Elyria ( ə-LEER-ee-ə) 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 city's name is derived from the surname of its founder, Heman Ely, and Illyria, the historical name used by ancient Greeks and Romans to refer to the western Balkans.
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.