Brownhelm Township, Ohio 
Brownhelm Township is located on Lake Erie between Cleveland and Toledo. Rich in history, the stunning beauty of this country hamlet features picturesque farms, historic homesteads, gently rolling hills and scenic nature. Orchards, farms, berry farms, vineyards and roadside stands dot the countryside.
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Brownhelm Township Parks & Recreation

Brownhelm Schoolhouse Park

The Brownhelm Schoolhouse Park is located behind the Township Hall at 1940 North Ridge Road in Vermilion. The park has soccer and baseball fields along with basketball courts, a picnic pavilion, and a playground for children.

Brownhelm Lakefront Park

Brownhelm Lakefront Park is located at the end of Woodside Avenue, north off Lake Road (US Route 6), about a mile west of Baumhart Road. Beautiful views of Lake Erie can be seen from the park benches in this park which also has a handicap accessible picnic area.

Brownhelm Township Parks Rules & Regulations

  • No person shall injure, deface, destroy, disturb, or remove any part of the park, signs, facilities, or growing things. Damages incurred become the financial responsibility of the perpetrator(s) or their parents, if a juvenile.
  • No loitering or dumping of any material of any kind in the park except any refuse arising from the normal use and enjoyment of the park. All refuse must be placed in appropriate trash containers.
  • No person may molest, injure, or destroy any wildlife in the park.
  • No portable stoves or grills are permitted in shelters or on compositional picnic tables.
  • No fires except for cooking purposes and only in a designated area.
  • No dumping of hot ashes or fire onto grass, plants, ground, or trash receptacles.
  • No use of firearms, fireworks, or any other explosives.
  • No overnight camping or parking on township park property.
  • No person shall disturb the peace of other park patrons or park neighbors.
  • There shall be no gambling or alcoholic beverages permitted in the park. No one under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug of abuse shall be permitted in the park.
  • No person shall be in the park with indecent conduct or exposure.
  • No person shall use obscene or abusive language in the park.
  • All vehicles in the park must remain on established roadways or parking areas and observe a 10 mile per hour speed limit. No reckless operation shall be permitted in the park.
  • All animals must be on a leash and their litter picked up by the owner or other responsible party.
  • Park facilities are closed from dusk to dawn and all juveniles are subject to the township curfew. Anyone on township property after curfew or closing hours will be considered trespassing and subject to arrest for criminal trespass unless special permission has been previously obtained from a township official.
  • Any person directed to leave the park premises by a township official or law enforcement officer for any misconduct must do so immediately or face charges for criminal trespass. 

Showse Park & Beach

Located in Vermilion on the Lake, this park contains a beach, two ball diamonds, a basketball court, tennis courts, a soccer field, a pavilion and a playground. Located along the shore of Lake Erie, Showse Park gives people the opportunity to stop for a rest or to enjoy the boats and scenes of the waterfront. Showse Park & Beach are managed by the City of Vermilion.

Vermilion River Reservation

Vermilion River Reservation is managed by Lorain County Metro Parks. Spanning two adjacent areas separated by the Vermilion River—Mill Hollow on one side and Bacon Woods on the other—this immaculate park is a favorite of picnickers, naturalists and anyone who just wants to enjoy its natural beauty.  If you're looking to picnic in a beautiful place with plenty of activities for both adults and children, this is an ideal place to come. With 273 picnic tables and four reservable shelters, the Vermilion Reservation draws over 230,000 people a year—making it the number one picnic area in the Lorain County Metro Parks system. It's not surprising considering the spotless maintenance, plenty of open space, 5 miles of wooded trails, a playground and two ponds that attract visiting waterfowl year-round.

The Bacon House Museum is housed in the original settler Benjamin Bacon's house, built in 1845. The Carriage Barn offers visitors information about the park and hosts nature programs throughout the year. A large rustic meeting room can be reserved for groups and includes a kitchen and large fireplace.

