Lakewood, Ohio

Lakewood is a city in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States, on the southern shore of Lake Erie. Established in 1889, it is one of Cleveland's historical streetcar suburbs and part of the Greater Cleveland Metropolitan Area. The population was 52,131 at the 2010 United States Census, making it the third largest city in Cuyahoga County, behind Cleveland and Parma.[7] Lakewood is home to a young and diverse population, including a significant number of immigrants.[8] Its population density is the highest of any city in Ohio and is roughly comparable to that of Los Angeles.

Lakewood, Ohio
City of Lakewood
Skyline of Downtown Cleveland as seen from Lakewood Park at night
Skyline of Downtown Cleveland as seen from Lakewood Park at night
"City of Beautiful Homes"
"A Great Place to Call Home"
Location in Cuyahoga County and the state of Ohio.
Location in Cuyahoga County and the state of Ohio.
Lakewood, Ohio is located in the United States
Lakewood, Ohio
Lakewood, Ohio
Location in Cuyahoga County and the state of Ohio.
Coordinates: 41°28′51″N 81°48′01″W / 41.48083°N 81.80028°W / 41.48083; -81.80028Coordinates: 41°28′51″N 81°48′01″W / 41.48083°N 81.80028°W / 41.48083; -81.80028
Country United States
State Ohio
 • TypeMayor-council
 • MayorMeghan George (D)[1]
 • Total6.70 sq mi (17.34 km2)
 • Land5.54 sq mi (14.36 km2)
 • Water1.15 sq mi (2.98 km2)
Elevation705 ft (215 m)
 • Total52,131
 • Estimate 
 • Density8,962.29/sq mi (3,460.64/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)216
FIPS code[6]39-41664
GNIS feature ID1064966


Lakewood was incorporated as a village in 1889, and named for its lakefront location.[9]

Earliest daysEdit

The wilderness west of the Cuyahoga River was delayed being settled due to a treaty the American government made with the Native Americans in 1785, whereby no white man was to settle on that land. Consequently, when Moses Cleaveland arrived in 1796, his activities were confined to the east side of the river.

The area now called Lakewood was populated by the Ottawa, Potawatomi, Chippewa, Wyandot, Munsee, Delaware and Shawnee tribes until the Treaty of Ft. Industry pushed them west in 1805.[8] The treaty, signed at Ft. Industry near what is now downtown Toledo, Ohio, ceded 500,000 acres of some of the tribes' land to the United States for about $18,000 or 3.5 cents/acre. The Shawnee and Seneca, living with the Wyandot, were to get $1000 "...every year forever hereafter."[10]

The area now occupied by Lakewood, Rocky River, Fairview Park, and West Park was purchased from the Connecticut Land Company by a syndicate of six men headed by Judson Canfield on April 4, 1807, for $26,084.

In 1806 the area was formally surveyed as Rockport Township. In 1818, permanent settlement began with the arrival from Connecticut of James Nicholson.[11] Other early pioneers included Jared Kirtland and Mars Wager. Settlements were mostly along Detroit Avenue, a toll road operated by the Rockport Plank Company from 1848 to 1901, with large farms and properties extending north to Lake Erie. Making bricks and planting orchards were among the most prolific occupations until natural gas and oil wells were developed in the early 1880s.[8]

By 1819 18 families lived in Rockport Township. In 1893, streetcars came to Lakewood with the construction of the Detroit Avenue line, followed by the Clifton Boulevard line in 1903 and the Madison Avenue line in 1916.[12]

First governmentEdit

Lakewood, the first suburb west of Cleveland on the shores of Lake Erie, began as Township 7, Range 14, of the Connecticut Western Reserve in 1805. It was a wooded wilderness through which cut the old Huron Post Road that ran from Buffalo, New York, to Detroit, Michigan. In 1819 a small group of eighteen families living in the area of present-day Lakewood, Rocky River, and part of Cleveland's West Park neighborhood named the growing community Rockport Township. In April of that year, the first election took place in Rufus Wright's tavern with a member of each household present. Three were elected as trustees: Henry Alger, Erastus Johnson, and Rufus Wright. Elected as overseers of the poor were James Nicholson and Samuel Dean. Henry Canfield was elected clerk. This type of government served Rockport for the next 70 years, with an election held each year.

