Moving to Mt. Gilead, OH? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

This gem sits in the center of Ohio and enjoys a slow, small-town existence

A nature vista in Mt. Gilead, Oiho


Kyle Reyes


Jan 21, 2021

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Image courtesy of Natural Ohio Adventures.

Mt. Gilead is a small town in the center of Ohio. It’s the county seat of Morrow County and has prospered peacefully for many years. Mt. Gilead has a small-town culture, where you’ll meet people and see them in the grocery store, at the park, or at the local cafe. Just about everyone is super friendly, and content with a passing hello or a short conversation. 

There are a lot of great reasons to move to Mt. Gilead, and this article will cover some of the pertinent information to get to know this county before you move into your new place. 

Here’s what you should know about moving to Mt. Gilead:

  • History of Mt. Gilead
  • Facts and figures about Mt. Gilead
  • Local favorite things to do in Mt. Gilead
  • And more!
A small river in Mt. Gilead
This creek runs through one of Mt. Gilead’s many state parks and serves as a pleasant water feature on hikes all year long. Image courtesy of Mt. Gilead

History of Mt. Gilead

Before Moving to Mt. Gilead, Get to Know the History of Your New Home

Mt. Gilead was first settled by one Mr. Lewis Hardenbrook in 1817. Seven years later, Judge Jacob Young planned out a village containing 80 lots and a public square. Mt. Gilead (called Whetsom until 1832) doubled in size around 1832 and continued to grow slowly until the village of Mt. Gilead was incorporated in 1839. A few years later, Mt. Gilead was chosen to become the county seat of Morrow County, and it’s held that title ever since. 

As the county seat, negotiations opened in the late 1840s to build a railway through Mt. Gilead that connected Columbus and Cleveland. Months into the negotiations the tensions between the villagers and officials broke down came to a head, and negotiations came to an abrupt halt. Instead, the railway passed through Cardington and Edison, two towns a few miles from Mt. Gilead. Cooler heads prevailed about 30 years later when Mt. Gilead got its first railway. 

In 1961, an industrious prospector found oil in Morrow County, resulting in a well that produced 200 barrels a day. That’s almost 10,000 gallons of oil! Due to that well’s success, dozens of wells are drilled into Morrow County every year. 

The Capitol Theater at Mt. Gilead
This old-school cinema has been around for over a hundred years, and it is still going strong! Swing by the Capitol Theater for an amazing moviegoing experience. Image courtesy of Heritage Ohio.

Mt. Gilead by the Numbers

Learn About Mt. Gilead’s Economy, Demographics, and What It’s Really Like to Live Here

Mt. Gilead’s Population

Mt. Gilead is home to around 4,000 residents. The median age is 45.5, which is fairly older than the US average of 37.4. There are around 2.4 people per Mt. Gilead household, a little lower than the US average of 2.6. 

Mt. Gilead’s Demographics

The great majority of residents in Mt. Gilead are white. The median cost of a home in Mt. Gilead is $178,000, which is much lower than the average across the whole state, which is around $375,000. About 37% of Mt. Gilead’s residents are renters. 

Mt. Gilead’s Schooling

Mt. Gilead School District is a small district with three schools. The district serves around 1,200 students and strives for excellence in all facets of their studies. 

The US News ranked Mt. Gilead High School 10,393 out of almost 18,000 schools nationally, and 406 out of almost 700 schools in the state of Ohio.

Things to do in Mt. Gilead

Mt. Gilead is located in between Columbus and Cleveland, and because of that, there hasn’t been too much influence on the town by those two big cities. It’s been able to grow independently, enjoying its title as the county seat of Morrow County. Read on for some of our favorite activities to do in and around Mt. Gilead!

Get to Know Mt. Gilead Like a Local

Where People Shop, Dine, and Hang Out in Mt. Gilead

For such a small town, there is a lot to do in Mt. Gilead! This small community has fostered a culture of its own over the years, and it is due to their friendliness and peacefulness that Mt. Gilead has turned into the wonderful place it is today. Following are some of our favorite attractions in and around the town, from scenery, activities, and food! 

Mt. Gilead Ohio State Park

Experience Ohio’s beauty at this state park
A state park in Ohio
The colors of the forest during the Fall season make it a sight you don’t want to miss! Image courtesy of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. 

4119 State Route 95 | Mt Gilead |

The Mt. Gilead Ohio State Park is a medium-sized park, coming in at around 181 acres. This park is filled with activities, features, and history. This park, located a few miles outside of the village, is the perfect place to return to time and time again. There are about six miles of hiking trails, places to picnic, fish, camp, boat, and play disc golf! 

