Nestled comfortably in the middle of nowhere in Northwestern Ohio, USA, you'll find the quiet and wholly unremarkable town of Hicksville. Seriously, that's the name of the town. It's painted on both water towers.
Your best bet of finding the town of Hicksville is to go to Fort Wayne, Indiana, and take State Road (SR) 37 north and east towards Ohio. After driving for about 20 minutes, just after crossing the state line, you will enter Hicksville. The village is also accessible from the south on SR 49 and from the east on SR 2 and SR 18. Hicksville is about 20 minutes west of Defiance, Ohio. If that doesn't help you any, it is about an hour and a half south and west of Toledo.
Hicksville was officially designated a township in 1839, after the entire area of northwest Ohio between Fort Wayne and Defiance had been bought up by the Hicks & American Land Companies of New York, owned by Henry W Hicks, for whom the town was named. The agent of the Hicks Land Company who oversaw the distribution of land in this area was Alfred P Edgerton, for whom the neighbouring town of Edgerton, OH was named. Hicksville has several historic landmarks, including the Hicks Land Office from which Mr Edgerton sold many of the plots of land that became Hicksville, and St Paul's Episcopal Church, built in 1883 with a donation from Mr Edgerton. St Paul's was the first church in Hicksville and still stands as an official historic landmark. Currently under renovation is the Huber Opera House, which was built in the late 1800s and hosted many famous actors and actresses of the time.
Claims to Fame
Local notables include Amelia (Swilley) Bingham, who became a famous actress in New York City and the first woman to succeed both as an actress and as owner of her own theatre company, and Daeida Hartwell, who, with her husband HH Wilcox, moved west and bought, named, and established 120 acres of southern California that became known throughout the world as Hollywood. Due to its name, Hicksville gets a mention in several major motion pictures, including the Sesame Street movie Follow that Bird and House Arrest starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Pollock, and Jennifer Love Hewitt. Another of Hicksville's claims to fame not related to the entertainment industry is the Neidhart Machine Company (NEMCO), which produced the first curly-fry making machines, thereby dubbing Hicksville the 'Home of the Curly Fry'.
Despite the name, Hicksville is actually a fairly good-sized town, as far as small farming communities go. With a population of about 4500 in the village and another 2000 in the surrounding township, Hicksville is the second-largest municipality in Defiance County, with only the county seat itself (Defiance) being larger. As such, Hicksville has the dubious honour of playing host to the annual Defiance County Fair every August, which draws folk from tens of miles around to see who grew the biggest tomatoes this year. The village has two schools, Hicksville Elementary and Hicksville High School, with the average graduating class of the High School at about 70 members. Hicksville has several factories, including the aforementioned Nemco, which produce everything from medical equipment to machine parts. There are three banks, two parks, a full service hospital, several churches, and a weekly newspaper, the Hicksville News-Tribune.
Where to Eat
Hicksville recently passed another benchmark in growth when, about five years ago, McDonald's restaurant set up a franchise at the corner of High St and Maple. This is in addition to the Hardee's and Subway restaurants already in existence, as well as the much-acclaimed Yoder's Restaurant, which serves the best in Amish cooking every day. Yoder's pies are talked about as far away as Grabill, Indiana and Payne, Ohio. The Sunrise Café on High St and Charlie's on Defiance Avenue offer the typical small town bar and grill type atmosphere, and both are worth a stop if you get the chance. There are two pizza places in town, DaVinci's (which used to be a Little Caesar's, and as such, carries much the same fare on its menu) and Palace Pizza, which specialises in the thin, greasy variety of pizza. Neither place delivers, so you're going to have to drive into town either way. As such, your best bet for pizza might actually be Sailer's Convenience Store, where you can get a pizza, a twelve-pack of your beverage of choice, and fill up your tank at the same stop. During the summer, JJ's Dairy Freeze offers great milk shakes and some of the best cheeseburgers around. If you want anything fancier than that, you'll have to drive to Fort Wayne.
Where To Stay
Hicksville has only one place for the weary traveller to stay, the Redwood Motel, on East High Street. There is cable TV but no air conditioning, and the TV doesn't have a remote control, but that's okay because you can reach it from the bed in most rooms. Also, the Redwood was praised by one traveller who stayed there for replacing the usual Bible in the desk drawer with something more useful - a flyswatter. If these lodgings aren't to your liking, you should probably try to get a room in Defiance or Fort Wayne, both of which offer the standard travel lodgings such as Holiday Inn, Motel 6, and so on.
What to Do
Not a whole lot, most of the time. On average, there aren't many diversions to attract tourists to Hicksville. The third week of every August is the Defiance County Fair, which, aside from the agricultural and 4-H judging, also has rides, games, harness racing, tractor pulls, a demolition derby, and usually features a country musical act. Also, usually the last week of July, you can visit the town's annual Hitchin' Post Day Festival, which is essentially a sort of founder's day celebration put on by the Chamber of Commerce with games, karaoke, sidewalk sales, and a street dance. Hitchin' Post 2000 also featured an antique car show, which (at the time of writing) has plans of returning in 2001. You can usually catch a high school sporting event, depending on the season.
The Hicksville Aces haven't had any particularly successful sports teams in the past couple years, but sooner or later they have to have a winning season in at least one sport. Most of the time, though, Hicksville residents leave town for their entertainment.
Even so, if you are planning a trip through this area, it is recommended that you take a few minutes to go out of your way and stop in Hicksville, if only for a little while, just to say you've been there. Maybe get a picture standing by the 'Welcome to Hicksville' sign so your friends will believe you when you tell them you had real Amish cooking in Hicksville. You'll be glad you did!