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The early settlers came to Chagrin Falls because they recognized the potential for the power of the river for industry. The first dam on the river was built by Chester Bushnell in 1834. It had a fall of 9 feet and an undershot vertical wheel powered a saw mill.

Within 10 years, 9 different dams were built, harnessing the power of the river. The first dams powered industries that were necessary for a growing village such as grist mills, saw mills, a joinery and planing mill, and a flour mill. By 1842, the village had a population of more than 600 people.

As the town grew, mills shifted from manufacturing what was needed to build and sustain a community to manufacturing products designed for export. Items produced in Chagrin Falls were sold in markets throughout the country and around the world.

Photo for Dams
Main Street dam on Chagrin River looking east from Main Street Bridge. Circa 1890. The dam was built in 1837 and provided power for Noah Graves paper mill.
Photo for Dams
Dam at Chase Bag Co. circa 1965. This dam was built in 1841.
Photo for Dams
Whitesburg dam and mill pond. This dam was originally built in 1842.
Photo for Dams
Graphic depiction of the 9 dams built on the Chagrin River in Chagrin Falls between 1834 and 1843.

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