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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

MIDDLEBURG TOWNSHIP - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

MIDDLEBURG TOWNSHIP was incorporated in 1920 and, after losing significant portions to other SUBURBS, became the village of MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS in 1927. Occupying 5 square miles, it was situated 13 miles southwest of Cleveland and bordered on the south by the east branch of the Rocky River. Previously known as Township 6, Range 14, of the Connecticut WESTERN RESERVE, Middleburg Twp. also included the areas of BROOK PARK and BEREA. It acquired its name from early settlers migrating to the area from Middleburg, NY. The first white settler in the area, Jared Hickox, arrived in Aug. 1809 after accepting the offer of a free 50-acre tract from Gideon Granger, who owned substantial shares of the township. Emigration to Middleburg was slow because of the area's low, wet terrain and numerous swamps, an ideal breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitos. Free land offers attracted only a handful of settlers. Those who settled cleared fields and densely wooded areas in order to farm (see AGRICULTURE). During the mid-1800s, 75% of Middleburg Twp. remained a dense, unsettled woodland. The construction of railroads in the late 1840s opened the area to neighboring communities, particularly OLMSTED FALLS and Berea. In 1842 the quarry industry began, attracting many families of GERMANS and later POLES. When Middleburg residents built the first post office, it was named Berea. The area surrounding the post office, due west of Middleburg Twp., grew steadily and distinguished itself in the quarry industry. In 1850 Berea incorporated as a village and took the quarry industry with it, representing the first partitioning of the township. Middleburg concentrated on land improvements in an effort to increase settlement. An iron-ore foundry, a factory, and a gristmill were its few industries. In 1914 10 square miles of Middleburg were removed to create Brook Park Village. An attempt by Berea Village to annex the remainder of Middleburg Twp. led to its incorporation as Middleburg Hts.

Holzworth, W. F. Men of Grit and Greatness (1970).

Last Modified: 21 Jul 1997 10:43:34 AM

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