BROOKLYN, a Cleveland suburb, is located 6 miles southwest of downtown. Its borders are Cleveland to the north, east and west, and PARMA to the south. It is one of two Cleveland suburbs with Brooklyn in its name, the other being BROOKLYN HTS. three miles to the east. The Cleveland neighborhoods of OLD BROOKLYN and BROOKLYN CENTRE lie in between the two Brooklyn suburbs. Like all of Cuyahoga Cty. west of the CUYAHOGA RIVER, Brooklyn was formerly part of BROOKLYN TOWNSHIP—one of many townships formed as part of the Connecticut Western Reserve in the early 1800s. Throughout the 19th Century, various parts of Brooklyn Twp. became self-governing municipalities while others were annexed by (i.e., became neighborhoods within) the city of Cleveland.
Annexation of Brooklyn Twp. segments continued well into the 20th Century (e.g., sections of BROOK PARK, FAIRVIEW PARK and RIVEREDGE TWP.). However, the last piece of Brooklyn Twp. to achieve self-governance was, ironically, the suburb of Brooklyn, which became Brooklyn Village on 16 March 1927 and incorporated as the City of Brooklyn in 1950.
A residential suburb of 4.5 sq. mi., Brooklyn nonetheless achieved a variety of “firsts.” In 1966 it became the first community in the United States to mandate the use of seatbelts in automobiles. And despite its small size, Brooklyn was once home to two airports: Brooklyn Airport (now the site of a shopping mall) and Mather Airport (now the site of a school). On 20 Oct. 1955, Elvis Presley performed at Brooklyn High School—his first concert north of the Mason-Dixon line. John M. Coyne, born and raised in Brooklyn, served as its mayor from 1948-1999, the longest consecutive term of service by any mayor in the nation.
In the early 1970s, the Brooklyn City Center (housing the city court, police, and fire divisions) was built on Memphis Ave. The Brooklyn Recreation Center (also on Memphis) opened in 1975. The PLAIN DEALER‘s printing and distribution facility on Tiedeman Rd. was completed in 1994. Other large commercial interests include KEYBANK’s Operations Center, which employs more than 2,000 people.
Brooklyn’s strongest growth spurt began after World War II. In 1940, the (then) village had 1,108 people. By 1950, that number had more than quintupled to 6,317. Brooklyn reached its population peak (13,142) in 1970. It is now home to slightly more than 11,000 citizens, among whom 85% are white, 10% are HISPANIC and 5% are AFRICAN AMERICAN.
Updated by Christopher Roy