The Village of Garrettsville is a wonderful area to live, work, and visit. Garrettsville, which is only 45 minutes from most of northeastern Ohio’s major metropolitan, combines rural charm with city facilities for residents and visitors.
John Garrett III landed in the part of the Western Reserve that became Garrettsville in July of 1804. The year before, Col. Garrett had paid $1,313 for 300 acres in southeastern Nelson Township. He got wilderness with a need for taming and water rights to Silver Creek for $4.40 per acre. Garrettsville’s owner, his family, and two friends started carving a community out of the forest in 1804 and 1805. Construction of an earthen dam and a saw and grain mill on Silver Creek was one of their earliest projects. At that time, the few mills that existed in the area were mostly for the benefit of single families or neighbourhoods. Early settlers who had their grain ground at these mills frequently reclaimed it unground and ate it boiled in the entire winter. The mill of John Garrett was unique. It was built with the intention of serving populations within a 20-mile radius, which it did. A road was built from
Mantua to Garrettsville in 1805. The Cleveland-Pittsburgh Road was built near the mill in 1806. To get their grain processed at Garrett’s mill, adventurous pioneers walked through the forests from Nelson, Mantua, Hiram, Freedom, and Windham. Over time, a community was built up around the mill. The train arrived at town, and churches, stores, and one-room schools were built. The small community experienced growing pains over time. One of the inconveniences was having to walk through mud to get to other stores when visiting Garrett’s mill. Residents in Nelson’s southwest corner petitioned the Portage County Commissioners in 1864 to allow the incorporation of a one-mile square area “to be designated by the name of Garrettsville” to address some of these issues.
On September 1, 1864, 62 voters picked a mayor, recorder, and five trustees in a shoe shop. The construction of a wooden path from the depot to the east side of town was overwhelmingly approved nine days later at the first meeting of the incorporated village of Garrettsville. Garrettsville had a grain mill, carriage factories, distillery, tannery, woollen mill, chair & table factory, two or three foundries, a sawmill that also made nets, a bucket factory, and, because flax was a major crop, a linseed oil factory by that time or shortly after. Near the intersection of what is now S.R. 82 and 88, the business that would become The Root Store, Portage County’s oldest department store, was founded around 1820. Near the intersection of Center Street and Maple Avenue, a tin store opened in 1830, later adding hardware in 1854. In 1871, a Farmer’s Bank was created, and the Morris Brothers, a descendant of Pelsue Drug, opened a pharmacy in 1875. J. H. Bogrand Dry Goods and Clothing, which would later become Menough’s, was formed in the same year. After that, R. B. Waters and Sons bought the company in 1896. The predecessor of Lansinger Jewelry was founded in 1886, the same year that the community received telephones and the opera house was constructed at a cost of $15,000.
Garrettsville had become the world’s largest maple syrup centre by 1899. Arthur Crane, the man largely responsible, owned a cannery on Windham Street. Crane Candies was formed by his son, who also invented the Lifesavers candy formula. Hart Crane, his grandson, composed poetry that are now studied at college campuses across the United States. Churches, schools, public agencies, and service-oriented and social groups grew alongside the business district. In 1923, major industry arrived in the form of Polson Rubber, which purchased the older McWade Rubber, which is arguably best known for its winning baseball teams.