GLENWILLOW, originally part of Solon Twp., was created by the AUSTIN POWDER CO. as a "company town" in 1892. It is a tiny village occupying 2.2 sq. mi. in the southeastern corner of Cuyahoga County, bounded by SOLON on the north and east, OAKWOOD on the west, and Twinsburg in Summit County on the south. After the company purchased 1,200 acres of unsettled rural area to produce mining tools and blasting powder, it built 30 rental homes for employees and reserved 400 acres of farmland to raise cattle and produce hay. Glenwillow prospered and attracted nearly a dozen other industrial concerns, including Miller Industries. Its growth was further enhanced by the prosperity of neighboring Solon, BEDFORD, and Oakwood. Before the Austin Co. closed and moved in 1972, it at one time occupied one-half the area of Glenwillow, primarily east of TINKER’S CREEK along the WHEELING & LAKE ERIE RAILROAD.
Glenwillow’s population doubled to 508 between 1950 and 1970, with all residential development occurring west of Tinker’s Creek. The village had developed into a tightly knit community, and the absence of crime, debt, and any relief burden led to its characterization as a modern-day utopia. During the 1970s, annexation attempts by Solon and MAPLE HTS. threatened the village's existence. Once the only Cuyahoga County community without a city income tax, Glenwillow adopted a 1.9% tax in 1976 to raise revenues. In the 1980s, Glenwillow retained several trucking and construction firms and the Glenwillow Mobile Home Park. It also built a 250-acre industrial park on former Austin Powder Co. land. In the last thirty years of the 20th century, Glenwillow’s population dropped gradually to 449.
In 1999, Glenwillow commissioned its first master plan, which led to the 2005 opening of Village Center, a commercial district created by the adaptive reuse of 18 buildings remaining from the former company town. This development, which also incorporated new housing, contributed to a doubling of Glenwillow’s population to 923 by 2010, after which the village leveled off again. As of 2019, the village maintains 2 parks with a total of 53 acres, as well as a multipurpose trail. Glenwillow belongs to the Solon City Schools. The village has a full-time police force and contracts with Oakwood for fire protection. The City of Cleveland provides water to the village, while BEDFORD HTS. furnishes sewer service.
Updated by Mark Souther
Last updated: 8/22/2019