The downtown business district of Chardon.
Chardon is the county seat of Geauga County. Residents named the town after Peter Chardon Brookes, the man who donated the land for the courthouse. The community grew slowly, having a population of 446 people in 1840. Chardon consisted of just two churches, one newspaper office, and six retail stores in 1846.
Over the next forty years, Chardon grew dramatically. In 1880, 1,081 people resided in the town. The community now boasted two newspaper offices, four churches, and one bank. During the summer months, Chardon became a resort community, as people from across Ohio and neighboring states came to enjoy the numerous outdoor activities that the area offered. Lake Erie also was just fourteen miles away from Chardon, providing visitors with easy access to fishing and boating opportunities. Residents also were famous for their cheese. A sizable number of local farmers raised dairy cattle, and several cheese processing businesses existed in Chardon.
During the twentieth century, Chardon remained relatively small. In recent years, the town’s population has increased to 5,100 residents. This growth has principally resulted from Cleveland, Ohio, residents, in neighboring Cuyahoga County, moving to Chardon and Geauga County to escape the busyness of the larger city. Cheese processing remains important to the local economy, with the Great Lakes Cheese Company being one of the region’s largest employers.