There's more than natural beauty at Vermilion Reservation. Bacon woods hosts a sizable amphitheater for musical concerts during the warmer months, and the park in general features several special programs including the Annual Car Show (which shows over 1000 cars.)  Perhaps the most striking feature of this reservation is the winding ribbon of shale cliffs carved by the Vermilion River. Millions of years old, these cliffs reveal layers of the past and drop bits of sandstone, shale and turtlerock along the riverbed. Since the Vermilion River has no industry along its banks, it is especially rich in wildlife. Aquatic life includes freshwater clams and several species of darters (small fish that feed along the bottom of the river) that turn brilliant colors during the mating season. Some insect species include mayflies, cadis flies and water pennies (beetle larvae that lie flat against a rock surface and look like pennies.)

The park naturally hosts a range of wildlife, but perhaps most singular at Vermilion River Reservation are the bald eagles. These magnificent creatures can be seen almost daily at Mill Hollow, perched in one of the tall trees near the center of the park. Other wildlife at the reservation is more typical of the area and includes Great Blue Heron, Greenback Heron and various geese and ducks.  Wildflower lovers come from all over in spring and early summer to see the color and variety of these indigenous species which include Dutchman's britches and Blood Root along with a long list of other species found throughout northeast Ohio.



Lakefront Park

The Lorain County Commissioners released a comprehensive Lakefront Connectivity Plan on May 2, 2018. Proposed development projects in several communities along Lorain County’s 23 miles of lakefront are detailed in the plan. Vermilion’s east entrance in northern Brownhelm Township on Route 6 is the site of a proposed lakefront park, walking trail and train observation platform.

The development site put forth by the City of Vermilion sits along the eastern border with the City of Lorain. The 26-acre site is comprised of two individual parcels, with the eastern parcel in Lorain and the western in Bronwhelm Township and Vermilion.

Vermilion Lakefront development would include a Lakefront Park and Nature Center on the Vermilion side of the site. Connecting a bikeway to the nature park would open up the opportunity for the public to experience the beauty of Lake Erie as well as connect with nature. A woodland nature walk would meander through existing and newly planted forest and meadow, and a wetland pond. A 60-foot tall watchtower would invite birders to view migrating species, and visitors to take in the Lake Erie vista.

The current use of the site is as a salvage yard for automobiles. Prior to this the property was used as a holding area for vehicles produced at the former Ford plant to the south, which closed in 2005. The property is bordered to the north by an active rail line and the bluffs overlooking Lake Erie. To the south is the Route 6 corridor and the aforementioned Ford plant, now occupied by Trademark Global, Inc., Heidelberg Distributing, and a majority of the property is owned by IRG Lorain LLC. An overpass used by Ford to move inventory from the plant to the holding lot forms the eastern gateway. Wooded vacant property occupies several acres to the west of the property before transitioning to low-density residential lots. Returning this site back to a more natural state and creatively implementing bioretention elements, it may also serve an educational purpose to understand how nature can filter rain and stormwater runnoff.

The proposed Vermilion Park transforms the existing automobile salvage yard into a lush, green space for active recreation, peaceful observation, and immersion in natural surroundings. A shared use path, accented by a painted blue dotted line guide, would travel the inner perimeter of the park space between the railroad and U.S. Route 6. Parking for 70 vehicles serves visitors seeking use of the open-air pavilion, community rooms, Nature Center, and outdoor facilities. Paved space adjacent to the building would provide placemaking with a fire pit and seating, full size individual swings under pergola shade, and access to the pier over an approximate half acre lily pad pond.

Additional elements enhancing the park would include: approximately one and a half acres of a newly created forest; two acres of wetlands traversed by a pedestrian bridge; small rain gardens; and over five acres of prairie grass meadows. These elements serve as green stormwater infrastructure to collect, attenuate, and treat stormwater while also providing natural habitats for insects, birds, and other species.

A railroad inspired overlook is proposed along the northern edge of the park, providing ADA accessible space to take in views of not only passing trains and ships, but of the stunning vista of Lake Erie spanning the horizon.