Underground Railroad marker at Lakewood Park.

In 1889 East Rockport, with 400 residents, separated from the township and became the Hamlet of Lakewood. Settlement accelerated rapidly, with Lakewood becoming a village with 3,500 residents in 1903. City status, with 12,000 residents, came just eight years later. By 1930 the population of Lakewood was 70,509.


The early settlers in Township 7 sustained their lives through farming. The land was ideal for fruit farming and many vineyards began to emerge. The fertile soil and lake climate that were ideal for producing crops is what attracted many people to move to the township. There was also vast amounts of trees to be used for building homes and other structures. The most common occupations in Lakewood were farming and the building trades.

First roadsEdit

Roads were the earliest influence on development in Lakewood. The Rockport Plank Road Company improved the old Detroit Road in 1848, opening a toll road from present-day West 25th Street in Cleveland to five miles west of the Rocky River. It continued operating as a toll road until 1901. A series of bridges spanning the Rocky River Valley, the first of which was built in 1821, improved commerce between Cleveland and the emerging communities to its west. An 1874 atlas of Cuyahoga County shows present-day main roads such as Detroit Avenue, Madison Avenue, Franklin Boulevard, Hilliard Road, Warren Road, and Riverside Drive.


Under the Ohio Common School Act of April 9, 1867, three schools were allotted to East Rockport, called 6, 8, and 10; they were later designated East, Middle, and West. Each school had one teacher. As the community began to grow and more schools were required, the school board adopted the policy of honoring Ohio's presidents by assigning their names to the school buildings.


The Rocky River Railroad was organized in 1869 by speculators as an excursion line to bring Clevelanders to the resort area they developed at the mouth of the Rocky River. Financially unsuccessful as a pleasure and amusement venture, the line was sold to the Nickel Plate Railroad in 1881. The railroad line still exists today, running in an east–west direction north of Detroit Avenue.


Lakewood is governed by an elected mayor and elected council. The council has seven members, with four members representing wards in the city and the other three are at-large council members.[13] Lakewood is represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by Marcy Kaptur (OH-9, D).[14] In the Ohio General Assembly it is represented by Nickie Antonio (D) in the State Senate[15] and by Michael Skindell in the (D) State House.[16]

Lakewood Park with view of Downtown Cleveland skyline.
Winter in Lakewood.


# Mayor[17] Term start Term end
1 Ira E. Canfield 1889 1891
2 Clayton L. Tyler 1892 1897
3 Otto C. Berchtold 1898 1899
4 Jacab H. Tegardine 1900 1901
5 Joseph J. Rowe 1902 1905
6 Bernard Miller 1906 1909
7 Nelson C. Cotabish 1910 1911
8 John B. Coffinberry 1912 1913
9 Clayton W. Tyler 1914 1917
10 Byron M. Cook 1918 1919
11 Louis E. Hill 1920 1923
12 Edward A. Wiegand 1924 1932
13 Amos I. Kauffman 1932 1955
14 Frank P. Celeste 1956 1963
15 Robert M. Lawther 1964 1976
16 William E. Blackie 1977 1977
17 Anthony C. Sinagra 1978 1990
18 David R. Harbarger 1990 1995
19 Madeline A. Cain 1996 2003
20 Thomas J. George 2004 2007
21 Ed FitzGerald 2008 2010
22 Micheal P. Summers 2011 2019
23 Meghan George 2020 Present


