Willoughby, Ohio • Aerial Photography
First inhabited by Native Americans, Willoughby was explored by French trappers in the mid 1700s. In 1787, Yale graduate David Abbott made a trip west from Rome, New York. Eleven years later, Abbott acquired 200 acres including what is now Willoughby and assembled a group of pioneers to settle in the area of the Chagrin River, building a sawmill and gristmill.
In 1834, a group of local doctors established the Willoughby University of Lake Erie Medical College named after Dr. Westel Willoughby, their former professor at Fairfield Medical College in New York. That same year, Dr. John Henderson, who also served as postmaster for the Village of Chagrin, officially changed the name of the village to Willoughby.
In the last decades of the nineteenth century...
the Cleveland-Painesville Eastern Electric Railway opened Willoughby to the residents of Cleveland, who were enchanted with the scenic lakeshore area. The traditions of industriousness and integrity instilled in Willoughby in the 19th century continue today. Listing Willoughby’s downtown on the National Register of Historic Places ensures its architecture and history will be preserved well into the future.