The two lakes in this park were constructed in the 1920s and 30s, and have become landmarks in the years since. The dams that control the flow of water have been adjusted over the years to provide as much health to the wildlife as they can while allowing for walkways built over them that visitors can walk across. Mt. Gilead is adjacent to a beech-maple forest of unparalleled beauty. The trees have lived for many, many years, and they give a little glimpse of what Ohio looked like centuries ago. Wildflowers provide a pleasant and unobtrusive undergrowth in these forests that you can walk through to your heart's content. There are a variety of mammals and other animals that inhabit this forest, and if you are lucky, you might see some on your walk! 

Splatter Park

Grab your gear and head out to this paintball arena
The staff at Splatter Park are courteous and lead you efficiently from one arena to the next. Image courtesy of Splatter Park.

5590 Country Road 109 | Mt. Gilead |

Splatter Park is a large outdoor paintball arena located just a few minutes away from Mt. Gilead, taking advantage of all of the excellent nature that surrounds it. The park is open on weekends for open games and private events, and during the week for private events only. Splatter Park, like many paintball arenas, has a wide variety of games, areas, and fields in which you and your friends can run around and play paintball.

Paintball is a fun group activity in Mt. Gilead, and this arena is a place you can have fun with a unique activity. They’ve been open for many years, and during that time they’ve figured out how to use their space to make almost a dozen arenas to enjoy a fine game of paintball. 

“I found this place to be amply staffed, courteous, and engaged -- they seemed intent that we had a good time.  There was assistance available at every point, from briefings to understanding the rules and the gear to getting our lunch.  Communication among the staff was great.” -- Yelp Review

Sames and Cook

The best coffee in Mt. Gilead

33 S Main St | Mt. Gilead |

Sames and Cook is a coffee shop that opened up in a historical building from the late 1800s. They’ve renovated and restored the antique decor and crafted their relaxing and old atmosphere around the historical building in which they reside. Sames and Cook is able to combine the friendliness of a small-town coffee shop with the quality and variety expected from cafes in the city. Their house blend of coffee is fantastic and entrenches them as the finest cup of joe in Mt. Gilead. 

All of the servers are friendly and happy to help you find the perfect coffee drink for your morning or afternoon, and this is also a great place to meet up with friends and take visitors. The atmosphere and decor inside make it a phenomenal place to sit and relax while drinking one or a few cups of their delicious coffee. They are, in fact, a coffee and tea house and they are true to their name with a wide variety of custom teas and tea drinks on their menu, as well as a fine selection of breakfast and lunch options. 

“Wonderful little coffee shop. So cute inside and the staff is so friendly. Great coffee and an assortment of delicious breakfast choices. Love they offer small serving sizes, too. We also bought delicious muffins to take home. So yummy!” -- Yelp Review

La Cabañita

The finest Mexican restaurant in all of Mt. Gilead
A delicious meal at la Cabanita
This fine meal is one of the many options on La Cabañita’s menu. Check it out today! Image courtesy of Yelp.

45 S Main St | Mt. Gilead

La Cabañita is a small Mexican restaurant in Mt. Gilead, Ohio. While it is one of the only Mexican restaurants in the area, its food, drinks, and service are all incredible. The food here is reasonably priced and never disappointing. Their sauces and seasonings are excellent, and the portions are enough to satisfy without being these immense, impossible-to-finish dishes. The drinks are well-made, well-priced, and have a nice variety. This is no city bar, but they have a fine selection of tequilas and mezcals and make an amazing margarita. 

To top it all off, their service is fantastic. Their servers are attentive and pleasant, making sure your food is good and your cups are full. This is the kind of restaurant that has done great business for many years because of the overall quality of the establishment. Whether you are visiting or are about to move in, we cannot recommend la Cabañita enough!

“Great little Mexican place in a nice small town. Went on an early evening Thursday not expecting the place to be busy. Not only did they have lots of eat-in customers, but it appeared to be a popular take-out order location, too. Flautas and service were both good!” -- Yelp Review

Morrow County Fair

Mt. Gilead hosts people from all over the county once every year

195 South Main Street | Mt. Gilead | 

The Morrow County Fair is a yearly fair held in the county seat — Mt. Gilead. Right outside your door, there is a huge celebration of Morrow County, including tons of food, performances, and showcases of the county’s creative skills, agricultural resources, and a place for people from all over the county to come and connect. 

The Morrow County Fair, held at the end of August, is the perfect place to go when visiting Mt. Gilead. County fairs bring together so much of the county’s culture and populace in a fun, game-filled fair with loads to do, eat, and see. If you’re planning a visit out to Mt. Gilead around this time, we recommend building your visit around at least one of the fair days to get a glimpse into this small town’s culture! 

An overhead view of Mt. Gilead
Mt. Gilead sees visitors from all over the county for the yearly Morrow County Fair. Image courtesy of the Ohio Farm Bureau.

So, what do you think of Mt. Gilead? There are lots of opportunities to see the town for yourself and get to know what goes on in this sleepy Ohioan town.

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