The Cuyahoga River is a 100-mile long, U-shaped river and its name means "crooked river" in the Native American tongue. It rises in northeastern Ohio in northeastern Geauga County leaving East Branch Reservoir flowing southwesterly on its way to feeding Lake Rockwell in Portage County. After exiting the lake, it flows into Cuyahoga Falls in Summit County where it swings sharply to the north through Cuyahoga County and Cleveland on its way to Lake Erie.
During the early settlement of Ohio, Native Americans were using the river, along with the Portage Lakes, the Tuscarawas River and the Muskingum River, to gain access to the Ohio River.
The river became polluted over time due to industrial waste being dumped. In 1936 the first of several fires on the river was ignited. These continued until 1969 when another fire gained national attention. From this event, the Clean Water Act was inacted and the Environmental Protection Agency created to clean up not only the Cuyahoga but rivers all across America, as well.