The first settler arrived in 1806. Joel Baker. wife and child, spending their first night in a hollow tree.
By 1812, the settlement of Shalersville grew to the size that merited a separate township. The township was organized April 6, 1812. The number of votes cast was sixteen. In 1814 there were then 16 families living in log houses. Most of these cabins were built sixteen feet by 20 feet. Stephen Mason added a grist mill. A small island marks the exact location of Mason’s mill on Price Road.
Feederdam (or Feeder Dam) and the P. & O. Canal
Feederdam started as a small settlement on the western edge of Shalersville Township that grew up around the mills built on the Cuyahoga River by Stephen Mason. The name of the settlement came from the dam built across the Cuyahoga River on the Ahasuerus Weaver farm. This dam provided water for a ten-mile feeder canal to Pippin Lake and, ultimately, the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal at a point southwest of Ravenna. In the mid l830s, the population grew rapidly with the influx of canal workers. This growth received a major setback in 1837 when the community was hit by a cholera epidemic that lasted about six months.
A small piece of ground was purchased as a place to bury the victims of the epidemic. This ground was later named Fairview Cemetery. The “Panic of 1837” coupled with the cholera epidemic caused a suspension of canal construction; however, the canal was finished and officially opened in 1840. James A. Garfield, a future president of the United States, worked on the canal during the summer of 1848 shipping copper ore, coal, salt and lumber between Cleveland and Pittsburgh. In 1840 Shalersville had a population of 1,280. By 1850 – Shalersville had a population of 1,190. It was a flourishing town and contained a store which rivaled any in Ravenna.
The Cheese Factory
In 1870, C.R. Doolittle, known as ‘Rollin’, with his father and several stockholders, organized the cheese factory at Feederdam. In 1890, he became the sole proprietor.
In 1873 Shalersville was the third township in the country in production of cheese, having turned out in that year, 419,245 pounds. The factory was struck by lightning in 1921 and destroyed by the resulting fire.
Shalersville Continues to Grow
The town once had three hotels, two post offices, and two doctors. On June 23, a red/yellow blinker light was installed at the intersection of State Routes 44 and 303. Previously at the intersection, State Route 303 was a stop street. Street light were installed in the Spring of 1956. The blinker light at the intersection of State Routes 44 and 303 was replaced by a traffic light on July 26, 1983.