In August 1871, William H. Gibson, a Tiffin, Ohio native purchased ninety acres of land in Madison Township and thereafter surveyed forty of those acres into town lots. The Pennsylvania Railroad opened for business in 1872 and a grain elevator was established in 1875.
The Village of Gibsonburg was incorporated on February 18, 1880 and in 1881 the first post office was opened for business.
As the Gibsonburg area was rich in limestone, William H. Gibson capitalized on this asset when he constructed the first limekiln in town in 1873, followed by a second kiln in 1874. Although Gibson closed his lime operation in 1899, other lime manufacturing plants opened up in the area and played an important role in the development of the area until the final plant closed in 1983.
As important as lime production was to the area, it was actually the discovery of oil and natural gas that set the stage for Gibsonburg’s future. This discovery, coupled with rail transportation that provided shipping access to major markets throughout the region, brought many new residents in search of work. The Paragon Refining Company was established in 1889, and as the company held a number of patents for the processing of crude oil, a number of new products emerged and additional employment opportunities were created.
In 1893 the Gibsonburg Electric Light Company opened for business, followed by the Telephone Company in 1903, in an effort to bring all of the comforts of technology to area residents. The Gibsonburg Banking Company was opened in 1894.
In October of 1895, tragedy struck the Village, when the entire north side of the Madison Street business district was destroyed by fire. Refusing to be defeated by this tragedy, the community not only began to reconstruct the business district, but also launched the Gibsonburg Water Works to serve the growing population in 1897.
A second tragedy occurred in October 1897, when fire struck the business district, this time consuming the entire south side of the street. Once again, refusal to accept defeat resulted in the entire business district being rebuilt and most historic buildings found in the downtown area were constructed post 1897.