Growth of West Chester


Hannah Gebert

Can you remember the day when West Chester was still farmland? Many of us who call this pocket of Ohio home cannot. Even though I have lived here since I was born, I cannot fathom it being a one-stoplight town, but at one point it was just that. Over the last 20 years, our area has warped into a friendly suburb.  How did that happen? Maybe it’s time for us to learn the history of where we live.


I searched for people who had contributed to this area and was lucky enough to talk to Dick and Patty Alderson. They referred to this area before it was a suburb as “Pisci” and explained that the houses were cheap but the potential was high. The Alderson placed the first business in what we now call Union Center. Later, they even brought their Glove Company into our changing economy. In 2000, when  the residents voted to change our township name to West Chester, a committee named 2020 formed. It was developed to work toward a vision of what the community would look like by 2020.  With developed infrastructure and hospitals, that committee achieved its goals. (And another committee for 2040 was formed.)


During that time of expansion, the culture was no longer that of a small town. For example, Michael Fox was a local politician looking to make money illegally off of an infrastructure project. The FBI investigated Fox, and it became Butler County’s biggest scandal. Prudent worries were called for after he tried to take advantage of this sapling of a town. 


The new businesses also attracted Christians who built churches of different denominations on every corner. Additionally, an influx of new immigrants brought the area its largest mosque, The Islamic Center of Cincinnati.  Opened in 1995,  it is the religious home of over 1000 citizens.


Amassing new investors means more diversity, and now the population of West Chester has gone from mostly caucasian to a mix that resembles America’s overall demographics. The Lakota school district (which merged with West Chester’s Union during this time) has grown and strengthened, and now families even seek out our schools when looking for a new property. This area we call home was like many others. Finding what makes our home ours is how we built it. 


The creation of small communities and ever reforming local business isn’t our home; it is people who saw it was safe to base a business here and the people drawn in by those businesses make up our home. Even if you wish to escape Ohio, it’s important to look around you and cherish all the places you’ve been.