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The History of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

At a promising spot along the Cuyahoga River, bordered to the south by powerful waterfalls, William Wetmore began a town that he believed could become an industrial center in the Midwest. The flow of the river and the falls are at the heart of the history for Cuyahoga Falls, and they tell the story of a city that many believed would be the “new Chicago.” Although it never lived up to these high hopes, the city is rich with stories, industry and history.

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Fun in Tremont and Ohio City this Christmas

 

Christmas Story House in Cleveland, with Leg Lamp in the Window.

Ralphie may have celebrated his Christmas in a pink bunny suit, waiting for his Red Ryder BB gun, but visitors to Tremont and neighboring Ohio City will get the ultimate gift by taking in one of the many different activities the area has planned.

Tremont, a small West Side neighborhood, is known for being the home of A Christmas Story House, a museum dedicated to and housed in the same W. 11 Street home where the movie was filmed. The neighborhood is one of the oldest in Cleveland. Its long history made it the perfect site for one of the most popular cult-classics-turned-holiday-hallmark movies.

Tremont and Ohio City: The Birth of a Backdrop

It’s been nearly 200 years since the neighborhoods were founded, before incorporating both on their own, and later being annexed to Cleveland. Despite the area’s growth in the first half of the 1900s, it still experienced neglect. However, Ohio City started to experience rebirth near the end of the twentieth century, and Tremont was close behind.

With popular locations like St. Ignatius High School, West Side Market, and historic Cleveland Public Library buildings, as well as Lemko Hall and St. Theodosius Russian Orthodox Cathedral (which were both used as scenes in the 1978 movie, The Deer Hunter) the area has some of the most photographed and filmed historic buildings in Cleveland.

The neighborhoods have been in a revival since the early 2000s with new and remodeled housing, an influx of shopping options, and trendy restaurants like Iron Chef Michael Simon’s Lolita, Momocho, and Crop Bistro and Bar.

Your Cleveland Christmas Story Checklist

Dec. 1: Ohio City Holiday Hop

Held at the Great Lakes Brewing Company, the annual Ohio City Holiday Hop features shopping, drinks, food, and festivities. You’ll be able to catch a ride on Lolly the Trolley to four different Ohio City spots for some seasonal savings and specials.

Dec. 3: A Christmas Story Run

After you’ve caught up on your “A Christmas Story” trivia by watching a few re-runs, check out the site of the movie itself during the annual “A Christmas Story Run”. The race offers both 5K and 10K distances, with both courses passing by iconic locations in the movie, like the former Higbee’s Department Store. Both races finish at the A Christmas Story House and Museum.

Last year, nearly 6,000 people ran, raising more than $200,000 for charity. Money raised goes to the “A Christmas Story House Neighborhood Restoration Project” and benefits the greater Tremont area. The race offers in-person and virtual race options.

Once you’re done, stick around for a tour of the museum; race registration includes one admission pass to the museum that can be used through Dec. 31.

Dec. 9-10: Christmas Cookie Walk

Stop by St. Theodosius Cathedral Parish Hall between 5 and 8 p.m. Dec. 9 and 10 a.m. and noon Dec. 10.

Dec. 9: Walkabout Tremont

The monthly event, held the second Friday, features food and drink, art, shopping, and special deals

Dec. 9: Tremont Holiday Brewhaha Pop-Up Shop and Party

Held at the Grand Ballroom Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, this year’s Brewhaha features more than 30 artists, rides on Lolley the Trolley around the 12 corners of Tremont, and valet parking at Dante’s, Fahrenheit, Lolita, Parallax, and Press Wine Bar. The free, family-friendly event includes photos with Santa Andy from 6 to 7 p.m., free parking, live music, and drink specials at many of Tremont’s local bars.

Dec 10: Santas in Tremont

The annual one-mile run starts at the Tremont Tap House. Proceeds benefit the Tremont West Development Corporation. Come in costume and walk, run, shuffle, or crawl to the finish line. Before the race starts, participants and friends can take part in the Tremont Bar Crawl. The race will kick off at 4 p.m. After the race, runners can join the post-race party at The South Side. The race has grown, with hundreds participating to win raffle prizes and collect trinkets.

While you’re in the area, check out the West Side Market, which is open every day but Tuesday. It’s Cleveland’s oldest continuously operating market, having opened in 1912. Vendors sell everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to baked goods, meats, pastries, and fish, along with vendors for spices, oils, and nuts. Some vendors, like Bacha Produce, have been staples for three generations.

