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Berea, Ohio

Berea, Ohio
Triangle area of downtown Berea
Triangle area of downtown Berea
Location in Cuyahoga County and the state of Ohio.
Location in Cuyahoga County and the state of Ohio.
Location of Ohio in the United States
Location of Ohio in the United States
Country United States
State Ohio
County Cuyahoga
 • Mayor Cyril M. Kleem
 • Total 5.83 sq mi (15.10 km2)
 • Land 5.72 sq mi (14.81 km2)
 • Water 0.11 sq mi (0.28 km2)
Elevation[2] 764 ft (233 m)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 19,093
 • Estimate (2012[4]) 18,980
 • Density 3,337.9/sq mi (1,288.8/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 44017
Area code(s) 440
FIPS code 39-05690[5]
GNIS feature ID 1072192[2]

Berea ( )[6] is a city in Cuyahoga County in the U.S. state of Ohio and is a western suburb of Cleveland. The population was 19,093 at the 2010 census. Berea is home to Baldwin Wallace University, as well as the training facility for the Cleveland Browns and the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Demographics 3
    • 2010 census 3.1
    • 2000 census 3.2
  • Education 4
    • High schools 4.1
    • Middle schools 4.2
    • Elementary schools 4.3
  • Bach Festival 5
  • Notable people 6
  • Gallery 7
  • References 8
    • Notes 8.1
    • Citations 8.2
    • Sources 8.3
  • External links 9


John Baldwin named Berea and produced the grindstones that made the town famous.

Berea, Ohio, was established in 1836. Henry O. Sheldon, a circuit rider, selected Berea and Tabor as possible names for the community. The townspeople decided to simply flip a coin, and Berea won, thus becoming the town's name.[7]

The first European settlers were originally from Connecticut. Berea fell within Connecticut's Western Reserve and was surveyed and divided into townships and ranges by one Gideon Granger, a gentleman who served as Postmaster General under President Thomas Jefferson. Abram Hickox, a Revolutionary War veteran, bought the first plot in what is today Middleburg Heights and in 1808 traveled west from Connecticut to his new purchase. Dissuaded by the swampy and heavily forested land he decided to settle in Cleveland. He became successful as Cleveland's first full-time blacksmith. His plot of land was sold to his nephew, Jared Hickox, who came to the area with his wife Sarah and family in 1809. They followed an ancient Indian highway down through the forest from Cleveland and then, at what is now the corner of Bagley and Pearl roads, began to hack their way directly west. About two miles in they found Granger's plot markers and set up their homestead. Today this area is a strip mall on Bagley Road, just down the road from Berea. At the time Hickox discovered Granger's plot markers, the area was a swampy lowland and, as fate would have it, the Hickox's two grown up sons died from typhoid fever shortly after the family's arrival.

The family farm was in dire straits, having been so severely depleted of male laborers. Love came to the rescue, however; and the area's spirits were lifted by its first marriage, that of Jared's daughter Amy Hickox to a recent arrival, Abijah Bagley. Bagley ended up taking over the farm and managing it into a successful concern. Today, Berea's largest street bears his name.

In 1828, educator John Baldwin moved to Middeburg Township where he joined forces with James Gilbrith, a disciple of Josiah Holbrook who wanted to found a lyceum village. This village was founded in 1837. Baldwin ran the Lyceum Village School for five years until June 1842, when it went bankrupt.[8] However, one day while walking home, he had an impulse to take a new route across the river on his farm. He noticed a grouping of exposed rocks which he judged would make superior grindstones. This was the beginning of the Berea grindstone industry.[9] Baldwin initially shipped grindstones to Cleveland by ox carts. After the Big Four Railroad was built from Cleveland to Cincinnati, Baldwin built a railroad to connect his quarries to the Big Four Depot. It was then that Baldwin and the others of the Lyceum Village tried to think of a name for their new town. After Gilbrith proposed Tabor, John Baldwin suggested Berea, citing the biblical Berea in the Acts 17:10-11. After a coin flip, Berea was chosen.[10]

In 1842, the Baldwin Institute opened on the south side of town. The school was open to all, regardless of sex, race or religious creed. In 1852, it was renamed Baldwin University. By the 1880s, the quarries had begun to intrude on the site of the university. In 1891, the school broke ground for a new campus at Front Street and Bagley Road. New buildings were constructed and old buildings were moved.[11] In 1866, James Wallace purchased the site of the Lyceum Village from the German Children's Home to become the German Wallace College Campus.[12] In 1913, Baldwin University and German-Wallace College merged to become Baldwin–Wallace College. Berea High School was the town's first high school, founded in 1882.

