Cuyahoga Falls, OH - A Bicentennial City
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio - Happy Birthday!
I suppose it is fitting that I came back here to Cuyahoga Falls this summer as this city is celebrating a huge birthday - it's Bicentennial. Yes, two hundred years ago in 1812, Cuyahoga Falls was founded in what is today, Summit County, OH. The city was named after the Cuyahoga River (Crooked River) and a series of waterfalls that lie next to the city.
Cuyahoga Falls is bordered by Akron to the south and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to the northwest, along with the Blossom Music Center. Here there is a huge outdoor amphitheatre that hosts rock, pop, country and classical music during the summertime. You can sit in chairs in the amphitheatre or out on the lawn behind the amphitheatre, and every Sunday evening in the summer the Cleveland Orchestra performs.
The Great Seal of the City of Cuyahoga Falls to your right was designed and drawn by a classmate in my gradulating class in 1972. (Alas, I forget his name.) I moved to Cuyahoga Falls from New Jersey when I was twelve in 1965. I attended Cuyahoga Falls High School, graduated and continued on at the University of Akron, and when I graduated from there, I went to Cuyahoga Falls High School to teach and was there for nineteen years before moving on.
Cuyahoga Falls is a suburb of Akron and Cleveland, OH, and the 2010 census sets the city population at approximately 49,652 people.
The city was founded in 1812 by William Wetmore and he and others settled here because the Cuyahoga River waterfalls provided power for manufacturing. In the same year, Kelsey and Wilcox built a dam on the Cuyahoga River. Then, they built a flour mill, an oil mill and a saw mill. This led to the construction of a number of houses and . . . . . viola! A city was born.
By 1815, a saw mill was operating here using power generated on the Cuyahoga River. The village proper was laid out in 1826 and the town was incorporated in 1836. By the 1970s, Cuyahoga Falls had become a residential community. But, because of pollution and industry dumping pollutants into the Cuyahoga River, the river was a smelly, mucky mess and literally caught on fire.
So, for one of the first Earth Days in April of 1970, many of us from our biology and science classes volunteered and went down to the Cuyahoga River and cleaned out the muck. It was a tough job that took up many weekends because this river was not cleaned up overnight, but I can say we gave a positive contribution to the environment here in Ohio.
The Cuyahoga River was finally cleaned up completely, and laws were passed to keep industry from dumping in the river and today, the Cuyahoga River and Falls are as clean as they were in 1812. We are proud of that fact,
The Cathedral of Tomorrow was founded by teleavangelist Rex Humbard in 1958 and is located in Cuyahoga Falls. This is where our high school graduation was held when I graduated from high school forty years ago. It is now the church of Christian pastor / evangelist Ernest Angley and has been renamed the Grace Cathedral.
We have some notable people who come from Cuyahoga Falls and they are:
- Jane Jacobs who was a pitcher for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League during WWII. I have met her and spoken with her in length and she is so interesting. If you have ever seen film,"A League of their Own," with Tom Hanks, this is her story.
- Jim Jarmush is a film director in California. The last movie I saw by him was "Broken Flowers", with Bill Murray. Jim sat behind me in English Literature class in high school and was a quiet, shy, introspective person then. Today, his films are surreal but quite interesting and he has a quirky, creative vision of the world.
- Bob Lewis is the founder of the band, Devo.
- Mark Mothersbaugh is one of the members of the band, Devo. I taught his cousin, Allan Mothersbaugh journalism at Cuyahoga Falls High School. Allan was a cool kid who sometimes was a roadie with Devo. Our high school newspaper actually scooped the Beacon Journal and Plain Dealer when in came to Devo stories, thanks to Allan. And it was great when the two newspapers would call Allan for information about the band. We put out a great little high school newspaper.
- Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders is originally from Cuyahoga Falls. She has a great contemporary vegan restaurant in Akron, OH which I have eaten at and it has great food.
When I retired from teaching, I moved to Naples, Florida, which is beautiful. But, I return here sometimes in the summer because it is less humid here than in Florida. Below are some photos of Cuyhahoga Falls, OH that I hope you will enjoy. We cleaned up all our barns for the Bicentenial.
Happy Birthday, Cuyahoga Falls!
Copyright (c) 2012 Suzannah Wolf Walker all rights reserved