Lakewood is located at 41°28′51″N 81°48′1″W / 41.48083°N 81.80028°W / 41.48083; -81.80028 (41.480881, -81.800360),[18] about 6 miles (9.7 km) west of downtown Cleveland.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.69 square miles (17.33 km2), of which 5.53 square miles (14.32 km2) is land and 1.16 square miles (3.00 km2) is water.[19]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)49,678[5]−4.7%

As of the census[4] of 2010, there were 52,131 people, 25,274 households, and 11,207 families residing in the city. The population density was 9,426.9 inhabitants per square mile (3,639.7/km2). There were 28,498 housing units at an average density of 5,153.3 per square mile (1,989.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 87.5% White, 6.4% African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.9% Asian, 1.3% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.1% of the population.

There were 25,274 households, of which 22.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 29.7% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 55.7% were non-families. 44.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.05 and the average family size was 2.99.

The median age in the city was 35.4 years. 19.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 34.3% were from 25 to 44; 25.7% were from 45 to 64; and 11% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.1% male and 50.9% female.

As of the 2007 American Community Survey, the median income for a household in the city was $42,602, and the median income for a family was $59,201. Males had a median income of $42,599 versus $35,497 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,939. About 10.9% of families and 14.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.3% of those under age 18 and 10.5% of those age 65 or over. Of the city's population over the age of 25, 39.0% hold a bachelor's degree or higher.[23]

Ethnicity and immigrationEdit

Lakewood's ethnic mosaic includes Albanian, Arab, Chinese, German, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Mexican, Nepalese, Puerto Rican, Polish, Russian, Slovak, and Ukrainian ancestries.[24] As of 2019, 12.2% spoke a language other than English at home, including Arabic, Spanish, Albanian, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, and Hungarian.[25] The community is a hotspot for immigrants, arriving primarily from Southeast Europe (especially Albania, Romania, Greece, and the former Yugoslavia),[26][27] the Middle East (Lebanon, Syria, and Iran),[27][28] South Asia (India, Nepal, and Myanmar),[8][29] and the former USSR (Russia, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine).[8][30] The foreign-born population was approximately 8.6% in 2019.[25]


Public schoolsEdit

Lakewood High School in April 2009.

The City of Lakewood Public School System is managed by a directly elected school board.[31] The Lakewood City Schools was rated as having "Continuous Improvement" by the Ohio Department of Education in 2013. Lakewood rebuilt or renovated the city's high school, two middle schools and seven elementary schools in a process completed in 2017.[32] The investment was the first major school building program in Lakewood since 1920. The school system is one of the largest employers in the city of Lakewood.

  • Lakewood High School
  • Franklin Elementary, Franklin Boulevard - opened in 1909, closed in June 2009
  • Grant Elementary, 1470 Victoria Avenue
  • Emerson Elementary, 13439 Clifton Boulevard
  • Harrison Elementary, 2080 Quail Street
  • Hayes Elementary, 16401 Delaware Avenue
  • Lincoln Elementary,[33] 15615 Clifton Boulevard
  • Horace Mann Elementary, 1215 West Clifton Boulevard
  • Roosevelt Elementary, 14327 Athens Avenue
  • Harding Middle School - a new building replaced the original facility in 2007
  • Garfield Middle School - a new middle school building that was formerly an elementary school, re-opened in 2007; efforts were made to retain the original facade of the school, which was constructed in the late 1800s
  • Taft Elementary - closed June 2008

Private schoolsEdit

  • Lakewood Catholic Academy, K-8, founded in 2005 through a consolidation of four parochial elementary schools, St. James, St. Luke and St. Clements and Transfiguration on the site of the former St. Augustine Academy. Since its founding, over $1.5 million has been invested in capital improvements, making LCA a "significant institution for parochial education in Lakewood.[34]
  • Lakewood Lutheran School - K-8 integrated elementary education
  • Padre Pio Academy - a K-12 elementary/high school founded by lay Catholics striving to be loyal to the Magisterium of the Church; offers a classical curriculum; member of NAPCIS, the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools
  • St. Edward High School - private Roman Catholic High School for boys which attracts students from around northeastern Ohio; new athletic facilities and chapel constructed in 2004 and 2006; they were Ohio Division I football champions in 2010, 2014, 2015, 2018
  • The Virginia Marti College of Design - offers degrees in Digital Media, Fashion Design, Fashion Merchandising, Graphic Design and Interior Design
  • The University of Akron holds evening classes at Lakewood High School

