Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Many years ago, in another life, I visited Chagrin Falls. Very cozy, cute little town. After doing shoots and articles on Elyria, Norwalk, Amherst and Lorain’s downtown, I had to go see Chagrin Falls again, 15+ years later. Since the rest of my family had plans away from home this past weekend, I treated myself to a trip east.

When I turned the corner onto N. Main, I thought I’d taken myself there during some huge festival. Cars parked up and down the street (Saturday afternoon, just after 3pm.), people walking into and out of businesses, talking on the sidewalks, just having the time of their lives. I finally found a parking spot on the other side of downtown, and started walking.

This was business as usual. Nothing exciting or out of the ordinary. Just people getting out on a brisk weekend day, and doin’ stuff. I think I counted 4 or 5 cafes or restaurants, a coffee shop, popcorn shop, a bookstore and a unique resale shop, and so much more. And it was all BUSY!!!  Kinda dreamed the dream of this being downtown Lorain, risen from the dead, and rejuvenated.

I’m gonna hold onto that dream with both hands…

Here are some of the businesses in Chagrin Falls.


Candies, flavored popcorn, ice cream and sorbets, flavored coffees, etc.
















Stop lights on either end of the downtown, numerous crosswalks with “Yield to Pedestrian” signs in the middle, and some pretty high priced vehicles scattered around the street. Two Porsches, numerous Lexuseseses, Caddies, and Audis.

I will admit that the Falls falls are a huge draw. I saw a lot of people with cameras and posing in front of the falls. I saw THREE different wedding parties lining up at various spots along the River with the falls in the background, and there’s 2 sets of falls!! (I’ll have shots of those later.)

Looking at these businesses, wouldn’t you just love to see this in Lorain?! The MJ wrote a few months ago that a summer intern put together a guide of downtown, with owners and the businesses they run, or the empty buildings they own, and some other info for Mayor Tony K to access. It would be great if something was being put together to get some of these property owners access to money or get them motivated to do something or just sell the building to someone who will.

Or what about getting permission from the EPA to create a set of falls on the Black River…?

That just might be a little easier….



5 thoughts on “Chagrin Falls, Ohio

  1. In the late 1950s or early 1960s, my Uncle Dan and Aunt Pody moved to an old wreck of a house at 291 Bell Street and began rehabbing. We were general contractors at the time, and he brought the crews over a few times. Hudson was being resettled at that time, too, and my Aunt Gerri and Uncle Larry were there in a newer development; downtown was quaint, but a wreck.

    What stands out with me is that both towns had a respect for their basic structure. The rehabbed and restored; they did not have grandiose developments, nor did they move huge blocks of money. Most of the initiative was private; government played little role.

    And, it took a while for things to turn around, but the results show us that it was worth it.

  2. I always said I wouldn’t do this, but . . .

    I remember when going downtown was the thing to do (that was only back in the 60’s when we were in high school). There were 3 movie theaters, 3 dime stores (Kresges, Jupitor, and Nisners), many clothing stores (Style Center, Ted Jacobs, Klines, Smith and Gerharts, JC Penney, Sears, Montgomery Ward) and of course the soda shops (Mary’s and Sutters), and don’t forget the Nut shop. Buses ran up and down Broadway and all over town and the bridge went up and down. The summer movies on Tuesdays were packed full with young people (actually behaving well), all 3 of them! The Antlers had “teen dances” and sock hops. Those lucky enough to have friends with cars could hang out at the Hoop (shades of American Graffitti and Happy Days). There were always groups of us downtown, shoppping, going to the show, even going to the library in large groups to do research and homework. I really miss those days, even told my children about them. Wished they’d have had those same opportunities. Maybe, someday, that dream will be re-created for another generation. That certainly would help revitalize Lorain. We’d be a family community again.

    Thanks for the memories

  3. The bridge went up and down?!! I wish I remembered that.

    Kidding aside, I’ve seen a lot of historic buildings in a lot of cities, and our downtown has a TON of potential. Unfortunately, we have mere ounces of good intent in a variety of property owners along Broadway.

    We have buildings being used for storage, one being used as a flophouse (which, unfortunately, is licensed by the Health Department), and others whose owners seemed to have enough money to buy them, but definitely lacking in the rehab or idea department to do something constructive with their building.

    ‘I have a dream….’ A dream where people HAVE to use the crosswalks to get to the other side of Broadway; where traffic is so heavy we really need all the lights; where all the buildings are restored and rehabbed and occupied with businesses, and people like me come from OTHER towns to photograph all the cool buildings and businesses Lorain has in its Historic Downtown.

    Right NOW, it’s a dream. Tomorrow, it could be a reality.


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