Bellbrook was first settled in 1814. The name derives from one of the city's founders, Stephen Bell (eponymous with the local elementary school).
Initially a village, Bellbrook grew through annexation of territory from surrounding Sugarcreek Township. The first annexation, in 1970, helped push the population over 5,000 and led to Bellbrook achieving city status in 1974. With large amounts of build-able land, the area added over 1,000 housing units since the annexation. Today the city is largely developed with little land left for future development. Most of the development is taking place in neighboring Sugarcreek Twp.