NEWBURGH, a township south of Cleveland, was an early population and economic center for the area. Bounded by Cleveland on the north, WARRENSVILLE TWP. on the east, INDEPENDENCE on the south, and the CUYAHOGA RIVER on the west, old Newburgh was on higher ground than Cleveland and thus avoided the outbreaks of malaria that hampered development to the north--but not wolves, which protested but did not stop settlement. In the early 1800s, with 10 families in residence, Newburgh was more prominent than Cleveland, described as "six miles from Newburgh." It was organized as a township in 1814. As early as 1799, mills built at the cataract of MILL CREEK fostered economic prosperity, and soon a main coach road (later called Broadway) was cut through the area. Newburgh's fertile soil and good pastureland encouraged farming, but the waterpower attracted heavy industry, which ultimately dominated the area economy. In the 1840s the Cleveland & Pittsburgh (later Pennsylvania) Railroad was built through the township and provided easy access to shipping. The township's most famous industry, the Cleveland Rolling Mill, was started in 1857 by to reroll iron rails. The mills changed the ethnic makeup of the community. New England and Manx settlers were outnumbered first by Welsh iron puddlers, then by IRISH, and finally by Polish and Czech mill laborers.
Newburgh's early prominence made it a likely site for the county seat, but Cleveland was selected in 1809 because of its location as a port of entry from Lake Erie at the Cuyahoga River. As a result, beginning in 1823, Newburgh was eroded through annexation to Cleveland, as well as to E. Cleveland and Independence townships. The heart of Newburgh--the area bounded by Union Ave. on the north, by E. 93rd St. on the east, and by current city borders on the west and south--became part of Cleveland in 1873. This section of town became Cleveland's 18th ward, dubbed "the iron ward." The remaining portions of the township were incorporated as the Village of Newburgh in 1874, but additional annexations by Cleveland in 1878, 1893, and 1894 further compressed its size. In 1904 the village of NEWBURGH HEIGHTS was incorporated, but this entity was further reduced in size with the organization of the Twp. of S. Newburgh (GARFIELD HEIGHTS) in 1904 and the Twp. of Corlett in 1906.
GARFIELD HEIGHTS, originally part of the village of NEWBURGH, split off in 1907 as the village of South Newburgh and incorporated as the city of Garfield Hts. in 1930. It is located southeast of Cleveland and occupies approx. 6.75 sq. mi., bounded on the north by Cleveland, on the east by MAPLE HEIGHTS, on the south by VALLEY VIEW, and on the west by CUYAHOGA HEIGHTS The city took its name from GARFIELD PARK RESERVATION, the former Newburgh Park, renamed in 1897 in memory of Pres. JAMES ABRAM GARFIELD†. In the 19th century, the heights above the Cuyahoga Valley were more desirable to settlers than the swamps of the CUYAHOGA RIVER. Local farmers supplemented their income by producing "black salt," a mixture of lye and potash from burned timber, more profitable than grain (see AGRICULTURE). Real-estate developers began to promote the area as a residential community in the 1920s. The population jumped from 2,550 in 1920 to nearly 16,000 by 1930. Whereas early residents were GERMANS, residential immigration after 1920 consisted of working-class POLES, other Slavs, and ITALIANS (see IMMIGRATION AND MIGRATION). The population in 1990 was 31,739 and AFRICAN AMERICANS predominated in some neighborhoods. Garfield Hts., like many commuter SUBURBS, had a small industrial base, which resulted in budgetary difficulties. Overbuilding in the 1920s led to an 80% mortgage delinquency rate in the Depression. For many years, the major industries were the Round Chain Co. and General Chemical. The Garfield Mall was built in 1974. In 1985 the community maintained police and fire departments and a school system consisting of 2 elementary, 1 junior high, and 1 high school. MARYMOUNT HOSPITAL and Convent were located in Garfield Hts.; the city was also home to a branch of the CUYAHOGA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM (CCPL). The population declined slightly by 2000 to 30,734.
