Vermilion, Ohio is the crowning jewel of the south shore of Lake Erie. From quaint shops to fine dining, the arts, entertainment and unmatched festivities, Vermilion truly has it all. Be reminded of a simpler time when an afternoon at the beach, a hand-dipped ice cream cone and a stroll along Main Street made your day special. Stay for a day, maybe two, and take home a memory that will last forever.
This enchanting little town has always been a sea side community with New England style atmosphere. This is the kind of town that still has a working soda fountain, a town square and summer concerts on the green. People here actually sit on their front porches on a summer evening. Visiting boats are not only welcomed, they are an important part of the ambiance of what locals call "Harbour Town."
Vermilion is situated along the Southern shore of Lake Erie and embraces the Vermilion River. Vermilion was once known as the “Village of Lake Captains,” and no other place in Ohio has so many beautifully maintained captains’ homes in its historic district. Our Harbour Town Historic District also features housing styles from the Victorian, Italianate, Arts and Crafts, and Queen Anne eras. Take an evening stroll in our gracious neighborhoods and experience the quality of life of a bygone era. Other neighborhoods retain the charm of Summer Lake cottages nestled along the shore, while contemporary construction blends with yesterday's heritage.
The Vermilion River, which flows into Lake Erie, endows marina facilities with more than 1,000 boat slips and ramps for easy access to the Lake, earning Vermilion the title of the “Largest Small Boat Harbour on the Great Lakes.” Lake freighters are also a regular sight on Lake Erie making their way through the Great Lakes nine months out of the year.
Public docks are within walking distance of attractions, Bed & Breakfasts, dozens of retail stores and restaurants ranging from family style to fine French cuisine, a beach and several parks, and a variety of art galleries. The wealth of attractions so close to protected dockage makes Vermilion a very popular cruising destination.Rare is the port of call with as much to offer. The Harbour Town 1837 Historic District is the center of our attractive Vermilion community. Located in the heart of this district is Historic Downtown Vermilion. Our picturesque and quaint Historic Downtown Vermilion is the focal point for offices, the City Administration, the Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Vermilion, restaurants, shops, galleries, marinas, the Vermilion Mainline and tourist activities. Our community is dedicated to making Vermilion your destination for a day, a week, or an entire lifetime. Community wide revitalization efforts have encouraged property owners to retain the unique charm of their businesses and homes while maintaining high standards of care and construction. Nowhere will you find a community with such a diversity of housing, reasonable tax base, educational excellence, and New England style charm.
A bike and multi-sport tour of Lorain County, the Back Roads & Beaches Bike route, takes cyclists through Oberlin, Vermilion, Lorain and Avon Lake and past farms, the Lake Erie shore and scenic hills and dales.
Lorain County Heritage and the Lorain County Visitors Bureau welcome you to the Back Roads and Beaches bike and multi-sport tour of Lorain County. Here you'll find miles of rolling, rural roads with beautiful scenery ranging from pastoral farmland and forest to the nautical flavor of the Lake Erie shoreline.
The Back Roads and Beaches route was formed to provide the most scenic and low-traffic roads and bike paths that lead riders through some of Ohio's best landscape. The route highlights some of the area's most relevant history, culture and arts and cutting edge environmental initiatives. You'll find the entire route has bright green bike route signs to guide you easily on your way.
Triathletes and multi-sport enthusiasts can combine biking the Back Roads and Beaches route with any number of challenging, adventurous activities. Use these options to set up your own multi-sport adventure challenge or use as a guide for your group's ride/race.
A refreshing place to relax in downtown Vermilion. The beautifully landscaped Exchange Park is located at the northeast corner of Liberty Avenue and Main Street in the shape of a triangle. It was here that the village founding fathers erected a small clapboard warehouse. One room was leased to area farmers and was used for selling or exchanging products. A path wanders down to the river below, where the fish shanties once stood. Visitors will find seasonal plantings, trees, sitting areas and swings for children. A fantastic view of the Vermilion River awaits you. The park is home to a public comfort station housed in an historic building that once served as Vermilion's Police Department.
Locals and visitors alike enjoy many a concert and festive events at Vermilion's "town square." Weddings are always popular at the grand gazebo. Victory Park is located at the northeast corner of Main Street and Ohio Street. The Park was formerly referred to as “The Village Green” where people came to relax and meet with friends and neighbors. Across the street sits the historic Old Town Hall and Vermilion's famous Auction House. Beautiful rose gardens and other plantings will enchant you. An historic Firelands marker details the history of the area. This park continues to be the most widely used in the area, hosting the concessions for the annual Fish Festival, Woollybear Festival and Local Market. Locals and tourists enjoy “Concerts in the Park” at the Gazebo on Sunday evenings in July and August.
Main Street Beach is next to the Inland Seas Maritime Museum at the north end of Main Street. The beach features an observation platform and the Vermilion Lighthouse. Let the cool waters of Lake Erie splash on your feet as you stroll on the sandy beach. Stay awhile and watch a beautiful sunset over the lake at Main Street Beach.
Located approximately ¼ of a mile to the west of the city, on Lake Erie, this park was donated by the Bessie Sherod Family - a founding family of Vermilion. Featuring green space, trees, natural areas and beaches, Sherod overlooks the breathtaking Lake Erie. This park boasts 2 ball diamonds, 2 picnic shelters, 2 playgrounds, a soccer field and a walking track. Plans have been created to develop this park into a "passive" park.
