Harkening from Marlboro, Vermont, John Strong arrived in the lands of the Western Reserve of Connecticut (as northeastern Ohio was then known) in 1816 as a 44-year-old. That was ‘the year of no summer’, due to the planetary cooling brought about by the globe-girdling ash clouds of the massive 1815 eruption of the volcano Mount Tambora of Indonesia — the greatest volcanic upheaval in recorded history.
Mr. Strong built the community’s first sawmill and gristmill, and brought his Vermont family to live with him in a newly constructed log home. Within a few years of his arrival, the new community became a township by the name of Strongsville, and then, within a few more years, a village. It was not designated a city until 1961. By that time, it had adopted its current nickname of ‘Crossroads of the Nation’, as it sits at the intersection of the north-south Interstate 71 with the east-west Ohio Turnpike, Interstate 80.
John Strong was an entrepreneur. He had purchased his original portion of land from the Connecticut Land Company, agreeing to act as agent for further sale of additional lands. He was responsible for construction of the community’s first major road, and sought to bring skilled persons, such as a town doctor, to the growing township. He later sold the land of what is now Strongsville Commons to the citizenry for compensation of $1.
Adjacent to Strongsville Commons stands the historic red brick Strong House, constructed in the early 1800s. Opposite the Commons across Pearl Road stands the Pomeroy House — now the restaurant Don’s Pomeroy House, but in the mid-1800s known as The Homestead, a key stop on the Underground Railroad sheltering runaway slaves.
Upon Strongsville Commons stand a large bell tower that serves as a local landmark and visual civic icon, and a more recently added gazebo for community functions.