North Royalton Village Green

Description

The intersections of Bennett, Royalton, and Ridge Roads have always formed the civic center of North Royalton, even before there was a North Royalton. These roads made up the center of Royalton Township (established in 1818) of the Western Reserve, and when North Royalton became a village in 1927, the green had already been the site of the township's administrative buildings for over 80 years. More than a government center, the village green has been the focus of community life. It was the home of the first Baptist Church in the township, as well as a cemetery that was later moved (but not entirely!). Later, the North Royalton Harvest Picnic would be held there, and police and fire stations were also built near the green.

Much has changed in North Royalton since the days when the area was home to dairy farms, cheese factories, and other agricultural pursuits. Post-World War II suburbanization and the construction of the Ohio Turnpike through the town in 1955 caused a sharp rise in population. Over time, Township Hall became Village Hall, Town Hall, and finally City Hall when North Royalton officially became a city in 1961. The Harvest Picnic festival became known as Home Days. The dense forest of 1818 was cut down early on, but dozens of trees have been planted since as farms have given way to suburban streets. One thing has not changed, however: North Royalton's village green has always been a place for government to do business and for people to gather, serving as an example to visitors of the city's long history of togetherness.

Audio Show

Bodies Under the Gazebo

Don Harris, Vice President of the North Royalton Historical Society, describes why some bodies were never moved from the burial ground on the North Royalton Village Green to the North Royalton Cemetery.

Photos Show

Village Green, 1905

This is the North Royalton Village Green as it appeared looking south from Bennett Road in 1905. Note the old town hall in the foreground, near the current location of North Royalton City Hall. The prominent Baptist Church was razed in 1929.

Image courtesy of the North Royalton Historical Society

Bennett's Corners Band Uniform, ca. 1900

The North Royalton Village Green was often the site of band concerts that brought in bands and audiences for miles around. Bennett's Corners was the meeting of four townships: Royalton, Strongsville, Brunswick, and Hinckley. Note the "Union Soldier" style of this uniform, which dates to around 1900.

Image courtesy of the North Royalton Historical Society

Royalton Township Band Drum

Community bands were a source of pride for the rural communities south of Cleveland in the early 20th-century, similar to high school marching bands today. This drum proudly lets the listener know where the band hailed from. The Royalton Township Band often played on the Village Green.

Image courtesy of the North Royalton Historical Society

"The Gazebo"

Some time around 1913 (this is an approximate date, as no records were kept), a bandstand was built in the North Royalton Village Green to accommodate the many concerts held there. Money to build it came from wealthy Cleveland iron baron (and summer resident of Royalton Township) William McLauchlan. The structure soon became the symbol of the city, even appearing on the city's seal. Most residents currently know it as "The Gazebo." It was most recently renovated in the mid-2000s.

Image courtesy of Matt Kish

Fire Station Construction

The current North Royalton Fire Station (seen here under construction) replaced its predecessor near the village green, continuing a Royalton tradtion of locating government buildings in this central location.

Image courtesy of the North Royalton Historical Society

First Baptist Church, 1906

The First Baptist Church of North Royalton was established in 1828. This building was erected on the Village Green in 1850 and demolished in 1928.

Image courtesy of the North Royalton Historical Society

Subjects

Cite this Page

“North Royalton Village Green,” Cleveland Historical, accessed October 26, 2014, http:/​/​clevelandhistorical.​org/​items/​show/​282.​
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