Located off of Rt. 60, this pocket park provides a pavilion and playground along with a sand volleyball court and soccer field.
Located in Vermilion on the Lake, this park contains a beach, two ball diamonds, a basketball court, tennis courts, a soccer field, a pavilion and a playground. Located along the shore of Lake Erie, Showse Park gives people the opportunity to stop for a rest or to enjoy the boats and scenes of the waterfront.
This park is used by thousands of people each year. Sailorway Complex includes 5 ball diamonds, 5 tennis courts, soccer field, basketball court, football stadium, restroom and concessions stand. These facilities are along Sailorway Drive, which is accessed from Rt. 60 and from Sanford Street.
Located on the corner of Douglas Street and Devon Drive, this facility is open dawn to dusk and has ramps, bars for sliding and can be used by those with bikes and and skateboards.
Schoepfle Garden is a truly unique park in the Lorain County Metro Parks system—70 acres of botanical gardens and natural woodland bordered on one side by the Vermilion River. The garden features collections of rhododendrons, roses, cannas, hostas, various shade plants, along with many varieties of shrubs, topiaries and trees. Whether you choose to follow one of the guided tours available throughout the year, or just wander freely at your own pace, it's a wonderful way to spend a morning or afternoon. Be sure to bring a camera!
The formal garden is highlighted by a wide central path lined in part with hedges and topiaries. Side paths wind through colorful arrays of exotic flowers, dogwood and European beech trees. The garden’s colors change every few weeks in the warmer months as new species come into bloom. This is truly a place to been seen over and over again. The shade garden runs alongside the formal garden, draped in a cool canopy of pines. You’ll find a nice contrast here to the bright and open areas. Various species of shrubs and shade plants line the floor including ferns, hostas and astilbes. There are places to sit and relax, and plenty of room to roam.
In contrast to both the formal and shade gardens are the nearly fifty acres of natural woodlands that lie between the gardens and the Vermilion River. This natural area offers a seasonal display of indigenous trees and wildflowers—a great place for wildflower hikes, birding and tracking. There’s plenty of wildlife here as in other parks in the Lorain County Metro Park system, including deer, wild turkey and fox.
Schoepfle Garden is off State Route 113 on Market Street in Birmingham, Ohio. Take St. Rt. 58 north to St. Rt. 113. Go west on St. Rt. 113 to Birmingham. Cross bridge over Vermilion River and turn onto the first road on the left, which is Market Street. The garden is on the left.
Spanning two adjacent areas separated by the Vermilion River—Mill Hollow on one side and Bacon Woods on the other—this immaculate park is a favorite of picnickers, naturalists and anyone who just wants to enjoy its natural beauty. If you're looking to picnic in a beautiful place with plenty of activities for both adults and children, this is an ideal place to come. With 273 picnic tables and four reservable shelters, the Vermilion Reservation draws over 230,000 people a year—making it the number one picnic area in the Lorain County Metro Parks system. It's not surprising considering the spotless maintenance, plenty of open space, 5 miles of wooded trails, a playground and two ponds that attract visiting waterfowl year-round.
Surrounded by tall trees and a split-rail fence, you can't miss the picturesque Bacon House Museum and Carriage Barn at Mill Hollow. During museum hours you can walk through the original settler Benjamin Bacon's house, built in 1845. The museum features themes of daily living and puts an emphasis on the community life in Brownhelm, including the profound effect the railroad had on the economy and on people's lives. Just next to the Bacon House Museum, the Carriage Barn offers visitors information about the park and hosts nature programs throughout the year. A large rustic meeting room can be reserved for groups and includes a kitchen and large fireplace.
There's more than natural beauty at Vermilion Reservation. Bacon woods hosts a sizable amphitheater for musical concerts during the warmer months, and the park in general features several special programs including the Annual Car Show (which shows over 1000 cars.) Perhaps the most striking feature of this reservation is the winding ribbon of shale cliffs carved by the Vermilion River. Millions of years old, these cliffs reveal layers of the past and drop bits of sandstone, shale and turtlerock along the riverbed. Since the Vermilion River has no industry along its banks, it is especially rich in wildlife. Aquatic life includes freshwater clams and several species of darters (small fish that feed along the bottom of the river) that turn brilliant colors during the mating season. Some insect species include mayflies, cadis flies and water pennies (beetle larvae that lie flat against a rock surface and look like pennies.)
The park naturally hosts a range of wildlife, but perhaps most singular at Vermilion River Reservation are the bald eagles. These magnificent creatures can be seen almost daily at Mill Hollow, perched in one of the tall trees near the center of the park. Other wildlife at the reservation is more typical of the area and includes Great Blue Heron, Greenback Heron and various geese and ducks. Wildflower lovers come from all over in spring and early summer to see the color and variety of these indigenous species which include Dutchman's britches and Blood Root along with a long list of other species found throughout northeast Ohio.
This beautiful new addition to Vermilion's park system overlooks the Vermilion River under the historic water tower on West River Road in Harbour Town. This award winning park features flowering trees, plantings, benches, picnic tables and breathtaking views of the river. The site also features an historical marker plaque highlighting Vermilion's railroad history.
The Community Swimming Pool at 4846 Pineview Drive is typically open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, noon to 8 pm daily, weather permitting. Memberships are available; call for rates. Daily gate rate is $5 adults, $4 children age 3-18. Swim lessons are offered. Lap swim time is weekly Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 8 pm to 9 pm, for $40. Call the pool at (440) 967-9071 for lesson, signups and information.
