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Elyria, Ohio facts for kids

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City of Elyria
Elyria, OH
clockwise from top left: Ely Square Gazebo; Western Falls of Cascade; Old Courthouse; Ely Square Cannon; Hickories Museum.
Location of Elyria in Lorain County and state of Ohio
Location of Elyria in Lorain County and state of Ohio
Elyria is located in Ohio
Location in Ohio
Elyria is located in the United States
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  Ohio
County Lorain
Founded March 1817
 • Type Mayor – Council
 • Total 20.76 sq mi (53.78 km2)
 • Land 20.50 sq mi (53.10 km2)
 • Water 0.26 sq mi (0.67 km2)
715 ft (218 m)
 • Total 54,533
 • Estimate 
 • Density 2,621.91/sq mi (1,012.31/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
44035, 44036, 44039, 44074
Area code(s) 440
FIPS code 39-25256
GNIS feature ID 1040177
Former Lorain County Courthouse

Elyria ( Ə-leer-EE) is a city in the Greater Cleveland metropolitan statistical area and the county seat of Lorain County, Ohio, United States, located at the forks of the Black River in Northeast Ohio 23 miles southwest of Cleveland. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 54,533. The city is home to Lorain County Community College.


The village of Elyria was officially founded in 1817 by Heman Ely, who built a log house, dam, gristmill and sawmill on the village's site along the Black River. Ely began to build more houses to accommodate European-American settlers migrating to what was, at that time, within Huron County, Ohio. By the time Ely died in 1852, Elyria had five churches, three grocery stores, three flour mills, a newspaper, and a population of more than 1,500. Early postal service from Cleveland was provided by Artemis Beebe, a rider who held the first contract to deliver mail across this section of the Black River.

By the turn of the 20th century, Elyria was a town of about 8,000. In 1908, Elyria Memorial Hospital was built. It has since evolved into an award-winning regional healthcare system. In the first half of the 20th century, the town developed some manufacturing, as well as a range of retail businesses.

In August 1967, at the peak of Elyria's population, Midway Mall was opened. It changed the local economy by attracting local businesses from the town center or causing so much competition they went out of business. Industrial restructuring meant that good jobs left the area, and poverty increased. Three major car plant closings in the area lead to economic stagnation and joblessness in the 1970s and 1980s that affected numerous communities. The region was nicknamed "the Rustbelt," suggesting the decline of its former industries.

In the 1990s, Elyria experienced a minor revival with construction of some new roads and housing. It serves as a residential, suburban "bedroom community" for Cleveland, located to the east, where new businesses and industries are developing with an increase in new jobs.


Elyria, part of the Cleveland–Elyria–Mentor metropolitan area, is located at 41°22′24″N 82°6′6″W / 41.37333°N 82.10167°W / 41.37333; -82.10167 (41.373396, -82.101692). Elyria's primary zip code is 44035 with post office boxes being assigned the zip code 44036.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.84 square miles (53.98 km2), of which 20.57 square miles (53.28 km2) is land and 0.27 square miles (0.70 km2) is water.

The Black River flows through Elyria.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1830 168
1840 936 457.1%
1850 1,482 58.3%
1860 1,613 8.8%
1870 3,038 88.3%
1880 4,777 57.2%
1890 5,611 17.5%
1900 8,791 56.7%
1910 14,825 68.6%
1920 20,474 38.1%
1930 25,633 25.2%
1940 25,120 −2.0%
1950 30,307 20.6%
1960 43,782 44.5%
1970 53,427 22.0%
1980 57,538 7.7%
1990 56,746 −1.4%
2000 55,953 −1.4%
2010 54,533 −2.5%
2019 (est.) 53,757 −1.4%

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 54,533 people, 22,400 households, and 14,093 families living in the city. The population density was 2,651.1 inhabitants per square mile (1,023.6/km2). There were 25,085 housing units at an average density of 1,219.5 per square mile (470.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 78.1% White, 15.5% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 1.2% from other races, and 4.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.9% of the population.

There were 22,400 households, of which 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.5% were married couples living together, 17.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.1% were non-families. 30.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.97.

The median age in the city was 38.1 years. 24.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.7% were from 25 to 44; 26.8% were from 45 to 64; and 14.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.8% male and 52.2% female.


Elyria is served by University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center.

Recreation and parks

Elyria has a large number of parks and recreational centers that include a variety of activities such as baseball, playground equipment. The four recreational centers are named after their location on the map - North, East, South, and West. They each include one or more baseball fields and at least two tennis courts. There are two main parks, Cascade and Elywood, which are connected by a drive-on ford in the center.

Cascade Park

East Falls on the Black River in Cascade Park

Cascade Park is the largest and most popular park in Elyria. The park is located in a ravine carved by the same glaciers that created the Great Lakes. Cascade park has a large playground and a large hill used for seating at the 4th of July fireworks show, and is a popular spot for sledding during winter months. The park is centered along the Black River.

The park used to have three captive black bears, held in cages attached to a rock. Bears were featured in the park from 1920 to 1980.


