The "Heart of Cuyahoga County" is a Cleveland suburb in Southwest Cuyahoga County. The original Independence Township, founded in 1814, was the only township of the county’s original eighteen to include land on both sides of the Cuyahoga River. Today, a number of acres of land along the river has become part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Independence has always benefited from its location. The area’s growth began as a result of goods moving along the nearby Ohio & Erie Canal. In 1940, one of the nation’s first highway interchanges, the Willow Cloverleaf, was built at the intersection of Ohio State Routes 17 and 21. Since incorporation as a city in 1960, Independence has seen rapid growth, particularly around the Interstate 77 exchange at Rockside Road. Today, the stretch of Rockside Road, from I-77 to Ohio 21, is lined with numerous low-rise office buildings.