Featuring one of the most beautiful beaches along Lake Erie, this private park is open to the public. A family car pass is offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays for $30 and daily room rentals are available above the Stand June 10 through Labor Day. Historic Linwood Park features great picnic areas, basketball and volleyball courts, tennis, shuffleboard and an ice cream stand. Historic cottage rentals are also available. Located at 4920 Liberty Avenue. For more information call (440) 967-4237.
Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve, a National Estuarine Research Reserve, is located just west of Vermilion on the south-central shore of Lake Erie. Old Woman Creek is one of Ohio’s few remaining examples of a natural estuary. As a transition zone between land and water, the site contains a variety of habitats including marshes and swamps, upland forests, open waters of the estuary, tributary streams, barrier beach and near shore Lake Erie. The Reserve supports a diverse and important assemblage of native plants and animals representative of freshwater estuaries. Old Woman Creek estuary is of particular regional and national significance because it is the only National Estuarine Research Reserve on the Great Lakes and the only freshwater estuary in the National System. The Visitor/Research Center overlooks the eastern shore of the estuary. The Center also provides laboratories for ecological research and serves as a focal point for public visitation and educational programs.
The mission of Erie MetroParks is to preserve, conserve, protect, and enhance the natural and unique historical resources of the park district. Further, to provide opportunities for visitors and residents to use, enjoy, understand and appreciate these resources in a responsible, sustainable manner. Over fourteen Erie Metroparks and reservations are found near Vermilion, Ohio.
The City of Vermilion, population 10,927, is nestled in both Erie and Lorain Counties and borders Lake Erie and the scenic Vermilion River.
Our 16 block Historic Downtown Vermilion serves as the Central Business District (CBD), which consists of City Administration Offices and Municipal Court, many retail businesses, professional offices, waterfront restaurants, marinas, and cultural entertainment and activities.
The City of Vermilion is located just 35 miles west of Cleveland with world class cultural activities and within close proximity of Interstate 80-90, State Route 2, US Route 6, State Route 60, State Route 113, and rail, water, and air transportation.
Cedar Point, the most popular tourist destination in Ohio, is only minutes away to the west and ferry services provide hi-speed passenger service to Kelleys Island and Put-in-Bay. The city is also adjacent to the Lorain County Metro Park system and the Erie County Metro Park system.
Just outside Vermilion you'll discover gently rolling hills of picturesque countryside. The area is known for its many orchards, wineries, alpaca farms and roadside fruit and vegetable stands.
Vermilion is home to two golf courses.
The 18-hole "Willow Creek" course at the Willow Creek Golf Club facility in Vermilion, Ohio features 6,356 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72. The course rating is 68.1 and it has a slope rating of 108. Designed by Dick Palmer, the Willow Creek golf course opened in 1945.
The 9-hole "Vermilion" course at the Vermilion Country Club facility in Vermilion, Ohio features 3,285 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 36. Vermilion golf course opened in 1914.
Vermilion is recognized for its festivals and community events. The Woollybear Festival is a one-day gathering that draws over 150,000 visitors to our city and includes the longest parade in Ohio. The Festival of the Fish, held each June, is a three-day event drawing visitors to take part in our celebration of the sea. Historic SummerFare - Antiques, Collectibles & Artisans in the Park brings thousands of visitors for the annual car show, street dance and Antiques in the Park. Hundreds of athletes and spectators descend upon Vermilion to compete in the Vermilion Harbour Triathlon/Duathlon each year. Third Thursdays provide an array of live music for your listening enjoyment in several different locations throughout town.
The Vermilion Farmers Market offers locally grown produce and products, local cottage industry products, art, and local crafted items. Thousands of muscle cars, hotrods, vintage and custom trucks, ‘vettes, vans, motorcycles and more take part in the area's largest, Annual Car Show each August at Vermilion Reservation. Watch as the roads and walks along Vermilion's Main Street fill up with bright chalk drawings created by local artistic talent at Chalk it Up! Outdoor movies and concerts are offered all summer long. Christmas in July celebrates winter in summer with Santa arriving by riverboat.
Holiday trees arrive by way of the Christmas tree ship, Vermilion's re-enactment of the 1887 Rousse Simmons, in December. Celebrate Pioneer Days with food, an open fire, crafts, demonstrations, music entertainment, and touring the historic Benjamin Bacon Homestead of 1845. The Annual Vermilion Ice-A-Fair is a day-long winter event for the entire family filled with glistening sculptures, ice carving demos and more!Art shows are planned throughout the year. Additional events include Scavenger Hunts, the Annual Chocolate Festival, the Annual Gardeners Fair, the Annual Duck Dash 500, the Vermilion River Watershed Open House, and much, much more.
Vermilion is located on the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail, the Wing Watch & Wine Trail, the Back Roads & Beaches Bike Route, the Lake Erie Circle Tour and the Shipwrecks & Maritime Tales of Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail. The area's largest vineyard and winery is located on Vermilion's South Side.
Vermilion River Reservation is home to the the picturesque Bacon House Museum at Mill Hollow. Walk through the original settler Benjamin Bacon's house, built in 1845. The museum features themes of daily living and puts an emphasis on the community life, including the profound effect the railroad had on the economy and on people's lives.
The Vermilion News Print Shop Museum, former home of Vermilion’s weekly newspaper 1905-1964, houses two linotypes and four letter presses as well as a collection of Vermilion photographs, signs, and other materials. The Vermilion Area Archival Society 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.
