Named after early iron smelting furnaces along the Cuyahoga River, Furnace Run Stream passes through the 890-acre Furnace Run Metro Park, which began in 1929 when the family of Charles Francis Brush Jr. donated 272 acres to Summit Metro Parks. Much of the park was developed by work relief crews during the 1930s. Brushwood Lake, a once-popular swimming spot before erosion and sedimentation forced its closing in 1956, was created by diverting the natural flow of the Furnace Run Stream.
In early spring, tens of thousands of daffodils bloom along the H.S. Wagner Daffodil Trail. Wagner, the first director-secretary of Metro Parks, owned the land off Brush Road and planted the first bulbs along the trail. After he retired in 1958, he sold the property to Metro Parks and the land became part of Furnace Run Metro Park. Today, along the Old Mill trail, be sure to look for the Brush Family marker, which reads: "To all those who love as he loved the far sky and smiling land."
Furnace Run is one of the cleanest tributaries to the Cuyahoga River. With excellent water quality, the stream provides habitat for pollution-sensitive species like rainbow darters and mayflies. Just south of Brushwood Lake flows a recently restored stretch of Furnace Run. This award-winning environmental project recreated several thousand feet of habitat for aquatic wildlife and native fish. Rock Creek, a tributary to Furnace Run, runs along Rock Creek Trail, providing habitat for countless macroinvertebrates and scenic bridge crossings for park visitors.
Along the trails, find mature beech-maple forests, spring wildflowers, and many species of birds, including owls, hawks, herons, warblers and waterfowl. Downstream from the lake, the wet woods of sycamores, black walnuts, willows and shrubs welcome an occasional family of beavers. Brushwood Lake is home to a diversity of pond life, including fish, frogs and turtles.