You’ll find the residents here to be helpful, friendly and eager to share the beauty of the area with you. It all began here when a 40-square mile section of Montgomery County, bordered by the Stillwater and Miami Rivers, became a township. It was named Butler Township in honor of a field officer of the militia. In 1838, Benjamin Wilhelm founded and laid out the village of Vandalia. It was incorporated in 1848. In 1960, the village became a city. It’s said that Vandalia was named by a group of westward-bound settlers who, due to bad weather and bad times, stopped at the crossroads of what is now Dixie Drive (US 25) and National Road (US 40). The settlers had been headed for Vandalia, Illinois, and so gave the area the same name as their original destination.
The Miami Canal was started in Cincinnati in 1825. By 1829, it was open to Dayton. Cargo had to be off-loaded in the city and taken by wagon over to the river to continue its shipping route. The Miami Extension of the canal, north from Dayton, began in 1833, and work on the great Miami aqueduct began the same year. It finally linked up with the Wabash and Erie Canal eight years later, and became known as the Miami and Erie Canal. The farmers in western Ohio were finally able to get their products to markets in the south and the east. Flour, whiskey, pork, apples, nursery stock and grain were all shopped by way of canal boat.
In early days, stagecoach lines helped the new community’s two taverns do a flourishing business. The construction of Dixie Highway as a main north-south route aided in the area’s growth. Since then, the community has grown with new businesses, homes and industry, and continues to grow at the original “Crossroads of America.” There are about 14,000 residents in the City of Vandalia and about 8,800 residents in Butler Township. Together, the community covers approximately 28-square miles.