The earliest settlers of Chagrin Falls were attracted by the area’s clear river, many waterfalls, and unspoiled forests filled with soaring timbers. The forward-thinking settlers realized that these natural resources could be harnessed as sources of power for mills and lumber for buildings. The waterfalls along the river were soon used to create a foundry, factories for making axes and woodenware, sawmills, and flour, wool and paper mills. In the years following its incorporation in 1844, Chagrin Falls had all the hallmarks of a mill town, including muddy streets and saloons.
As the area began to prosper, the mill owners started to replace their smaller early homes with newer, more impressive ones on larger lots. Today, architectural variety gives this community its charm. This variety is a result of the preservation and restoration of the town’s many historic homes-several of which are now listed in the Ohio Historical Inventory. Unfortunately, of the town’s numerous early mills, only the paper mill still exists today.
Chagrin Falls’s reputation as an art center is nearly as well established as the town itself. Henry Church, Jr., a respected local blacksmith, was a talented artist known for his paintings, stone animal statuary, and his carving of Squaw Rock in the Cleveland Metropolitan Park South Chagrin Reservation. His works are now displayed in prestigious collections and museums around the country, including the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in Williamsburg, Virginia. The Valley Art Center, the Chagrin Valley Little Theater, and Chagrin Falls Historical Society are just a few of the attractions which help to maintain and preserve the community’s rich culture and history.
The close-knit community of Chagrin Falls is proud to host a number of local events each year. Events such as the Artists Clearing House, Concerts in Triangle Park, the Annual Golf Outing, the Annual Sidewalk Sale, the Community Flea Market, the Grand Prix Bike Race and the Fine Wines of the Falls provide entertainment for the entire family. Chagrin Falls also houses a number of recreational facilities including Triangle Park, a recreation center, two pools, eight tennis courts, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, public golf courses, ice rinks and a number of community sports clubs and associations.
Hunting Valley is an 11-square-mile residential village located north of Moreland Hills. Just 15 miles southeast of Cleveland on the Chagrin River, Hunting Valley is made up of large suburban homes, private estates and farm acreage. The village was originally part of Orange Township and was incorporated in 1924. In 1970, University School established a 175-acre campus within the village. A greenhouse located at Daisy Hill was the town’s only commercial enterprise until 1986. Hunting Valley today is home to 800 residents, many of whom are descendants of the original founding families.
The 2.75-square-mile residential community of Bentleyville is located south of Moreland Hills, west of Chagrin Falls and approximately 20 miles southeast of downtown Cleveland. Bentleyville was originally part of Chagrin Falls Township and today, more than 500 acres of the village are occupied by the South Chagrin Reservation of MetroParks System.
Adamson Bentley founded the town in 1831. He built both a sawmill and a gristmill, and in 1836 he added a clothing store. Others soon joined him in the area, constructing a tannery, a stone quarry, chair and rake factories and various other shops over the next few years. In 1929, residents seceded from the township and created Bentleyville, a separate incorporated village, which is now home to nearly 1,000 residents.
Encompassing four square miles, South Russell is a residential village located just east of Chagrin Falls and 20 miles east of Cleveland. The town was initially part of Russell Township. In 1923, many residents of the township headed south and created the village of South Russell. Paw Paw Lake was soon established as an area of middle class families. Growth remained slow, however, until the 1950s. South Russell today is a popular bedroom community of nearly 3,500 residents. The town houses some industry including a medical center and a small business area.
Orange is a 3.8-square-mile residential village located 18 miles east of Cleveland, just west of Moreland Hills. Today is acts primarily as a bedroom community and is home to just over 3,000 residents.
Residents of Chagrin Falls, Moreland Hills, Hunting Valley, Bentleyville, South Russell and Orange all have easy access to interstates 480 and 271, routes 422 and 91 and the Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, making local traveling a breeze. For long distance travels, both the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and the Burke Lakefront Airport are less than an hour away. Residents of these six communities are served by the Orange School District and the Chagrin Falls School District, depending on location. Those interested in furthering their educations have access to a number of post-secondary institutions such as Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, Cuyahoga Community College, Kent State University, Baldwin Wallace College and the Cleveland Institute of Art.
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