Elyria (/lri/ -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. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 54,533. The city is named for its founder, Heman Ely. 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.
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