Berea proclaims itself "The Grindstone Capital of the World".[13] The town's symbol is a grindstone, a tribute to the many grindstones that came out of its quarries. Before concrete came into wide use, Berea dimension stone was an important construction material and huge amounts of it came from Berea, and were used architecturally in many important buildings.[14][15][16][17][upper-alpha 1] Several lakes in the area are former quarry pits that have been allowed to fill with water, including Baldwin Lake, Wallace Lake and Coe Lake.


Berea is located at (41.369950, -81.862591).[18] It is located west of Brook Park and Middleburg Heights.

According to the 2010 census, the city has a total area of 5.83 square miles (15.1 km2), of which 5.72 square miles (14.8 km2) (or 98.11%) is land and 0.11 square miles (0.28 km2) (or 1.89%) is water.[19] The east branch of the Rocky River runs through Berea, providing its water supply for most of the year.

The city lies on sedimentary rocks, including significant amounts of Berea sandstone. This sandstone was formerly quarried for construction and also for use as grindstones.


2010 census

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 19,093 people, 7,471 households, and 4,390 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,337.9 inhabitants per square mile (1,288.8/km2). There were 7,958 housing units at an average density of 1,391.3 per square mile (537.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 88.8% White, 6.6% African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.6% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.8% of the population.

There were 7,471 households of which 25.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.7% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.2% were non-families. 33.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.90.

The median age in the city was 37.1 years. 18.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 17.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.9% were from 25 to 44; 27% were from 45 to 64; and 13.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.7% male and 52.3% female.

2000 census

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 18,970 people, 7,173 households, and 4,468 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,475.9 people per square mile (1,341.5/km²). There were 7,449 housing units at an average density of 1,364.9 per square mile (526.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.48% White, 5.13% African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.90% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.61% from other races, and 1.61% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.59% of the population.

There were 7,173 households out of which 34.9% had children under the age of 65 living with them, 48.1% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.7% were non-families. 32.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.5% under the age of 18, 16.2% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 90.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $45,699, and the median income for a family was $59,194. Males had a median income of $39,769 versus $29,078 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,647. About 2.6% of families and 5.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.1% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.


Public schools in Berea are part of the Berea City School District, which also contains schools in Brook Park and Middleburg Heights.

High schools

Berea-Midpark High School

Middle schools

  • Middleburg Heights Junior High
  • Ford Intermediate School

Elementary schools

  • Grindstone Elementary
  • Brookview Elementary
  • Brookpark Memorial
  • Big Creek Elementary

Only Grindstone is in the City of Berea proper.

Bach Festival

Baldwin-Wallace is the home of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute, a research institute devoted to J. S Bach.[upper-alpha 2]

The first collegiate Bach festival in America was founded in 1932 by music educator Albert Riemenschneider and his wife Selma. The couple had a noble mission: to enrich the lives of Northeast Ohio residents by bringing the world's greatest Bach soloists to the stage of Baldwin Wallace University, while offering the school's Conservatory students an unparalleled opportunity to experience the highest performance standards of their day.

As Riemenschneider conceived it, the festival would rotate Bach's four major works ~ the B-Minor Mass, the St. John Passion, the St. Matthew Passion and the Christmas Oratorio ~ every four years in sequence. Since the inception of the Festival, Baldwin Wallace students perform the major choral and orchestral works with a cast of internationally renowned vocal soloists, faculty and local professionals.

Notable people

Anthony Kleem, American Artist




  1. ^ Nearby Amherst, Ohio claimed to be "The Sandstone Center of the World."
  2. ^ The Institute houses a collection of items unique to Bach and his circle; it also holds classic vocal recordings.[21]


  1. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010".  
  2. ^ a b "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  4. ^ "Population Estimates".  
  5. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  6. ^ "Pronunciation Guide to Places in Ohio".  
  7. ^ "Berea, Ohio". Ohio History. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  8. ^ Webber 1925, p. 43.
  9. ^ Webber 1925, pp. 45-46.
  10. ^ Webber 1925, p. 50.
  11. ^ Ohio Historical Marker 61-18 (2003)
  12. ^ Ohio Historical Marker 23-18 (2001)
  13. ^  
  14. ^ "Cleveland Quarries: Home of the legendary Berea Sandstone". Cleveland Quarries. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b """Marker #16-18 Berea Sandstone Quarries / The "Big Quarry. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Berea Grit Sandstone 2014". Berea Historical Society. Retrieved November 7, 2014.  from Sego, Mickey (1996). Then There Was None. 
  17. ^ Kanaan, George D. "A History Set in Stone". Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  18. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  19. ^ "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files for Places – Ohio". United States Census. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  20. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Riemenschneider". Bach Institute Library. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 



External links

  • The Advertiser, Berea newspaper, 1868-1873
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