Did you know…?
Pearl Road (Rt. 42), which became known as the Wooster Pike, was originally an Indian trail that extended from Lake Erie south down to the current Wooster, Ohio, location. Prior to the Civil War, Pearl Road was the area’s first Underground Railroad route on which runaway slaves could travel to Cleveland and escape by boat to Canada. In the 1890s, Pearl Road became the first red-bricked highway in the nation.
- In the spring of 1810, Ephrian Vaughn settled in Middleburg”h” Township. In 1823, the first school in the township was established in his log house. Levi Castle was the teacher. Today’s Vaughn Road is named after the Vaughn family.
- By 1812, the population of Middleburgh Township had grown to four families. They lived in log cabins near today’s Bagley Road, west of Interstate 71.
- The first agricultural fair was held in Middleburgh Township in 1819, just 10 years after first settler Jared Hickcox arrived. The Cuyahoga County Fair is still being held today at the Berea Fairgrounds.
- The first train from Cleveland to Columbus traveled through Middleburgh Township on February 18, 1851. The trip took eight hours on tracks that ran through today’s City of Berea.
- In the early 1800s, Abijah Bagley became the owner of the Jared Hickcox property, where he ran the only rest stop on the road between Cleveland and Columbus. In 1835, Bagley Road was named for him.
- In the 1800s, “hugging bees” were a popular drawing card at church fairs. Men were blindfolded and charged for a 5-minute hug with the ladies. Prices were 25 cents for girls, age 12-16 and 50 cents for ladies age 16-25. It cost a dollar to hug another man’s wife. Old maids went for 3 cents, or two for a nickel.
- In 1931, Middleburgh Heights had a population of 1,900 living in a 10-square mile area. There were no churches, schools, or libraries in the village at the time.
- Our city hall was built in 1932. It stands on the knoll from which Middleburgh Township was first surveyed in 1795. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) planted the trees around city hall during the Great Depression.
- Our first settler, Jared Hickcox, came here in 1809 after being kicked out of Waterbury, Connecticut, for being an English sympathizer during the Revolutionary War.
- The children of early settlers Abram and Lucy Fowles had Indian children for playmates because there was a village of Indians in today’s Fowles/Pearl Road vicinity. There was also an Indian encampment where Berea High School stands today.
For further information about the history of our community, please contact the Middleburg Heights Historical Society and the Middleburg Heights branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library.
Our special thanks to local historian Betsy Menzel and the Middleburg Heights Historical Society, who helped provide this information.