The Arts Guild features rotating exhibits of a new Artist of the Month, as well as special art shows and events. A wealth of art galleries abound in the Harbour Town district. The Vermilion Community Music Association, which features the Community Band, Community Chorus, and the Wind Jammer Dance Band, provides professional music services to numerous events throughout the year. The Vermilion Opera House, built in 1883 in the Vermilion Town Hall, is being restored to house a premier performing arts center featuring high quality touring performers, local theater, music and community events. Ritter Public Library, which is the jewel of our community, provides cultural events, plays, speakers, book clubs, and educational programs to all levels of our community. Meeting and housing space is provided for the many non-profit activities and events in town.
The Vermilion News Print Shop Museum, in downtown Vermilion, served as a print shop and a weekly newspaper from 1905 to 1964. The building was built in 1904 by Caselton Roscoe of Milan, Ohio for his son and daughter-in-law, Pearl and Bessie Roscoe, to house the business. There is an apartment above the shop where the Roscoe's lived and raised their two daughters. Today the apartment has become part of the museum featuring historical artifacts from the printer's family, as well as those from Vermilionites of the past.
The print shop houses two linotypes (c.1915), and 4 letter presses: A Stonemetz 2 revolution newspaper press (c.1919); a Kelly press (c.1917); a Chandler & Price 8"x12" Gorden Jobber Press (c.1900); and a Heidelberg windmill Press (c.1954). There is a book bindary and storage room with a manual paper cutter, electric stapler, and a manual hole punch machine.
Visit the museum at 727 Grand Street in downtown Vermilion, Ohio Monday thru Saturday 11 am to 3 pm; other times by appointment. Admission is $5.00; Seniors and Veterans $4.00; Children 10 years and under free with adult admission.
Call (440) 967-4555 or visit www.vermilionnewsprintshopmuseum.com for more information.
DOWNTOWN VERMILION: It doesn't get any better for rail buffs than Vermilion's historic downtown, with at least 5 trains racing through town every hour. A rail-viewing platform sits in the city's historic "Harbour Town" district in downtown Vermilion at Victory Park. The platform feaures a deck, benches, a railfan information station and radio. Shops, restaurants and a wealth of historic architecture are all close by. Both NS (ex-CR, exx-PC, exxx-NYC) and NS (ex-N&W, exx-NKP) run parallel in Vermilion, coming from Cleveland. Just west of downtown, NS/NKP heads south to Bellevue. A new connector is being built in the Vermilion area.
In the downtown area from Liberty Avenue (US-6), go south on Main Street (OH-60) one block and cross the ex-CR mainline. Free parking is available right next to the mainline at Vermilion's 'Town Square', Victory Park - an exceptional location for train-watching. This beautiful park features benches, picnic tables, barbeque grills, a Grand Gazebo, a childrens' play area and rose gardens. An historically preserved wooden station, Vermilion's New York Central Station, sits adjacent to the park. There are ample off-railroad shots available for both am and pm shots. Dining, restrooms, shopping and history galore are all a few steps away.
Rotary Centennial Park overlooks the Vermilion River under the historic water tower on West River Road in Harbour Town. This award winning park features flowering trees, plantings, benches, picnic tables and breathtaking views of the river and railroad tracks. The park also features an historical marker plaque highlighting Vermilion's railroad history.
At this site the Lake Shore Electric Railway crossed a bridge that spanned the Vermilion River. The western abutment of the former bridge is plainly visible just below along the river bank. Widely known as the "Greatest Electric Railway in the United States," the flaming orange trolley cars of the Lake Shore Electric Railway transported people and freight for thirty-seven years (1901-1938) along the southern Lake Erie shores from Cleveland to Toledo often reaching speeds of sixty miles per hour. The interurban line played a primary role in the development of the western Cleveland suburbs and also carried throngs of summer visitors to Lake Erie recreation facilities. The power lines still standing along the system's right-of-way attest to the fact that it also assisted in bringing electric power to the entire region.
All along the ex-CR and ex-NKP lines in the downtown area are terrific photo locations. Spend the day, maybe two, to take in all that is Vermilion.
The Nickel Plate Station is also being restored and will serve as a second railroad museum and commuter train station. The Vermilion Train, Rail, and Depot Buffs record history, preserve artifacts and has bimonthly meetings on the Commuter Rail Program which will offer commuter rail from Cleveland to Vermilion and beyond.
VERMILION'S EAST END
Coming into Vermilion from the east on Liberty Avenue (US-6), you will cross over the NS (ex-N&W, exx-NKP) mainline. Going west on US-6, turn left onto Vermilion Road and you will come to the NS (ex-CR, exx-PC, exxx-NYC) tracks at grade. Walk along the tracks for a short distance to the east, and you will see the point where ex-CR crosses over ex-NKP. Go back to Liberty Avenue (US-6) and make a left towards town. Right after passing over the Vermilion River, make a left on West River Road, and go under the ex-CR tracks. The beautiful Vermilion Public Boat Docks park on the left offers fantastic view of trains passing over the Vermilion River bridge. Don't miss the views from Rotary Park when heading back into town (see above.)
