Wayne County, Ohio consists of 555 square miles of scenic, rural countryside – with rolling hills, lush woods, and some of the finest agricultural land in Ohio. The College of Wooster and its subsidiaries, the Agricultural Technical Institute and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, have made Wayne County a major center for agriculture in Ohio. Wayne County’s agricultural heritage is evident in the number of youth in the Wayne County 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapters. Residents proudly show their livestock and home-grown produce at the annual Wayne County Fair. The Wayne County Fair is “Ohio’s Foremost Agricultural Fair,” with an annual attendance exceeding 100,000 visitors.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimated Wayne County’s population at 114,222 (2009). The Northeast Ohio county is home to four cities: Norton (which is partially in Summit County); Orrville; Rittman (also in Medina County); and Wooster. Wooster, Wayne County’s largest city, is the county seat.
Amish farms, horse-drawn buggies and Amish-style restaurants are familiar sights around Wayne County. Wayne County, along with neighboring Holmes County and Tuscarawas County, have the largest Amish communities in the world. A county of contrasts, Wayne County also boasts several major companies, such as Wooster Brush Company, Gerstenslager’s, LuK USA LLC, and the J.M. Smucker Company. These Wayne County companies are located in Wooster, with the exception of the J.M. Smucker Company, which is in Orrville.
The Lincoln Highway Historic Byway follows Route 30 through Wayne County, OH. Downtown Wooster and Dalton exemplify the Lincoln Highway’s best-known slogan, “Main Street Across America,” with tree-lined streets and historic business districts. In Wooster, the Lincoln Highway Historic Byway passes the majestic Wayne County Courthouse. The Second Empire Style courthouse was completed in 1879, and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
Wayne County enjoys access to quality healthcare at the Wooster Community Hospital, a 150-bed full-service acute care hospital in Wooster, and the Dunlap Memorial Hospital, a critical access facility that has been serving Orville and the Wayne County area for over 50 years.
Wayne County, Ohio provides residents and visitors with many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. There are nature trails, paved trails, bike trails and equestrian trails at the 80-acre Barnes Preserve near Wooster. Other outdoor destinations include Brown’s Lake Bog, the Sippo Valley Rail-Trail in Dalton, Wooster Memorial Park, and nearly a dozen other locations throughout the county.
In addition to the cultural offerings in nearby Cleveland, Akron and Canton, Wayne County offers a number of community cultural programs. The Wayne Center for the Performing Arts features a 200-seat auditorium, classes in various performing and fine arts, and two professional galleries hosting local, regional, and national exhibits which are free to the community.
Wayne County, Ohio’s towns and cities exude a real sense of community, and citizens throughout Wayne County work together to maintain a superior quality of life.