Over time clusters of log cabins grew into pioneer communities. Eventually life on the frontier took on a more town-like atmosphere. Traveling on horseback or horse-drawn buggy on muddy roads and streets was still the only way to get around, but life got easier in other ways. Towns added schools, churches, post offices, and stores. Citizens of the frontier could earn a living as a shopkeeper, shoemaker, glass blower, or other tradesperson, not just as a farmer.
Mills created jobs, too, as they opened to process the crops produced by settlers. The flowing water of the Cuyahoga River and its tributaries turned the waterwheels that powered these mills. Soon gristmills ground grain into flour, small factories made whiskey and cheese, sawmills turned trees into lumber, and woolen mills made cloth from sheep’s wool.
One family that prospered on the Cuyahoga Valley frontier was that of Steven and Mehitable Frazee. Like many pioneers, they build and lived in a log cabin when they bought land near the Cuyahoga River in 1816. By 1825 they had prospered enough to build a two-story brick home with big rooms, built-in cabinets, and glass windows. Today the Frazee House is part of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, where visitors can tour it and see how the valley’s settlers lived.