Solon is a city in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and is an affluent suburb of Cleveland in the Northeast Ohio Region, the 14th largest Combined Statistical Area in the United States. According to the United States Census Bureau website, in 2012 the city population was estimated at 23,160. In 2011, the city was listed by Money as 3rd in its list of "Best Places to Live." In 2009, the city was listed by Money as 23rd in its list of "Best Places to Live" and was also ranked as one of the Best Places to Raise Kids, 2013 by Businessweek.
Despite their similar names, Solon is not adjacent to South Solon, Ohio, a village located in Madison County in Central Ohio, approximately 35 miles west of Columbus. The two "Solons" are approximately 170 miles apart.
In 1820, the first settlers arrived from Connecticut to live in part of the Connecticut Western Reserve. The township was named after Lorenzo Solon Bull, who was the son of Isaac Bull, one of the first settlers. Purportedly, the selection of young Lorenzo's middle name was due to its derivation from the father of democracy, Solon, the famous Athenian of Ancient Greece.
The early settlers faced challenges common to pioneers, but in Solon, drainage and wetlands issues complicated settlement and agriculture. Overcoming these obstacles, Solon Township became an arable farming area, producing corn and wheat crops and supporting dairy farms (including 5 cheese factories). By 1850, the population of Solon Township reached 1,034.
Due to nearby Cleveland's position as a national hub of the railroad industry, rail also contributed greatly to Solon's growth. In 1857, the Cleveland-Youngstown section of the Cleveland and Mahoning Railroad established a line running through Solon.
Laid out in a traditional New England plan, Solon, like many of the neighboring townships, established a public square in its town center. In conjunction with townships to the north, a north-south corridor was established through the town centers of Solon, Orange, and Mayfield townships (from south to north, respectively) and, accordingly, was named SOM Center Road (now Ohio 91). Solon Township included the current municipalities of the City of Solon and the villages of Bentleyville and Glenwillow. In 1917, Solon was incorporated as a village and later became a city in 1961, operated under the mayor-council form of government.
Solon was one of the first cities to use a comprehensive zoning plan and has been able to achieve a strong industrial base, while insulating its bedroom communities from industrial activities. Further, the city has primarily concentrated its commercial and retail districts in the town center, making them convenient to all residents. In addition to its planned use for corporate and residential areas, Solon has of city parks and recreational area, of Cleveland Metroparks (the South Chagrin Reservation) and 3 golf courses within its borders. In 1991, the extension of a divided highway, US 422, was completed as an east-west corridor just north of its town center. US 422 enables easy access to many points throughout Northeast Ohio, providing a corridor extending from Cleveland through Solon and beyond Warren into Pennsylvania.