NEWBURGH, a township south of Cleveland, was an early population and economic center for the area. Bounded by Cleveland on the north, WARRENSVILLE on the east, INDEPENDENCE on the south, and the CUYAHOGA RIVER on the west, old Newburgh was on higher ground than Cleveland and thus avoided the outbreaks of malaria that hampered development to the north--but not wolves, which protested but did not stop settlement. In the early 1800s, with 10 families in residence, Newburgh was more prominent than Cleveland, described as "six miles from Newburgh." It was organized as a township in 1814. As early as 1799, mills built at the cataract of MILL CREEK fostered economic prosperity, and soon a main coach road (later called Broadway) was cut through the area. Newburgh's fertile soil and good pastureland encouraged farming, but the waterpower attracted heavy industry, which ultimately dominated the area economy. In the 1840s the Cleveland & Pittsburgh (later Pennsylvania) Railroad was built through the township and provided easy access to shipping. The township's most famous industry, the Cleveland Rolling Mill, was started in 1857 by DAVID AND JOHN JONES to reroll iron rails. The mills changed the ethnic makeup of the community. New England and Manx settlers were outnumbered first by Welsh iron puddlers, then by IRISH, and finally by Polish and Czech mill laborers.
Newburgh's early prominence made it a likely site for the county seat, but Cleveland was selected in 1809 because of its location as a port of entry from Lake Erie at the Cuyahoga River. As a result, beginning in 1823, Newburgh was eroded through annexation to Cleveland, as well as to E. Cleveland and Independence townships. The heart of Newburgh--the area bounded by Union Ave. on the north, by E. 93rd St. on the east, and by current city borders on the west and south--became part of Cleveland in 1873. This section of town became Cleveland's 18th ward, dubbed "the iron ward." The remaining portions of the township were incorporated as the Village of Newburgh in 1874, but additional annexations by Cleveland in 1878, 1893, and 1894 further compressed its size. In 1904 the village of NEWBURGH HTS. was incorporated, but this entity was further reduced in size with the organization of the Twp. of S. Newburgh (GARFIELD HTS.) in 1904 and the Twp. of Corlett in 1906.