Zanesville was named after Ebenezer Zane (1747–1811), who had constructed Zane’s Trace, a pioneer road from Wheeling, Virginia (now in West Virginia) to Maysville, Kentucky through present-day Ohio. In 1797, he gave land as payment to his son-in-law, John McIntire (1759–1815), at the point where Zane’s Trace met the Muskingum River. With Zane’s help, McIntire platted the town and opened an inn and ferry by 1799. In 1801, Zanesville was officially renamed from Westbourne (Zane’s chosen town name).
The city has two engineering landmarks: the Muskingum River Canal, designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark; and the Zanesville Y-Bridge, the only such structure in the United States still in use. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.