Economic developmentEdit


In 2012, the City of Lakewood supported a program to brand the Detroit Avenue business district as "Downtown Lakewood."[35] Downtown Lakewood spans from Bunts Avenue to the east and Arthur Avenue to the west along Detroit Avenue.

Lake Erie shore at Lakewood Park.
Lakewood Park gazebo.
Solstice Steps at Lakewood Park.


  • The Lakewood Library's 2008 expansion (its first in over 20 years) increased the main library to 93,000 square feet; the collection then grew to over 474,000 items by 2015. The Lakewood Library also celebrated its centennial in 2016.[36]
  • Rockport Square, a new residential project by Forest City Enterprises, began being developed on the eastern end of the city in 2004 and is incorporating mixed-use all along Detroit Avenue. The project includes three phases, with the first one complete and the second one underway. The phase will include two six-story loft buildings and several adjacent mixed-use buildings.
  • The Cleveland Clinic completed construction of a new one-story facility on Detroit Avenue in 2005, adjacent to Rockport Square.
  • The Lakewood YMCA finished construction of its new facility on Detroit Avenue in 2004. The two-story gymnasium features state-of-the-art exercise equipment, an indoor swimming pool, yoga lessons, and an extended babysitting service.
  • The Cleveland Clinic began demolition in 2016 of a professional office building and garage in preparation for the construction of a new $34 million, 62,000 square foot family health building, which will serve as a replacement, in part, for Lakewood Hospital. The hospital's emergency department remains open through the construction, which is scheduled to be completed in 2018.[37]
  • The highways that go through Lakewood are U.S. Route 20, U.S. Route 6 Alternate, and Ohio State Route 237. In the south of the city, Interstate 90 enters the city limits.


  • Travel + Leisure Magazine - Top 10 Suburbs in the USA[38]
  • Business Week - Best Place to Raise Your Kids: 2010[39]
  • The City of Lakewood Department of Planning & Development[40] won an award for Economic Development from Inside Business Magazine in 2009.[citation needed]
  • In 2009, the American Institute of Architects and the Cleveland Restoration Society honored the City of Lakewood Department of Planning & Development and LakewoodAlive[41] with an award for Creative & Effective Preservation Advocacy in 2009.
  • This Old House Magazine chose Lakewood as one of thirteen of the "Best Places in the Midwest to Buy an Old House."[42]
  • The City of Lakewood was accepted into the nationally renowned Ohio Main Street Program in 2005.[43]


