Much of the land that is now Greenwood Village was once part of a 1000 acre estate known as Rocky Run Farm, owned by Wentworth George Marshall, the founder of Marshall Drug Stores and the co-founder of Rexall Drugs. In 1904, he built the manor house and the stone wall along State Route 82, using granite rocks brought in on the nearby railroad (now the Hike and Bike Trail) from the shore near his vacation home in Maine.
A lover of nature and the outdoors, Marshall developed miles of scenic trails through the original estate, importing tree specimens from around the world to plant along them. One of these is the large Chinese Ginkgo found behind the manor house, now one of the largest trees of its kind in Ohio. Legend has it that he would drive his Packard Phaeton along them, enjoying the natural beauty of the trees, birds, and other wildlife, One portion of these trails is now preserved by the Cuyahoga Valley National Park as the 3.6 mile Carriage Trail.
Marshall also created an arboretum (now Greenwood’s Arboretum Circle) consisting of a series of formal gardens, fountains, and flower-covered arbors, that extended to what is now the Greenwood Clubhouse. Wild roses still bloom wild along the creek by the tennis courts near Marshall Lake, a remembrance what was once listed as a scenic place to visit on early 1900’s automobile maps.
In another interesting historical note, the Cleveland Historical Society has documented evidence that the Marshall Estate had once been an Indian campsite and burial ground, confirmed by an archeological dig done by the Cuyahoga Valley national park in 1983, as noted in a plaque mounted along the Carriage Trail.
Greenwood Village Begins
In 1968, Ed and Bill Wargo and Ted Billings purchased the Marshall Estate and became pioneers in the Planned Unit Development concept (PUD), one featured in several national periodicals as the wave of the future in residential planning in the United States. After gaining the zoning required, they filed the first condominium documents in Summit County. They also received the American Wood Council “Design for Better Living” award for excellence in architectural design, innovative land planning, and the creative use of wood products. In the spring of 1970, Gov. James A. Rhodes assisted in the Clubhouse dedication, as noted in the dedication monument by the Buckeye tree in front of the clubhouse.
However, the development stalled for about ten years after the oil embargo of 1974 and the following double-digit inflation caused the original developers to declare bankruptcy, which was not settled until 1985.
In 1985, the Greenwood Trading Corporation was formed to restart development, but the original area around Greenwood had changed with the forming of the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, which purchased over half of the original Greenwood property. Residents worked with the park and managed to save the historic Carriage Trail by installing three bridges to connect the loops of the trail where new development would have severed the connections. Current residents can still use these loops to connect to the original Carriage Trail, which continues south along the edge of the valley ending near Brandywine Road.
Once the new borders were settled, the Greenwood Trading Corporation once again began the development which would continue over the next twenty years, more than doubling the size of Greenwood Village from 700 units to 1507 units.
With the influx of new residents, the Greenwood Village Community Association began once again to build up its financial reserves and continue to make improvements to the community, resulting in the vibrant, self-governed community that exists today.