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Cuyahoga Falls, OH - A Bicentennial City

The Falls of the Cuyahoga River in downtown Cuyahoga Falls, OH.

The Falls of the Cuyahoga River in downtown Cuyahoga Falls, OH.

The Great Seal of the city of Cuyahoga Falls, designed by one of my classmates in 1972.

The Great Seal of the city of Cuyahoga Falls, designed by one of my classmates in 1972.

Blossom Music Center is a huge outdoor amphitheatre that hosts rock, pop, country, and classical music during the summer.

Blossom Music Center is a huge outdoor amphitheatre that hosts rock, pop, country, and classical music during the summer.

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

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Cuyahoga Falls Barns

Indian Head - Trail of the Whispering Giants.

Indian Head - Trail of the Whispering Giants.

This barn is around the corner from my condo development.

This barn is around the corner from my condo development.

The white blob is fog - it's raining today.

The white blob is fog - it's raining today.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

One of many hiking trails in the CVNP.

One of many hiking trails in the CVNP.

Bicentennial Fireworks Celebration


Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on May 02, 2014:

The fireworks video is up and running!

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on May 02, 2014:

MsLizzy: I am so pleased you enjoyed reading this hub. This is quite a picturesque place to live. The Cuyahoga River and falls are beautiful. Just last week friends and I had dinner at the downtown restaurant you see in the photo with a great view of the river and falls. I will have to check on the video - thanks for the heads up!

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on April 30, 2014:

Very interesting article. I love waterfalls--it would be great to live in such a picturesque location!

All the photos were lovely, but sadly, the video comes up "does not exist." :-( What a shame--fireworks are the best!

Voted up, beautiful and interesting.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on October 05, 2013:

Thanks so much Elias and I'm glad you enjoyed this. This is a cute little city that offers a lot.

Elias Zanetti from Athens, Greece on October 05, 2013:

Very beautiful place, indeed! You're so lucky to live there. You did a great job in presenting your hometown :)

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on September 30, 2012:

Millionaire: I'm so glad you liked this and enjoyed reading it. This is awful to admit, but I didn't realize it was our bicenntenial until I arrived back for the summer. And, I didn't know it was Columbus' bicentennial either. Thanks for the info! My sister and her family live in Columbus, so I get there often. Even they have never mentioned it to me and my brother-in-law works at the zoo and Zoombezi Bay. Your article on Columbus was great! You really did the city justice!

Shasta Matova from USA on September 30, 2012:

You've added a wonderful personal touch to the city's history. Thanks for the tour! Columbus is also celebrating its bicentennial this year.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on September 11, 2012:

Kevin: Oh my gosh! I remember you. By the way, it's Suzette - I always go by my nickname, for legal purposes I have to use my given name. It is so nice to hear from you and it is so nice to see you are on HP. I'm so glad you enjoyed this. I have retired and now I really live in Florida, but I'm back here this summer to escape the Florida humidity. This is terrible, but I didn't even know it was our bicentennial until I arrived here. But, it is nice to celebrate and enjoy the memories of having lived here. I'm so glad this brings back fond memories for you and that your children enjoyed it here also. I was living in NJ in 1962 so I never got that wooden nickel. Thanks so much for reading this and I have enjoyed your visit. Most appreciated!

kevinca on September 11, 2012:


40 years is a long time and Cuyahoga Falls is a wonderful place indeed and was an ideal place to grow up. I also graduated from CFHS in 1972 and Jim Jarmusch was a very good friend, along with Phil Kline, and Jeff Hamilton. It is truly amazing what happens in the passing of 40 years. I moved in 1979, first to AZ and then to CA in 1982 and have been here ever since. Because all of my family lives in and around the Falls I am back quite often and both my children have loved spending time there growing up.

I missed the Bicentennial but still have a wooden nickel from the Sesquicentennial 1962.

Thanks for the memories!

Kevin Fishel

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on August 16, 2012:

This drough is so sad - It is heartbreaking to see the Cuyahoga River dried up in places. I was just hiking the other day at our national park nearby and the river is completely dried up along the hiking areas. I've never seen it this way before. I'm so sorry to hear that about the Mississippi. It is either a drought or it is flooding - there is no in-between anymore. Produce here in Ohio - corn, beans, tomatoes are being grown and the prices are high but not outrageous. Watermelon for $10 is outrageous! Now that it is August, we are getting some rain, but July was dry, dry, dry. The weather patterns all over the U.S. have changed so much and I don't see it getting any better in the future. I agree, life is much more complicated today!

Amy Becherer from St. Louis, MO on August 16, 2012:

Where I grew up in St. Louis, Suzette, the Mississippi River was across the street. I know about pollution. The river has been innundated with tires, couches, refrigerators, even a car or two! The Mississippi, too, is severely affected by the midwest drought. My mom and I crossed the street last week to see the view and the river is gone from our vantage point at the top of the bluffs. Local news reports are saying that barge traffic is nearly impossible now as it gets hung up and stuck. Normally, St. Louis summers are miserably hot and humid. This year has been miserably hot, but so dry that the corn, soybeans, peaches and all local produce are a complete loss. A watermelon at the local Farmer's Market cost $10! The farmers are selling off their cattle as the cost to buy food (as the grass is non-existent) is extraordinarily expensive. I understand that farmers with grass for grazing are being told to sample it for nitrogen content, as the drought has created high concentrations of nitrogen, which can have detrimental health effects, not only on the cattle, but the rest of the food chain. Life, it seems, has gotten awfully complicated!