Vermilion on the Lake Historic Community Center 

In 1919 a group of investors from the Cleveland area purchased a wooded property with 600 feet of Lake Erie frontage in tiny “Vermilion-on-the-Lake”, Ohio. They cleared the land, and using the very logs they felled, built an approximately 10,000 square foot private community center known as the Vermilion-on-the-Lake Clubhouse.

The big bands of that era were soon accompanied by couples dancing on polished hardwood floors beneath a glittering globe.  Those original hardwood floors, framed by the original log walls, are still there today.  Soon, “Vermilion-on-the-Lake” became a summer playground and a sparkling jewel for well-to-do residents of western Cleveland.

These pre-Depression era high rollers purchased summer cottages throughout the area and shared access to the clubhouse’s 600-foot pristine and sandy beach.  Ladies with parasols strolled the boardwalk of the “Atlantic City of the Midwest”.  As late as the 1950’s, top-notch entertainment attracted society’s elite to the “V.O.L.” to see the big bands of the day, including the leading edge sounds of the “Chuck Berry Trio” performing their hit “Maybellene” one summer Tuesday night in 1955.

But, alas, the luster faded.  Rising lake levels reclaimed the pristine beach, the economy turned sour and many lot owners looked to sell. Maintenance waned and the original owners agreed to deed the property over to the “Vermilion-on-the-Lake Lot Owners Association”.

During the 1960’s “Vermilion-on-the-Lake”, which had been an incorporated village, was annexed by the then “Village of Vermilion” to create the current “City of Vermilion”. 

The VOL (Vermilion-on-the-Lake) Historic Community Center remains today one of the only wedding venue's still situated on Lake Erie's shore.  The 'VOL CLubhouse', as it has been called, demands only modest rental fees which assist the effort to save and renovate this historic building.

The Vermilion-on-the-Lake Historic Community Center Charitable Trust is a non-profit corporation formed under the laws of the State of Ohio as a service organization.  Besides the restoration and operation of the Historic Community Center, their mission includes community service, involvement in the security of the area through our "Block Watch" program, providing a venue for community fellowship and political discussion, and providing education to our citizens about the history and culture of our area.

Through an affiliation with the Lorain County Historical Society, they seek to emphasize the historic nature of this unique building and encourage the businesses and foundations tasked with preserving our heritage to lend a hand in restoring the Historic Community Center to its once glorious condition.

VOL Historic Community Center is located at 3780 Edgewater Blvd, Vermilion, Ohio 44089. Phone: (440) 967-4118.

Brownhelm Township History Museums

Historic Brownhelm School & Museum

1950 North Ridge Road
Vermilion, Ohio 44089

The Brownhelm Historical Association is renovating the former Brownhelm School (1889-1988) located at 1940 North Ridge Road. The Historic Brownhelm School & Museum offers a place for meetings, hosts the annual Brownhelm Community Christmas, provides events for the community, and hosts fundraisers such as the annual Grandma’s Attic Sale. Upstairs classrooms house museum space displaying historical artifacts from the school’s past and from notable historical locations such as Swifts Mansion and the Light of Hope Orphanage.

Built in 1889, the original red brick school was square in plan with four evenly spaced brick pilasters along the front, back and sides. Evidence of these can be seen on the east and west sides of the school today. Ventilation and daylight were introduced into the interior by tall, narrow, double hung windows. The building had a steeply pitched hip roof.

In 1905, an addition was constructed on the west side of the 1889 building. The current, less steeply pitched hip roof was added at this time. The roof has a deep overhang with carved wood bracked supports. Roof dormers and a cupola were added with this addition.

In 1922, the Brownhelm School was renovated and further enlarged to give it its present appearance. The renovation included a new red brick Neo classical/Georgian Revival front facade. The round top glass transom and stonework detailing give importance to the main entrance. The rear flat roofed brick and masonry addition contains a large combination auditorium and gymnasium. The present Brownhelm School offers a physical piece of history representing the last hundred years in Brownhelm.

