Deep Irish roots in Logan County


Today is St. Patrick’s Day and it is celebrated, in many different ways, globally.

According to an article published on titled “History of St. Patrick’s Day,” the day is celebrated to commemorate the anniversary of Saint Patrick’s death in the fifth century.

Saint Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland and its national apostle. He was credited with bringing Christianity to its people.

The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years.

Irish families on St. Patrick’s Day would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. The observance of St. Patrick’s Day falls during Lent. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink, and feast on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage.

The newsroom got in touch with Todd McCormick and Beth Marshall from the Logan County History Center, located at 521 E Columbus Ave, and asked about Irish history in the county.

Irish History of Logan County:

The county did have some immigrants who came to the U.S. to escape the Irish Potato Famine, which occurred between 1845 and 1852.  Several families settled in the West Liberty area and worked on the Piatt family farms.

Like elsewhere in the county, Irish immigrants helped build some of the railroads in Logan County. Our railroads would go on to become one of the primary industries in Bellefontaine and Logan County from the 1850s to the 1950s.

ST. PATRICK CATHOLIC CHURCH (320 E. Patterson Ave., Bellefontaine)

The St. Patrick Catholic Church has a long and well-documented history in Bellefontaine.

The first Mass in the city was held in a home in 1851. A year later Archbishop John Purcell recommended that a Catholic Church be built in Bellefontaine. The recommendation came to fruition on December 25, 1853, when the first Mass was celebrated at St. Patrick Catholic Church on East Patterson Street. However, a fire destroyed the church in the winter of 1897. The parish dedicated its new (and current) church on June 5, 1898. The church, under the direction of Father John Coveney, established a Catholic School in the 1860s. The school building was constructed in 1881. The school closed for a year due to a church fire but reopened and was in operation for years. The school closed permanently in 1968 due to the high costs of running the school and a shortage of religious teachers.

Another gold nugget of history comes from Indian Lake.

The O’Connor family founded O’Connor’s Landing on the east side of Indian Lake in 1904.

The resort included a lakefront hotel, cottages and a popular restaurant. O’Connor’s, along with Beatley’s at the Lake and the Wicker Hotel, were the three prominent resorts during the heyday of Indian Lake as “Ohio’s Million Dollar Playground” from the 1920s-60s. Thousands of visitors came each summer to go to the amusement park, dance to the famous Big Band era musicians who played at the various dance pavilions, and of course enjoy water activities like fishing, swimming, and boating.

However you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, whether that is wearing green, decorating with shamrocks, or going to the bar for some green beer, be safe, have fun, and most importantly, remember the history.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

* Todd McCormick and Beth Marshall provided the local Irish history.