History of Munroe Falls
While early settlers began arriving as early as 1809, beautiful Munroe Falls wasn't incorporated as a village of Ohio until October 26, 1838. Formerly known as both Kelsey’s Mill and Florence, it was re-named “Munroe Falls” after the falls once located near the center of town and brothers William and Edmund Munroe.
After moving here from Boston in 1836, the Munroe brothers purchased two existing mills, 250 acres of land and water rights along the proposed route of the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal. They soon established the Munroe Falls Manufacturing Company with hopes of making their fortune by manufacturing silk and transforming the village into a center of economic growth. Mulberry trees were imported and silkworms shipped in. Unfortunately, the silkworms did not survive and the financial panic of 1837 destroyed their plans.
In 1841, the town became a shipping port and a stop on the Pennsylvania & Ohio Canal. The canal was an 82-mile long feeder canal, which connected Beaver Valley railway system in New Castle, PA, with the Ohio and Erie Canal in Akron. It linked Pittsburgh with Cleveland and the western Great Lakes and created great prosperity for the region.
Arrival of Railway
In 1869, the canal was closed and the waterway through Munroe Falls was filled. Some 15 years later, in 1884, railroad tracks were built on and near the old canal bed as part of a single line owned by the Pittsburgh and Western Railroad.
The B&O (Baltimore and Ohio) Railroad bought out the original railroad in 1900 and laid a second set of railroad tracks. For many decades, trains stopped at the town’s station, delivering and picking up passengers, mail and freight. Today, the tracks are owned by CSX Transportation.
Pittsburgh and Western Railroad train stopped in front of the Geistweite House (today known as the Scissor Room). Photo taken circa 1884
Our Namesake Falls
As for the falls, they were created in 1817 when a log dam was built in the Cuyahoga River to power our first saw and grist mill. This power source attracted small industries to the area. The log dam was replaced by a stone dam in 1903.
Nearly 200 years later, in 2005, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined oxygen levels were too low in the Cuyahoga River because of the stagnant pool behind the Munroe Falls dam. In an effort to improve the river water quality, the Ohio EPA removed the dam that created the city's namesake falls.