The circular streets are fast giving way, to make room for straight ones; and the central edifice itself is already destined to be removed, to give place to stores and dwellings; so that in century or less, there will be no vestige left of that peculiarity which gave the place its name, and which constituted the most perfect and therefore the most interesting work in antiquity of its class in the century”

In fact it took only about 50 years.


  • Spiro Kostof, The City Shaped, 1991
  • Quote from J.S. Buckingham, “The Eastern and Western states of America”, 1842, quoted in Spiro Kostof, The City Shaped, 1991, pp 162

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1 comment:

Kyle and Svet Keeton said...

So what you are saying is that they are now Squaresville!!! :)

They went from cool and groovy to squares!