In 1817, a log dam was built in the Cuyahoga River to power a saw and grist mill. This power source attracted small industries to what was then referred to as the town of Florence. In 1836, the Munroe Brothers of Boston purchased 200 acres of land in Florence, started the Munroe Falls Manufacturing Company, and later renamed Florence, Munroe Falls.
Completed in 1841, the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal created great prosperity for the region. The grist mill was converted to manufacture paper, and was purchased by the Cleveland Paper Company in 1866. The mill property is currently owned by Sonoco products, a valued member of the community to this day.
Removal of the Dam
In 2006, in an effort to improve flow and aeration of the Cuyahoga River, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) removed the dam that created the city's namesake falls, accompanied by landscaping and beautification of the river banks. A lighted observation deck now marks the former dam site, and a small amphitheater has been added to the hillside, constructed of large hewn stones salvaged from the dam.