  • Lakewood Park is one of the largest lakefront parks in Ohio and features a live concert stage, outdoor swimming pool, picnic pavilions, 4-season public pavilion, kids' playground, baseball, volleyball, and a skate park, which opened in 2004. Lakewood has more than 150 acres (0.61 km2) of greenspace citywide. The park's million dollar lakefront promenade opened in 2006 and offers an excellent panorama of Downtown Cleveland and the presence of viewing telescopes enhances the viewing experience of Downtown Cleveland. An all-purpose trail that circles the park was built in 2006.
On October 30, 2015, Lakewood opened its "Solstice Steps" in the northwest corner of the park. The steps are aligned in the direction of sunset on the summer solstice. They are constructed of white concrete blocks in five tiers; each tier has four steps separated by green grass strips.[44]
  • The Rocky River Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks System forms part of the city's western border. The Lakewood Dog Park, built in 2004, is located next to the Metroparks, in the Rocky River valley.
  • Lakewood Public Library[45] has won numerous awards[46] and has two branches: the main branch on Detroit Avenue and a smaller branch on Madison Avenue. The Lakewood Library is normally ranked one of the top 5 libraries in the US for its size on a regular basis,[47] and was awarded "Best Place to Hang Out if You're Broke" by Scene Magazine in 2009.
  • The Lakewood Civic Auditorium, a 2,000-seat performing arts venue located on the campus of Lakewood High School, opened in 1955. The auditorium hosted the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival from 1962 to 1981.[48] The facade of the auditorium features the world's largest free-standing ceramic sculpture, Early Settler, created by Viktor Schreckengost. The sculpture is commonly known as "Johnny Appleseed" who was the subject of Schreckengost's design.[49]
  • The Beck Center for the Arts is the largest cultural arts center on Cleveland's west shore.[50]
  • Geiger's, a retailer of clothing and ski equipment and accessories, was founded in downtown Lakewood in 1932. The company, now run by the third generation of the Geiger family, moved to its present location in 1936.[51]
  • The home of Malley's Chocolates is in Lakewood.[52]
  • Aladdin's Eatery, a national restaurant brand, is based in Lakewood. Their first restaurant was founded in Lakewood by Fady and Sally Chamoun in 1994.[53] Aladdin's Lakewood Headquarters was expanded in 2007.

Other notesEdit

  • The City of Lakewood first introduced curbside recycling in 1989 and has one of the highest recycling rates in all of Ohio: 79% in 2009.[54]
  • A handful of print and online media chronicle Lakewood, including, a Lakewood channel of, The Sun Post-Herald, and The Lakewood Observer.
  • Lakewood operates a CERT[55] program. This all-citizen emergency response program was created in 2005.
  • According to the Free Times and The Plain Dealer, Lakewood has the highest concentration of vegetarians and vegans in northeast Ohio.* Historical housing throughout the city and an active historical society are the norm in Lakewood. The :Make Lakewood Beautiful" program involves contests in which residents compete to make their homes look and resemble their original design and architecture, and awards are given to several homeowners each year. The city offers tours of the most famous homes in the spring, summer, and fall.


Lakewood is home to a large number of high rises, spread in varying amounts throughout the city. Most are concentrated on the Gold Coast, and, to a lesser extent, in downtown Lakewood.

Gold CoastEdit

Backyard of The Berkshire
Lake Shore Towers on Edgewater Drive in Lakewood
  • Winton Place Condos
  • Carlyle Condominiums on the Lake
  • The Meridian
  • The Waterford Condos
  • Marine Towers West
  • Marine Towers East
  • Imperial House
  • The Envoy
  • Twelve Thousand Edgewater
  • The Shoreham Apartments
  • Edgewater Towers
  • Lake House Condominiums
  • The Berkshire Condominiums
  • Lake Shore Towers


  • Lakewood Center North (186 ft) is Lakewood's tallest office building with 15 floors of office space and is the largest private office building in Cuyahoga County outside of downtown Cleveland, based on total square footage.
  • The INA Building is the first medical office building ever constructed.
  • Westerly West Building
  • Westerly East Building
  • Westerly South Building
  • Northwesterly

Other high risesEdit

  • Castlewood Apartments
  • Richard Hilliard House Condominiums
  • Fedor Manor
  • Harbour View Apartments
  • Commodore Club Apartments
  • Mayfair Apartments

