TheReportingProject.org is the nonprofit news organization of the Denison University Journalism Program, covering Licking County, Ohio, and neighboring regions. We publish work by students, faculty, and community members.
Licking County is home to about 180,000 people, about 50,000 of whom live in Newark, the county seat. At 682 square miles, Licking County is the third largest in Ohio based on land mass behind Ashtabula and Ross counties. It is rich in diversity of its people and economy, which is a mix of industry and agriculture.
Because of its proximity to fast-growing Columbus, Licking County is changing rapidly — especially in the western portion of the county where Intel, Amazon, Google and Facebook all have planted their flags with large facilities. Intel, in particular, is building the largest computer-chip manufacturing complex in the world on what had been 1,000 acres of farmland.
Before settlers arrived here in the late 1700s and early 1800s (Licking County was established in 1808), Licking County was home to the Shawnee, Wyandotte and Delaware people. Before them were the Adena and Hopewell people.
The massive ceremonial earthworks they left behind are so significant that the Great Circle, Octagon and Wright earthworks in Licking County have been nominated along with other earthworks in Ohio for a World Heritage Site designation.