VERMILLION'S WEST SIDE, NS/EX-CR CONNECTION
In the infrastructure work done by Norfolk Southern prior to the break-up of Conrail, this connection was a key piece in northern Ohio. Just west of Vermillion, the ex-CR, exx-NYC, Chicago line and the NS, ex-NKP line are parallel and quite close to each other. Both lines are just south of US-6. A connection was put in as follows: The junction at the north, the ex-CR line, was put in to the south of Daylon Court, a subdivision-type street. There is no access to the tracks without getting permission from a home-owner. The south end junction with the ex-NKP is just to the east of Coen Road, and is wide open. This connection serves three major purposes: 1. It can take NKP freights that had to crawl thru the western suburbs of Cleveland, and get them thru town via the much faster ex-CR tracks. 2. Slow freights can be taken off the ex-CR and routed west via Bellevue. Therefore, it should be easier to get time-sensitive trains over the ex-CR. 3. Either line can serve as a safety valve/relief outlet for the other.
The first trolleys ran from Sandusky to Vermilion in 1899, an offshoot of the Sandusky Street Railway, the Sandusky & Interurban Electric Railway. City-style cars prowled the rails when it opened from Sandusky to Vermilion via Huron on July 26, 1899, a 24-mile sprint. Work gangs toiled eastward to meet the Lorain & Cleveland in Lorain, another 10-mile hop. The S & I was built with an expansive eye to the future -- double track provisions were engineered into all bridges as well as into the roadbed. It was a combination roadside and private right-of-way operation. In the autumn of 1901, the Everett-Moore Syndicate absorbed the S & I and others to create the Lake Shore Electric Railway.
The Lake Shore Electric Railway (LSE) was an interurban electric railway that ran primarily between Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio. Through arrangements with connecting interurban lines; it also offered service to Fostoria and Lima, Ohio, and Detroit. The line served many communities along the south shore of Lake Erie, at a time of mostly horse-drawn vehicles on dirt roads, with innovative, high-speed transportation that rivaled the area's steam railroads. It helped to develop tourism as a major industry in northern Ohio; by serving several lake shore recreation areas (some owned by LSE and others privately owned) such as Avon Beach Park in Avon Lake; Linwood Park in Vermilion; Crystal Beach, Beulah Beach, Mitiwanga Park and Ruggles Grove (Ruggles Beach) between Vermilion and Huron; Sage's Grove and Rye Beach in Huron. It also brought large numbers of visitors to a ferry dock serving a small beach park and picnic ground off Sandusky called Cedar Point, that evolved into the giant amusement park resort of today. It was formed August 29, 1901 through the merger of several smaller interurban railways: Lorain and Cleveland Railway, running between Cleveland and Lorain, and intent on building westward at the time of the merger. Sandusky and Interurban Railway (S&I), which had begun as a local transit operation in Sandusky, and was building eastward from Huron to Lorain at the time of the merger. Toledo, Fremont and Norwalk Railway (TF&N), serving Toledo, Fremont, and Norwalk and building eastward toward Lorain at the time of the merger. Sandusky, Milan and Norwalk Railway, formed in 1893 and one of the earliest interurban railway companies in the United States, between Sandusky and Norwalk, via Milan. This line served as the earliest physical connection between the Sandusky and Interurban Railway and the Toledo, Fremont and Norwalk Railway after the merger. It became a branch line after completion of the previously planned TF&N line east from Norwalk to connect to the S&I at "Ceylon Junction", a few miles east of Huron. It was also the first portion of the Lake Shore Electric system to be abandoned, ending service on March 29, 1928. The LSE later added the following interurban lines and operated them as branches: Lorain Street Railway, which ran between Lorain and Elyria and operated Lorain local transit services.
Avon Beach and Southern Railway, which ran between South Lorain and "Beach Park" in Avon Lake, the location of a Lake Shore Electric resort park, passenger station, car barn and electrical generating station. A small portion of this line is the only part of the original LSE system still in operation today, becoming what is now a Norfolk Southern Railway branch serving the FirstEnergy Corporation's Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company(CEI) generating station at Avon Lake. This plant was first built to replace the LSE power plant at the same location that was destroyed in an explosion and fire in 1925.
The Lake Shore Electric built a short branch to Gibsonburg, Ohio that opened on December 21, 1901. This branch was built as part of a planned expansion by LSE south and west to Findlay and Lima. This goal was reached instead by joint services with the Fostoria and Fremont Railway and the Western Ohio Railway and the line never went beyond Gibsonburg. It built a new route between Fremont and Sandusky via Castalia, commencing service on July 21, 1907, and later relocated some of its lines in Huron (opened in 1918) and Sandusky (opened in 1931).
The Lake Shore Electric at its height offered multiple-unit trains of interurban cars from Cleveland and Toledo. These trains would split in Fremont on the west and at Ceylon Junction (a passenger station on the former S&I line east of Huron at the connection with the former TF&N branch to Norwalk) on the east. After splitting; some cars would travel via the Huron, Sandusky and Castalia route and other cars would go via the Norwalk, Monroeville, Bellevue, and Clyde, route. The service was scheduled so the cars would re-join at Fremont and Ceylon Junction, respectively, to continue on to their destinations in Toledo or Cleveland.
The Lake Shore Electric achieved national notoriety through the heroism of a motorman, William Lang, who climbed out of his moving trolley car and snatched a 22-month old child off the tracks on August 24th, 1932 near Lorain, Ohio. The young girl, Leila Jean Smith, grew to adulthood and they remained friends for the rest of his life.
As its passenger business waned with the increasing number of private automobiles on paved roads, it outlived most connecting interurban lines by concentrating on freight services. However, the Lake Shore Electric went into bankruptcy on October 5, 1932 and ended interurban rail operations on May 15, 1938, with Car #167 making the last run out of Cleveland.
