Historic Willoughby- an attractive historic suburb of Cleveland

Permanent White settlers first came to Willoughby in 1798, who operated a gristmill. In 1835, the village was permanently named “Willoughby” in honor of Dr. Westel Willoughby, Jr., a public health official and founder of a short-lived Medical College. Willoughby reached 1,000 residents in 1880s and slowly grew from there to just over 4,000 souls in 1940. The city’s population really boomed after WWII in areas not covered by this evaluation because they are very suburban.

From an urban perspective Willoughby excels at having an attractive and vibrant historic downtown. There are also several well rated walkable schools, good parks, moderately priced for sale housing, excellent tree canopy and a very high level of safety. But Dwtn Willoughby still has many suburban characteristics with many missing sidewalks, low density, no dedicated bike infrastructure, poor urban massing outside of the main street, and no walkable supermarkets and drug stores. While the chances of this occurring are slim, I’d love to see an effort to densify and urbanize this historic core of Willoughby. The infrastructure, sidewalks, and street grid are certainly there to do it.

Click here to view my Dwtn Willoughby Album on Flickr


* This is a very safe community.
* The population skews old by around 50% of households are family ones. Decent economic diversity too.
* Walkable schools within or nearby Historic Willoughby include a public middle & high school and catholic grade school. All are rated well.
* For Sale housing is moderately priced with 2-beds selling in the 100Ks, 3 & 4 bedrooms anywhere between 100K-400K depending on size and condition. A handful of larger homes costs more.
* Good array of parks within Historic Willoughby.
* Cultural amenities include a nice array of restaurants, bars, cafes, breweries, and a couple art galleries.
* Retail wise an excellent array of boutiques, home good stores, dessert places, and creative shops. Downtown also hosts a historic public library and the post office.
* Very nice historic architecture in Dwtn. The historic homes are mostly mediocre 30s-40s housing but some gems.
* Excellent tree canopy.


* Poor density more on pare with a suburban community.
* Some public transit access but overall pretty limited.
* Driving to Dwtn takes about 30 mins via bus on the weekday 50 mins. Limited transit access during the weekend.
* ADA and sidewalk infrastructure is good along the historic main street but spotty in the residential areas. About 80% of the streets have sidewalks and less than half current ADA ramps.
* No dedicated bike lanes in historic Willoughby.
* Very low racial diversity as 98% of population is White.
* Rentals are very limited.
* Culturally no museums, or theaters.
* No supermarket nor drug store in Historic Willoughby.
* Not much modern in-fill and what does exist is mostly auto centric development.
* Massing and streetscaping is very good in Dwtn but quickly becomes auto centric in areas still within this evaluation.
* Pedestrian activity good Dwtn but limited in residential areas.

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