The Brownhelm Historical Association has a 99 year lease with the Brownhelm Township Trustees to save this building. The exterior renovations were completed in 2012, partly due to an anonymous donor and several other fund raisers. The interior repairs began in 2013 – the goal is to complete one room at a time. 

To visit the Historic Brownhelm School & Museum, please contact the Brownhelm Historical Association at [email protected].

Brownhelm Heritage Museum

1355 Claus Road
Vermilion, Ohio 44089

The Brownhelm Historical Association maintains the Brownhelm Heritage Museum at 1355 Claus Road, Vermilion. Built in 1870, it was formerly the German Evangelical and Reformed Church and was given to the association by its last 3 remaining members. The church was restored and it now houses many artifacts of Brownhelm history.

To visit the Brownhem Heritage Museum, please contact the Brownhelm Historical Association at 
[email protected].

Bacon House Museum & Carriage Barn

Surrounded by tall trees and a split-rail fence, you can't miss the picturesque Bacon House Museum and Carriage Barn at Mill Hollow. During museum hours you can walk through the original settler Benjamin Bacon's house, built in 1845. The museum features themes of daily living and puts an emphasis on the community life in Brownhelm, including the profound effect the railroad had on the economy and on people's lives.  Just next to the Bacon House Museum, the Carriage Barn offers visitors information about the park and hosts nature programs throughout the year. A large rustic meeting room can be reserved for groups and includes a kitchen and large fireplace.

In 1817, Benjamin Bacon settled with his family along the top of the cliffs overlooking an oxbow in the Vermilion River that would eventually be called Mill Hollow. Soon afterwards, and at an early age, Benjamin was elected to the prestigious position of Justice of the Peace, and in 1824 was selected as one of the first commissioners for Lorain County. In 1835 he purchased an interest in a saw and grist mill that had been relocated to the oxbow in the river. A mill race was cut across the oxbow to increase the water power that turned the mill’s large water wheel. The mills were very successful and by 1845 had provided Benjamin the means to build a nice house across the road. When he died in 1868 at the age of 78, the house and mills were sold to John Heymann, a German immigrant new to the area.

Frederick Bacon was born in 1840, the youngest son of Benjamin and Anna, Benjamin’s third wife. In 1860, he enlisted in the Union army and fought in the Civil War for four years, after which he returned home to his wife Abigail (formerly Abigail Wells) and started a family in Brownhelm.

In 1879, John Heymann sold the mills to Frederick Bacon. They’d been modernized with steam power after a fire destroyed them in October of 1876 which started after the close of business. Frederick now not only owned the mills, but also owned land in Geauga county and coal fields in Iowa. This diversity was very fortunate because with the advent of the railroad, fewer farmers needed to mill their grain locally and many local residents weren’t even farmers, but rather worked at the sandstone quarries instead. By 1901, the mills were no longer profitable and had to be sold and dismantled.

Frederick and Abigail had nine children, seven of whom never married. After Frederick’s death in 1901, his children continued to farm the river valley. By the late 1920s, only Sarah and Charles remained, and the house was rented to several people for decades until Charles’ death in 1957. Dorothy Bacon DeMuth, a distant cousin, inherited the property and donated it to the newly formed Lorain County Metro Parks. The Vermilion River Reservation became the first park in the Lorain County Metro Parks. The Bacon House was opened as a house museum in 1962 with the help of the Lorain County Historical Society. Today, the house is open on certain days throughout the year (check your Arrowhead newsletter for specific dates and times), and can be scheduled for private tours throughout the year by calling (440) 967-7310.

