Pickaway, Ohio, is a town filled with things named after Hitler: Hitler Road, Hitler-Ludwig Road, Hitler-Ludwig Cemetery, Hitler Park, among others. In most states this would be considered scandalous, but since we’re talking about Ohio it merely rises to a local curiosity of moderate interest. The Circleville Herald reports that this is simply because a prominent local family of Hitlers has deep local roots.
The first Circleville Hitler was George Hitler. Born in 1763 — more than a century before Adolf — George married Susannah Gay in Pennsylvania, and together they had four children.
One of them was George Washington Hitler.
And — just as you thought it couldn’t get better — George Washington Hitler had a son named Gay Hitler.
In 1922, Gay became the local dentist.
Dr. Gay Hitler. That was a real person’s real name.
The only thing funnier than this family tree is the complete nonchalance with which local residents regard it.
“It’s one of a kind,” World War II veteran, Jay White, said of why he hopes his street keeps its name.
Jonathan Chait, a New York Magazine writer who did a whole series on Ohio, decided that the story of Circleville might answer the question that served as a catalyst for his reporting.
“What is the problem with this state?”
“Ohio was settled by Hitlers.”
The idea of living with the name Hitler intrigued filmmaker Matt Ogens.
In an effort to explore how much a name can influence a person’s life, he created a documentary called “Meet the Hitlers” in 2014.
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