Sawmills, gristmills, and waterpower shaped a region for Native Americans and settlers and carved an area out of the Ohio wilderness bounded by rivers and the Great Black Swamp. As history tells it, the earliest known settler of Hancock County was a Frenchman by the name of Jean Jacques Blanchard who arrived in 1769. 

In 1908, William “Tell” Taylor wrote “Down by the Old Mill Stream” while sitting on the banks of the Blanchard River. Life prospered from the river, villages and cities grew, and transportation moved people and goods to build the economy.

Today, the Old Mill Stream Scenic Byway extends 52 miles through Hancock and Putnam counties, while showcasing the Blanchard River, natural resources, and parks and recreation with a nice blend of cultural and historic attractions along the way.