Brandywine Falls

The OES visited Brandywine Falls on May 26, 2010. Located in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the 60-foot Brandywine Falls is easily the most popular destination in the park and often the site of weddings. Brandywine Creek began around 10,000 years ago when the last glaciers retreated. As the creek cut through the layers of sandstone and shale, Brandywine Falls was born. The rock exposed by the falls was formed between 320-400 million years ago when ancient seas left behind sediments that were later compressed into rock. The more resistant Berea Sandstone forms the top layer, while the more vulnerable Bedford and Cleveland Shale are below. This causes the sandstone layer to be undercut, leaving large chunks of sandstone in the creek below the falls. Brandywine Creek continues for about two miles from the falls until it dumps into the Cuyahoga River.

Early settlers arriving in the valley not only saw the beauty of nature in Brandywine Falls, but also viewed it as a source of power. In 1814, George Wallace built a sawmill at the top of the falls and established what would become the village of Brandywine. One of the earliest communities of the Cuyahoga Valley, Brandywine thrived over the next ten years, adding a grist mill, woolen mill, whiskey distillery and about twelve homes. In 1825, George transferred the property to his sons, who established the Wallace Brothers Company, The company thrived for another thirty years until the Ohio-Erie Canal, and later the railroads, bypassed Brandywine, causing its prosperity to dry up. In 1848, George’s son James Wallace built a barn and home just north of the falls. New life came to Brandywine in 1920 when Willis Hale built the Champion Electric Company near the old grist mill ruins. He produced restaurant appliances there until 1937 when the factory was destroyed by lightning. Today the James Wallace House is the only structure still standing, serving as a bed and breakfast. The construction of nearby I-271 further contributed to the loss of most of the village’s remains, although a few foundations can be found, including cinder blocks from the electric company and sandstone blocks of the grist mill.

Location Information: Public Park

Brandywine Falls are located near the intersection of Brandywine Road and Stanford Road; Summit County.