Cleveland may have many of its own events, but a quick trip west to Ohio City and Tremont can give you old-world, historic architecture with a modern take on the holidays, filled with family and friends, great food, and well-organized festivities.

Hudson, Ohio: Then and Now

HUDSON, OH - JUNE 14, 2014: Hudson's new retail district, First and Main, was given a retro look to match the quaint charm of the village's original Main Street area one block away.

HUDSON, OH – JUNE 14, 2014: Hudson’s new retail district, First and Main, was given a retro look to match the quaint charm of the village’s original Main Street area one block away.

Driving through the picturesque square of downtown Hudson, with its unique shops and quaint hometown feel, can feel like you’re transported back in time. Add in the stunning shades of fall leaves or a thick, white snowy blanket, and it’s cinematic, hometown appeal becomes even stronger. Going back to its roots, though, evokes a strong sense of history, right down to the Summit County city’s name.

David Hudson: The Beginning of a City

In 1632, Connecticut, then a colony, claimed a 120-mile stretch of land south of Lake Erie, calling it the Connecticut Western Reserve. The land sat vacant for many years before settlers won a war with Native Americans in the area; their success was encouraging to Connecticut residents looking for a new adventure. Connecticut sold the 3 million acres of land to the Connecticut Land Company for $1.2 million.

To begin earning profits, the Connecticut Land Company sent a party to scout and survey the land, under the direction of David Hudson, a Reserve shareholder. They arrived in Hudson in 1799, and after returning to Connecticut for his family and belongings, the Hudson family built their permanent home in 1806 at what is now 318 Main Street, the oldest structure in Summit County. In recognition for all he had done, the settlement was named Hudson in 1802, and Hudson lived in that home until he died in 1836.

A Steady Increase

The area grew, with individuals bringing their vehicles, families growing and the population increasing, and buildings going up regularly: a school, a church, stores, and homes. Ten years before his death, Hudson was instrumental in chartering Western Reserve College and Loomis Observatory, a prestigious school nicknamed the Yale of the West.

The city and its inhabitants played an important role in the completion of the Ohio-Erie Canal, which brought more business and growth. In 1837, Hudson Township was incorporated as part of Portage County.

The early 1850s were a period of increased growth, and residents were living a decadent life after investing their life savings in railroad shares. Unfortunately, the economic bubble burst, the stock plummeted, and Hudson’s rapid expansion came to a halt.

Rebuilding in the Reserve

While Hudson’s strong anti-slavery ideals made it an important stop on the Underground Railroad, the township largely remained in dire straits until a hometown hero stepped in to save the day. James W. Ellsworth, who grew up in Hudson, left to work in the coal industry, where he became a millionaire. He retired young, and returned to his hometown, only to be devastated by its conditions. After requesting that authorities rescind every local liquor license — in that time, saloons outnumbered churches — Ellsworth got to work. He paved the road, added electrical, water, sewer and telephone services, reorganized the schools, added and enhanced green space, and injected new life into the banking. He encouraged the opening of the Western Reserve Academy on the grounds of the Western Reserve College, and catapulted Hudson into a period of steady growth that continues today.

Hudson Today

In 1912, after completing much of his work, Ellsworth build the Clock Tower on the Green, and that symbol remains to be a recognizable landmark, symbolizing the camaraderie and growth that Hudson represented during its growth. Much of the area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Hudson became a city in 1991, and in 1994, Hudson the city and Hudson Township merged.

The city’s square has become a popular site for many events, and continues to house locally-owned, unique businesses and services that draw visitors from around the state.

Hudson for the Holidays: Thanksgiving Things to Do

  • Nov. 19: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Pre-Thanksgiving Farmer’s Market at Hudson Montessori School. Local vendors and Hudson Farmer’s Market regulars will have the freshest turkey, veggies, desserts, and Thanksgiving dinner table staples at this one-of-a-kind indoor market.
  • Nov. 25: 8:30-11:30 a.m. Breakfast with Santa at Hudson’s Restaurant. Make reservations to enjoy this holiday tradition. A limited breakfast menu and professional photos with Santa will be available.
  • Nov. 25: 2 p.m. Hudson for the Holidays. More than 85 merchants in downtown Hudson will be offering a low-key, coordinated holiday shopping experience.
  • Nov. 25-Dec. 24: Destination Hudson Holiday Basket Raffle: Kicking off after the annual races, the basket and 50/50 raffles will offer a variety of different themes and opportunities to win. Basket raffle tickets are $5 each or five for $20; 50/50 raffle tickets are $10. All proceeds will benefit The Visitors Center and Destination Hudson.

