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For other places with the same name, see Kirtland
Kirtland, Ohio
—  City  —
Kirtland Temple
Location of Kirtland, Ohio
Coordinates: 41°36′9″N 81°20′41″W / 41.6025°N 81.34472°W / 41.6025; -81.34472
Country United States
State Ohio
County Lake
 - Mayor Mark Tyler
 - Total 16.7 sq mi (43.3 km2)
 - Land 16.6 sq mi (43.0 km2)
 - Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation [1] 850−1,163 ft (260−354 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 6,670
 - Density 401.8/sq mi (155.1/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 44094
Area code(s) 440
FIPS code 39-40642[2]
GNIS feature ID 1064951[1]

Kirtland is a city in Lake County, Ohio, USA. The population was 6,670 at the 2000 census. Kirtland is famous for being the early headquarters of the Latter Day Saint movement.


Kirtland is located at 41°36′9″N 81°20′41″W / 41.6025°N 81.34472°W / 41.6025; -81.34472 (41.602581, -81.344706)[3].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.7 square miles (43.3 km²), of which, 16.6 square miles (43.0 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (0.66%) is water.

Kirtland is located south of the lake shore plain of Lake Erie, and is situated on the higher elevations of the Allegheny Plateau. The principal geographic features are the East Branch of the Chagrin River, Pierson's Knob,[4] and Gildersleeve Mountain, which at 1163 feet (mean sea level) is the high point, 593 feet (181 m) above Lake Erie, 6.7 miles (10.8 km) to the north west.

Native vegetation is northern hardwood forest. Hemlock-hardwood forest is found in the higher elevations and along ravines, beech-maple forest is predominant in other areas. A few stands of old growth oak-hickory forest can also be found in the city.

Kirtland is located in the snowbelt region of Lake Erie, and has snowfall and weather patterns similar to nearby Chardon. In this area, annual snowfall averages over 100 inches (2.5 m) per year [1], and anecdotal evidence indicates seasonal snowfall can exceed 250 inches (6.4 m) in some microclimate areas.

Kirtland is primarily a residential community, however, over 20% of the land area is forest preserve or park land. The Holden Arboretum at 3,500 acres (14 km2) is the largest of these, but not all of Holden's land is located in Kirtland. Three Lake County Metropolitan Parks, are also found in Kirtland. The largest is Chapin State Forest, at 390 acres (1.6 km2), which includes much of Gildersleeve mountain. Also in Kirtland are Penitentiary Glen, and the Lake Farm Park. Lakeland Community College is also located largely in the City of Kirtland, the campus dominating the northern part of the city.


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 6,670 people, 2,445 households, and 1,885 families residing in the city. The population density was 401.8 people per square mile (155.1/km²). There were 2,558 housing units at an average density of 154.1/sq mi (59.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.47% White, 0.27% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.03% from other races, and 0.66% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.55% of the population. 18.5% were of German, 14.3% Italian, 12.0% Irish, 9.6% English and 6.2% Slovene ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 2,445 households out of which 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.9% were married couples living together, 6.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.9% were non-families. 19.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.7% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 24.6% from 25 to 44, 30.7% from 45 to 64, and 14.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 97.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $65,422, and the median income for a family was $76,062. Males had a median income of $51,179 versus $31,179 for females. The per capita income for the city was $32,148. About 1.8% of families and 2.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.7% of those under age 18 and 1.5% of those age 65 or over.


Origins of Kirtland

The geologic history of Kirtland stretches back nearly 300 million years to a time when the region was covered by ocean water. The bedrock is a silt shale of the Ohio shale group named Chagrin Shale. Just above the Chagrin Shale is Cleveland Shale, a Devonian formation which is an important source of local fossils [2]. It is overlaid by Bedford Shale. Berea Sandstone is the next layer and an important local building material used to construct the Kirtland Temple and other historic buildings. The capstone is Sharon Conglomerate, a sandstone with embedded quartz pebbles. About 10,000 years ago glaciers covered all of northern Ohio, so the landscape of the region is dominated by the effects of glaciation.

After the founding of the United States, northern Ohio, was designated as the Western Reserve and sold to the Connecticut Land Company. The area was first surveyed by Moses Cleaveland and his party in 1796.

Kirtland is named for Turhand Kirtland, a principal of the Connecticut Land Company and judge in Trumbull County, the first political entity in Ohio that included Kirtland township. Kirtland, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, demonstrated "both breadth of vision and integrity" in his fair dealings with the local Native Americans. He was known for his bravery, resourcefulness, and passion for justice.[5] Dr. Jared Kirtland, was the son of the former. Dr. Kirtland helped to found a medical college in nearby Willoughby, and he compiled the first ornithology of Ohio.[3] The bird Kirtland's Warbler is named for Jared Kirtland. This rare species has been documented in the city during migration, but it does not nest in Ohio.

Being less well suited to agriculture, the densely forested, clay soiled, high, hilly, land of Kirtland was settled later than surrounding townships: Mentor in 1798, and Chester in 1802. Kirtland's first European settlers were the John Moore family, soon followed by the Crary family who came to Kirtland in 1811. In 1893 Christopher Crary wrote a memoir of his life in Kirtland, which provided a great deal of material for Anne B. Prusha's 1982 history of Kirtland.

