Hey, Chagrin Falls Villagers! Do you know you live in the “regional capital of quaintness?”

No kidding! We read it in Cleveland Scene so it must be true. But did you notice the sense of sarcasm? It is not the first time the village has been the object of, how shall we say, misguided envy. Nor will it be the last.

But, as the man said, “Print anything you want about me, just spell my name right.”

Chagrin Falls is routinely the object of fun poking like this. It’s a curious thing. Cleveland Heights is never referred to as the “Birkenstock capital of Northeast Ohio,” and Hunting Valley is not called the “old money center of America.”

Problem is the example the magazine gave to prove Chagrin Falls is worthy of the regional quaintness title – a historic home on Chagrin Road – isn’t even in Chagrin Falls Village but in Bainbridge Township.

Here we go again! Another assault on our sense of place originally and innocently perpetrated upon the village long ago by the U.S. Postal Service when it decided the undeveloped land and working farmsteads surrounding the population center of Chagrin Falls should be included in one postal route named “Chagrin Falls.”

Enough is enough, so we decided to write a letter to the editor of Cleveland Scene.

Dear Editor:

Hope you don’t think we are being too picky, but for future reference, the charming Chagrin Road home described and pictured in the Nov. 5 edition of your interesting and informative mgazine is lovely. It was a great story with wonderful photos. Thank you for sharing it.

However, and while indeed “quaint,” this property is physically located in Bainbridge which is a township in Geauga County and NOT in the Village of Chagrin Falls which is in Cuyahoga County.

These are two different places. For instance, most Bainbridge Township kids attend the Kenston Local School District, home of the Bombers. Village of Chagrin Falls  kids (along with those from South Russell, Bentleyville and few from Moreland Hills) go to the Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School District, which is rival Tiger country.

Chagrin Falls village residents number about 4,000 and it has hovered around that number for decades. The number of Bainbridge souls is 11,500 and growing. Chagrin Falls is 2-square-miles in size. Bainbridge is much larger at 25 square miles.

In fact, Bainbridge and Chagrin Falls have separate historical society museums. Bainbridge is run by a board of township trustees. Chagrin Falls has a mayor and council system of government. Each has its own police and fire department.

Chagrin Falls grew up as a gritty industrial village which now guards its authentic quaintness by seating an architectural review board armed with historic rules and regulations designed to retain its authenticity minus the grittiness which is not charming or quaint. 

Bainbridge was a farming community which featured beautiful countryside and thriving farming. Alas, in time taxes discouraged this heroic and basic lifestyle and the township began its march toward suburbia with touches of historic charm illustrated by the lovely Chagrin Road home featured in your pages. 

So, why is Bainbridge routinely mistaken for Chagrin Falls, “the regional capital of quaintness”?

Because residents of Chagrin Falls Village and residents of Bainbridge Township share a U.S. Post Office branch building which is in Chagrin Falls Village! To confuse matters, Chagrin’s zip code is 44022. Bainbridge’s zip is 44023.

To confuse matters further, there are other Chagrin Falls adjacent towns in both Cuyahoga and Geauga counties that share the Chagrin Falls postal name and zip code.

It really is exhausting but in the end there is but one “capital of regional quaintness” and it is the sovereign Village of Chagrin Falls.

According to Google, there are 13 places named Bainbridge but only one Chagrin Falls in the entire world.

A veteran reporter and columnist, Barbara Christian has been covering Chagrin Falls since 1967 and is currently responsible for Chagrin Falls village events, government and school board news along with her weekly column "Window on Main Street."

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