Neighborhoods and districtsEdit

A residential street in Lakewood
  • Arts District (proposed in 2006) - Three locations have been proposed, with the most likely location to be centered around The Beck Center For The Arts, on the west side of Lakewood.
  • Birdtown - Southeastern corner of Lakewood, a well-known 8-street residential district on the southeast side of the city that was built specifically for the workers of the nearby National Carbon Company in the 1890s. The houses are distinctive and most of the streets are named after birds. Birdtown was designated a National Register Historic District in 2006. It is adjacent to Madison Park, the former Union Carbide factory, and the W. 117th St. Rapid Transit Station. Many of the original houses built there were boarding houses. Birdtown achieved National Historic Register status in 2006.
  • Clifton Boulevard - Lined with big trees and multi-family homes, apartment complexes, and 4×4 brick structures, and turn of the century single family colonials, the seven-lane Clifton Boulevard is one of the busiest streets in greater Cleveland.
  • Clifton Park - The wealthiest neighborhood of Lakewood is situated in the northwestern corner of the city, and consists mostly of magnificent Victorian mansions. It is bounded by Sloane on the south, West Clifton on the east, The Rocky River on the west, and Lake Erie on the north. Built in the late 19th century, this area has been historically, and continues to be, home to many of greater Cleveland's most prominent citizens. Includes the private Clifton Beach community.
  • Downtown Lakewood - The main section of Lakewood is centered at Detroit Avenue and Warren Road. This district was formally identified when Lakewood was chosen as a member of the national MainStreet program in 2005. The area is lined with office buildings, restaurants, and variety shops. Lakewood Library, the USPS, Former Lakewood Hospital, and Lakewood City Schools are all located in this district.
  • The Edge - This easternmost neighborhood includes many concert venues, pubs, and taverns, and co-exists partially in the city of Cleveland.
  • Victorian Village - This was named after the large Victorian homes on Grace, Clarence and Cohassett Avenues on the city's east end. When constructed in the early 1900s, it served as residences for executives from the National Carbon Company.
  • The Gold Coast - Collection of high rises on the northeast end of Lakewood, bordering Lake Erie.
  • Rockport Square - Rockport Square (not to be confused with the former Rockport Township) is an urban renewal project along Detroit Avenue on the eastern side of the city. Construction began in 2004 of roughly 200 condos, lofts, and live-work spaces.
  • West End - The West End is the westernmost neighborhood of Lakewood, along the Rocky River Reservation. In 2002, the administration of Mayor Madelaine Cain proposed to seize homes in this area using eminent domain, to replace them with retail development. After a citizen-led resistance attracted national media attention from 60 Minutes, the West End proposal failed in a 2003 referendum.[56]
  • Lakewood's nickname "City of Beautiful Homes" is due to the fact the city was intentionally designed in the early 1900s with a lack of industry and an emphasis on a diverse variety of residential housing structures including many large Tudors mainly near the lakeshore, and multi-family and smaller single family homes in many other sections of the city.


  • The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority's Cleveland State Line (routes 55,55B,55C), run east and west along Clifton Boulevard, terminating at Cleveland State University in downtown Cleveland to the east and in North Olmstead (55) or Bay Village (55B) and Westlake (55C) to the west.[57]
  • RTA Routes 26 and 26A serve Detroit Avenue, Route 83 serves Warren Road, Route 78 serves as the border line on West 117th Street, and Route 25 serves Madison Avenue.[57]
  • Two RTA rapid transit stations exist just across the Lakewood/Cleveland border, at W. 117th St. and Madison Avenue and the other between Lakewood Heights and Triskett near West 140. Both stations provide access to the Red Line east to Windermere via Downtown Cleveland and west to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.[57]
  • RTA's Route 804, the Lakewood Community Circulator, was discontinued by RTA in late 2009. Lakewood residents and city officials were campaigning for it to return.[57]
  • I-90 borders the south side of Lakewood and has on/off-ramps at W. 117th St., Bunts Road, Warren Road, and McKinley Road.
  • The Cleveland Memorial Shoreway begins approximately 1-mile (1.6 km) east of Lakewood via Lake Avenue and Clifton Boulevard and serves as a transportation hub to and from downtown Cleveland.
  • Lakewood is bicycle-friendly, with designated "share the road" paths through the city.[58]

Notable peopleEdit


Former/current residentsEdit


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