i did a photo tour of my neighborhood in toledo, Old Orchard
here's the link, crossposted from urbanohio.com
i did a photo tour of my neighborhood in toledo, Old Orchard
here's the link, crossposted from urbanohio.com
lopsidedfrock......Great picture tour, bringing back a ton of memories. No doubt I have been in some of those homes.....I went to Gesu Catholic Elementary School for six years (in the mid-to-late 1950s). Old Orchard is in the Gesu district.
One of my first girlfriends, Linda, lived on Densmore Drive. Another great friend lived on Darlington Road.
In addition to your photo-spread, I enjoyed the comments on the urbanohio forum.
also, just in case anyone didn't know, toledo is now on google street view
Changes in the world of health care and automobile manufacturing are directly responsible for these latest news bits from metro Toledo.....
Dana Corporation is the metro's largest Fortune 500 company. The giant automobile/truck parts manufacturer has announced that they are selling their huge (and quite palatial) headquarters building. The large colonial structure, set on a gently-rolling and wooded site in west Toledo, is now deemed "too ornate" for the struggling automobile parts business.
Dana recently built a tech center building in the inner-ring suburb of Maumee. They plan to move corporate to that facility, after some enhancements and additions. Their new address will list home as "Maumee, OH".
Years ago, corporate Toledo limits included Dana, Owens-Illinois, Libbey-Owens-Ford, Champion Spark Plug, Owens-Corning, Questor, and Sheller-Globe. Believe that at one time or another they were all Fortune 500 companies, headquartered in Toledo. Over the years consolidation, bancruptcy, and corporate flight took their tolls. From that list, after Dana's move to the suburbs, only Owens-Corning remains in corporate limits Toledo, in a sprawling and modern riverfront building on the edge of the downtown CBD. The other metro Fortune 500 company, Owens-Illinois, exited downtown Toledo a couple years ago, after building a new campus-style headquarters in outer-ring suburb Perrysburg.
The Dana property also originally included Dana Credit Corporation. When that entity went away (a number of years ago) their building, with a side entrance to the large estate-like property, waqs sold to a medical insurance group. The sale of the main buildings (and the front entrance) was to another large corporation, Healthcare REIT. That downtown Toledo corporation is one of the world's largest equity owners of healthcare properties and retirement properties. They will exit their CBD headquarters and occupy the Dana property.
For those who follow golf.....Dana's present complex is across Dorr Street from one of the world's most famous courses, Inverness. That beautiful golf course has been the home of a number of prestigious events, including some Opens, PGAs, and senior events. Older fans probably remember "Hinkle's Tree" from an Open years ago.....a golfer took a shortcut over another fairway to get to a green quicker. Overnight, the PGA and Inverness erected a tree, preventing a replay of that trick.
Here are some new developments in or around downtown Toledo. The new sports arena is well on its way (view a recent rendering at: http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c1...edo/toledo.jpg). It is believed that this exciting new development will be a catalyst for business and entertainment development in downtown Toledo. As the project nears completion, talk of an entertainment district which centers on the area are being discussed. The Toledo Blade has reported that some developers are rediscovering the potential of the long-abandoned Fiberglass Tower. Some proposals that have been submitted to the city include turning the abandoned skyscraper into a mixed use project of apartments and shops.
Tetra Tech, the developers behind the very successful Riverwalk project in San Antonio are seriously eyeing Swan Creek for a similar developments. The Erie Street market, which abuts Swan Creek, would be included in the deal and redeveloped. (here is a link to the article: http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs...250347/-1/NEWS)
A new cruise terminal has been constructed on the west side of the Maumee River on the north end of downtown Toledo to accommodate large passenger ships. Jet Express (the speed boat-ferry that shuttles people top and from the Lake Erie Islands - notably Put-In-bay) has already conducted trial run from the terminal.
On the other side of the river, the Marina District project is also under construction. This development will contain docks, shops, lofts and an amphitheater. The project has hit a few snags since groundbreaking, but appears to still be a go.
Toledo has indeed experienced some set backs in recent decades, as most rust belt cities have. It's certainly time for a little good news and I think these recent developments serve as a reminder that Toledo may be down, but we are definitely not out! Here's to the future!
Yesterday, Katie and all the folks from her office, attended a business meeting that was held at one of Toledo's historic mansions. See link, below.
She loved the place, coming back with stories about the floors, the woodwork, the incredible built-in buffet. Katie did comment that it was not that comfortable for an all-day business meeting, though, because of folding chairs and warm rooms.
Now she is talking about refinishing our built-in buffet. When we purchased our home about a dozen years ago that buffet had been painted.....yes, painted.....with a milky brown color. She has always talked about refinishing it......yesterday's biz meeting may be the poke she needed.
The mansion is a bed and breakfast, also available for meetings. It is located in Toledo's historic "old west end", one of the largest collections of turn-of-the-century mansions in the states. Friends of mine used to own a very-similar mansion, on the same Toledo street but a bit farther north. When I first saw the picture I thought it was my friend's house.
