The first pioneer settlers arrived in the area in 1796. In 1827, the Ohio Canal was completed as far south as Akron, and by 1832, it was in operation from Lake Erie to the Ohio River resulting in great prosperity and a rapid population increase for Cleveland. Cleveland was a noted center of the stagecoach lines between the East, West and South until the railroads came about 1850 replacing the stagelines. When the Cleveland and Mahoning Valley Railroad was completed, it extended into that valley's great coal fields laying the foundation for Cleveland as an industrial giant. With the availability of coal and iron ore, great iron furnaces and rolling mills soon lined the banks of the Cuyahoga River.
As early as 1865, lands were set aside in Cleveland to be developed as recreation areas. In 1977, the city of Cleveland leased its four lakefront parks to the state of Ohio. The four parks became Cleveland Lakefront State Park in 1978. In 1982, the Euclid Beach area was added to the state park property. The Villa Angela area consisted of two separate land purchases. The first 30 acres was bought by the city of Cleveland and turned over to the state in 1984. ODNR and the Cleveland Public Library purchased the remaining 13 acres in May 1991. While each area appears to be a separate park, they are administered through a single park office located at Gordon Park.
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