GATES MILLS (inc. 1920) is a village located in the Chagrin Valley bounded by MAYFIELD HTS. on the west, Geauga County on the east, and HUNTING VALLEY on the south. Originally part of Mayfield Twp., it occupies 8.8 sq. mi. Gates Mills was founded in 1826 by HOLSEY GATES, who bought 130 acres of Chagrin River land from the CONNECTICUT LAND CO. to have a good water supply for a sawmill. The excellent location and abundant water supply led to the construction of several more mills, which gave the area its name. AGRICULTURE flourished, and potash, cheese, and rake factories were established. By 1850 Gates Mills was a thriving community exporting manufactured products. The area had mail service, a school, a tavern, and an organized social and religious life.
After the Civil War, however, the water-powered mills languished, and the community's vitality declined. In the 1890s Cleveland professional men such as SAMUEL PRENTISS BALDWIN, FRANK GINN, and FRANK WALKER established the village as their country retreat. These men backed the Maple Leaf Land Co., which promoted the village, and the Cleveland & Eastern interurban railway, which connected the village with Cleveland in 1899 (see INTERURBANS). The Gates Mills Improvement Society, formed in 1905, was primarily made up of landowners, who shaped the exclusive, well-to-do New England character that Gates Mills maintained into the twenty-first century. The CHAGRIN VALLEY HUNT CLUB was formed in 1909 and occupied the old Holsey Gates house until it burned to the ground in Jan. 1994. The village has a mayor-council form of government, with Frank Walker the first mayor after incorporation. In 1930 a village hall was built to house the police, fire, and streets departments. Little has changed the residential character of Gates Mills: following the close of the mills, no new industry came into the area. The Mayfield City Schools, GILMOUR ACADEMY, 4 tennis courts, a branch of the CUYAHOGA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM, and the North Chagrin Reservation of the CLEVELAND METROPARKS SYSTEM serve the community. Gates Mills’ population grew steadily through the 1960s. Since that time the population has fluctuated. In 2018 the village had an estimated population of 2,235.
Updated by Mark Souther
Last updated: 9/2/2019