From Ohio History Central
Findlay, Ohio, is the county seat of Hancock County. During the War of 1812, Colonel James Findlay built a road to transport troops across the region and constructed a stockade that was named Fort Findlay in his honor. The community of Findlay began to emerge in the area surrounding the fort after the war was over. Future Ohio Governor Joseph Vance and Elnathan Corry laid out the first lots in 1821.
The town's population remained small in the first several decades. By the 1840s, there were approximately one hundred families residing in Findlay. In the years prior to the American Civil War, Findlay served as a stop on the Underground Railroad for slaves escaping to Canada.
In the mid 1880s, the community suddenly gained national attention when natural gas and oil were discovered nearby. The first gas well, the Oesterlen, was drilled in 1884, and the following year the first oil well, the Mathias, began to produce oil. Although the gas wells were soon depleted, oil wells continued to provide income in the area. Numerous other industries emerged as Findlay's population grew quickly during this era. The town boasted several newspapers, including one printed in German for the German immigrants in the community. There were a number of glass manufacturers, ranging from window glass to table glassware and bottles. Findlay also was home to several woodworking firms and furniture manufacturers, a woolen mill, brick manufacturers, and a company that made typewriters, among other businesses. The University of Findlay is also located in the community.
As Findlay continued to grow over time, other signs of education and organization began to emerge. The town opened its first public library in 1890, and the first high school in Findlay was built ten years later. In 1920, the town formed its first Rotary and Kiwanis organizations, as well as founding the Findlay Chamber of Commerce.
Today, Findlay is known as "Flag City USA." In the 1960s, a man named John Cooke moved to Findlay. Believing that every American should fly the American flag on Flag Day, Cooke worked to provide everyone in the community with a small flag. The designation was made official with a resolution of the U.S. House of Representatives on May 7, 1974. Residents of Findlay are still proud of their town's nickname to this day.