In 1990 only 543 people lived in the area known as the Industrial Valley, although in 1910 approximately 18,900 people called it home. The Industrial Valley has been part of the City of Cleveland since 1850 when the City annexed the remainder of Cleveland Township.
A primary reason for the industrial development in Cleveland was excellent transportation which made for easy flow of raw materials in and finished products out. Development of shipping on the Great Lakes had already made Cleveland a commercial port and the coming of the railroads changed the focus of the region's economy to heavy industry.
Coal brought in by rail from mines in Pennsylvania fired the blast furnaces which made iron out of the ore shipped to Cleveland from the upper Great Lakes. An immediate boost to Cleveland's iron industry was provided by the Civil War which created a market for its products. American Steel and Wire, a subsidiary of U.S. Steel, made Cleveland the wire capital of the world. Republic Steel, formed in the 1930's from the merging of a number of smaller companies, including Cleveland's Corrigan-McKinney, was a major Cleveland employer until 1984 when it was acquired by LTV Steel.
In addition to the iron industry, other industries found homes in the Industrial Valley. In 1870, John D. Rockefeller established the Standard Oil Company and through his control of shipping, refining and distributing, made Cleveland the center of the American refining industry until his monopoly was broken up by the courts. The Grasseli Co., which became part of DuPont, established in 1866 a large plant in the Industrial Valley which supplied needed chemicals to the refineries but which later broadened its base to supplying a wide range of industrial chemicals.
Today, in addition to the steel and chemical companies which still are located in the Industrial Valley, other large uses include trucking companies, the Ontario Stone Company, the U.S. Post Office Main Branch and the Cuyahoga County Pre-Release Center.