INDEPENDENCE, incorporated as a village in 1914, approved a municipal charter in Nov. 1958, and became a city in Nov. 1960. In 1896 Independence Twp. east of the Cuyahoga River was annexed by Newburgh. The section of the township remaining to the west after Independence incorporated became the village of Seven Hills in 1927. It is a residential and industrial suburb located about 8 miles south of Cleveland. Covering approx. 10 sq. mi., it is bounded on the north by BROOKLYN HEIGHTS, on the east by the CUYAHOGA RIVER and VALLEY VIEW, on the west by SEVEN HILLS, and on the south by BRECKSVILLE.
The origins of Independence are unknown, because the early township records were destroyed. The population was 354 in 1820. The character of the township changed when the Cleveland-Akron section of the OHIO AND ERIE CANAL opened in 1827; the population fell to 245 in 1830. Independence used the canal to transport produce and dairy products (see AGRICULTURE) to markets in Newburgh and Cleveland. In the 1840s, many skilled stonecutters--GERMANS, IRISH, and Scots--were attracted by the commercial quarrying of sandstone and shale. By 1850, with the 1,485 residents, Independence was one of the nation's foremost suppliers of building stone. In 1880 the population was 1,993, and the Valley Railroad (later part of the Baltimore & Ohio system) came through the town. The quarries closed late in the century because of several factors, including competition from larger Berea sandstone companies and the introduction of concrete as a building material.
The population of Independence in 1920 was 1,075. With the advent of the automobile and construction of highways, Independence became industrialized. The Willow Cloverleaf at Brecksville and Granger roads, completed in 1940, was one of the first highway interchanges in the country. New businesses included the REPUBLIC STEEL CORP. Research Center, Goodrich, the Gulf Chemical Co., the Sperry-Univac Co., and the DAVY MCKEE CORP During the 1970s, new streets and homes were constructed; population grew to 7,034 in 1970, dropped to 6,500 in 1990, and increased again to 7,109 in 2000. Recreational facilities include Elmwood Park and a portion of the CUYAHOGA VALLEY NATIONAL RECREATION AREA. Four churches, St. Michael's Roman Catholic (1851), Concordia Lutheran, Independence Presbyterian (1855), and Independence United Methodist (1862), served the community in the 1980s. The city was also home to a branch of the CUYAHOGA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM (CCPL).
Independence Township's earliest history was destroyed by a fire. In its early years, the township was primarily agricultural, but by 1850 it possessed nationally-recognized quarries. The city of Independence incorporated much of Independence Township as a village in 1914, and the rest of the township was incorporated as the village of Seven Hills in 1927. Today, Independence Township is divided between Brooklyn Heights, Cuyahoga Heights, Garfield Heights, Independence, Seven Hills, and Valley View.
VALLEY VIEW, originally part of Independence Twp., is a small village formed in 1919, located 7 mi. south of downtown Cleveland along the OHIO AND ERIE CANAL in the Cuyahoga River Valley. It is 7 mi. long and 1.5 mi. wide and is bounded by GARFIELD HEIGHTS and WALTON HILLS on the east and INDEPENDENCE on the west. In the early 19th century, the area prospered as an agricultural community (see AGRICULTURE). Residents contracted to construct and maintain the Ohio & Erie Canal. The opening of the canal's Akron-Cleveland section on 4 July 1827 began a new era of transportation: local farmers and tradesmen found cash markets for their crops and services.
Valley View formed from the township of South Newburgh (which had previously split off from Independence Twp.). It adopted the mayor-council form of government and has maintained its own police and fire departments since 1937. Valley View's modern growth began in the 1950s, with businesses such as GRAY DRUG STORES, INC., Big 4 Lumber, and the Norton Construction Co. In 1974 a large portion of the village south of Rockside Rd. and east along TINKER'S CREEK Rd. was incorporated into the new CUYAHOGA VALLEY NATIONAL RECREATION AREA. In 1995 the Valley View schools were part of the Cuyahoga Hts. School System. The population of the village in 1980 was 1,550. It rose to 2,137 in 1990 and 2,179 in 2000.
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