About Us

Heart of Willoughby was formed in 1979 by a group of civic-minded individuals concerned about the loss of vitality in downtown Willoughby.

During their initial year they organized a holiday window-decorating contest, followed by the very first Willoughby Outdoor Market.

In 1980 they hired preservation architect Robert Gaede, F.A.I.A., to conduct a study of the downtown buildings. His recommendations included a streetscape redesign and the creation of a historic district.

The Willoughby Historic Preservation District was established by an act of Willoughby City Council in 1983. More than ten years later the Ohio Historic Preservation Office granted Willoughby the status of Certified Local Government and placed sixty-nine buildings, in a four-block section of Erie Street, on the National Register of Historic Places.

Today those buildings are considered part of the Downtown Willoughby Historic District. That status makes special grant funding available for preservation-related projects, and allows commercial building owners to qualify for Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credits.

We at Heart of Willoughby strive to maintain a vibrant and economically viable downtown while preserving the architectural integrity of our buildings. We invite you to browse our site to learn more about us, stroll our streets, patronize our shops, and partake of the wide variety of gustatory delights available at our restaurants. For more information about our downtown merchants, dining, and professional services, visit the Historic Downtown Willoughby Merchant’s Association.

Won’t you consider joining us and supporting our mission?