Lorain’s International Legacy

The International City is rich in history and strong in tradition, consisting of many ethnic groups that came to Lorain to find work and to make a better life for their families.  We have collected some of the research and have made it available for a wider audience here on our website.  We welcome any additional information on this topic, or personal stories that you would be willing to share.  Please contact us at [email protected].

At the 2022 Annual Member Meeting, our theme was “What the International City Means Today”.  We were fortunate to utilize the talents of Sarah M. Bloom, a film studies major and intern at Cleveland State University, and we present her documentary video for you to enjoy.

What the International City Means Today


We are happy to announce that our Latino Lorain Exhibit, which premiered during Hispanic Heritage Month (2021) at the Carnegie Center, will be travelling throughout Lorain County as follows:

September 1 – 15: Lorain Public Library South Branch, 2121 Homewood Drive, Lorain

September 22 – Ocotber 8: Oberlin Public Library, 65 S. Main St., Oberlin

October 10 – 31: LCCC Main Campus, Stocker Center, 1005 Abbe. Rd. N., Elyria 

“NO ONE PUTS THEIR CHILDREN IN A BOAT UNLESS THE WATER IS SAFER THAN THE LAND” – WARSAN SHIRE

Immigrants are the people that make up the United States, but they are also the people who make up Lorain. Lorain, Ohio, dubbed the “International City,” currently has over 55 different nationalities.

This led the city to create the International Festival, with its First Festival held in 1967. This festival was created to combine all the different, ethnic festivals that Lorain previously had and create one, unified event. Lorain has kept this tradition alive and celebrated their 50th International Festival in June, 2016.

Though Lorain’s International legacy is very unique, it does follow trends that many other parts of the United States experienced as well. There are three major waves of immigration in the United States’ history: the colonial era, the early 19th century, and the 1880s-1920s. Most came find a better economic opportunity, and others came to find political and religious freedom.

We hope this information gives you insight into Lorain’s demographic origin as well as your personal origin as well. Unfortunately, we do not have information about all 55 different nationalities, but we would love to one day! If your heritage is not listed in the text, and you have information you would like to share with the Lorain Historical Society, please contact us at:

Lorain Historical Society • 329 W. 10th St. • Lorain, OH 44052
Phone:  (440) 245-2563 • e-mail: [email protected]