Settled in 1800, Painesville is the county seat of Lake County, Ohio and is located along the beautiful Grand River, roughly 30 miles northeast of Cleveland and 2.5 miles from the shores of Lake Erie. The area of Painesville City is about 7 square miles, with a population around 20,000 per 2020 estimates. The city is surrounded in a horseshoe shape by Painesville Township, with a population around 16,900 in 177.4 square miles.


Painesville is home to Lake Erie College, Morley Library and multiple historic districts. The city is named after General Edward Paine who served in the Revolutionary War and settled in the area shortly after. Painesville has had a series of names since it's founding including Oak Openings (1800), Champion (1803) and finally Painesville (1816). For a brief period in the 1820s, Painesville had twice the population of Cleveland, making it the largest community in the Western Reserve. In 1840, Lake County was created from portions of Geauga and Cuyahoga Counties, and Painesville was made the county seat. In 1852 the town of Painesville became a village and in 1902 the village became a city. 


At the turn of the century, many wealthy Clevelanders were building their summer estates in Painesville and Lake County. The greenery of the land and proximity to Lake Erie made the area a perfect summer destination. Many of these summer mansions still stand today, although repurposed as inns, event spaces and apartments.


From the 1830s through the 1960s, Painesville was a booming metropolis with a small town feel. Urban Renewal in the 1970s saw many of the rundown old buildings destroyed and with the rise of malls and box stores, many people flocked to newer suburbs in Lake County. Despite the ups and downs, Painesville is seeing a revival of it's former glory with a steady increase in population and revitalization efforts in it's historic districts. 


An unusual feature of Painesville is that the City provides most utilities for its residents. The electric, water and water pollution control plants are all led by City Administration with City Council having ultimate authority. The City also operates it's own parks and cemeteries. The phrase "Painesville Area" often refers to the grouping of Painesville City, Painesville Township, Grand River, Fairport Harbor, Leroy Township and Concord Township.