ROCKY RIVER, originally part of ROCKPORT TWP. (created in 1819), formed as a hamlet in 1891, incorporated as a village in 1903, and designated a city in 1930. Prior to 1891, the area was also known as Granger City and Riverbank. Rocky River occupies 4.7 sq. mi. on the Lake Erie shore 9 miles west of Cleveland. It is bounded by FAIRVIEW PARK on the south and BAY VILLAGE and WESTLAKE on the west. The eastern boundary with LAKEWOOD is marked by the deep gorge of the Rocky River. A small strip of Cleveland also borders Rocky River.
First explored in 1805, the mouth of the Rocky River was envisioned as a site with a great future. In the early 19th century, it was necessary to ford the river or rely on ferries. In 1821 a wooden toll bridge was completed across the river. This was replaced by an iron bridge in 1890. In 1910 the 700' DETROIT-ROCKY RIVER BRIDGE was constructed; at the time it was the longest unreinforced concrete arch in the world. In 1964 the Clifton-Westlake Bridge, a 1,139' span, opened north of the Detroit-Rocky River Bridge, which was demolished and replaced in 1980.
Rocky River remained predominantly rural until the early 1920s when the transition began to a suburban residential area. The city adopted the mayor-council form of government. Well into the 1940s, greenhouses and truck farming remained profitable businesses (see AGRICULTURE). To this day, there has been little INDUSTRY in the community. Roy River's retail and commercial establishments were (and continue to be) concentrated along Detroit Rd. and Center Ridge Rd. (see BUSINESS, RETAIL), although some, like COWAN POTTERY, were situated on the side streets between Detroit and Lake Rds. The population, 11,237 in 1950, stood at 20,410 in 1990 and 21,755 in 2020. Recreational facilities include nine city parks, the Rocky River Reservation of the CLEVELAND METROPARKS SYSTEM, and a fishing pier at Bradstreet's Landing. The community has four public schools, five non-public schools, and six nursey/education schools. The city's public library houses the Cowan Pottery Museum.
Updated by Christopher Roy
Last updated: 6/6/2022