PARMA, originally part of Parma Twp. (created in 1826), incorporated as a village in 1924 and as a city in 1931. The 9th-largest city in the state, it lies southwest of Cleveland. Occupying 19.7 sq. mi., it is bounded by Cleveland and BROOKLYN on the north, BROOKLYN HTS. and SEVEN HILLS on the east, NORTH ROYALTON and BROADVIEW HTS. on the south, and BROOK PARK, MIDDLEBURG HTS., and PARMA HTS. on the west. The first white settlers were the Benajah Fay family from New York State, who settled along the Cleveland-Columbus Road in 1816. The name was taken from Parma, NY. During the 19th century, Parma residents mostly worked in AGRICULTURE, with Dudley and William Humphrey's clock shop representing the sole manufacturer. In 1911 a portion of the township seceded to form the village of Parma Hts. In 1926 Parma adopted the mayor-council form of government. In 1931, after a proposition to annex it to the City of Cleveland was defeated, Parma became a city. Its tremendous growth came after World War II with the movement into the SUBURBS. Between 1950-80, its population soared from less than 20,000 to more than 110,000. The growth of area business and INDUSTRY paralleled the population increase. Parma has been home both to small businesses and industries and to major industries such as General Motors, Modern Tool & Die, the Union Carbide Research Center, and Cox Cable Television.
Parma, Seven Hills, and Parma Hts. make up the Parma City School District. The system was the county's second largest, with 14 elementary, 4 junior high, and 3 high schools and 12,700 students enrolled in 1992. Parma also has 10 Roman Catholic elementary and 2 Catholic high schools, with 8,253 students, PARMADALE CHILDREN'S VILLAGE, and CUYAHOGA COMMUNITY COLLEGE's Western Campus. Parma is also home to one of the four regional libraries of the CUYAHOGA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM, the system's headquarters, and its Parma-Snow branch library. Recreational facilities include parks, lakes, a senior citizen center, and the Gibbs Farm of the Parma Historical Society. The PARMA COMMUNITY GENERAL HOSPITAL, the KAISER-PERMANENTE Medical Center, Parmatown Mall, and almost 90 acres of the Big Creek Reservation of the CLEVELAND METROPARKS SYSTEM are also located in Parma. The five largest ethnic groups in Parma were GERMANS, POLES, ITALIANS, SLOVAKS, and IRISH, according to the 1990 census.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, like other suburbs, Parma suffered financial problems, including plant layoffs and defeats of school levies. Population had declined to 88,000 by 1990 and to 85,655 by 2000.
Kubasek, Ernest R. The History of Parma (1976).
Parma Chamber of Commerce. Parma (1984).
Parma Sesquicentennial, 1826-1976 (1976).