Stream of Prosperity
A watershed is the area of land that drains to a common waterway such as a stream, river, lake, or ocean. Yellow Creek drains 31 square miles at the southwest edge of the Cuyahoga River watershed. It contains seven communities in Summit and Medina Counties, including Akron, Bath Township, Cuyahoga Falls, Copley Township, Fairlawn, Richfield Township, Richfield Village, Granger Township, and Sharon Township.
Early Bath settlers harnessed the water power of Yellow Creek by constructing mills. Most local historians agree that there were more than twenty mills built along its banks. There were grist mills that ground grains for wheat, rye, and buckwheat flour, bran for cereal, and corn for cornmeal. They also ground animal feed for cattle, pigs, and poultry. There were also cooperages ( barrel making), sawmills, a woolen mill, and a cider mill.
Yellow Creek falls eight to ten feet in the area of Revere Rd and Yellow Creek Rd. Six mills were built in that location to take advantage of the hydraulic power.
In the canal years goods were transported from the mill by wagons to the Ohio and Erie Canal for sale in distant markets. Later trains and rails replaced the canal and barges. In the early 1900s trucks moved products to Cleveland and Akron markets, especially flour to bakeries
The Mills and Industries of the Yellow Creek Valley, by James Rand, 1980
How They Harnessed Yellow Creek, by Nancy Terjesen, 2006
Within a watershed, wetlands serve as reservoirs during storms. They then filter and release water gradually into streams.
As agricultural and residential development progressed, many wetlands in the Yellow Creek watershed were drained. This resulted in increased storm water runoff and increased risk of downstream flooding. The recognition of the importance that wetlands play in the health of the watershed has led to efforts to preserve and restore wetlands.
Friends of Yellow Creek has successfully restored two previously drained wetlands in the Bath Nature Preserve. Additionally, a channelized stream, Bath Creek, has been returned to its former meandering contour. This promotes less turbulent flow during storms.
Property owners along Yellow Creek joined together to form Yellow Creek Action Committee, an independent group committed to maintaining the integrity of Yellow Creek and the land through which it flows.
Organizations working to protect the Yellow Creek watershed:
Friends of Yellow Creek
Yellow Creek Action Committee
Friends of the Crooked River