Centerburg was the creation of writer-artist Robert McCloskey, who recalled his boyhood in Hamilton in Centerburg Tales, a book for ages 8 to 12.
McCloskey was born in Hamilton and graduated from Hamilton High School. He designed the stone carvings on the Hamilton Municipal Building in the mid 1930s before starting his literary career. Hamilton is Centerburg in McCloskey's 1951 book, which is a sequel to his Homer Price stories about a boy growing up in the Midwest. His award-winning books for children include Lentil, published in 1940; Make Way for Ducklings in 1941; Homer Price in 1943; Blueberries for Sal in 1948; Centerburg Tales in 1951; One Morning in Maine in 1952; A Time of Wonder in 1957; and Burt Dow: Deep-Water Man in 1963. McCloskey twice won the Caldecott Medal, awarded annually to "the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children published in the United States." The real Centerburg, Ohio -- the geographical center of the state -- is in Knox County between Columbus and Mount Vernon on U. S. 36 and Ohio 3. (See Lentil Park and Hamilton Municipal Building.)