Located at the junction of The Licking and Muskingum Rivers, Zanesville was founded in 1800 by Ebenezer Zane. He operated a ferry along the National Road (known at that time as Zane's Trace.)
Zanesville became the Muskingum County Seat in 1804. For two years (1810-1812), due to political maneuverings, Zanesville was the Ohio's State Capital, before reverting to the original capital, Chillicothe. The Capital was permanently moved to Columbus in 1816.
By the 1840s there were seven iron foundries operating in Zanesville. There were also 5 flour mills, 4 saw mills, 2 oil processing facilities, a paper mill, a cotton mill and about 30 stores.
Samuel A Weller began producing art pottery in 1890 and by 1910 was the largest pottery manufacturer on the globe. Weller pottery remained hand-painted into the 1930s. The business folded in 1948, though pottery manufacturing has been carried on by others in Zanesville into the new millennium.