A Retreat From Urban LifeProviding recreation for urban dwellers has its roots in the 1870s, when people came from nearby cities for carriage rides or leisure boat trips along the canal. In 1880, the Valley Railway became another way to escape the pressures of urban industrial life, and leisure excursions were supplemented by the Guide Book for the Tourist and Traveler over the Valley Railway!
Actual park development began in the 1910s and 1920s with the establishment of Cleveland and Akron metropolitan park districts. In 1925, the famous Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm prepared a study for Akron and Summit County parks that highlighted the recreational potential of the Cuyahoga Valley. It notes that, “it is in the valley that one can realize most effectively a sense of isolation and freedom from the sights and sounds of all the multitude of circumstances which go to make the modern city—and when all is said and done that is the justifying purpose of a country park.” Several valley metro parks date to the 1920s.