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Welcome to the Cuyahoga Falls Historical Society

Cuyahoga Falls Historical Society
2083 Cook Street
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio 44221

Native Americans

In 1700 the Indians were still here. Then they had relinquished the lands east of the Portage path in 1795, and ten years after that they gave up much of the ground west of that historic trail. After the treaty many of the Indians left, but there were still villages on the banks of the Cuyahoga.1

In June of 1812 the Indians of the vicinity began acting very mysterious to the settlers. It was obvious that something was in the works. The first assumption was that a massacre was pending. Alarm spread from settlement to settlement. Pioneers gathered their families in fortified places for protection. Every preparation for defense was made and scouts were sent out to watch the activities of the Indians. But instead of attacking the whites, the Indians simply left. In the middle of the night, they disappeared entirely.1

They had joined the British in the war of 1812. It was the last of the Indian occupation of what is now Summit County.1

After the war was over, five Indians made camp at the great bend of the Cuyahoga. After Indian fighters killed four of the five the last one was spotted over looking the banks of Silver Lake. This had been their favorite location. Their attachment to the lake almost amounted to worship. But as silently as he came, the Indian disappeared. He yielded to the white man the Paradise of his domains.1


The first legitimate settlers were mainly from New England and Pennsylvania coming to take over land to which they had acquired legal title. They found that they had been preceeded by squatters from Virginia and other neighboring states.1 Cuyahoga Falls was founded in 1812 by William Wetmore to develop land owned by Judge Joshua Stow of Middletown, Connecticut.7

There was no animosity where the claims overlapped. There was room for everyone.


Cuyahoga Falls was formed near the junction of what was then Northampton, Stow, Tallmadge, and Portage townships. The focus was the series of Cuyahoga River waterfalls that provided power for manufacturing.8

In 1812 Kelsey and Wilcox built a dam on the Cuyahoga River at a place where a railroad bridge crossed it in 1876 near what is now Bailey Road. They then built a flour mill, an oil mill, and a saw mill. This led to the construction of a number of houses. 5 In 1815 a saw-mill was operating near Gaylord's Grove, using power generated by a dam on the Cuyahoga River there.6 This area was known as the old village. Development moved downstream, though, when it was discovered that the power was better there. The old village was eventually destroyed in 1826 when a dam built by William Wetmore flooded the dam at the old village and its mills were torn down. 5

Eventually steam and electric replaced water as a source of power. Even though industry was no longer tied to the river, it continued as a manufacturing base well into the latter part of the 1900's. The availability of two major railroads were no doubt a major factor.


Cuyahoga Falls was originally named Manchester and later changed, at the request of the Ohio Postmaster General, to its present name.4 There were already several other Manchesters in Ohio. 7The village proper was first laid out in 1826 by Judge Richardson.7

The town was incorporated in 1836, occupying 240 rods out of Stow and Tallmadge townships. In March 1851 the township of Cuyahoga Falls was created out of the village limits. They covered the same territory so the village council voted to adjourn sine die, letting the village be run under township jurisdiction until June 3, 1868 when the municipal government returned. 7

In 1841 the Summit County Board of Commissioners named Cuyahoga Falls county seat. The state legislature then intervened and put the location of the county seat up to a popular vote. Akron won and has been the county seat ever since. In spite of being named the county seat Cuyahoga Falls never really functioned as such.6

The 1985 merger of the City of Cuyahoga Falls and Northampton Township, the first statutory merger of an incorporated and an unincorporated area in Ohio, in many ways shaped the future of the City into the 21st Century. The City almost tripled in geographic area, to approximately 27 square miles.4

1Cuyahoga Falls History Preserving the Past in the Present Retrieved 2009-12-14

4Information Services Department, City of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (2005). History. Retrieved 2009-12-14.

5Fairchild, Rev. T.B. (1876). A History of the Town of Cuyahoga Falls. Akron: The Old Book Store. ISBN.

6a b Doyle, William B, LL.B. (1908). Centennial History of Summit County, Ohio and Representative Citizens. Chicago: Biographical Publishing Company. ISBN.

7a b c d Akron Map and Atlas Co. Illustrated Summit County, Ohio. Akron: Akron Map and Atlas Co. 1891

8wikipedia,_Ohio Retrieved 2009-12-13