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on August 16, 2012:

Glimmer: Thanks so much for reading this and for your comments. Yes, this is a pretty cool place, although neither Jim or I live here anymore! LOL Anyway, you wouldn't recognized Jim from his high school picture - he looks so different today. Are you a fan of his movies? Thanks for the visit. - Most appreciated!

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on August 16, 2012:

Hi Amy: Yes, my experience cleaning out the Cuyahoga River has made me a life-long environmentalist. I almost became a science major, but then common sense took over! LOL Any way, we had to wear long pants and long sleeved shirts and gloves, but that is all we wore - oh, and tennis shoes. We mostly pulled old logs, twigs, and wood pieces and debris out of the river along with trash and litter. You wouldn't believe what people throw away - in a river yet! But, we really didn't have protective clothing and you are right, there were probably toxins in the river. There was so much oil laying on top of the river that it actually caught on fire. We worked along the edge of the river - it has never been that deep and today parts of it are dried out because of the drought we are having. Anyway, we were mostly on the edge and shores of the river. It just was a dirty, smelly job. I survived or else tht is what is wrong with me! LOL

About Florida. Naples is on the west coast - the Gulf of Mexico. Ft. Meyers is about 30 miles north of us and then Cape Coral is another 30 miles north of Ft. Myers . So Cape Coral is about an hour or hour and a half by car. If you are ever in Florida, be sure to contact me so we can meet. I do live in Naples, but right now I'm in Ohio and will probably be here another month or so. It is cooler up here in the summer and I'd like to sell my houose up here. So I will be here for a while.

Claudia Porter on August 16, 2012:

This looks intriguing and since Jim Jarmush is from here then it's got to be pretty cool. It would a nice day trip for us. Nice hub.

Amy Becherer from St. Louis, MO on August 15, 2012:

Really interesting article on a city I knew nothing about. The photos are beautiful, especially your own. I imagine the "clean up of the river muck" could have been dangerous, not only river currents, but the probability of toxic waste. I would think you had to be carefully suited up. I can see that you were always a trendsetter, Suzette, and I wonder if you knew that the cleanup endeavors of you and your science classmates would lead to the present day pristine condition of the river waters. Just goes to show how a few can make a huge difference.

I usually pride myself on "noticing" everything, but I have a confession to make. I was telling my BFF in N. Carolina about you here at the hub. She asked me if you lived in Naples, Florida because of your hub name. My friend, Laura, lived in Cape Coral, FL for a number of years. I sounded like an idiot when I told Laura I didn't know. Now I do and I'll be sure to tell my friend that, ironically, though, I was telling her about you, she figured out what I should have already known! Go figure! Thank you, Suzette, for another great, picturesque read.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on August 15, 2012:

Hi josh: I just returned from hiking in the Cuyahoga Valley Nationl Park. It is lovely on a bright sunny day like today. This is an awesome place, although, I take it too much for granted. I have lived here most of my life and have only recently been living in Naples, FL. Both places are beautiful for different reasons. The park is a great place for hiking and biking and there is always something entertaining going on in the park. Thanks so much for the visit and for reading this - much appreciated!

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on August 15, 2012:

Mhatter: You know, you are right, CF is one of our country's hidden jewels. I think being away for a while has made me treasure this city more. It really is lovely here. Thank you so much for taking the time to read about my little corner of the world. I have lived here most of my life. I appreciate your visit.

Joshua Zerbini from Pennsylvania on August 14, 2012:


Cuyahoga Valley seems like an awesome place, home to some famous people! I enjoyed the pictures you added at the end. Awesome hub Suzette, I am sharing this one! :)

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on August 14, 2012:

Thank for sharing one of this great country's hidden jewels. Well done!

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on August 14, 2012:

Oh yes, Carly. I forgot about that song. Chrissie Hynde is from Cuyahoga Falls, originally. She has a vegan restaurant in Akron. I have been to it and it is great. Thank you for mentioning The Pretenders. I have to add her to my notables. Thanks so much for reading this!

Carly Sullens from St. Louis, Missouri on August 14, 2012:

Great tribute to a great city in Ohio. While I was reading this hub, I kept hearing The Pretenders song in my head, "Going back to Ohio."

I loved the added pictures. You can just feel the pride emanating from them.

Suzette Walker (author) from Taos, NM on August 14, 2012:

Hi Nell, yes, this was and is a beautiful city to live in. I happen to love the beach and gulf in Florida, so I give Ohio short shrift and I shouldn't. This is the "heart of it all" here in Ohio and I am fortunate to have lived most of my life here. Yes, it is cooler and beautiful here in the summer and beats Florida's humidity. I have been trying to highlight some of the beautiful places here in Ohio, too. Thanks for visiting and reading. Most appreciated!

Nell Rose from England on August 14, 2012:

Hi suzette, what a beautiful place to live and work, I can see from your top photo why it was such a great place for powering the mills etc, and your connection to the baseball girl and the film director, fascinating stuff, I can understand why you go back there at this time of year, its so beautiful, wish we had a Falls next to us like that! wonderful hub, voted up! cheers nell

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