ROCKY RIVER, originally part of Rockport Twp. (created in 1819), formed as a hamlet in 1891, incorporated as a village in 1903, and as a city in 1930. It occupies 4.2 sq. mi. on the Lake Erie shore 9 miles west of Cleveland, 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. 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 order to cross the Rocky River Valley. In 1821 the first bridge, a wooden toll bridge, was completed across the river, replaced by an iron bridge in 1890. In 1910 the 700' DETROIT-ROCKY RIVER BRIDGE was constructed, 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.
The area 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. Throughout the 1940s, greenhouses and truck farming remained profitable businesses (see AGRICULTURE); there has been little INDUSTRY. Retail and commercial establishments are concentrated along Detroit Rd. and Center Ridge Rd. (see BUSINESS, RETAIL), although some, like COWAN POTTERY, were situated on the numerous side streets between Detroit and Lake Rds. The population, 11,237 in 1950, stood at 20,410 in 1990 and 20,735 in 2000. Recreational facilities include the Rocky River Reservation of the CLEVELAND METROPARKS SYSTEM and a fishing pier at Bradstreet's Landing.
See also SUBURBS.