Beginning in 1873, oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller purchased 700 acres of land in East Cleveland Township, now located in East Cleveland and Cleveland Heights. A failed hotel built in 1874-1875 served as the family’s summer home until it was destroyed by fire in 1917, although Rockefeller’s son, John, Jr., continued to visit the grounds. The Rockefellers spent much of their time outdoors, where they built on the land’s natural beauty and carefully designed and built carriage, foot and bridle paths, scenic views, lakes, a lily pond, stone bridges, a horse track and a gold course. John, Jr. purhcased all of his father’s Forest Hill property in 1923 and continued to buy adjacent land.
Bounded by Ridge, Royalton, and Bennett Roads, the Green has been the heart of North Royalton even before it was incorporated. Once part of Brecksville Township, Royalton became its own township in 1818. Local lore says that settlers David and Knight Sprague paid a gallon of whiskey to name the community after their hometown of Royalton, Vermont. In 1825, John Watkins sold five acres to create this Green, so that the township could have a cemetery, a public square, and a place for public buildings. In 1885, “North” was added to “Royalton” to distinguish it from another Royalton in Ohio. Formerly a small agricultural community known for milk and cheese production, as well as nurseries, North Royalton became a Cleveland suburb following World War II. North Royalton incorporated as a village in 1927 and became city in 1961. (Continued on other side)