Chagrin Falls: A Village for all Seasons
I first heard of Chagrin Falls as the title of a tune by the Tragically Hip, a Canadian rock band, although after multiple visits, we’ve found that this village (about a half hour east of Cleveland) is anything but tragic.
An historical marker near the falls explains that the Chagrin River most likely derived its name from Francoise Seguin, a French fur trader who traded with Native Americans in northeast Ohio during the mid-1700s.
The village became a busy industrial area during the 1800s when factories established operations near the falls for its ready source of water and power. Those mid- to-late 19th century businesses included an ax factory, a foundry, flour mills, paper mills and more.
The waterfalls are a year-round attraction. We enjoy taking photos of them during the winter when the falls start to freeze and during the summer when it is possible to climb down to the foot of the cascade.
The old factories are pretty much history today, but many businesses still occupy the well-preserved commercial buildings that date from the mid-to-late 1800s.
Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver vocalist Scott Weiland also spent part of his childhood and high school years in Chagrin Falls.
I have to wonder if Weiland participated in the Pumpkin Roll, a yearly tradition where the village’s high school students smash and roll pumpkins down a hill near the center of town, using the slimy base for sliding and sledding after Halloween.
Here are a few more of our favorite places in the village:
Fireside Book Shop-This little independent bookstore has a nice selection of titles by Ohio writers and about Ohio places.
Popcorn Corn Shop Factory-This store, atop the waterfall, is a great place to stop for a snack after climbing back up from the cascade. You can get an ice cream cone, or a bag of locally made popcorn to take home with you.
Chagrin Hardware-This vintage village store will soon celebrate its 157th year! It’s a classic hardware store with wooden floors and narrow aisles crammed full of tools, gadgets, lawn equipment and much more.
Valley Art Center-There is a strong arts scene in the village, and we especially enjoyed visiting this art center when it mounted a sizeable exhibit dedicated to the color blue. The center also has a small gift store and offers art classes for children, teens and adults.
The Gazebo (bandstand)-This vintage-1877 grapevine gazebo sits in a small park across the street from the bookstore. There is a pretty, well-tended garden and the village decorates the gazebo with evergreen garlands in the winter.
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