Early History Munroe Falls


Adapted from "Fifty Years and Over Of Akron and Summit County" by Samuel A. Lane (1892)

Munroe Falls, located upon the Cuyahoga River, exists by reason of the considerable water power afforded by the fall in the stream there. Forty people first settled this southern portion of Stow Township in 1809. William Stow (a cousin of Joshua's), Francis Kelsey and several Gaylords were among them. The community was originally called Kelsey Mills, after Mr. Kelsey's sawmill.

Later the name was changed to Florence, and it had a log dam and several small mills. Then, in 1836, Edmund and William Munroe of Boston, Massachusetts, arrived. They bought 200 acres and made plans for a new manufacturing city.

They built a general store, improved existing mills and began building larger mills and more homes. The Munroe brothers started a company in order to grow or manufacture silk and wool, cotton, paper, flour, sugar, machinery and tools. They even imported silkworms and mulberry trees to feed the worms. The trees have survived, but the climate was not suitable for silkworms.

Then came the nationwide "Great Panic" in 1837, with many bank failures, and a depression after that. After struggling in this difficult time for ten years, the Munroe Falls Manufacturing Company went bankrupt. The paper industry eventually revived in 1866, using a dam that was on the site of the present one.

The new village of Munroe Falls continued to be a desirable and scenic place to live and farm, and in 1841 it became a stop along the new Pennsylvania & Ohio Canal. Click here for early maps.