The Delaware Indians were pushed west from Pennsylvania by the coming of the English-led settlers to that state. They were given permission by the Wyandot to settle in the Ohio country, and one of their settlements was Maguck, built by 1750 in the area of modern Circleville.
Noted frontier explorer Christopher Gist was the first recorded European visitor to the Circleville area. Gist reached "Maguck," a small town of about 10 families on the east bank of the Scioto River and the south side of Circleville, on January 20, 1751, and remained in the town until January 24.
Circleville was founded in 1810. It derived its name from the circular portion of a large Hopewell culture earthwork upon which it was built. The original town plan integrated Circleville into the preexisting land with a street layout of concentric circles. An octagonal courthouse stood directly in the center.
Dissatisfaction rose with Circleville's layout, however, and in 1837, the Ohio General Assembly authorized the "Circleville Squaring Company" to convert it into a square. By 1856, this had been completed in several phases. No remaining traces of the original earthworks remain, though a few old buildings retain curved walls that were part of the original circular layout.
On October 13, 1999, an F-3 tornado hit the city. A squall line moving through the region spawned several tornadoes in the county, including the F-3 that hit town. The tornado touched down on the north side of town doing substantial damage to a barber shop and a masonry building. A furniture store was also damaged with a hole in its roof where it was reported that items from inside the store were sucked out. Damage to nearby buildings also occurred as the tornado moved east across the north-central part of town.
The tornado then moved into a residential area in the Northwood Park neighborhood where several homes along Fairlawn Drive were destroyed. Heavy damage to trees and vehicles also occurred in this area. The tornado would lift as it crossed Edgewood Drive, but snapped the tops of some nearby trees as it lifted and moved on.