City History

Early Settlers
Westlake’s beginnings date back to October 10, 1810, when two families arrived by oxcart to set up homesteads in Township 7, Range 15, of the recently platted Connecticut Western Reserve. Joseph and Lydia Cahoon, Asahel and Rebecca Porter and their children and Rebecca's brother, Leverett Johnson, settled in the portion of the township that later became Bay Village. By 1811, Leverett began clearing land in what later became Westlake. He is considered Westlake's 1st pioneer.
Early house in Westlake
Others who settled in the Westlake portion of Dover in 1811 include Joseph Root, brothers Abner and Jonathon Smith and their wives (both named Rebecca), brothers James and Barnabas Hall, and Barnabas' wife Hannah and Noah and Betsey Crocker. All the married couples had children who accompanied them. These individuals and families led the way for many New Englanders who followed them. On November 14, 1811, Dover Township was incorporated and Westlake considers that the date of the City's founding. Other early families included Cooley, Clemens, and Sperry. Many of today's streets are named for these and other early settlers.

Read about life in Dover Township:
Learn more about the founders

Livestock & Growth

The pioneer homesteaders cleared the township’s dense forests to plant crops and provide pasture for raising horses, cattle and sheep. Waterpower from area creeks ran sawmills and gristmills. The area that is now the intersection of Dover Center and Center Ridge Roads was the geographical and historical center of activity. Located in this area was the Dover Blast Furnace, which made pig iron from bog ore and operated for more than 10 years until it burned down in 1844.

Agriculture in Dover Township evolved into the raising of grain, small fruit, and grapes. The Nickel Plate Railroad laid the first track and operated the first locomotive, which arrived in Dover in 1882. Toward the latter part of the 19th century, the township was the second largest shipping point for grapes in the United States. 
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