The completion of the Wabash and Erie Canal on July 4, 1843 brought many new settlers into this region. The Wabash and Erie Canal connected with the Miami and Erie Canal at Junction. Antwerp, ideally located on the Maumee River, was seen as a perfect place in which to establish a town. That same year surveyors W. Wilshire Riley and Samuel Rice platted what would become Antwerp. Naming rights belonged to Riley and storeowner Horatio N. Curtis, who wanting a name not duplicated anywhere else in the country, named it after Antwerp, Belgium. Early pioneers subdued the massive forests that once formed the "Black Swamp" and built a thriving city. Antwerp was incorporated in 1863.
The Toledo, Wabash & Western Railroad was the first railroad built in Paulding County, and it arrived in Antwerp in 1855. The railroad eventually led to the demise of the canal, and from 1855 on, most new settlers arrived by train. As wood industries flourished, Antwerp became the largest village in the county during the Civil War period. Antwerp is known for several places and events—the Norfolk & Western Railway Depot, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, the Antwerp Reds Baseball Team, which allowed anyone to play on and "always seemed to win," the 1938 Antwerp High School Football Team, which was undefeated, untied, and unscored upon, and for being the home of naturalist and historian Otto E. Ehrhart. Governor James Rhodes dedicated the Ehrhart Museum in 1965.