From the dunes on Lake Erie to the gorge-cut plateau along the Ohio River, from which Ohio takes its name, the land is fairly flat, with some pleasant rolling country and, in the southeast, small rugged hills leading to the mountains of West Virginia. Before the coming of settlers to the state, it was covered with miles of virgin forest, but today only vestiges of the trees that helped to build the many cities remain. Columbus is the capital and largest city. Cleveland is the center of the state's largest metropolitan area. Other major cities are Cincinnati , Toledo, and Akron .
In spite of massive industrial decline since the 1960s, which has made Ohio the center of the “Rust Belt,” the state retains many manufacturing centers, with an emphasis on heavy industry. Leading products include transportation equipment, primary and fabricated metals, and machinery.
Ohio is highly industrialized, yet it also continues to draw economic riches from the earth. Among national leaders in the production of lime, clays, and salt, it is a historic center of ceramic and glass industries. Ohio's soil supports rich farms, especially where it was improved ages ago by additions of glacier-ground limestone. Although most of the state's income is derived from commerce and manufacturing, Ohio also has extensive farmland, and large amounts of corn, soybeans, hay, wheat, cattle, hogs, and dairy items are produced, although the number of family farms is rapidly dwindling.
*Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Copyright (c) 2003.