HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, located 18 miles northeast of Cleveland, became a village in 1920 and a city in 1967. Occupying 5.7 sq. mi., it is bounded by MAYFIELD VILLAGE on the east, MAYFIELD HTS. and LYNDHURST on the south, and RICHMOND HTS. on the west. Highland Hts., together with GATES MILLS, Mayfield Village, Mayfield Hts., and a portion of Lyndhurst, were originally part of Mayfield Twp., formed in 1819. Settlement began in 1805, when several families migrated from New York, including the first settler, Rufus Mapes. Development was slow until 1877, when a plank road was built from EAST CLEVELAND through Euclid and Mayfield townships along what is now Mayfield Rd. Another factor in the growth of Highland Hts. was the construction of the Cleveland & Eastern interurban railway between Cleveland and Chardon in 1899 (see INTERURBANS). By the 1920s, the automobile made the township even more accessible. However, population growth remained slow through World War II and then accelerated. The village’s population nearly quadrupled from 762 to 2,929 between 1950 and 1960 and more than doubled again to 5,926 in 1970. Residential construction stalled in the 1970s. Highland Hts. posted a slight decline in its population in 1980. Thereafter, it pursued a balanced strategy of residential, commercial, and industrial development.
Businesses and industries located in Highland Hts. in 1995 included Picker Intl. (see MARCONI MEDICAL SYSTEMS) and COLE NATIONAL CORP. The former was subsumed into Philips before ceasing production in 2018, while Cole Natl. Corp. consolidated its Highland Hts. headquarters into its Twinsburg production facility in 2002. Things Remembered, a Cole Natl. subsidiary with more than 500 mall-based outlets, declared bankruptcy in 2019 and was sold to Enesco, a firm based in suburban Chicago. In 2019 the city had two business parks, Aberdeen and Alpha Park. Among the factories located in Aberdeen Business Park were Norman Noble (medical devices and implants), Stanley Assembly Technologies (tools), and Swagelok (fluid systems). Alpha Park included a number of manufacturing, distributing, and retailing businesses. It was home to locally based manufacturers Alloy Bellows (bellows) and Cotsworks (military-grade optical components).
Since becoming a city, Highland Hts. has operated under the mayor-council form of government. As part of the Mayfield City School District, it had one elementary, junior high, and senior high school. The city provides 40 acres of parklands for recreation. From 1974-93 the city was home to the FRONT ROW THEATER. Highland Hts.' slow growth has enabled it to maintain its residential character. It was the first community in Cuyahoga County to require all new subdivisions to have underground wiring and ornamental street lighting. Its population in 1990 was 6,249 and by 2000 increased to 8,082. Highland Hts. has been unusual among Cuyahoga County suburbs in continuing to grow. Its estimated population in 2018 was 8,405.
Updated by Mark Souther
Last updated: 8/11/2019
Nolfi, Peg, ed. History of Highland Hts. (1976).
See also SUBURBS.