Hyattsville: An Old Town Inside of Tipp City
Story by Judy Deeter
Tipp City is an historic town in southern Miami County. Founded in 1840, it has streets that are lined with wonderful old buildings and remnants of the past. The town has one historic site that is seen by multitudes of people every day, yet often goes unnoticed. That place is Hyattsville Park, a small park located on the northwest corner of Main Street (St. Rt. 571) and Hyatt Street. The park’s land was once the site of the town of Hyattsville. For over 40 years during the 19th century, Hyattsville was a town neighboring Tipp City. Today, the place that was Hyattsville is part of Tipp City. Reminders of the old town can still be seen along Hyatt Street, including the park, a cemetery and several historic homes.
Hyattsville was founded in 1833 and platted by Henry J. Hyatt. Historical records show he and his wife, Nancy, were both born in England, he in 1787 and she in 1789. They came to America after the birth of their daughter, Ann, who was the first of their seven children. It is believed that they lived in Maryland prior to settling in Ohio.
An historical marker in Hyattsville Park says that the town “…consisted of twenty-seven lots, north and west of this corner.” The marker also notes that the town had a post office, tavern, blacksmith shop, two stores, a church, fire department and a newspaper, but that it never grew larger than the original twenty-seven lots.
When Hyattsville was founded, two roads ran through the town. The Dayton-Troy Road ran north and south (built in 1808) and the Springfield-Greenville Road went east and west (built in 1813 and made a state road in 1817). In Tipp City today these roads are State Route 571 and Hyatt Street.
Tipp City historian Grace Kinney wrote about this in the book History of Miami County, “There is nothing in our history (Tipp City and Hyattsville) that illustrates the progress of our town more vividly than the story of its public transportation,” she wrote. “But a strange fact is that each mode’s line went north and south. Never have we had any in the opposite direction. If we want to go east or west by public transportation, we have to go north or south first!”
Kinney also said that stagecoaches passed through Hyattsville from its very beginning.
“Almost immediately, several buildings (mostly log ones) were erected…and homes established for families coming through in wagons, and on foot—looking for a new start in life,” she wrote in History of Miami County.
The Hyatt family lived in a one room log cabin. According to The History of Miami County (by W.H. Beers & Co., 1880), that one room was also a “dry-goods store, tailor’s shop, post office and dwelling house; and as the room was by no means large, it will readily be seen that every part of the house was occupied.”
Kinney wrote of Mr. Hyatt in the 1982 history book, “Rather than just build his ‘corner’ store and residence, he (Hyatt) conceived the idea of establishing a town at this cross-roads. So he platted and recorded 27 lots and called his town, or hamlet, Hyattsville.”
The first mail coming to Miami County’s Monroe Township came to Hyattsville and Henry J. Hyatt was its first Postmaster. (STORY CONTINUES BELOW PHOTOS)
The Southeast Corner of Hyatt & Main
The Northeast Corner of Hyatt & Main
The Northwest Corner of Hyatt & Main
The Southwest Corner of Hyatt & Main
The Beers’ history book also tells the story of a 10-year-old boy named Kiel Hoagland, who brought the mail to Hyattsville from West Charleston (also located in Miami County). It says that he rode a “bob-tailed sorrel horse with a blazed face.” When Hoagland grew up, he became an owner of the Royal Baking Powder Company in New York and is remembered as being a millionaire. The history book states, “Perhaps, if he had been told, when trying to make the old sorrel jump the ditch in front of the post office, that the day was coming when he could sit in a cushioned carriage of his own, with his driver in the box, he would not have believed the prediction.”
People lived in Monroe Township prior to Hyattsville’s founding. Because religion played an important role in their lives, one of the area’s first churches was founded there before the beginning of Hyattsville. The History of Miami County describes the establishment of the church: “As near as can be ascertained, the church was built in 1820, and was a very rude place of worship. Its huge fireplace made it comfortable in winter, and during the summer the services were quite frequently held in the woods. The old log finally yielded to the more modern brick structure, which was erected on the same spot in 1840.”
Note: The 1982 book History of Miami County refers to a Methodist log church erected at Hyattsville in 1831. It says that building was replaced by a brick building in 1840. The original log church is reported to have been on North Hyatt Street, just south of the Hyattsville Cemetery. In 1861, the Methodist congregation made up of people from both Hyattsville and Tipp City (Tippecanoe at the time) built a church on the northwest corner of Third and Dow streets. It was remodeled in 1895 and still stands at that location today.
One of the oldest places for seeing what was Hyattsville is the Hyattsville Cemetery, located on North Hyatt Street. It was founded in 1836. A marker in the cemetery says that the Jacob and Jane Chrisman family “donated land for public burial ground to trustees of the Methodist meeting house in Hyattsville.” A cemetery veteran’s tombstone lists names of soldiers from the War of 1812 and the Civil War. The Civil War veterans are listed as being part of the 44th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. (STORY CONTINUES BELOW PHOTOS)
In 1840, the neighboring town of Tippecanoe was founded two miles east of Hyattsville. It was started by John Clark. Clark founded the town on what had been the farm of his brother-in-law Robert Evans.
Tippecanoe was built on the west side of Lock 15 of the Miami and Erie Canal. The canal was opened in Miami County on July 4, 1837. In the coming years, businesses and the town grew around the lock. An historical marker at the Canal Lock 15 site says, “Many types of commerce and trade grew up around the canal including boarding houses, saloons, a tannery, and a mill.”
By the early 1870s, the growth of Tippecanoe had outpaced that of Hyattsville. Hyattsville residents wanted the better schools and amenities that were available there and asked to be annexed. The annexation of Hyattsville to Tippecanoe was approved by the Miami County Commissioners in 1874.
Today, except for the street name of Hyatt, the story of Hyattsville has mostly been forgotten outside of the local historical community. Even people who sit in Hyattsville Park sometimes do not realize that the park site was once the place of a town named Hyattsville, Ohio.
Photographs of early Hyattsville buildings are in the book History of Miami County (1982).