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About Piqua, OH

The word 'Piqua' is believed to be derived from a Shawnee language phrase: Othath-He-Waugh-Pe-Qua, translated as "He has risen from the ashes," related to a legend of the people. It became associated with the Pekowi, one of the five divisions of the Shawnee people, who were eventually known as the Piqua.

In 1749, Fort Pickawillany was constructed by the British to protect their trading post at a Miami village of the same name. It was located at the confluence of Loramie Creek and the Great Miami River.

In 1752 Charles de Langlade, an Odawa war chief of partial French Canadian descent, attacked the fort. He led more than 240 Odawa and Ojibwe warriors allied with French forces against the British and the Miami village in the Battle of Pickawillany. The Miami chief and a British trader were killed in the conflict.

After the battle, the British and Miami abandoned this site. The Miami rebuilt Pickawillany, and Piqua later developed near their village. The British soon took over the area after defeating the French in the French and Indian War.

Until 1780, Piqua had been the capital town of the Shawnee located on the Mad River about 23 miles southeast of the modern town (near Springfield). That year, an expedition by Gen. George Rogers Clark culminated in the Battle of Piqua, after which the town and surrounding fields were burned. The Shawnee relocated north and west to the Great Miami River. Piqua was settled as two separate Shawnee villages late in 1780, known as Upper Piqua and Lower Piqua.

In 1790, General Harmar found the site on the Great Miami River abandoned and in ruins, as did General Wayne in 1794.

As Gen. Anthony Wayne's Legion was returning to Greenville via Loramie's trading post and Piqua at the termination of their Indian Country campaign in fall 1794, Wayne wrote a letter to Henry Knox dated October 17, 1794, in which he recommended that forts be built at those two locations as waystations along the Miami River. A detachment of Wayne's forces from Greenville built or repaired a small fort and supply depot named Fort Piqua in Upper Piqua on the same site as the (later) farm of Col. John Johnston in winter 1794–95. Capt. J.N. Visher was made commander of the garrison. The fort was garrisoned through 1794 and 1795, and abandoned after the signing of the Treaty of Greenville in 1795.

By 1795, most of Ohio's Shawnee had moved to Missouri and those that remained migrated north to the Auglaize - the southwestern Indian towns were no more. Piqua itself was well below the Greenville Treaty line and would remain abandoned until white settlers arrived.

The first European settlers arrived in 1798, after the signing of the Treaty of Greenville ending the Northwest Indian War and opening much of Ohio to settlement. In 1807 the village, consisting of seven houses, was surveyed by Armstrong Brandon, a soldier under Gen. Anthony Wayne, and named Washington. It was about a mile southwest of the old Indian villages of Piqua.

By 1816 the Shawnee village of Piqua had been long abandoned; the state legislature, acting on citizen petition, changed the name of Washington village to Piqua. Piqua was incorporated as a town by the Ohio General Assembly in 1823.

During the war of 1812, Piqua was a waystation for men and supplies moving north. In 1819, a land office was established in Piqua which facilitated its growth.

Piqua developed along with construction of the Miami and Erie Canal between 1825 and 1845.

Rossville, Ohio was the first free-black enclave in the region. Virginia planter John Randolph of Roanoke, who served as a U.S. representative and senator, arranged for the emancipation of his nearly 400 slaves in his will of 1833. He also provided money for his executor to relocate the freedmen to the free state of Ohio, and to buy land and supplies to help them establish a settlement. The will was challenged but in 1846, his 383 slaves gained their freedom. Most of these freedmen settled in Rumley, Ohio. Some eventually founded Rossville and an associated cemetery, known as the African Jackson Cemetery. These are located on the northeast side of the Great Miami River; they may be accessed by nearby North County Road 25-A. The community has since been incorporated into Piqua.[when?]

Piqua was one of the cities that suffered severe flooding during the Great Dayton Flood of 1913. Piqua is nestled in a sweeping "S" bend of the Great Miami River and experienced regular flooding before the Great Flood of 1913.

On March 22, 1913, a moderate storm moved down the St. Lawrence River basin into the Ohio River basin, with enough rain to moisten the soil upriver from the Miami River and its tributaries. The soil in that upper region is predominantly clayey glacial till, transitioning to mostly Loamy glacial till. Starting on March 23, 1913, rain began to fall for five days. The heaviest rainfall occurred on March 25 with anywhere from 2” in the southeast corner of Ohio to 5” in the area between Piqua and Troy. All together, the total amount of precipitation for this five day period was recorded from 5” in the southeast of Ohio to 11” in the swatch between Piqua and Troy.

The flood waters came with such speed and force as to move homes off their foundations, depositing untold amounts of mud in others and claiming forty-nine lives in Piqua and neighboring Rossville alone. In places, streets were damaged or washed out to varying degrees of severity. Public utilities (gas, sewer and water) were hampered to provide services, due to mud clogging up the pipes. The estimated property damage/loss in Piqua reached $1,000,000 ($26.2M in present-day dollars), excluding public utilities and farm losses. The Ohio and Erie Canal, which for 81 years had served as an important connection point from Ohio to the East Coast, was permanently closed to commercial traffic because of extensive flood damage.

Piqua was home to the first municipally operated nuclear power plant, the Piqua Nuclear Generating Station. The facility was built and operated between 1963 and 1966 as a demonstration project by the United States Atomic Energy Commission. The Atomic Energy Commission bought out the contract with the City of Piqua in order to terminate the operations early, citing higher-priority needs for manpower and funding, lack of programmatic interest, and technical problems.

Piqua is located at 40°8′51″N 84°14′53″W / 40.14750°N 84.24806°W / 40.14750; -84.24806 (40.147474, -84.247968).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.89 square miles (30.79 km), of which 11.62 square miles (30.10 km2) is land and 0.27 square miles (0.70 km) is water.

The Great Miami River runs through Piqua. The area at the south end of town on the east side of the river is known as Shawnee.

As of the census of 2010, there were 20,522 people, 8,318 households, and 5,425 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,766.1 inhabitants per square mile (681.9/km2). There were 9,311 housing units at an average density of 801.3 per square mile (309.4/km). The racial makeup of the city was 92.4% White, 3.3% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.4% of the population.

There were 8,318 households, of which 32.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.9% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 34.8% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.96.

The median age in the city was 38.1 years. 24.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.6% were from 25 to 44; 26.2% were from 45 to 64; and 14.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.0% male and 52.0% female.

As of the census of 2000, there were 20,738 people, 8,263 households, and 5,585 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,939.2 inhabitants per square mile (748.7/km2). There were 8,886 housing units at an average density of 830.9 per square mile (320.8/km). The racial makeup of the city was 94.21% White, 3.38% African American, 0.33% Native American, 0.44% Asian, 0.27% from other races, and 1.37% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.74% of the population.

There were 8,263 households, out of which 32.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.4% were married couples living together, 12.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.4% were non-families. 27.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the city the population was spread out, with 26.5% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,681, and the median income for a family was $41,804. Males had a median income of $31,808 versus $22,241 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,719. About 9.6% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.0% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.