Elyria is home to many businesses and several worldwide headquarters. Equity Trust Company, Invacare, the Ridge Tool Company, Diamond Products, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, and EMC Precision Machining are all headquartered in Elyria. Riddell operates a factory in Elyria. Elyria Plating Corporation has been in the same location since 1937.


Lorain County Transit is based in Elyria. Elyria is served by many highways, including U.S. Route 20, the Ohio Turnpike, and State Routes 2, 113, 301 and 57.

The general airport for Elyria and Lorain is the Lorain County Regional Airport (located in New Russia Township), and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is the nearest major airport. The Elyria Amtrak Station provides train transportation. Greyhound bus service is also available in the city.

Elyria in popular culture

The film Take Shelter includes a scene in which Michael Shannon enters the Elyria Main branch library and looks for books. The character of Officer Richard Lymangood, in the film Blue Thunder, was born in Elyria, according to the helicopter terminal database. In the 2015 film The Bronze starring Melissa Rauch, Midway Mall was used for a number of scenes with Elyria residents as extras in the film. It is also home to a yearly charity event: The Elyria Superhero Weekend where local businesses hosted by Atlas Cinema Midway Mall 8, Keith's Comics, Super Heroes To Kids In Ohio and the Mayor's Office participate in a city-wide free event for local and Cleveland area residents which was started in 2012. The event promotes literacy through comic books, community unity and works to help children suffering from illness. The event is centered on whichever super hero comic book film comes out the same weekend as Free Comic Book Day and is split between a number of days during that period. The first day being at Altas cinema, the 2nd in Ely Square and at Keith's Comics in downtown Elyria. The Elyria Public Library, Elyria Comic Book Initiative and The Gathering Community Church among many other notable Elyria organizations and businesses have contributed during the growth of the event.


Elyria is home to the headquarters of Invacare, Ridge Tool Company, Diamond Products, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, and EMC Precision Machining. Riddell previously operated a factory in Elyria. Elyria Plating Corporation has been in the same location since 1937.

Top employers

According to the city's 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city were:

# Employer Employees
1 Lorain County Community College 1,965
2 UH Elyria Medical Center 1,934
3 Lorain County 1,743
4 Elyria City School District 961
5 Walmart 786
6 Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC 682
7 Invacare Corporation 660
8 Ridge Tool Company 573
9 City of Elyria 566
10 Parker Hannifin Corporation 348

Notable people

  • Sherwood Anderson, writer, lived here as business owner in early 1900s before abandoning it in 1912
  • Wayne Barlow, composer (1912–1996)
  • Alonzo Barnard (1817–1905), Presbyterian missionary and abolitionist
  • Tianna Bartoletta, track and field athlete (2005 and 2015 World Championship long jump gold medalist, 2012 and 2016 Olympic 4x100 relay gold medalist, 2016 long jump gold medalist)
  • Keefe Brasselle, actor, title role of 1953 movie The Eddie Cantor Story
  • Joseph M. Bryan, insurance executive and philanthropist
  • Thelma Drake, politician
  • Lynn Evans of The Chordettes
  • Arthur Lovett Garford, padded bicycle seat inventor and automobile manufacturer
  • Doug Gillard, musician and songwriter, lead guitarist for Guided by Voices
  • Vic Janowicz, former baseball and football player, 1950 Heisman Trophy winner
  • Tony Curcillo, First Ohio State University quarterback under Woody Hayes, NFL player (Chicago Cardinals), CFL player (Hamilton Tiger Cats)
  • Herbert Fisk Johnson Sr., CEO of S. C. Johnson & Son
  • Samuel Curtis Johnson Sr., founder of S. C. Johnson & Son
  • Anodea Judith, author, therapist, public speaker and expert on Chakra system
  • James Kirkwood Jr., playwright, author and actor, lived here during childhood; won Tony Award for book of A Chorus Line
  • Eric Lauer, baseball player
  • Lila Lee (1905–1973), actress from silent era; buried in Brookdale Cemetery in Elyria
  • Robert Edwin Lee, playwright and lyricist
  • Brianne McLaughlin, attended Elyria Catholic High School, ice hockey goaltender, Olympic medal winner (2010 and 2014)
  • Les Miles, former LSU Tigers head football coach
  • Haruki Nakamura, professional football player
  • Danny Noble, professional football player for Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Dav Pilkey, author of children's books
  • Tim Rattay, professional football player
  • Clayton Rawson, mystery writer, editor, and amateur magician
  • Charles Roser, real estate developer: developed Roser Park and Anna Maria, businessman and philanthropist.
  • Gary R. Stevenson, sports media executive
  • Chad Szeliga, drummer for Breaking Benjamin
  • Textbeak, DJ and record producer
  • Steve Tovar, professional football player
  • Charles Vinci Jr., weightlifter, Olympic champion in 1956
  • Victoria Wells Wulsin, born in town, became doctor and international epidemiologist
  • Norma Jean Wright, former lead singer for band Chic

Images for kids

See also

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