Amherst At A Glance
The first land clearing in the Amherst area was by Jacob Shupe in 1811. Shupe built a log cabin in this clearing, which is next to a stream he later named Beaver Creek. This original settlement was on a hill near what is now Cooper Foster Park Road.
He brought with him a carpenter from Pennsylvania and together they built the first sawmill in Lorain County, as Shupe knew there would be a great need for lumber as settlers arrived. With lumber from his new sawmill, Shupe built the first frame house in this area and it still stands today. Amherst was known by many names during those founding years - one of which was the Corners. Jonas Stratton, a cabinetmaker who came from Amherst, New Hampshire in 1819, started a cabinet shop at the Corners and gave the name of Amherst to the township.
Among the first commercial establishments were a gristmill, saw mill and several quarries. Underlying Amherst were extensive layers of sandstone, a legacy from earlier geologic times. This sandstone was responsible for much of the growth of the town for some years. The quarry industry brought the railroad to our city and stimulated the shipping industry on Lake Erie. With their development many Swiss immigrated and added to the large numbers of German settlers already established. The sandstone quarries produced a fine grade of stone used in many major buildings in Ohio and Canada.
Now, a growing city of an estimated 12,000 people, Amherst offers an alternative to suburban and urban living by retaining small town friendliness complete with commerce and industry, excellent schools, hospitals, churches, parks, service clubs and other amenities that enhance the quality of life.
Most of the homes in the city are single family dwellings, although duplexes, apartments, multi-family units and garden apartments may be found. More than a dozen new home developments have been built within the city in the last ten years, and more are under construction currently.
The city has many older homes and buildings, several of which are on the National Register of Historical Places. Most of these homes are located on Cleveland Avenue, Park Avenue, or downtown.
The City of Amherst has a statutory government, administered by a full-time Mayor and part-time Safety/Service Director. The Auditor, Treasurer and Law Director are all part-time positions. These positions are elected.
Council members are elected to two-year terms. Four serve as ward council members and three serve as council-at-large representatives. The council president is elected and serves as the eighth member of council. The president presides over all council meetings, which are held every second and fourth Monday of the month at 7:30 pm in City Hall. The Clerk of Council is appointed by council. Committee meetings are the first and third Monday of the month. All meetings are open to the public. Residents may participate in discussions. The meetings can be viewed on Time Warner Cable channel 12 or on You Tube.
Amherst has five parks including the 72-acre Amherst Beaver Creek Reservation. Other parks include Maude Neiding, DePaola, Jaworski and Veterans Park. For more information is on the Parks and Recreation page.
Amherst's public and private schools are among its strongest community assets. The public schools are the Amherst Exempted Village School District. "Village" was retained as part of the school district's name even after Amherst became a city in 1962. With over 4,000 students, it is far from being considered a small town school system and is regarded as one of Ohio "excellent" districts. You can find more information about the public school system on their website, www.amherst.k12.oh.us.
St. Joseph School offers outstanding academics and family values for your children. The SJS campus offers a modern science lab, all-school air conditioning, interactive whiteboards in all classes, a network of wireless laptop computers, and a 7,000-volume library with Accelerated Reader Program. Advanced courses are offered in math and language arts with additional classes in Spanish, art, physical education and vocal and instrumental music. Extracurricular activities include their award-winning Academic Team and clubs for drama, Spanish, storytelling and book discussion, along with all CYO sports. They have full-day Kindergarten, Preschool for 3 & 4 year-olds and Day Care. You may visit their website for more information.
Amherst Public Library
The Amherst Public Library is a source of information, education and entertainment for all ages. It is equipped with computers with access to the Internet, as well as a complete children's library with educational CDs. Please see their website at www.amherst.lib.oh.us for more information.
Amherst Office on Aging
The Office on Aging has a goal to help older adults maintain their independence and freedom. Their valuable services are listed on their webpage.
The City of Amherst was awarded Main Street Amherst in 2002 from Downtown Ohio, Inc., which is a statewide, not-for-profit organization dedicated to encouraging and assisting people to protect and preserve our heritage. You may access more information about this organization on their website, www.mainstreetamherst.org
Amherst Historical Society
This Historical Society was organized in 1973 to preserve, protect, and display Amherst's history for future generations. It maintains several century-old buildings located on Milan Avenue. You can get more information about the historical society on their website www.amhersthistoricalsociety.org