August 29, 2014

Elyria
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Route 254 gets push for ‘scenic byway’ title

Almost 200 years of historical settlements and houses still stand on Detroit Road, and two local historical societies are pushing to designate state Route 254 in Lorain County as an Ohio scenic byway.
The Sheffield Village Historical Society and Cultural Center and the Avon Historical Society submitted a request to the Ohio Department of Transportation to designate the 10-mile highway in Sheffield Township, Sheffield and Avon as a byway and hope to hear a final answer within two weeks.
“We’ll probably be one of the shortest, but one of the most spectacular,” Ed Herdendorf said, president of Sheffield Village historical society.
Herdendorf lives in the house his great-great-grandfather built in 1839 on Detroit Road. The Milton Garfield House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is recognized with a heritage plaque from the county.
“The reason we thought it (the road) was important is because we have well over a hundred historic homes on the byway,” Herdendorf said, adding that the houses date back to the 1830s and the settlements to 1815.
To become a scenic byway, the road must be at least two lanes and five miles long, promise the management and growth of businesses and provide scenic, historical, recreational and agricultural sites — all documented in a 200-page proposal, mostly of pictures, which was submitted.
The road also cannot have any billboards — the easiest to verify since Sheffield and Avon have ordinances that ban them.
The Metro Parks, Garfield farm, Victorian-style homes, historical cemeteries dating to the War of 1812 and agricultural sites dating back 3,500 years contribute to the rich heritage of the road.
The most astonishing detail is that 12,400 years ago, when Lake Erie was bigger and deeper, Detroit Road was the lake’s shoreline, according to the request.
There are 25 designated scenic byways in Ohio, including four national byways and one All-American road. The Lake Erie Coastal Trail, a national byway, is the only other byway in Lorain County.
If approved, the road, between state Route 57 and the end of the county line near Westlake, would be listed as the North Ridge Scenic Byway in Ohio tourist maps.
Contact Rania Shakkour at 329-7127 or rshakkour@chroniclet.com.