Headquarters of the Latter Day Saint movement

From 1831 to 1838, Kirtland was the headquarters for the Latter Day Saint movement. Joseph Smith, Jr. moved the church to Kirtland in 1831, even though it had been organized only a short time earlier in April 1830 in Palmyra, New York. The church would change its name to "Church of the Latter Day Saints" in 1834, and after leaving Kirtland, to the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints". The Saints built their first temple there, which is a historic landmark owned and operated by the Community of Christ, a group descended from the church founded by Smith. The temple was built with a degree of opulence, especially considering the underdeveloped nature or the area and the poverty of most early Latter Day Saints. Many attending the Kirtland Temple dedication in 1836 claimed to see multiple heavenly visions and appearances of heavenly beings, including deity. For this and other reasons, Kirtland remains a place of importance to those of all Latter Day Saint denominations. A majority of sections from the Doctrine and Covenants, considered modern revelations and canonical by most denominations within the Latter Day Saint movement, originated in Kirtland during the 1830s.

Ownership of the Kirtland Temple was in a confused state and disputed for a number of years, but eventually it was declared by court action to be the property of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now Community of Christ). Today, besides giving tours, the Community of Christ church allows others to use the temple for special meetings.

1838 to present

After the departure of the Latter Day Saints, and during the latter part of the 19th century, Kirtland's population diminished and life was typical of that of the region. Crary recalls the last rattlesnakes [4] being killed on Gildersleeve Mountain in the 1830s. During this period all but a few stands of forest were cleared for agriculture, with corn and apples being the predominant crops.

In the early 20th century, Kirtland School (now Kirtland Elementary) was built to consolidate 3 school houses. One of the old school houses can still be found at the corner of Baldwin and Booth Roads in Kirtland Hills.

Kirtland saw small changes until after World War II when residential subdivisions were put in on farm land and in second growth forest that had grown over the past 80 years. In 1960 a high school was built and in 1961, Gildersleeve Elementary was built along Chardon Rd. (US-6) to accommodate the increases in enrollment created by new families moving into the community. In 1968 a middle school was completed for grades 6–8.

Also in 1968, the citizens of Kirtland voted in a special election to incorporate the township. James Naughton, was the first mayor of the village, which became a city when the 1970 census showed population exceeded 5000.

The 1960s saw an influx and expansion of local businesses. A shopping center was built. This combined the hardware, drug store, grocery, barber shop, plus the local doctor and dentist in one building. By 1965, Interstate 90 was open allowing a quicker trip into Cleveland.

Kirtland continued to grow in population slowly through the 1970s and 1980s.

In April 1989, Jeffrey Lundgren, a religious extremist, coerced some in his cult into murdering a family of five and hiding their bodies in a pit dug inside a barn, demolished November 13, 2007,[6][7] on Chardon Road (U.S. 6). Those of Lundgren's cult who participated in the murders have been sentenced to life in prison. Lundgren himself was executed on October 24, 2006.

The Newel K. Whitney Store

In the 1990s, as Kirtland became an increasingly popular tourist destination, the historic Kirtland area was created in the Kirtland flats along the East Branch of the Chagrin River. The buildings in this area preserve or replicate structures that were present in the 1830s. Historic Kirtland structures, many of which are related to early Mormon history, include the NK Whitney home (replica), Newel K. Whitney Store (original structure), a sawmill (replica), an ashery, the Sidney Rigdon home (original structure), and the John Johnson Inn. This area provides insight into what life was like during the period when Kirtland was the home of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and other founders of Mormonism. The Community of Christ and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints both operate visitor centers in Kirtland and give tours of the buildings and sites they own.

In 2003, Schupp's farm and orchard, on Hobart Road, became inactive leaving Rock's farm on Chillicothe Road, the only active for-profit farm in the city. As of 2006, there are still active cattle and horse farming in the city and some commercial nursery activity. Sugaring still occurs, with at least 2 active sugar bushes other than the large scale Bicknell Sugar Bush at the Holden Arboretum.

Kirtland, has been visited by two sitting Presidents of the United States, including in April 2005 for a political speech by President George W. Bush at the Lake Farm Park. President Bush also visited Kirtland in 2006 as part of emergency efforts associated with the Grand River flooding. [5]


The melon heads are an urban legend of deformed individuals living in the area, They are reportedly seen along Wisner Road in nearby Chardon Township. This urban legend is usually associated with Kirtland.

Points of lnterest


  • Prusha, Anne B., A History of Kirtland, Ohio. 1983 Lakeland Community College Press.
  • Rosche, Larry (editor), Birds of the Cleveland Region. 2005 Cleveland Museum of Natural History
  • Other references embedded as external links include: Crary memoir, snowfall data, fossil evidence, USGS place names and locations, text of presidential speech at Lake Farmpark, April 15, 2005.

External links

ht:Kirtland, Ohio no:Kirtland pt:Kirtland (Ohio) vo:Kirtland (Ohio)