Just about 160 years ago, a caravan of six wagons drawn by horses and oxen trekked its way westward to settle in the newly opened territory just west of the Cuyahoga River in Ohio. It was in the Denison Road area, then known as Egypt, but later changed to Brooklyn Township. Most of the pioneers were members of the Brainard families of Connecticut. Corn became the chief product of these early settlers. Before long, one of them, Isaac Hinkley, decided to push a bit farther west and laid claim to 360 acres of fertile land in the Schaaf Road region. Then in 1820 Hinckley had new neighbors when Edwin Foote was awarded 640 acres adjoining the Hinkley tract for surveying this wilderness. His original surveyors chain is on display at the new Brooklyn Heights Municipal Center.
In about 1885, Gustav Ruetenik and his sons introduced vegetable growing under glass. Their first greenhouse measured no more than 50 by 11 feet and cost about $100. Martin Ruetenik further developed the new truck farming industry here and afterward small greenhouses sprouted along Schaaf Road and thus the greenhouse industry originated about 1887. This led to Brooklyn Heights becoming the Greenhouse Center of America with many farms and greenhouses gracing the community.
In the year 1902 the residents of the area, because of the exorbitant taxes in Brooklyn Township, decided to form a new village. Brooklyn Heights was born on February 28, 1903, when it was recorded as a village with the Cuyahoga County Recorder. The first town hall was constructed a short time thereafter at a cost of $416.00 and was located on a parcel of land 56 x 20. Used jail cages were purchased from the city of Cleveland in 1906 and were used by the village until 1960. In 1930 a new village hall was built and served the community until the construction of the present municipal center in 1973.
Since its birth 100 years ago Brooklyn Heights has had many physical changes. New housing developments brought new residents, and new highways took away much of the farmland. New industrial development increased the tax duplicate so that now Brooklyn Heights has the third-lowest tax rate in Cuyahoga County. The influx of residents and industry soon caused the village hall to be inadequate to serve the needs of this expanding progressive community, and a new municipal center was erected in 1973 at a cost of $850,000. This building, constructed on a three-acre site adjacent to new interstate 480, houses the municipal offices, the fire department and the police department in a modern facility that is the envy of surrounding communities.
Brooklyn Heights continues to grow in residential and industrial aspects. Although in an urban area, it still retains much of its rural atmosphere. It is country living, city style, and a good place to live.