East side of Main Street 1898
North Main Street 1903
City Hall 190?

ORRVILLE HISTORY - Arrival of settlers

Community history began in 1814 with the arrival of a veteran of the Revolutionary War, James Taggart Jr., to stake out the claim to which his war service entitled him. He chose a quarter section (160 acres) in Baughman Township, deep in the heart of what is now Orrville, lying east of Main Street, between Orr Street and the southern corporation line. He later returned to his home in Washington County, Pennsylvania, but the next year his sons, Samuel and Robert Taggart, came to settle on this claim. The Taggarts were of Irish extraction. Other early settlers, the Horst, Brenneman and Seas families, were of Pennsylvania Dutch and German heritage.

James Taggart's son, Samuel, built the first house in this section in 1828, and from that unpretentious beginning, Orrville grew. (This house is still standing today at 421 East Fike Street and is a private residence.) During the Civil War, this house was one of those in the chain of the Underground Railway which sent slaves to freedom in the North.

In 1851, the Pittsburgh and Fort Wayne Railroad was being promoted through this area and one day, soon after the news was heard by the settlers in the area, Smith Orr and Christian Horst discussed the coming changes. Horst decided he wanted no part of land which would be cut up by the railroad. At these words, it was assumed Orr saw his opportunity and he promptly purchased Horst's 80 acres. Judge Orr, at the age of 53, moved his family from a farm in the Orrville area into the house that Horst had built in 1844.  (This house is still standing today at 365 West Market Street and is owned and operated by the Orrville Historical Museum.)  Judge Orr persuaded the railroad to include in their plans a water tower to be located in Orrville. He then entered into a partnership with William Gailey and they started a saw mill to furnish wood for the steam engines.

In 1852 the lands on which the town was located belonged to Robert Taggart, Christian Horst and Christian Brenneman. Orr persuaded Taggart to lay out ten acres in 42 town lots which sold for $50 each. They lay north of the railroad and east of Main Street. Meanwhile, other homes were being built on either side of West Market Street on land Judge Orr purchased from Horst. Jesse Straughn made the first plat of the town and gave it the name of Orrville. Orrville was incorporated on May 9, 1864, and William Gailey was the first mayor.