Ashtabula, Ohio

From Academic Kids

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Railyard in the port of Ashtabula

Ashtabula is a city located in Ashtabula County, Ohio, and the center of the Ashtabula Micropolitan Statistical Area (as defined by the United States Census Bureau in 2003). A major location on the Underground Railroad in the middle 19th century, the city today is major coal port on Lake Erie at the mouth of the Ashtabula River northeast of Cleveland. The name Ashtabula means "river of many fish" in the Iroquois language. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 20,962.

Trivially, the city was mentioned by Bob Dylan in his 1975 song "You're Going to Make Me Lonesome When You Go" in the line I'll look for you in old Honolulu, San Francisco, Ashtabula. The poet Carl Sandburg wrote a poem titled "Crossing Ohio when Poppies Bloom in Ashtabula."



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Bridge Street (Ohio route 531)-Ashtabula Historic Harbor District-June, 2005

Ashtabula was founded in 1803, later incorporated in 1891. The city contains several former stops on the Underground Railroad which was used to convey African-American slaves to freedom in Canada in the years before the American Civil War. Among the stops is Hubbard House, one of the handful of termination points. Ex-slaves would reside in an basement of the house adjacent to the lake and then leave on the next safe boat to Canada, gaining their freedom once they arrived in Ontario. Its harbor has been a large ore and coal port since the end of the 19th century and continues to be to some extent with a long coal ramp draping across the horizon in the current harbor.

Many newcomers to Ashtabula in the late 18th century and early 19th century were immigrants from Finland, Sweden, and Italy. Ethnic rivalries among these groups were once a major influence on daily life in Ashtabula. A substantial percentage of the current residents are descended from those immigrants.

The 1900s saw great changes in Ashtabula. Its access to Lake Erie and nearly 30 miles of shoreline helped position Ashtabula as a major shipping and commercial center.

During the 1950s, the area experienced immense growth with its expanding chemical industry and increasing Harbor activity making Ashtabula one of the most important port cities of the Great Lakes. The population in the City of Ashtabula grew steadily until 1970, since when it has been declining just as steadily.


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Location of Ashtabula, Ohio

Ashtabula is located at 41°52'38" North, 80°47'49" West (41.877138, -80.796976)Template:GR.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.0 km² (7.7 mi²). 19.6 km² (7.6 mi²) of it is land and 0.4 km² (0.2 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 2.20% water.

Ashtabula borders Lake Erie to the north and has a prominent harbor where the Ashtabula River flows into the lake. The Ashtabula Harbor was a primary coal harbor and still serves to ship . It has two public beaches: Walnut Beach, near the harbor and on the opposite side of the harbor Lake Shore Park, which was originally a Public Works Administration project.

The Ashtabula River and harbor are a significant superfund site for past industrial abuse of the waterway.


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Ship in the port of Ashtabula

As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 20,962 people, 8,435 households, and 5,423 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,072.0/km² (2,775.9/mi²). There are 9,151 housing units at an average density of 468.0/km² (1,211.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 84.69% White, 9.79% African American, 0.29% Native American, 0.40% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 2.51% from other races, and 2.26% from two or more races. 5.32% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 8,435 households out of which 32.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.9% are married couples living together, 17.4% have a female householder with no husband present, and 35.7% are non-families. 30.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 13.3% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.45 and the average family size is 3.03.

In the city the population is spread out with 27.6% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 15.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100 females there are 88.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 83.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $27,354, and the median income for a family is $33,454. Males have a median income of $28,436 versus $22,490 for females. The per capita income for the city is $14,034. 21.4% of the population and 17.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 31.2% of those under the age of 18 and 13.6% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Historic population figures




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