MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, originally Mayfield Twp., incorporated as a city in 1950 with a mayor-council form of government. It is located 14 miles east of Cleveland and bounded by HIGHLAND HTS. and MAYFIELD VILLAGE on the north, LYNDHURST on the west, PEPPER PIKE on the south, and GATES MILLS on the east. The city covers 4.16 sq. mi. Mayfield Twp. was formed on 14 June 1819 from Chagrin Twp. and originally included the modern communities of Mayfield Hts., Gates Mills, Highland Hts., Mayfield Village, and a portion of Lyndhurst. Into the early 20th century, Mayfield Twp. was a farming community. The opening of the Cleveland & Eastern Ry. (see INTERURBANS) in 1899 connected Cleveland and Mayfield Twp. on its way to Chardon. Ten years later, Knollwood Cemetery, modeled on the garden cemetery movement, opened south of the interurban line on SOM Center Rd. in present-day Mayfield Hts. A portion of the cemetery land was sold to the MASONS in 1927 for Acacia Park Cemetery. In 1920 the township was divided into 4 villages: Mayfield Village, Highland Hts., Gates Mills, and Riverside (which eventually became part of Gates Mills in the late 1920s). Although the area emerged as a railroad suburb, its growth came largely in the automobile age. In 1925 the southern part of Mayfield Village formed a separate unit and became Mayfield Hts. Most of the early residential land subdivisions consisted of straight streets running north of Mayfield Rd. between Iroquois Ave. and Orchard Heights Dr. Housing construction was slow in the years before World War II.
Like many suburbs, Mayfield Hts. grew rapidly after the war. Its population roughly quadrupled to 22,139 in the 25 years ending in 1970. Many who moved into Mayfield Hts. were ITALIANS and, to a lesser degree, RUSSIANS. Chiefly a residential suburb, the city entered the postwar period with no industry. In 1947, the Pittsburgh-based Diamond Alkali Co. (see DIAMOND SHAMROCK CORP.) acquired property on Mayfield Rd. and obtained a unanimous city council vote for rezoning to build a $2 million headquarters and research center. Determined to keep Mayfield Hts. “a community of homes,” the Citizens League started a petition drive for a referendum that led Diamond Alkali to move its headquarters to downtown Cleveland instead. Mayfield Hts. became an important suburban retail center. Its first shopping center was Eastgate Plaza, built in 1953 on the northeast corner of Mayfield and SOM Center Rds. by Italian-born developer Anthoni Visconsi. Golden Gate Plaza followed in 1958 on the former Diamond Alkali property. Additional shopping centers and large standalone retailers appeared along Mayfield Rd. in later years, taking advantage of the proximity of I-271 (whose segment between Wilson Mills Rd. and Chagrin Blvd. opened in 1963). In 1968, HILLCREST HOSPITAL opened and became the largest employer in Mayfield Hts. In the 1980s the Landerbrook office park opened north of Cedar Rd. to the east of I-271 after residents unsuccessfully fought to block the rezoning of land for non-residential use. A number of corporate and medical office buildings were built in Landerbrook and the Landerhaven Corporate Center in the ensuing decades. The city’s population dropped gradually from 22,139 in 1970 to an estimated 18,606 by 2018 despite the growing presence of high-rise apartments. Approximately 12% of the population was AFRICAN AMERICAN and 6% Asian. The city, along with Gates Mills, Highland Hts. and Mayfield Village, is served by the Mayfield City Schools. The school district included 4,389 pupils (2016) in a senior high school (located in Mayfield Village), middle school, and 4 elementary schools. Recreational and public facilities included the Community Center and more than 20 acres of parks and recreational land.
Updated by Mark Souther
See also SUBURBS.