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Berea ( ) is a city in Cuyahoga Countymarker in the U.S. state of Ohiomarker. It is a suburb of Clevelandmarker. The population was 18,970 at the 2000 census. Berea is home to Baldwin-Wallace College and the training facility for the Cleveland Browns.

Berea proclaims itself "The Grindstone Capital of the World". 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. Several lakes in the area are former quarry pits that have been allowed to fill with water.

John Baldwin named the city after the biblical Berea, and was only granted the naming rights after a coin flip. The town was founded in 1836. Berea High School was the first high school, founded in 1882, and Berea is also home to the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds.

Berea public schools are part of the Berea City School District, which also contains schools in Brook Parkmarker and Middleburg Heightsmarker. Berea will construct Grindstone Elementary in 2011–2012 following the demolition of Fairwood Elementary.


Berea is located at (41.369950, -81.862591) . It is located west of Brook Parkmarker and Middleburg Heightsmarker.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.6 square miles (14.4 km²), of which, 5.5 square miles (14.1 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (1.97%) is water. The east branch of the Rocky Rivermarker 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.


As of the census 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/sq mi (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 27.9% had children under the age of 18 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.


The first European settlers were originally from Connecticutmarker. Berea fell within Connecticut's Western Reserve and was surveyed and divided into townships and ranges by one Gideon Granger. A Revolutionary War veteran, Abram Hickox bought the first plot in what is today Middleburg Heights and in 1808 set out west from Connecticut. 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. The area was a swampy lowland and the Hickox's two grown up sons died shortly after arrival from typhoid fever.

John Baldwin named Berea and produced the grindstones that made the town famous.
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, 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. 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. Baldwin initially shipped grindstones to Clevelandmarker by ox carts. After the Big Four Railroad was built from Cleveland to Cincinnatimarker, 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 Acts 17:10-11. After a coin flip, Berea was chosen.

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.

In 1866, James Wallace purchased the site of the Lyceum Village from the German Children's Home to become the German Wallace College Campus. In 1913, Baldwin University and German-Wallace College merged to become Baldwin-Wallace College.

Notable residents


Image:Lyceum Square Berea Ohio.JPG|Lyceum Square, original site of the Lyceum Village and German Wallace CollegeImage:Wheeler Hall Baldwin-Wallace University.JPG|Recitation Hall, now Wheeler Hall was the 1st building on the new north campus.Image:Big Quarry Marker Picture Berea Ohio.JPG|The Big Quarry at its busiest.Image:Big Quarry today Berea Ohio.JPG|The Big Quarry is now a lakefront park

Surrounding communities


  2. Webber, A.R. Life of John Baldwin, Sr. Caxton Press, 1925., p. 50.
  3. Webber, 43
  4. Webber, 45-46
  5. Webber, 50
  6. Ohio Historical Marker 61-18 (2003)
  7. Ohio Historical Marker 23-18 (2001)
  8. Ohio Historical Marker 16-18 (1998)

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