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Vermilion, Ohio
Aerial view of Vermilion, Ohio. View is to the north over Lake Erie.
Aerial view of Vermilion, Ohio. View is to the north over Lake Erie.
"A Small Town on a Great Lake"
Location of Vermilion, Ohio
Location of Vermilion, Ohio
Location of Vermilion in Lorain County
Location of Vermilion in Lorain County
Country United States
State Ohio
Counties Lorain, Erie
 • Total 10.75 sq mi (27.83 km2)
 • Land 10.58 sq mi (27.41 km2)
 • Water 0.16 sq mi (0.42 km2)
594 ft (181 m)
 • Total 10,594
 • Estimate 
 • Density 982.05/sq mi (379.17/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 440
FIPS code 39-79716
GNIS feature ID 1049274

Vermilion is a city in Erie and Lorain counties in the U.S. state of Ohio, on Lake Erie, about 35 miles west of Cleveland and 17 miles east of Sandusky. Its population was 10,594 at the 2010 census. The Lorain County portion of Vermilion is part of the ClevelandElyriaMentor metropolitan statistical area, while the Erie County portion is part of the Sandusky micropolitan statistical area. Both portions, however, are part of the larger Cleveland-Akron-Canton combined statistical area.


Vermilion was initially settled in the early 19th century and incorporated as a village in 1837. The city took its name from the nearby Vermilion River. It developed as a fishing and small boat harbor. In 1847 the Congress of the United States built the Vermilion Lighthouse to aid navigation on Lake Erie.

As commerce grew in larger nearby cities, the Vermilion River proved inadequate to large commercial traffic. Later, recreational boating became very popular. During the early 20th century the area became known as a resort community, featuring many beaches and cottages. Most structures were eventually converted to year-round use; many still are used as summer homes or vacation houses. Linwood Park in Vermilion is a good example.

Merging with the nearby village of Vermilion-on-the-Lake in 1960, Vermilion became a city, straddling Lorain and Erie counties.

A local non-profit group, Friends of Harbour Town, actively promotes tourism and the historical connection to Vermilion's roots as a maritime community, using the slogan "Harbour Town 1837".


Vermilion is located at 41°24′29″N 82°19′02″W / 41.40806°N 82.31722°W / 41.40806; -82.31722 (41.408005, -82.317254).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.8 square miles (28.0 km2), of which 10.7 square miles (27.6 km2) is land and 0.15 square miles (0.4 km2), or 1.53%, is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 801
1870 721 −10.0%
1880 1,069 48.3%
1900 1,184
1910 1,369 15.6%
1920 1,436 4.9%
1930 1,484 3.3%
1940 1,616 8.9%
1950 2,214 37.0%
1960 4,785 116.1%
1970 9,872 106.3%
1980 11,012 11.5%
1990 11,127 1.0%
2000 10,927 −1.8%
2010 10,594 −3.0%
2019 (est.) 10,394 −1.9%

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, 10,594 people, 4,183 households, and 3,033 families were residing in the city. The population density was 993.8/sq mi (383.7/km2). The 4,919 housing units averaged 461.4/sq mi (178.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.8% White, 0.3% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 2.8% of the population.

Of the 4,183 households, 30.8% had children under 18 living with them, 56.5% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 27.5% were not families; 22.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.50, and the average family size was 2.91.

The median age in the city was 43.5 years; 22.6% of residents were under 18, 7.1% were between 18 and 24, 22.6% were 25 to 44, 31% were 45 to 64, and 16.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.6% male and 51.4% female.

Living heritage

Vermilion was once known as the "Village of Lake Captains", with many beautifully maintained captains' homes in its historic district. The Harbour Town Historic District also features housing styles from the Victorian, Italianate, Arts and Crafts, and Queen Anne eras. The Vermilion River endows marina facilities with more than 3,000 boat slips and ramps for easy access to the lake.

The Harbour Town 1837 Historic District is located in downtown Vermilion. It is the focal point for many professional offices, the city administration, the Chamber of Commerce, restaurants, shops, and marinas. Community-wide revitalization efforts have been promoted since the 1970s, encouraging property owners and citizens to retain the unique charm of their businesses and homes while maintaining high standards of care and construction. The Vermilion Lagoons, located on the east side of the Vermilion River, is considered one of the first planned residential neighborhoods on the water in the country. Construction started in 1928 by Louis A. Wells, a Cleveland contractor, who bought the land.


Sandy beaches, recreational boating, jet skis, canoeing, and sail boats adorn the Vermilion harbor, where ship building was once the major industry.

The harbor entrance

On summer nights, residents and visitors can congregate on the large deck at Main Street Beach to watch boats sail back and forth in front of the Lake Erie sunset and watch the Mystic Belle, a small paddle wheeler, offering rides on the Vermilion River. Children can attend a Sail Camp where they learn water safety and sailing. Vermilion is home to many world-renowned sailboat racers.

Cultural attractions

The Woollybear Festival is a one-day gathering that draws over 150,000 visitors to Vermilion and includes the longest parade in the state of Ohio. In the majority of years, the Vermilion High School Band Festival is held the night before the Woollybear Festival. Area high schools and the Vermilion High School Alumni Band take the field to entertain community members before the next day's parade.

The Festival of the Fish, held each June, is a three-day event, drawing people from Vermilion and the neighboring communities to take part in the Queen and Princess pageant, local talent concerts, parade, and concessions. Historic SummerFare, which features the Antique Craft and Boat Show, brings thousands of boat enthusiasts and aficionados to the harbor to see wooden boats from another era. Historic SummerFare also sponsors Antiques in the Park, the Community Chicken BBQ and Street Dance, and many family activities.

Concerts in the Park, sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, occur during July and August each year. The concerts are open to everyone, free of charge, and feature a variety of entertainment from swing music to barbershop quartets. The Vermilion Area Archival Society, established in 2000, collects, stores, and indexes archival materials for research from the Vermilion area and provides assistance, as well as monthly programs, regarding the history and records of the area.

Vermilion has a wealth of art attractions. There are several art galleries in town that often display local works and hold showings of individual artists.

Sister city

Vermilion's sister city is Paimpol, France.


The Vermilion School System provides public school education for area children from kindergarten through 12th grade, with vocational and professional education opportunities at the EHOVE Career Center. The Vermilion Institute of Technology (VIT) is a private, independent scholars institute involved in teaching and research. VIT delivers certification programs for electrical technicians, appliance repair, and structured innovation and inventive problem solving (TRIZ) for science, engineering, business, healthcare, and government.

Lake Ridge Academy, a private grade school and high school in nearby North Ridgeville, offers daily school bus service for Vermilion students.

St. Mary's parochial school has been serving preschool and grades K-6 since 1956

The Lucy Idol Center, located on the edge of town, offers nonresidential care for disabled children and adults. Bowling Green State University (Firelands campus) and Lorain County Community College, both accredited schools offering four-year and advanced degrees, are located within a 20-minute drive of Vermilion.

Vermilion High School's sports teams are called the "Sailors".

Notable people

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