Nov. 30: 7 p.m.: Seasonal workshop at Suburban Sit. Save your spot for a chance to learn how to make a holiday swag arrangement with greens, pine cones, berries, and a bow, and get some pointers on how to get picture-perfect Christmas tree decorations.

Kent, Ohio: Yesterday and Today

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The City of Kent, Ohio has a lot to boast of as the largest city in Portage County at 29,810 citizens as estimated in 2015. As the home of Kent State University and many great cultural events, this city has a culture that begs to be explored. Learn about the city of Kent from its humbler beginnings to becoming a fantastic place for families, couples, students, and more.

History of Kent, Ohio

The city of Kent’s beginning goes back about 200 years ago, but it wasn’t known as Kent at the time. Actually, the city that is now known as Kent was two villages called Franklin Mills and Carthage. The village became Kent in 1864 to honor the man that brought the railroad through the town, Marvin Kent. In 1863, Marvin Kent brought the railroad into the picture which helped to make the town more prosperous and developed it towards what it is today. Then, it was incorporated in 1867. During the U.S. Census back in 1870, the village had 2,301 residents and continued to grow over the years.

Another claim to fame in Kent’s history is being called the Tree City thanks to horticulturalist John Davey. He had come to the city in 1881 to work at the Standing Rock Cemetery to be the head groundskeeper. In the late 1800s, he helped plant hundreds of trees in and around the city. His efforts were not only on planting, as he also helped teach the people in the city how to care for these new trees. The Davey Tree Company is part of his legacy and is still around today. In fact, it happens to be the largest employer of people in the private sector in the area.

 

Kent State University

It’s hard to separate the history of the city of Kent from the institution that is Kent State University. With a student body of 28,981 on campus and a staff of over 2,000, this university is like a city all of its own. Founded in 1910 as a training school for teachers, this university offers over 280 Bachelor’s degree programs today.

Probably one of the most well-known historical facts about Kent State University is the Kent State massacre that occurred on May 4th, 1970 when the Ohio National Guard fired upon a group of college protestors that resulted in the death of four students and injured nine. This was a very sad day in our nation’s history as they had been protesting the Cambodian Campaign, but it can also be viewed as a beacon of light in that it brought attention to the power of any citizen’s voice and is remembered yearly. In 1999, memorials were put up to remember the four students that passed away that day each in the spot where the student fell. These memorials feature a granite base with a grouping of light posts. This beautiful sentiment lights the way forward. There’s also a visitor’s center created in 2012 to help educate the public and students about the events of this day.

Kent Cultural Events to Explore

The Haymaker Farmers’ Market is one of the largest farmers’ markets with over 40 vendors and was established in 1992 making it also one of the oldest. You can visit this market from May to October on Saturday mornings. Don’t despair if you don’t make it to the area during these months because in 2008 they established a Winter Market that takes place indoors during the off months of the outdoor market.

Starting in 2007, Kent has put their own spin on Earth Day in creating the Who’s Your Mama? environmental festival. You can experience concerts, guest speakers, booths with environmental themes, a film festival, and a vegan chef competition.

One of the most well-known events in Kent is how they celebrate Halloween. Now, this is considered an unofficial party, but when you draw thousands of people in a downtown area for a big costume party annually, word gets around. This usually happens on the last Saturday in October. In 2007, Main Street Kent created a more family friendly event to happen before the more adult party that occurs later in the night to draw together all segments of the community.

A final event in Kent that shouldn’t be missed is the Kent Heritage Festival that takes place around the 4th of July holiday. You can find 5K and 10K races, crafts, booths, train rides, entertainment, and of course, fireworks. About 25,000 attend this fun event annually in the downtown area of Kent.

 

Kent is a pretty amazing city in Ohio. The college town atmosphere is welcoming to all. The unofficial Halloween party that is held annually is the perfect example of how this city embraces all of its residents. The family friendly party during the day and the wilder and unrestrained party that follows after for the college students seeking a fun time and adults that go along for the ride. Visit Kent, Ohio today to explore this fun culture for yourself.