The Cuyahoga River is different because it is in the shape of a big U, going south from Geauga County, OH down to Kent, over to Cuyahoga Falls and Akron, then north again to Cleveland, where it empties into Lake Erie. The name is thought to come from an Indian word meaning "crooked", so there are a number of organizations in Northeast Ohio called the "Crooked River ...".

The river is infamous for catching fire in the 1960's, but it actually caught fire in the 1950's as well. Times were different in the 1950's though, and the event didn't get as much attention as in the 1960's.

The river led to the settlement of Kent, Munroe Falls, Cuyahoga Falls, and Cleveland. It also served as a water source for the Ohio and Erie Canal, which ran parallel to it north from Akron. The vertical drop the river takes through Cuyahoga Falls is larger than that of Niagara Falls, but it is spread out over a much larger distance so it is not as impressive. Before Ohio Edison put up a dam on the lower falls, though, people used to go there just to see the falls.

The river is only navigable by small watercraft until it reaches Cleveland, where it handles larger ships. It provided the basis, though, for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, located between Akron and Cleveland.

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