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Euclid, OH: Home of Charles F. Brush

Euclid, Ohio shares a long history with its neighbor, Cleveland.  For the first 30 years of its existence, Euclid was the larger of the two cities.  It wasn’t until the development of the Erie Canal in 1827 that Cleveland began to outgrow its neighbor.  Both cities were part of the same 3 Million acre parcel of land originally surveyed by General Moses Cleaveland (yes, his name is spelled that way!)  Moses Cleaveland did not come alone to survey 3 Million acres of land – he brought plenty of help.  Dozens of land surveyors accompanied him and, according to a contract between the surveyors and Mr. Cleaveland, were granted parcels of land in a township.  Being land surveyors, these men had a love of mathematics, and chose to name the fledgling township after their favorite historical figure, Greek mathematician Euclid – the father of Euclidean geometry.

At the onset of the War of 1812, residents of Euclid found themselves in a potentially dangerous situation.  There were rumors of the British leading a bloody campaign from Lake Erie and also of Native American attacks on settlements in the area.  Thus it was that residents of Euclid packed their belongs, hitched wagons and headed east out of town.  They soon found the Chagrin River nearly overflowing its banks, and they were unable to cross.  At this point, the settlers found themselves with their backs to a raging river and potential foes closing in from all sides.  Desperate, they sent an emissary to Cleveland and discovered that the rumors of a British and/or Native American campaign in the area were just that – rumors.  Most of the settlers returned straightaway.

Between the time period between 1830 and 1930, Euclid vacillated between township and city status several times.  Euclid voters would choose to incorporate the township, only to rescind the decision the following year, due to the added responsibilities and risks of incorporation in that era.  The city was incorporated the final time in 1931, and Charles Ely was elected its first mayor.

WWII brought unprecedented growth to the area, as industries geared up for war production.  Population growth was so explosive, in fact, that Euclid had trouble housing all the new arrivals.  1300 new domiciles were quickly built to accommodate these new Euclid residents, many of whom were wives of soldiers and their children.  After the war, Euclid continued to grow and prosper.  Today, Euclid has a population of slightly under 50K residents and is located along Lake Erie, about 10 miles from its long time neighbor Cleveland.

Euclid is the home of Charles F. Brush, the inventor of the electric dynamo – essentially an electric generator – for use with arc lamps.  He was awarded several patents for his inventions.  He created Brush Electric Company and quickly convinced the city of Cleveland to install his electric arc lights as street lamps.  His devices were reliable and efficient and undoubtedly inspired awe given the rarity of electric power at that time.  Over the next decade, cities all over America would follow suit, including places as distant as New York and San Francisco.  Eventually, Brush Electric Company was bought out by Edison’s General Electric Company.  Brush constructed a mansion on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, which was notable for two reasons:  Most importantly, it was the first house in Cleveland to be powered by electricity. Second, and perhaps more interestingly, it was powered entirely by wind-power.  Brush constructed an enormous windmill, which generated electricity to the home without interruption for the 20 years it operated.


Photo Source:

“Euclid (Ohio) – Old City Hall” by stu_spivack – originally posted to Flickr as Polka/Softball museum. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –