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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

OLMSTED TOWNSHIP - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

OLMSTED TOWNSHIP, originally part of township 6, range 15 of the WESTERN RESERVE, was organized as a township in 1829 by settlers from New England. In the southwestern corner of Cuyahoga County, it borders NORTH OLMSTED on the north and BROOK PARK and BEREA on the east, and surrounds OLMSTED FALLS on three sides. Aaron Olmsted, a shareholder in the CONNECTICUT LAND COMPANY, placed a bid on large tracts of land in the northern part of township 6, range 15 in 1795, but he passed away in 1806 before the purchase was officially completed a year later. The land passed into the hands of his heirs, including his son Charles. In 1814, the James Geer family became the first white settlers in the area, which they called Kingston in memory of their former home in Vermont. On 14 April 1823, Kingston organized as the village of Lenox in honor of settlers who had emigrated from New England. In 1829, village officials agreed to accept the name Olmsted in exchange for the 500-book library of Charles Olmsted. It was not only the first library in the settlement but also the first west of the Allegheny Mountains (see LIBRARIES, ARCHIVES, AND HISTORICAL SOCIETIES).

The first elections in Olmsted were held in 1830. Olmsted grew steadily, with two general stores by 1848. By 1950, the population reached 1,216. Uneven development resulted in increasing discontent among some township residents who also demanded greater elective representations. As a result, Olmsted Falls (1857) and North Olmsted (1909) were created, leaving the township as a 10-square-mile rural residential area. Residents have traditionally been concerned with ZONING the area's wealth of undeveloped land, unusual for Cuyahoga County. For this reason, they opposed the creation of the Columbia Trailer Park in 1954. Subsequent disputes with land developers have led to several annexation attempts. Together with Olmsted Falls, Olmsted Township was the county's second-largest area for greenhouses (see AGRICULTURE), its largest industry in the 1970s. Part of the Olmsted Falls School District, in 1980 the township's recreational facilities included a golf course, horse farms, and TROLLEYVILLE, U.S.A., a museum featuring a working trolley line through the Columbia Trailer Park. The population in 2010 was 10,084, down slightly from 10,575 in 2000.

Banks, Bruce and Jim Wallace. The Olmsted Story: A Brief History of Olmsted Falls & Olmsted Township. Charleston: The History Press, 2010.

See also SUBURBS.

Last Modified: 04 Aug 2011 01:06:04 PM

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