OLMSTED FALLS is a suburb situated 14 miles southwest of Cleveland. Its footprint comprises an oddly shaped 3 sq. mi., bounded on the east by BEREA, on the north by NORTH OLMSTED, on the west by OLMSTED TOWNSHIP, and by Sprague Rd. on the southern border with Lorain county and Strongsville.
Olmsted Falls shares its early history (pre-1850) with nearby North Olmsted and Olmsted Township, all three of which made up the original Olmsted Township, one of 18 segments constituting the Connecticut WESTERN RESERVE. In 1849 the Cleveland, Columbus & Cincinnati Railroad was built through the area, soon followed by the Toledo, Norwalk & Cleveland (later, part of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern). Residents responded to this rise in activity by carving out the village of Olmsted Falls in 1857, settling on a mayor-council form of government. The original township was further culled in 1909 when the village of North Olmsted was created. The current borders of Olmsted Falls were established in 1970 when West View (a small subsection near where the CSX Railroad now crosses State Route 252) annexed Olmsted Falls. In 1972, upon reaching a population of 5,000, the redrawn area became the city of Olmsted Falls. The name (altered slightly from West View to Westview) lives on in the comic strip Funky Winkerbean, drawn by West View native Tom Batiuk.
The area’s first industries were a sawmill and gristmill built in West View at the falls of the west branch of the Rocky River. That area now comprises David Fortier River Park, a deep, five-acre haven featuring stone walls and stairways quarried on site, scenic trails, and a covered bridge named after Capt. John Harding, who died of wounds suffered during the invasion of Normandy in 1944.
Characterized largely by mills and greenhouses, Olmsted Falls remained largely rural until after WORLD WAR II. (In the late 1930s, the area boasted the country’s largest under-glass growing operation in America.) In 1940 Olmsted Falls’ population numbered only 754. By the 1960s, however, aggressive highway development and suburban migration stoked Olmsted Falls' growth. The community’s population reached 2,144 in 1960, 5,868 in 1980, 7,962 in 2000, and 8,628 in 2021. Today, more than 90% of Olmsted Fall residents are white and about 45% have education beyond a high school degree.
Olmsted Falls provides police and fire protection, several parks and picnic facilities, and summer recreational programs. A branch of the CUYAHOGA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM is located there. The city also is home to five public schools: the Early Childhood Center, Falls-Lenox Primary School, Olmsted Falls Intermediate School, Olmsted Falls Middle School, and Olmsted Falls High School.
Last updated: 12/3/2022
Banks, Bruce and Jim Wallace. The Olmsted Story: A Brief History of Olmsted Falls & Olmsted Township. Charleston: The History Press, 2010.
Cimperman, John D. Images of America: Olmsted Falls. Charleston, SC : Arcadia Pub, 2007.
Offenberg, Bernice Weitzel. Over the Years in Olmsted, Township 6, Range 15 (1964).
Olmsted Falls, "Community Profile" (1982).