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Lima, Ohio is the county seat of Allen County. After the Revolutionary War, the Shawnee resided in much of west central Ohio. In 1817, the Hog Creek Reservation covered the future Allen and Auglaize Counties, which encompassed much of what is now Lima. The movement of the Shawnee to the reservation allowed other lands to be freed up for settlement. In 1820, the state legislature established Allen County, and in 1831, the government forced the Shawnee to give up all of their land in the region to the United States, after which they were all relocated to Kansas. This opened all of Allen County, and the Allen County seat, Lima was created. The name Lima was selected in honor of Lima Peru, which was where the people in the region got their quinine to counter malaria, which was commonplace in the Great Black Swamp. Lima grew up in the 1830s and 1840s, and the first train made its way through Lima in 1854, the same year that cholera broke out, spreading throughout west central Ohio. Lima struggled with the problems caused by contaminated water until the municipal water system started up in 1886. The Lima Machine Works opened in 1882, and the first Shay-geared locomotive was built there. A few years later, in 1885, oil was discovered under the local paper mill, an event which brought John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil to the city. The oil field was the largest in the country for nearly ten years. During the progressive era, Lima proved to be open-minded in most matters. In 1912, voters in Lima voted in a Socialist mayor, and in August of 1923, a Ku Klux Klan parade attracted more than 100,000 people. By 1930, there were eight railroad companies serving Lima.

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