In prehistoric times, Native Americans (notably the Ottawa) began using the rich resources at the present site of Maumee, Ohio, in the Maumee River valley. Throughout much of the eighteenth century, French, British and American forces struggled for control of the lower Maumee River as a major transportation artery linking East and West. A decisive American victory over the British and their Native American allies at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 and the conclusion of the War of 1812 opened the way for American expansion and attracted promoters eager to make a fortune in western lands.
A town plat was laid out in 1817 at the Foot of the Rapids of the Maumee River, and within a decade, the settlement was gaining recognition as a major trans-shipment point connecting Lake Erie and the land to the west. The opening of the Wabash and Erie Canal in 1840 further stimulated the economy and led Jessup Scott, a noted town promoter, to predict that Maumee would become the "great city of the West," surpassing all rivals. By mid-century Maumee was already a flourishing center of river trade, commerce and shipbuilding. Nearly twenty mercantile companies crowded the three miles (5 km) of ship docks and competed for the retail and wholesale trade. Maumee became the county seat in 1840 and lawyers came from miles around to practice in the imposing Greek Revival Lucas County Courthouse erected by private subscription. The federal custom house and post office also were located in Maumee.
Dreams of greatness began to fade in the 1850s, when ships too large to navigate the river were introduced and the railroad became a faster and cheaper means of transportation. The population expanded westward and Maumee lost the county seat in 1854. A "gas boom" in the 1880s was short lived and Maumee became, as one observer wrote, " a sleepy little town."
Nearly a century later, in the 1970s, Maumee experienced an economic renaissance. Maumee today is one of the largest business centers in Northwest Ohio. Together, Arrowhead Business Park and Maumee's historic business community contribute to the 30,000 plus jobs in the community. Maumee's original boundaries have expanded and the population has grown from the handful of promoters who applied for a municipal charter in 1838 to more than 15,000 residents. Maumee's neighborhoods retain their small town flavor and many historic homes and buildings of the early residents still stand along the tree-lined streets of the architectural districts.