Munroe Falls is a city located in the east-central portion of Summit County, Ohio, United States, between Stow and Tallmadge. It is a suburb of Akron and is part of the Akron Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 5,012 at the 2010 census.
Like much of the Connecticut Western Reserve, the area that makes up present-day Munroe Falls was previously inhabited by various tribes of American Indians. When the Western Reserve began being surveyed in 1796, what is now Munroe Falls was mostly in the southern part of the survey township Town 3, Range 10 (later to be Stow Township), then a part of Washington County before being placed in the new Jefferson County the following year. In 1800, it was made part of Trumbull County, which followed the boundaries of the Western Reserve, and in 1808, the area was made part of Portage County. The first settlers in present-day Munroe Falls, a group of around 40 people including Francis Kelsey and William Stow, came in 1809. Kelsey built a sawmill on the south side of the Cuyahoga River and a gristmill was built on the north side. The initial name of the new village was Kelsey's Mills (also Kelsey Mills). In 1817 a wooden dam was built to provide power for both mills and the name of the village was changed to Florence. Around 1836, William and Edmund Munroe (also spelled Monroe) from Boston arrived and purchased the two mills and approximately of land around them to lay out a new village, which they named Munroe Falls. The village was incorporated October 26, 1838. The Munroes had great plans for the village to become a center of commerce and an important city, but these plans never worked out. After about 10 years, which included the economic instability of the Panic of 1837, the Munroes defaulted to many of the creditors and the properties they owned were taken over by other individuals.
The Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal opened in 1840 and passed through Munroe Falls. It closed around 1870. Also in 1840, Munroe Falls was made part of the new Summit County. In 1866, the old gristmill was purchased by the Cleveland Paper Company and refitted for paper manufacturing. The building burned down approximately 1–2 years later and the present factory - today owned by Sonoco Products - was built on the same site. In 1884 railroad tracks were laid in the former canal bed as part of a single line owned by the Pittsburgh and Western Railroad. These tracks were doubled in 1900 following the purchase of the railroad by Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
In 1921 the community applied for and was granted village status. This action was taken in order to avoid becoming a part of neighboring Stow, which was applying for similar status and had included sections of Munroe Falls in its application. Finding that as a village there was not enough population to maintain self-sufficiency, the village held city officer elections for the first time in 1925 in order to revoke the village charter and receive county services.
In the early 2000s, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Summit County determined that the oxygen levels were too low in the Cuyahoga River, due mostly to the stagnant pool behind the Munroe Falls dam. The solution was to lower the dam, which dated to 1903. Eventually, the entire dam was removed after workers discovered a natural ledge underneath the existing dam. This project, begun in August 2005 and completed in October 2006, was part of a larger project along much of the river in the city that included cleanup and restoration.