Brownhelm Township Historic Cemeteries

Brownhelm Cemetery - North Ridge Road, Vermilion, Ohio

Historical Brownhelm Cemetery, located at North Ridge and Sunnyside roads, is the resting place of early settlers and prominent residents of the area, including:
  • Col. Henry Brown, a New Englander, was among the first pioneers who settled the area. The township was named after him. He was a successful businessman and civic leader. Brown helped found Oberlin College and was instrumental in the development of Case Western Reserve University.
  • Hannah James was the second wife of Ezekiel Goodrich, a well-known cabinetmaker. The couple had several children. They divorced in 1837, an act unheard of during the times.
  • George Bacon Sr., at the age of 17 years old, is rumored to have dumped tea into the Boston Harbor during the Revolutionary War-era incident known as the Boston Tea Party. He lived to be 85 years old.
  • Grandison Fairchild was the father of James H. Fairchild, third president of Oberlin College who was an abolitionist and took part of the 1858 Oberlin-Wellington Slave Rescue of the fugitive slave John Price. His sister, Harriet Fairchild Alverson, taught the first school in Brownhelm in her own home in 1819. Grandison was the first teacher in the first schoolhouse built next to his sister's home. He lived to be 98 years old.
  • Amanda Church Bacon was the wife of William S. Bacon, the grandson of Benjamin Bacon, one of the area's most famous pioneer settlers. He was justice of the peace, county commissioner, and owner of Bacon’s Mills. Her mother, Anna Bacon, was Benjamin Bacon’s third wife.

Brown’s Lake Road Cemetery - Liberty Avenue, Vermilion, Ohio

Brown’s Lake Road Cemetery, the once 'lost forgotten cemetery', is located at 1863 Liberty Avenue in Vermilion. It is no longer forgotten. Through much time and legal effort, the Brownhelm Historical Association managed to gain ownership to protect, renew, maintain and honor the cemetery site.  Brown’s Lake Road Cemetery was named after Col. Henry Brown, founder of Brownhelm and who established the first ‘burying ground’ in the new township. His daughter Charlotte Brown, young wife of Ezekiel Goodrich, was one of the first to be buried there. Many of Brownhelm’s early settlers were laid to rest there, including a Revolutionary War veteran, Bildad Belden.

Rugby Cemetery - North Ridge Road, Vermilion, Ohio

Rugby Cemetery is located on North Ridge Road, about one mile west of Mill Hollow Park. Contact the Township Superintendent of Labor at (440) 670-1375 for cost, lot purchases, scheduling, or other services.

Brownhelm Historical Association

1950 N. Ridge Road
Vermilion, Ohio 44089

The mission of the Brownhelm Historical Association is to honor Brownhelm’s rich heritage by collecting, preserving, and interpreting the history of its people and the area.

The BHA holds regular membership meetings followed by historic programs which are open to the public. Additionally, the BHA offers community events and fundraisers to help support our projects which include the restoration of the Brownhelm Heritage Museum (former German Reformed Church), the Historic Brownhelm School & Museum, and three local historic cemeteries (Brownhelm Cemetery, Brown’s Lake Road Cemetery, & Rugby Cemetery). Finally, the BHA is also actively collecting historical collections and genealogical information about Brownhelm for display and use by researchers.

For more information, visit the Brownhelm Historical Association website!

Brownhelm Township Government

The township is governed by a three-member board of trustees, who are elected in November of odd-numbered years to a four-year term beginning on the following January 1. Two are elected in the year after the presidential election and one is elected in the year before it. There is also an elected township fiscal officer who serves a four-year term beginning on April 1 of the year after the election, which is held in November of the year before the presidential election. Vacancies in the fiscal officership or on the board of trustees are filled by the remaining trustees. The Board of Trustees meet at 7 pm on the first Monday of each month at the Township Hall.

Brownhelm Township Zoning Department

Phone: (440) 670-2238

Zoning in Brownhelm Township is designed to "protect the health, safety, and welfare" of those living in the community. Most zoning regulations are a matter of common sense and help to make sure that people use their property in such a way that is not detrimental to those living in the same area or to the community as a whole.All construction, from decks to homes and businesses, requires a zoning certificate which is available from the Zoning Inspector.