Several physical remnants of the Lake Shore Electric can still be found today. In the cities of Bay Village and Avon Lake are streets named "Electric," running over the former right-of-way. Also, bridge piers can be found at the Cleveland Metroparks Huntington Reservation and in Rose Hill park, both in Bay Village, and at several other locations. Much of its route can still be traced in northern Ohio by power lines on unusually high utility poles, where LSE's former electrical transmission infrastructure became the property of area utility companies.
The Norfolk Southern (AAR reporting marks NS) is a major Class I railroad in the United States, owned by the Norfolk Southern Corporation. The company operates 21,500 route miles in 22 eastern states, the District of Columbia and the province of Ontario, Canada. The most common commodity hauled on the railroad is coal from mines in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The railroad also offers an extensive intermodal network in eastern North America. The current system was planned in 1982 with the formation of the Norfolk Southern Corporation, merged on December 31, 1990 with the lease of the Norfolk and Western Railway by the Southern Railway which had been renamed Norfolk Southern. In 1999, the Norfolk Southern Railway grew substantially with the acquisition of over half of Conrail.
Norfolk Southern is currently buying DC traction diesel locomotives. There are a small number of AC traction diesels on their roster. They are EMD SD80MACs, all of which were inherited from Conrail. Currently, 10 of the 17 EMD SD80MACs are assigned to the locomotive pool in South Fork, Pennsylvania. Other AC locomotives also on the roster include a dwindling number of aging GP38ACs of Norfolk & Western and Southern Railway heritage.
Norfolk Southern's GE Dash-9 locomotives are often called "catfish" by railfans, as the stripes are said to look like catfish whiskers. The locomotive numbered 4610, a GM-EMD GP59, is painted in predecessor Southern Railway colors of green and white with gold trim and is a favorite of railfans. The work was done at the Debutts Yard in Chattanooga, Tennessee during the summer of 1994 and the locomotive received a repaint in the summer of 2004.
The current paint scheme for NS locomotives is black and white. Many of the locomotives are painted with a rearing horse on the nose, which is consistent with prior marketing campaigns where NS has billed itself as "The Thoroughbred".
In 2005, Norfolk Southern added two new types of locomotives to its roster: the EMD SD70M-2s, which when all are delivered, will be numbered 2649–2778, and GE ES40DCs, which will be numbered 7500-7719.
In September 2008, Norfolk Southern purchased 24 new GE ES44AC locomotives numbered 8000-8023 and they began receiving these units in October 2008. They are the first new AC locomotives ever purchased by NS. These new locomotives will be used for pusher service on long haul coal trains.
The New York Central Railroad (AAR reporting marks NYC), known simply as the New York Central in its publicity, was a railroad operating in the Northeastern United States. Headquartered in New York, the railroad served most of the Northeast, including extensive trackage in the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Massachusetts, plus additional trackage in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Its primary connections included Chicago and Boston. The NYC's Grand Central Terminal in New York City is one of its best known extant landmarks.
In 1968 the NYC merged with its former rival, the Pennsylvania Railroad, to form Penn Central (the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad joined in 1969). That company soon went bankrupt and was taken over by the federal government and merged into Conrail in 1976. Conrail was broken up in 1998, and portions of its system was transferred to the newly-formed New York Central Lines LLC, a subsidiary leased to, and eventually absorbed by CSX. That company's lines included the original New York Central main line, but outside that area it included lines that were never part of the NYC system.
The famous Water Level Route of the NYC, from New York City to upstate New York, was the first four-track long-distance railroad in the world.
For most of the twentieth century the New York Central was known to have some of the most famous train routes in the United States. Its 20th Century Limited, begun in 1902, ran from Grand Central Terminal in New York to LaSalle Street Station Chicago and was its most famous train, known for its red carpet treatment and first class service. The Century, which followed the Water Level Route, could complete the 960.7-mile trip in just 16 hours after its June 15, 1938 streamlining (and did it in 15 1/2 hours for a short period after WWII). Also famous was its frequent Empire State Express service through upstate New York to Buffalo and Cleveland, and Ohio State Limited service from New York to Cincinnati. In addition to long distance service, the NYC also provided vital commuter service for residents of Westchester County, New York, along its Hudson, Harlem, and Putnam lines, into Manhattan.
CSX Transportation (AAR reporting marks CSXT) is a Class I railroad in the United States, owned by the CSX Corporation. It is one of the three Class I railroads serving most of the East Coast, the other two being the Norfolk Southern Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway.
CSX Transportation was formed on July 1, 1986 as a renaming of the Seaboard System Railroad and Chessie System, Inc. into one entity. The originator of the Seaboard System was the former Seaboard Air Line Railroad, which previously merged Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, and later Louisville and Nashville Railroad, as well as several smaller subsidiaries. On August 31, 1987 the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, which had absorbed the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad on April 30 of that year, merged into CSX. The merger had been started in 1982 with the merger of Chessie System and Seaboard Coast Line Industries to form the CSX Corporation.
On June 23, 1997, CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern filed a joint application with the Surface Transportation Board for authority to purchase, divide and operate the assets of the 11,000-mile Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail), which had been created in 1976 by bringing together several ailing Northeastern railway systems into a government-owned corporation. On June 6, 1998, the STB approved the CSX-Norfolk Southern application and set August 22, 1998, as the effective date of its decision. CSX acquired 42% of Conrail's assets, and Norfolk Southern received the remaining 58%.
