Canal Winchester is a city in Fairfield and Franklin counties in the U.S. state of Ohio. The population was 9,107 at the 2020 census.
Canal Winchester was founded in 1828 by Reuben Dove and John Colman. When construction of the Ohio & Erie Canal came through Dove's wheat field, he wanted to sue the state. The canal workmen instead convinced him that he would be better off laying out a town, because the area was midway between Columbus and Lancaster. On November 4, 1828, Dove and Colman recorded the first plat for Winchester, Ohio, in Violet Township, Fairfield County. Dove named the village after his father's hometown of Winchester, Virginia.
Winchester flourished because of agriculture and transportation. The Ohio and Erie Canal brought passengers, freight and a means to transport grain to market. The first canal boat floated through Winchester in 1831. The village was named Canal Winchester when the post office was established in 1841, because there were five other locations in the state named Winchester.
A local legend explains how Canal Winchester received its post office. On Halloween, October 31, 1841, two teenage boys, as a prank, hooked two horses up to the foundation of the post office of the town of Waterloo and then pulled it across the street to Winchester. With this, the town of Waterloo was no more and Winchester was a legitimate village. The village was annexed to Madison Township, Franklin County, in 1851.
In May 1866, the Ohio Secretary of State granted incorporation papers for the Village of Canal Winchester.
In 1869, the railroad came to Canal Winchester, bringing continued prosperity.
New elementary schools, a new wing of the high school, and a new junior high school have all been built since 2000.
Canal Winchester High School's mascot is the Indians, and their colors are maroon and white. The high school offers many college prep and AP courses. The school is best known for its football, wrestling, basketball, cross country, cheerleading, and volleyball teams, all of which compete at the Division 2 level; and track, which competes at the Division 1 level.
The baseball team was back-to-back state runner-up from 2008 to 2009. In recent years the school has produced two Wendy's High School Heisman State Finalists, Greg Guiler and Andy Rhinehart; the award recognizes the state's best high school student athletes. The soccer team have seen success, with two district titles (2013, 2014), and one OCC Cardinal Division title (2014).
Notable alumni include NBA player Byron Mullens of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and MLB player Drew Dosch, class of 2010, of the Baltimore Orioles.
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