Hardbound, pictorial history books on sale at city hall for $25.00.
In 1805, two years after Ohio was admitted to the Union as the seventeenth state, the first settlers arrived on the western bank of the Chagrin River in what would become known as Mayfield Township. As people continued to move to the area, the first school house, which also served as a public meeting hall and church, was built in 1816. It was in this log structure that Mayfield Township was born in 1819 when said request was granted by the county commissioners and officers were elected. A decade later, a marked increase in population was experienced and three clusters of settlement appeared in the township. The first was in the northeastern part known as Wilson Mills. The second, in the southeastern section, known as Gates Mills. Lastly, at the crossroads of S.O.M. Center and Wilson Mills Roads was Mayfield Centre. By the 1870's, each of these settlements had post offices, mills, at least one church, and a doctor.
As old trails were transformed into roads to accommodate the transportation of goods, Mayfield Road, then known as State Road, was surveyed and cut through in 1832. In 1877, road improvements began and when it was completed, horse-drawn wagons could haul their loads from the top of Gates Mills' western hill to the bottom of Little Italy's Mayfield Road hill. Tolls were paid at Brainard Road or Superior Road tollgates. The extreme ups and downs of the landscape of the Chagrin Valley was taxing. In 1897, the Cleveland & Eastern Railway was chartered to build an electric railroad from Chardon to Cleveland. Tearing up of the old plank road was completed in 1909.The "Red Cars" were the modern mode of transportation at the dawn of the twentieth century. In 1925, with increasing competition from automobiles, as well as bus service, the last interurban car made its way out Mayfield Road.
In 1920, township trustees and voters chose to split up the township, and Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Mayfield, and Riverside were incorporated as villages. Mayfield Heights was incorporated as a village in 1925. The population was 1,500.
Former Mayfield Township Trustee Frank Durdin served the village as mayor after the incorporation. He served in that capacity until the end of 1925 when Theodore Ludwig was elected. The first council members were C. Burlingham, M. King, M. Kreps, G. Davis, H. Hosack, and F. Badke. Ernest Keeler served as Mayor from 1928 through 1929 followed by Dr. Rommy Laughlin, from 1930 to 1935.
The population in 1930 was 2,612. A bungalow could be built for $3,200. Garage-type homes were built on the back of lots. Friends shared homes and food when jobs were few and needs were great.
The WPA (Workers Progress Administration) employed workers for $15 per week. They completed the new village hall in 1938 at a cost of $26,000. Other projects included sewers and the grading and slagging of Ridgebury Boulevard. Council members were paid $2 per meeting. The village budget was $78,000. After serving as Treasurer, Albert Judge became mayor in 1935.
By 1940, jobs became more plentiful. The telephone exchange operated from a private home at the corner of Longwood. Local "number please" operators were employed for the cord and plug operation. The Shepard Bus Company, followed by the Redifer Bus Company, operated between S.O.M. and Warrensville Center to connect with Cleveland's streetcar system to downtown. The bus garage was located on the site of our city's service department garage. A hardware store on the same site housed the post office branch before it moved to a gas station at the corner of Sunset. Home delivery had not yet begun and mail could be picked up twice daily. In the early 1950s the Lyndhurst-Mayfield Post Office opened west of Iroquois, before it moved to its current location on Landerbrook.
Mayfield Road School, a.k.a. "17 school" was located on Mayfield Road across from Woodrow and bordered a golf course on the east. In 1941, there were only three homes on Eastwood, four homes on East Miner, and West Miner was undeveloped. The population in 1944 was 4,800 and a bungalow cost $7,000. Harry Jones served as the Mayor from 1944- 1951.
The town hall was the focal point of the village. All administrative and political activity took place there including meetings, dinners, church services, wedding receptions, and dances. A three-cell jail was located in the corner of the basement. Adjacent to the fire garage was a skating pond.
The army invaded Mayfield Heights on August 8, 1941. A convoy of 325 trucks and 590 men of the 101st Quartermaster Regiment of the 26th Division from Camp Edwards, Massachusetts, were on the return trip after picking up new trucks in Pontiac, Michigan. They camped on a local sand lot behind the home at 1437 West Miner. Local merchants sent food and bakery to the soldiers. Girl Scout Troop #60 sponsored a dance at the village hall, and a Ladies Aid Society had an ice cream social.
The post-war years saw the beginning of a building boom of houses and commercial buildings, without a master plan. Automatic telephone dialing was installed with private lines when the Ohio bell exchange was built at Summit Drive. Our first library was started in the portable school at 16A by the Women's Welfare Club. When Mayfield Road School was completed, the library was moved to the new school's basement. Our own branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library was located in the second strip of shops behind the Mayland Shopping Center and dedicated in December 1955.
Mayfield Heights was incorporated as a city on July 2, 1951. The special election results were 472 for and 30 against. Henry Ritter was elected as Mayor and served from 1952 - 1957.
Recreation began at the city park in the 1960s with the building of two ball fields and the tennis courts and later more ball fields across Marsol Road. Edwin Frantz served as Mayor from 1958 - 1965.
Elected Mayor in 1965, Ross DeJohn served the city for the next 28 years, longer than any mayor in Mayfield Heights history. The community center was built in 1977 and named in honor of Mayor DeJohn when he retired.
In 1994, the first female Mayor was elected. Margaret Egensperger served the city for three consecutive four year terms ending in 2005.
Mayor Gregory S. Costabile began serving as Mayor/Safety Director in 2006. Under his leadership, the old plank road was widened and resurfaced to provide convenient access to the city's vast array of retail and dining establishments, prestigious corporate parks, quiet neighborhoods, and beautiful parks. Great strides were made in the area of economic development to secure our position as a viable contender for business retention and attraction.
The current Mayor, Anthony DiCicco, began serving in 2013. Mayor DiCicco understands that opportunities for engagement with our neighbors are vital to the strength of our community. It creates a sense of belonging and pride and builds connections that strengthen the safety of our neighborhoods. It is important to provide more of those opportunities for residents to gather and for us to attract and retain businesses. To that end, the Strategic Planning Commission met in 2014 to develop a plan to revitalize the Mayfield Road retail corridor.
It is important to take these steps to reduce vacancies, maintain infrastructure, gain market share, increase the tax base, make it pedestrian friendly, provide gathering spaces and enhance the city's image. Plans will move us forward with the warmth of past memories and the strengths of our city's heritage.