Newark is the county seat of Licking County. It is located approximately thirty-five miles east of Columbus. Samuel Elliott and Samuel Parr built the first houses -- log cabins -- in the community in 1802. By 1804, approximately twenty families lived in Newark. In 1808, residents constructed Licking County's first courthouse. It was located on the same site where Licking County's courthouse is today. The original courthouse was a log structure that also served as a church. In 1817, Presbyterians built the first separate church in the community. In 1830, Newark had a population of roughly one thousand people. In 1840, the population had almost tripled to over 2,700 people. Most residents earned their living from agriculture in Newark's early years. By the late 1840s, the town was home to three newspaper offices, ten grocery stores, two gristmills, an iron foundry, a wool factory, a bookstore, two hardware stores, as well as several other business establishments. Construction of the Ohio and Erie Canal began just south of Newark at Licking Summit in 1825. The canal led to local prosperity in the 1830's and 1840's.
In 1900, Newark was a city of fifteen thousand people. Newer businesses included several iron foundries, construction companies, tractor manufacturers, and companies working with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The Heisey Glass Company was world-renowned for its stem and dinnerware. The American Bottle Company was the largest beer bottle manufacturer in the world and employed more than 2,500 people in the first decade of the 1900s.
During the twentieth century, Newark continued to grow and prosper. In 2000, Newark's population exceeded 45,000 people. The Ohio State University at Newark is the largest of The Ohio State University's branch campuses. Almost two thousand students are enrolled at the school. Another three thousand people are enrolled at the Central Ohio Technical College. Newark is the Longaberger Company's headquarters, and its offices are located in a building that resembles a large picnic basket. Many Columbus residents moved forty-five minutes east to Newark during the 1990s and early 2000s. These people still commute to Columbus to work, but they prefer living in a smaller community like Newark.
Newark is probably best known for the Newark Earthworks, a series of mounds built by the Hopewell Indians. Remnants of the earthworks still exist today in sites owned by the Ohio History Connection. During the late 1800s and the early 1900s, the Licking County Fair took place inside the Great Circle Mound, while the Ohio National Guard utilized the Octagon Mound as a drill field.