SOLON, incorporated as a village in 1917 and as a city in 1961, operating under the mayor-council form of government. It is 18 miles from Cleveland in the southeast corner of Cuyahoga County and occupies 22 sq. mi. Solon is bounded by Geauga County on the east, Summit County on the south, ORANGE, MORELAND HILLS, and BENTLEYVILLE on the north, and BEDFORD HTS., OAKWOOD, and GLENWILLOW on the west.
The earliest white settlers in Solon Twp. arrived from Connecticut in 1820. The township was named after Lorenzo Solon Bull, son of Isaac Bull, one of these settlers. Swampland and drainage problems confronted the pioneers. Once the land was cleared and drained, corn and wheat became the staple crops (see AGRICULTURE). In addition, 5 cheese factories were built, creating a profitable dairy business (see BUSINESS, RETAIL). In 1850 the population was 1,034. RAILROADS contributed to Solon's growth; in 1857 the Cleveland-Youngstown section of the Cleveland & Mahoning Railroad opened through the village. The main road was SOM Center Rd., so named because it passed through Solon, Orange, and Mayfield townships. The first INDUSTRY to locate in Solon was the Bready Cultimotor tractor company (1929).
By 1987, more than 150 businesses had located there; small industry traditionally contributed to more than 50% of the tax base. The largest employers in 1985 were TECHNICARE CORP., STOUFFER FOODS, and the WESTERN ELECTRIC CO. In 2003, the Solon Chamber of Commerce, in its 76th year, included over 500 industrial, commercial, retail and professional businesses.
With its commercial district concentrated at the central intersection, Solon maintained a small-town appearance. In 2002 over 50% of the land remained undeveloped. City parks and recreational areas in 2003 totaled 9 with 695 acres, and the city enclosed 360 acres of regional metroparks. Nevertheless, population increased steadily from 6,333 in 1960 to 11,519 in 1970, 14,341 in 1980, 18,548 in 1990, and 21,802 in 2000. The Solon public school district has 4 elementary, 2 junior high, and 1 senior high schools. The city is also home to a branch of the CUYAHOGA COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM.