Home » Ohio » Wapakoneta

James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

We mourn the loss of our friend and colleague and remain committed to the work he began.



Basic Information

Type of Place
Independent City or Town
Metro Area
Politics c. 1860?
Don’t Know
Unions, Organized Labor?
Don’t Know

Sundown Town Status

Sundown Town in the Past?
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
Don’t Know
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?
Probably Not, Although Still Very Few Black People

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1910 5349 3
1920 5295 2
1930 5378 1
1940 5225 1
1950 5797 2
1960 6756 0
1970 7324 0
1980 8402
1990 9116 5
2000 9474 18 25 37
2010 9867 43 26 38

Method of Exclusion

  • Unknown

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


Testimony of an Ohioan: “I was raised in Lima, Ohio which has a fairly large Afro American population. Wapakoneta (which had no people of color then) is about 20 miles south of Lima. I had relatives who lived, worked, and shopped there. I lived in Lima from 1952-74 and then left the area … I think my mother told me about Wapakoneta.”

Email excerpt from a Californian who visited Wapakoneta in 1975: “Some young man (I was all of 19 myself) gave me the small town tour and we went to the space museum and drove by Neil Armstrong’s house. I do believe it was upon our return that he showed me the sign saying that they (the town) were going to have to get rid of it. The sign said something like “Any nigger caught here after the sun goes down, won’t see the next sun rise”. I asked my brother in law about it and he said it had been there his whole life (he was only in his 20’s). He also told me lots of towns had signs like that. I was pretty shocked being from LA area and all. I didn’t realize that that sort of prejudice was that far north. I was naive in thinking, at that time, that it was only a southern issue.”

Email testimony of a Lima resident: “Wapak (for short) is known as being NOTORIOUSLY racist in this area of Ohio. My Dad said they used to have a sundown sign. I heard rumors years ago about how the one of the few black families in town was basically scared away from sending their kids to Wapak schools. Their school athletic teams are The Redskins. My old school friend’s brother was a victim of a racially motivated assault there. The people I have met that are from there and not racist have confirmed the racism of many of the residents. The demographics of a town of that size are way off.
I think the tactic some people in the town use to keep minorities out is just overt racism.”