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Love is in the air this Valentine’s day; between people, yes – and between places. As county residents celebrate valentines and partnerships, there’s another special bond to christen: Elyria’s 200 years as the Lorain County government’s seat. This February 14th, 200 years ago, city founder Heman Ely’s years-long campaign lobbying for Elyria’s special status – involving multiple trips on horseback from Elyria to Columbus – finally came true! For over two centuries, Elyria has been the bustling epicenter of Lorain County politics and government; the place where policies are crafted, friendships are forged, and key decisions affecting all residents in the county are brought from dreams to reality.

Elyria Mayor Frank Whitfield plans to mark the celebration by presenting a proclamation to the Lorain County Commissioners. The Mayor noted the gravitas of the occasion, saying, “It’s inspiring to think about the leadership and dedication that Heman Ely displayed for Elyria to have this honor. We are proud to be the capital of the county and all the responsibility that comes with it.”

Commissioner Moore, who plans to take part in the festivities, had praise for the bicentennial organizers, saying, “the Bicentennial Committee is doing a fantastic job sharing and engaging the community on this historic celebration.” 


The Underground Railroad & Abolitionists of Northern Ohio (Bicentennial Speaker Series)

Sunday, February 19, 3:00 PM

Ohio was a significant part of the network of safe houses and hiding places that became known as the Underground Railroad. Lorain County, in particular, was important for a number of reasons. Prior to the Civil War, as many as 3,000 African Americans passed through or lived in Oberlin after escaping from slavery. The town was once said to be second only to Canada as an asylum for freedom seekers. Learn about the historic decisions that shaped Oberlin’s growth as a station and highlight the individuals and events that marked Oberlin as one of the most active stations of the Underground Railroad. Stories will include Oberlin College’s acceptance of African American students, the famous ship Amistad and a former slave and student, men who volunteered for John Brown’s violent raid on Harper’s Ferry, and local efforts to thwart slave catchers. Stephanie Bohnak, museum education and tour manager at Oberlin Heritage Center, will give this illustrated program via zoom on Sunday, February 19 at 3:00 PM. The program is free but registration is required. This presentation is part of LCHS’s monthly speaker series to commemorate Lorain County’s Bicentennial. Click here to register for this presentation.

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Lorain County is gearing up to celebrate her 200th Birthday, and we welcome you to join in the festivities!

As with any major undertaking, there were several steps in the process that created what we know today as Lorain County. It all started December 26th, 1822 -- the date Lorain County was created on paper, but the government was not yet operational.

On February 14th, 1823, Elyria was chosen as the County Seat, and the first Commissioners were elected over a year later, in April of 1824.

Finally, judicially recognized, an established County Seat, and elected government officials, Lorain County's Commissioners held their first-ever meeting on May 24th, 1824. This was the date Lorain County was officially organized and operating as a fully-functioning governmental body -- the date we recognize as Lorain County's Bicentennial!

Please stay tuned on this page for more exciting announcements about the upcoming celebration, or visit the Lorain County Historical Society Facebook page at

Thank you, and stay tuned for more!