History of Elyria
1807 Justin Ely, a Massachusetts merchant, along with 4 other men (Roger Newberry, Jonathon Brace, Elijah White and Enoch Perkins) purchased land in the Connecticut Western Reserve. They purchased 12,423 acres for $27,500.
1816 Justin Ely gave the land to his son, Heman Ely, 41. Heman wanted to see the land so he traveled 600 miles by sulky and horseback. When Heman arrived, he found forests filled with oak, walnut, and ash trees and two branches of the Black River. There were also many kinds of animals including bears, wolves, deer, snakes and wild turkeys. Before returning to New England he had men clear some land for a log cabin, a dam, a saw mill and a grist mill to be built on the east branch of the Black River.
March 17, 1817 Heman Ely returned with five others to begin his new town. Along with him were Ebenezer Lane, a stepbrother, Luther Lane, the driver, Annie Snow, a cook, Ned, a handyman servant and a carpenter named Artemas Beebe. Mr. Beebe had been hired for one year at $1.00 a day and was given $20.00 for expenses for the journey.
Heman had decided to name the new town Elyria after himself and the French province of Illyria. He had been in France in 1809 when Napoleon had acquired the Illyria province of Austria and was fascinated by it.
1817, April George Douglass and Gersham Danks, from Westfield, Mass. arrived to help build.
1817, May 29 Festus Cooley arrived from Westfield, Mass. to take charge of the saw and grist mills.
1818 Heman returned to New England to marry Celia Belden. Artemas Beebe built him a house on the northwest corner of what is now Broad and East Bridge streets. It had a fireplace in every room and a brick oven in the kitchen. It had white siding taken from one tree nearby.
The first frame building was a store operated by Edmund West & Co. This was the first store in Elyria.
Bridges were constructed over the Black River at East Bridge and West Bridge crossings.
1818 Artemas Beebe built a tavern across the road from Heman Ely's house. It became the stopping place for the stagecoach (which Artemas owned) and a meeting place for locals.
Main Street (now Broad Street). Beebe Tavern is on the left.
This is a later picture of the tavern.