Brownhelm Township Maintenance Department

Brownhelm Township Road & General Maintenance Services
Township Garage: 1360 Claus Road, Vermilion, Ohio

Phone: (440) 984-2257
Superintendent of Labor: (440) 670-1375

The Brownhelm Township Maintenance Department is staffed with full-time and part-time employees. The Department's responsibilities include road maintenance, snow removal, mowing and maintenance of the cemetery, the parks, and the Township Hall, plus several other duties included in the upkeep of the Township.

Brownhelm Township Recycling & Trash Collection

Household Trash Dumpsters:

Dumpsters are available twice per year and can be found at the Township Garage at 1360 Claus Road in Vermilion. Household trash may be deposited in these on the first Friday from 8 am to 5 pm and the first Saturday morning (after the first Friday) from 8 am to noon of the months of May and October.


Those residents who’ve contracted with Allied Waste/Republic Services [1-800-449-5463] for their weekly trash collection are provided with recycling containers for free. Items collected for recycling include newspapers, magazines, aluminum cans, glass, plastic bottles, and similar recyclables. Special recycling events, sponsored by the Lorain County Solid Waste Management District, for the collection of such items as tires, oil, paint, and all hazardous waste are held occasionally.

Curbside Trash Pickup:

Residents have the opportunity to choose their own refuse company which can be found in the Centurytel Yellow Pages under rubbish or garbage collection services. Please keep trash bins at least 3 feet from the paved road surface. The trash trucks’ collection arms can reach 8’ off the road and bins in the road make snow plowing difficult.

Brownhelm Township Government

1940 North Ridge Road

Vermilion, Ohio 44089

Phone: (440) 984-2243

Brownhelm Township Law Enforcement & Fire Department

Please Dial 9-1-1 In Case Of Emergency

Brownhelm Township law enforcement is provided by the Lorain County Sheriff's Department who may be contacted at (440) 244-0373 for non-emergencies.

Fire protection is provided by the Vermilion Fire Department, the South Amherst Fire Department, and the Florence Township Fire Department.

Brownhelm Township Curfew For Minors

That a curfew for all persons age sixteen (16) and under is hereby enacted for the immediate perservation of the public peace, health, and safety in the unincorporated areas of the Township of Brownhelm, Lorain County, Ohio. That the provisions of the curfew shall be as follows:
  • No minor age sixteen (16) and under shall be or remain upon any public road, street, sidewalk, alley, or public places in the unicorporated area of the Township of Brownhelm between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 5:00 a.m. unless accompanied by a parent, guardian, or person having legal custody and control of the child has a legitimate excuse therefore.
  • The within curfew shall be extended one hour from the termination of any school sanctioned activities and shall likewise be extended from the hour of termination from work for any employed minor.
  • Any person age sixteen (16) or under who violates the provisions of this curfew shall be apprehended and taken home to parents, guardians, or other authorized persons.
  • Any person apprehended for second or subsequent violations shall be charged as being an unruly child and taken before the Juvenile Court of Lorain County as provided in Chapter 2151 of the Ohio Revised Code.
  • The reasons for such curfew are that certain incidents of vandalism and destruction of property by minors have occurred at certain hours of the night in the township; that life and property has been endangered; and that a threat to the comfort and safety of the residents of Brownhelm Township exists.
  • The aforesaid curfew shall be enforced by the Lorain County Sheriff's Department and shall become effective immediately.
Adopted by the Brownhelm Township Trustees on July 22, 1995.

Find Brownhelm Township Ohio

Discover Vermilion Ohio

Vermilion, Ohio is the crowning jewel of the south shore of Lake Erie. From quaint shops to fine dining, the arts, entertainment and unmatched festivities, Vermilion truly has it all. Be reminded of a simpler time when an afternoon at the beach, a hand-dipped ice cream cone and a stroll along Main Street made your day special. Stay for a day, maybe two, and take home a memory that will last forever.

This enchanting little town has always been a sea side community with New England style atmosphere. This is the kind of town that still has a working soda fountain, a town square and summer concerts on the green. People here actually sit on their front porches on a summer evening. Visiting boats are not only welcomed, they are an important part of the ambiance of what locals call "Harbour Town."