Put-in-Bay Township encompasses an area of 108,344.47 acres making it the largest township in Ohio. Being comprised mostly of shoreline and open waters of Lake Erie, only 4.44 sqare miles is comprised of land. The Put-in-Bay township governs 14 Islands, 5 of which are inhabited. The Put-in-Bay Village of South Bass Island, located at the North end offers several restaurants, taverns, lodgings, historical museums and homes, DeRivera Park and Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial.
Put-in-Bay Township was organized June of 1881, with 25 votes polled during the first election. The election was held to fill the seven positions within the local government. These positions were filled by John Stone – Trustee (North Bass originally later moved to south Bass and worked at the hatchery), Peter Fox – Trustee (North Bass), William Rehberg – Trustee (Middle Bass), Simon Fox – Justice of the Peace (North Bass), William Axtell – Constable (North Bass), George Caldwell – Supervisor (North Bass), Valentine Doller – Clerk (South Bass).
The first settlers arrived in 1811. They left when the War of 1812 moved into the area. The first permanent residents moved to South Bass Island in 1843. The first island school was erected in 1855. Each Bass Island has had its own school at one time, with South Bass even having two. The present school building in Put-in-Bay dates to 1921. The elementary, junior high, and high school serves youth from South Bass, Middle Bass, and North Bass Islands. Students from North Bass and Middle Bass Islands either fly by plane or water taxis daily. High school students also have the option to attend school on the mainland. The first church on the island, St. Paul's Episcopal, was built in 1865. The Hotel Victory opened on July 4, 1892 and burned to the ground on August 14, 1919. Located at present day South Bass Island State Park, it was one of the largest hotels in the world with 625 rooms. It had the first co-ed swimming pool, the remains of which are still visible. Due to financial problems, it was closed more than it was open. Ironically, it was said to be having a successful year when it burned to the ground in 1919.
Due to the limestone-based soil and the warm fall weather, the Lake Erie Islands have been a well-suited place for grape growing. South Bass Island alone held over 12 wineries before Prohibition. Grape varieties grown here include Catawba, Concord, Niagara, Ives and Delaware.
Electricity is carried to the islands via underwater cable from Port Clinton. The first cable was laid from Catawba to South Bass in May 1929. Telephone service is via underwater cable and microwave. There is no natural gas service, except for propane stored in tanks. One Gas station and one Grocery Store service South Bass Island.