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Lake County was created on March 6, 1840 and was formed from Cuyahoga and Geauga Counties. The County was named for its position on Lake Erie. Painesville is the county seat of Lake County, Ohio. Established in 1805, the town was originally known as Champion, named for Henry Champion, the man who surveyed the community. Residents quickly changed the town's name to Painesville, in honor of General Edward Paine, a hero of the American Revolution.
Lake county is the smallest of Ohio's 88 counties. Bordering Lake Erie, the county has a productive soil for fruit orchards and nurseries. The county was first settled by New Englanders who developed Painesville, the county seat. Kirtland, near the county seat, was the headquarters of Joseph Smith and the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints . The first Morman Church was built here in 1833.
On March 6, 1840, the Ohio government authorized the creation of Lake County. It originally was a portion of Geauga and Cuyahoga Counties. It also was originally part of the Connecticut Western Reserve. The county is named for Lake Erie, which forms Lake County 's northern border. Among the county's earliest white settlers were the Mormons, who established a temple at Kirtland in 1833. Due to the opposition of their neighbors, many Mormons eventually fled from Ohio, moving further west.
Lake County is located in northeastern Ohio and covers 228 square miles. It is the smallest county territorially in Ohio . The county has grown dramatically in recent years, as residents of nearby Cleveland in Cuyahoga County have moved to Lake and surrounding counties to escape the busyness of the city. Between 1990 and 2000, Lake County's population increased by 5.6 percent to a total of 227,511 residents in 2000. Mentor is the largest community in the county, with over fifty thousand residents in 2000. The county seat of Painesville ranked a distant fourth in size, with just over 17,500 residents in 2000. The county averages 998 residents per square mile.
Lake County is overwhelmingly rural, but most residents earn their livings by working in manufacturing, sales, or service positions. Farming ranks eighth. Tourism is a major industry for the county. Lake County is well known for its fish, including walleye, steelhead trout, and jumbo perch. The county is also home to the Holden Arboretum, which some people claim is the largest arboretum in the United States.
Painesville is the county seat of Lake County, Ohio. Established in 1805, the town was originally known as Champion, named for Henry Champion, the man who surveyed the community. Residents quickly changed the town's name to Painesville, in honor of General Edward Paine, a hero of the American Revolution. The town's most prominent resident during its first years of existence was Ohio Governor Samuel Huntington, who died in Painesville in 1817.
Painesville grew quickly, having 1,014 residents in 1840. In 1846, the town contained four churches, fourteen stores, one flour mill, one bank, and one newspaper office. It was the largest community between Cleveland, Ohio and Erie, Pennsylvania. Painesville continued to grow over the next several decades. In 1880, 3,841 people inhabited the town. This growth was partly due to two railroad lines passing through the community, making Painesville a booming economic center. Four newspapers, five churches, and three banks existed in the town in 1886. Several manufacturing businesses operated in the town. The Paige Manufacturing Company, a machine works, was Painesville's largest employer in 1886, with forty-eight workers.
During the twentieth century, Painesville continued to grow. In 2000, it ranked a distant fourth in size among Lake County towns , with just over 17,500 residents. Many of these new residents had left the busyness of Cleveland , in nearby Cuyahoga County, for a quieter life in Painesville and Lake County . Over the course of the twentieth century, a tourism industry arose, taking advantage of Painesville 's close proximity to Lake Erie. Numerous local residents operate bed and breakfasts, restaurants, or other businesses that cater to summertime tourists.
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