As a result of the transaction, CSX's rail operations grew to include some 3,800 miles of the Conrail system (predominantly lines that had belonged to the former New York Central Railroad). CSX began operating its trains on its portion of the Conrail network on June 1, 1999. CSX now serves much of the eastern U.S., with a few routes into nearby Canadian cities.
The name came about during merger talks between Chessie System, Inc. and Seaboard System Railroad, Inc., commonly called Chessie and Seaboard. The company chairmen said it was important for the new name to include neither of those names due to its being a partnership. Employees were asked for suggestions, most of which consisted of combinations of the initials. At the same time a temporary shorthand name was needed for discussions with the Interstate Commerce Commission. CSC was chosen but belonged to a trucking company in Virginia. CSM (for Chessie-Seaboard Merger) was also taken. The lawyers decided to use CSX, and the name stuck. In the public announcement, it was said that "CSX is singularly appropriate. C can stand for Chessie, S for Seaboard, and X, the multiplication symbol, means that together we are so much more." The T had to be added to use CSXT as a reporting mark, since company initials that end in X can be used only by non-railroad railcar owners.
The New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad (AAR reporting marks NKP), abbreviated NYC&St.L, was a railroad that operated in the mid-central United States. Commonly referred to as the Nickel Plate Road, the railroad served a large area, including trackage in the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Its primary connections included Buffalo, New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Ohio, Indianapolis, Indiana, St. Louis, Missouri and Toledo, Ohio.
The Nickel Plate Railroad was constructed in 1881 along the South Shore of the Great Lakes connecting Buffalo, New York and Chicago to compete with the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway. In 1964, the Nickel Plate Road and several other mid-western carriers were merged into Norfolk and Western Railway and the Nickel Plate Road was no more. The N&W was formed to be a more competitive and successful system serving 14 states and the Canadian province of Ontario on more than 7,000 miles (11,000 km) of railroad. The profitable N&W was itself combined with the Southern Railway, another profitable carrier, to form Norfolk Southern Corporation (NS) in 1982.
Former N&W Territory:
161.190 - Ch. 1 Road
161.250 - Ch. 2 Road
161.440 - Ch. 3 Road
161.490 - Ch. 9 MofW
Former CR Territory:
160.800 - Ch. 1 Road (includes Chicago Line and Indianapolis Line)
161.070 - Ch. 2 Road (includes former TOC lines)
161.115 - End-of-train telemetry
161.205 - Police
161.535 - Ch. 4 Signal Dept.
161.340 - Hump
161.190 - Yardmaster
160.665 - Locomotive Shop
160.485 - Car Department
161.490 - MoW
161.250 - Ch. 2 Yard
161.280 - Yard
160.380 - Signal Department
160.470 - Crew Bus
161.385 - Car Shop
160.485 - Car Department
161.250 - Ch. 2 Yard
160.230* - Ch.1 Road and dispatcher
161.370* - Ch.2 Road and dispatcher
160.590* - Ch.3 Road and dispatcher
160.800* - Former Conrail Road (includes Indy & Columbus Lines)
160.785 - MofW-Systemwide
Note: An asterick (*) indicates that Amtrak may operate over that route.
Directions from Rt. 6: On the west side of the bridge over the Vermilion River, by Vermilion Deli, turn south onto West River Road. Then in about ¼ mile at the stop sign, turn left (east) onto the Boat Ramp access road. Watch for oncoming traffic on West River Road from the south which does not stop and has the right of way.
Directions from Rt. 60: From the traffic light where State Rt. 60 intersects South Street, turn right (east) onto South Street and go east about ½ mile. Where South Street dead-ends at West River Road, there is a stop sign. At this intersection, watch for traffic coming from the right (south) which does not stop and has the right of way. Cross the street by making a jog to the left (north) onto West River Road, then immediately turn right onto the access road leading downhill to the river and Boat Ramp.
Surrounded by tall trees and a split-rail fence, you can't miss the picturesque Bacon House Museum and Carriage Barn at Vermilion River Reservation's Mill Hollow. Walk through the original settler Benjamin Bacon's house, built in 1845. The museum features themes of daily living and puts an emphasis on the community life in Brownhelm, including the profound effect the railroad had on the economy and on people's lives. The museum is located at 51211 N. Ridge Road in Vermilion and is typically open on Sundays during during the Spring and Summers and during special events during the Fall and Winter. Call (440) 967-7310 for more information.
In 1817, Benjamin Bacon settled with his family along the top of the cliffs overlooking an oxbow in the Vermilion River that would eventually be called Mill Hollow. Soon afterwards, and at an early age, Benjamin was elected to the prestigious position of Justice of the Peace, and in 1824 was selected as one of the first commissioners for Lorain County. In 1835 he purchased an interest in a saw and grist mill that had been relocated to the oxbow in the river. A mill race was cut across the oxbow to increase the water power that turned the mill’s large water wheel. The mills were very successful and by 1845 had provided Benjamin the means to build a nice house across the road. When he died in 1868 at the age of 78, the house and mills were sold to John Heymann, a German immigrant new to the area.
