Zoar Historic District
Bounded by 5th, Foltz, and 1st Sts. and by rear property lines of properties, Zoar, Ohio
1. Historic American Buildings Survey, Carl Waite, Photographer November 2, 1936 NORTHWEST ELEVATION.
Photo from the Historic American Buildings Survey
View photos at Library of Congress
+40.61320, -81.4224640°36'48" N, 81°25'21" W
...The village of Zoar was established in 1817 by a group of Separatists fleeing Germany to gain religious freedom. The idea of Zoar, "Named for Lot's Biblical town of refuge from evil," was to be a communal society in which all individuals pooled their resources for the benefit of all. The Zoar Separatists believed that the church and community should be simple, and the individual was to have a personal, direct relationship with God. This group of 300 people, lead by Joseph Bimeler, contracted to purchase a 5,500-acre land tract along the Tuscarawas River. The Separatists began work as laborers to create seven miles of the Tuscarawas Canal in order to pay off their land debt. After the land was paid off, the life style of the Zoarites changed. The community introduced a commercial system in order to guarantee their economic and social security. The idea of religious community in which the people worked for the benefit of their religious life style gave way to commercial involvement. The Village of Zoar soon contained a church, a communal bakery, tin shop, blacksmith shop, a store, furniture shop, weaving and sewing houses, a pottery, several mills, a brewery, as well as the residence. The village from the beginning was a tourist attraction. The ideals of the community and prospering economic status brought people from all over the area. The Zoar Hotel was built in 1833 by enterprising Zoarites to make money on the tourist trade. The Hotel is a building which represents the changed commercial emphasis of the community. The building is a testament of the people and craftsmen which built and maintained the structure in order to continue their religious ideals. Today, the Village of Zoar is a Historic District. The village has been restored and maintained in order to preserve the ideals of Zoarites. The Zoar Hotel is one of the remaining buildings that needs to be restored to its original condition.
-- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS OH-280)
Designated a National Historic Landmark on October 31, 2016.
National Register information
- Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 23, 1969
- Reference number
- Areas of significance
- Landscape Architecture; Commerce; Art; Architecture; Religion; Agriculture
- Level of significance
- Evaluation criteria
- A - Event; C - Design/Construction
- Property type
- Periods of significance
- 1875-1899; 1850-1874; 1800-1824; 1825-1849
- Significant years
- 1817; 1898
- January 4, 2021: New photo from Bill Eichelberger
- October 23, 2017: Updated by Michael Miller: Updated "Description" & "NRHP Status" and Added "Street Views"