BRECKSVILLE, 14 miles south of Cleveland on the southern border of Cuyahoga County, borders INDEPENDENCE on the north, BROADVIEW HTS. on the west and CUYAHOGA VALLEY NATIONAL PARK on the east. It was incorporated as the Village of Brecksville in 1922 and achieved city status on 16 Dec. 1960. Occupying 19.5 sq. mi., Brecksville operates under the mayor-council form of government.
The area originally was occupied by Chippewa Native Americans (see AMERICAN INDIANS). In 1810 SETH PAINE, accompanied by his family and Melzer Clark, left Williamsburg, MA, for the WESTERN RESERVE. A land surveyor, Paine arrived in 1811, acting as land agent for Colonel John Breck who had purchased the land in 1807. Breck never moved to the Western Reserve, although his three sons did, and their descendants lived in the area until 1934. Settling on 200 acres of flat land, Paine thus became the first white settler in what was known as Brecksville Twp.
Brecksville emphasized AGRICULTURE throughout the 19th century. Water-powered mills lined many area streams, powering grist- and saw-mills, as well as manufactories for cloth and woodenware. Railroad service reached the area in 1880. In the 20th century, construction of paved roads and the introduction of the automobile made the area more accessible to Cleveland residents. In 1937-38, many village farms were uprooted to make room for the construction of Ohio Rte. 82 (see HIGHWAYS). Post-World War II migration from Cleveland to area suburbs, especially during the 1950s, contributed to Brecksville’s growth. In 1960 the newly minted city’s population reached 5,435; by 1970 it had nearly doubled, to 9,137. Steady growth continued, reaching 10,132 in 1980; 11,818 in 1990; and 13,382 in 2000. The 2020 census indicated a population of 13,948. Currently, 89% of residents are white, with the remainder split largely between blacks and Asians. The median age of a Brecksville resident is 49.3 years, almost ten years older than the Ohio average. The city’s median household income is roughly double the Ohio average.
Brecksville students attend school in the Brecksville-Broadview Heights school district, which includes 3 elementary schools, 1 intermediate, 1 middle, and 1 high school. For 10 consecutive years, School Match has ranked the district in the top 10% nationally. Brecksville also is home to the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center for vocational students and a local branch of the CUYAHOGA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM.
One third of Brecksville’s footprint is parkland, including the CLEVELAND METROPARKS SYSTEM’s “Emerald Necklace,” and the adjacent Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Retail shopping is concentrated downtown near the Brecksville town center at the intersection of Rts. 21 and 82.
Updated by Chris Roy
Last updated: 6/18/2022
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Coates, W. R. The Brecksville Centennial, 1811-1911 (1911).
Snow, Dorcas, In and Out of Brecksville (1982).
Wilcox, Frank, and Arthur Horrocks. A Reminiscent History of Brecksville (1961).