Home » Ohio » Vermilion

James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

We mourn the loss of our friend and colleague and remain committed to the work he began.



Basic Information

Type of Place
Independent City or Town
Metro Area
Politics c. 1860?
Don’t Know
Unions, Organized Labor?
Don’t Know

Sundown Town Status

Sundown Town in the Past?
Was there an ordinance?
Don't Know
Perhaps, Some Oral Evidence
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?
Probably Not, Although Still Very Few Black People

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1940 1616 0
1950 2214 7
1960 4785 3
1970 9872 2
1980 11012 0
1990 11031 9
2000 10927 19 10 23
2010 10594 35 17 33

Method of Exclusion

  • Unknown

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black


One person reported:

I moved to Vermilion in ’89. Every day there is a siren that sounds at exactly 6:00 pm. I asked a parent of a friend about the siren and she said it meant that the blacks and Mexicans had to leave at 6:00. I did a project in high school, and researched the demographics of Vermilion. I am sure in 1999 it was 99.7% white. I also recall when we were looking at houses, that one man said of the neighborhood that, “they do a good job of keeping the niggers out.” Vermilion is located on Lake Erie almost directly between Toledo and Cleveland. Our neighboring city to the east is Lorain. It has one of the highest concentration of hispanics in the state. There are also many more African Americans. I would guess that the demographics would be something like 30% hispanic, 45% African American, and few whites. This was a major steel town, and is now of course poor. Lorain calls itself the “international city.”
Not to be an apologist to the City of Vermilion, but things seem to be different now then when they were when i graduated high school in 99. There are minority police officers. My younger brother has a black girlfriend, which would have been unacceptable when I was there. I just think that Vermilion is victim to the adverse racism that Peggy Mcintosh talks of.

A Vermilion native reports: “I have been told there was a sign at both sides of town, but I don’t remember seeing it. I grew up in Vermilion.”

Another Vermilion native recalls a discussion with his neighbors, in which the purpose of the siren was brought up: “I had mentioned the 6:00 PM whistle in Amherst, Ohio and that my father-in-law told me it meant “the blacks had to leave town”. We had a 6:00 whistle in Vermilion, where I grew up, too. I never knew the purpose of the whistle as a kid. It marked 6:00PM for me. That is until my father-in-law told me about Amherst’s whistle.”