Frederick Bacon was born in 1840, the youngest son of Benjamin and Anna, Benjamin’s third wife. In 1860, he enlisted in the Union army and fought in the Civil War for four years, after which he returned home to his wife Abigail (formerly Abigail Wells) and started a family in Brownhelm. In 1879, John Heymann sold the mills to Frederick Bacon. They’d been modernized with steam power after a fire destroyed them in October of 1876 which started after the close of business. Frederick now not only owned the mills, but also owned land in Geauga county and coal fields in Iowa. This diversity was very fortunate because with the advent of the railroad, fewer farmers needed to mill their grain locally and many local residents weren’t even farmers, but rather worked at the sandstone quarries instead. By 1901, the mills were no longer profitable and had to be sold and dismantled.
Frederick and Abigail had nine children, seven of whom never married. After Frederick’s death in 1901, his children continued to farm the river valley. By the late 1920s, only Sarah and Charles remained, and the house was rented to several people for decades until Charles’ death in 1957. Dorothy Bacon DeMuth, a distant cousin, inherited the property and donated it to the newly formed Lorain County Metro Parks. The Vermilion River Reservation became the first park in the Lorain County Metro Parks. The Bacon House was opened as a house museum in 1962 with the help of the Lorain County Historical Society. Today, the house is open Sundays and Holidays, Memorial Day to Labor Day, and scheduled private tours throughout the year.
Spanning two adjacent areas separated by the Vermilion River—Mill Hollow on one side and Bacon Woods on the other—Vermilion River Reservation is a favorite of picnickers, naturalists and anyone who just wants to enjoy its natural beauty. Just next to the Bacon House Museum, the Carriage Barn offers visitors information about the park and hosts nature programs. Vermilion River Reservation is located at 51211 North Ridge Road, just 4 miles south of downtown Vermilion, by the intersection of North Ridge and Vermilion Roads.
Did you know you could escape to an island, just off the shores near Vermilion? The islands are a Midwest vacation hot spot. Just a short drive to a ferry ride from the mainland, or visit by boat, and you'll forget you are in Ohio! Whatever your pleasure, coastal relaxation or on-the-go excitement, the islands have got it covered! And it's all just minutes away from historic Vermilion, Ohio.
Kelleys Island, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is an outdoor-lovers paradise, while Put-in-Bay, on South Bass Island, appeals with abundant shopping and entertainment. You can also visit Middle Bass Island, which is dominated by vineyards, old homes, summer cottages, and a campground. Canada's Pelee Island is also accessible by ferry from Sandusky, but does require planning for an overnight stay - the ferry visits Sandusky only once a day in peak season.
The Lake Erie Islands can only be reached by boat or plane. Cars are permitted on all the islands; however, you’ll have greater freedom to discover each island’s natural beauty by bicycle or golf cart. Rental shops are located within walking distance of the islands’ ferry docks.
Kelleys Island is a nature-lovers’ paradise, whose modest commercial development lends to its appeal. Rent bicycles or golf carts to explore the scenic countryside, visit the largest prehistoric glacial grooves in existence, catch a bite to eat at an island eatery, or simply lounge at the Kelleys Island State Park beach. The island’s appeal ranges from natural spaces to rousing nightlife. Birds, wildlife, and hiking trails are abundant,. Enjoy miniature golf, volleyball, horseshoes, one-of-a-kind island shops and confectioneries, and making memories that will last a lifetime.
Put-in-Bay is a colorful, Victorian village on South Bass Island . Nightlife and live entertainment rule the summer weekends on this festive island, with national and regional musical acts and comedians. The island boasts a waterfront park, unique shops, eateries, and historical attractions. Explore caves, take a spin on a carousel, and sample the local vintage. Don’t miss Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial, a 353-foot Greek Doric column that is the second tallest free-standing monument in the U.S. It commemorates Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s defeat of the British in the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie and stands as a memorial celebrating lasting peace between the U.S. and Canada . Take the elevator to the observation platform for a spectacular view.
Explore this island dominated by vineyards, old homes, summer cottages, and a campground. There are few man-made diversions here; instead, many attractions are nature-made: a rocky shoreline, expansive views, and interior wetlands. The Kuehnle Wildlife Area protects a variety of plants and animals. Its 20-acre pond is a favorite spot with bird watchers and fishermen. Still in development, the new Middle Bass Island State Park currently provides limited marina facilities and hiking trails.
Just minutes from Vermilion, discover the Lake Erie Islands.
In the nearby farm fields and vineyards, depending on the season, Eastern bluebirds, red winged blackbirds, sparrows, cardinals, woodpeckers of all kinds and other common North American species abound. This fertile crescent also provides the natural microclimate for vineyard excellence. A wide range of soil types deposited by years of glacial movement and temperatures moderated by the most shallow of all the Great Lakes allows vintners to grow the traditional native varieties, French American hybrids, and the finest of European varietals.
Ohio has a history steeped in wine industry. The first cultivated grapevines in the U.S. were grown in Ohio, making Ohio the oldest wine-producing state in the country. Wines from this region have won medals around the country and produce a range of wines to suit any palate.
Northern Ohio ’s chillier climate is ideal for producing grapes for white Germanic wines like Riesling and fruity wines. Ohio is quickly becoming one of the top wine-producing states in the country, boasting nearly 3,000 acres of grapes, a yearly production of over 800,000 gallons, and more than 80 wineries - growing from 37 just nine years ago - that bring in an estimated $70 million a year.
Grapevine buds appear about mid-April. Blossoms and fruit development occurs in June. Fruit color and sugars develop in August. Harvest begins in mid-September and lasts though late October. Discover the beauty of Vermilion's Wing Watch & Wine Trail.