Unfortunately, Toledo was in the national news again.....job loss related.
Last week, Chrysler Corporation announced that the 2nd Shift at Toledo's huge (and new) assembly plant was being cut. That puts more than 800 employees out of work. Those employees were manufacturing Jeeps and some Dodge trucks.
Today, a Toledo plant that cuts and distributes corrugated cardboard bit the dust. That closing will mean a job loss for nearly 100 employees.
Of course, any economist-wanna-be knows that for every 1000 job cuts you will have (at the least) another 1000 folks who lose their jobs......sooner or later.
Personal note: I am always proud to report good news on this thread. I always feel bad when I have to report the bad news.
Few more Metro Toledo tidbits.....
General Motors Powertrain.....GM has a huge plant in northwest Toledo, employing thousands. Considered the most productive automobile parts plant in the United States. Currently in the middle of a major expansion. Locals are wondering what will happen if GM slides into bankruptcy.
The Marina District.....Toledo has torn down its' very old Sports Arena and a number of other structures that line the Maumee River's eastern bank, from the Martin Luther King Bridge downstream to the new I-280 signature skyway bridge. New infrastructure is being installed, including roads, water, etc. A boat marina has been completed and an adjacent tour/passenger boat terminal. The original plans, dubbed "The Marina District", called for retail, housing, night life, water-orientated businesses, etc. Toledo's Mayor attempted to convince Bass Pro to build a huge store at that site. (They chose suburban Rossford, adjacent to the Ohio Turnpike and I-75.)
The developer working with the city has also been involved in a very successful "lifestyle center" in outer-ring bedroom suburb, Perrysburg. Because of the state of our world's financial institutions, his credit line for the Maumee River project is now in doubt. Changes will probably be made to the plans, most likely downsizing changes. The attachment is most likely pre-horrible financial market.
Southwyck Dead Mall.....Southwest Toledo's Southwyck Mall bit the dust earlier in the year. The same developer involved in the Marina Project is involved in a proposed rejuvenation of the area that includes the former big mall. The mall will be torn down, a boulevard will go through the property, and retail and housing will be plopped-in. However, the financial market mess has also put this project on a back burner that is now reading "maybe in 2011...".
The company was never mentioned again, but its collaborative endeavors in the solar power industry may well bring a promising economic future to Toledo:
Summary (my boldfing):Bear, as this was published in New York- what is your "insider" opinion?. . . IN Toledo, the declining auto industry has prompted a retooling. For more than a century, the city has been dominated by glass-making, but the problems of Detroit automakers have softened demand for car windows from its plants. . .
Now, Toledo is harnessing its glass-making skills to carve out a niche in solar power. At the center of the trend is a huge glass maker, Pilkington...
Half of Pilkington’s business is in the automotive industry. In the last two years, that business is down 30 percent in North America. But the solar division, started two years ago, is growing at a 40 percent clip annually.
Nearby, the University of Toledo aims to play the same enabling role in solar power that Stanford played at the dawn of the Internet. It has 15 faculty members researching solar power. By licensing the technologies spawned in its labs, the university encourages its academics to start businesses.
One company started by a professor, Xunlight, is developing thin and flexible solar cells. It has 65 employees and expects to have as many as 150 by the middle of next year.
“It’s a second opportunity,” says an assembly supervisor, Matt McGilvery, one of Xunlight’s early hires. . .
“The hope is that two years from now everything is smoking and that envelope will slide across the table,” he says. “The money that people are dumping into this tells me it’s a huge market.”
Seana.....Yes, Pilkington, Xunlight, and First Solar are all getting good air play from their positive steps in the solar field. The University of Toledo is heavily involved, too. The school has three campuses, all relatively close to each other. The school has been purchasing property between the main campus (always listed in the Top 20 in scenic campuses) and the Scott Park campus, just a couple miles distant. Technology companies have already jumped into what is a virtual and a real "technology corridor".
The Mayor of Toledo was required by law to release the latest municipal budget. That Saturday release included millions of dollars of cuts, including layoffs in most city divisions. Revenue is down, no surprise in a community that has lost so many jobs. Already there are locals with torches and pitchforks heading for city hall.
BTW....."city hall" is in reality a tall office tower (22 floors and 1970s fugly) that includes state and city offices.
Mentioned before.....Toledo will be one of the only cities in the states to have these three types of venues next to each other.....baseball park, convention center, all-purpose arena. The arena is under-construction, the others are done.
Playing minor league hockey in the arena will be the Toledo Walleye. Today brought the announcement that the arena football team will be called the Toledo Bullfrogs.
Toledo has been oft-called "Frogtown". Seems the little jumpers were everywhere when the original settlers drained "The Great Black Swamp" and set-up show in the place eventually called "Toledo".
Planning and Built Environment section of Cyburbia?
Alternatively, do you think that it should be moved into an existing thread, such as Maister's Planning for new energy technology?
This being a planning website, this aspect of Toledo should be greatly expanded upon and critiqued by planners. Just my humble opinion. What say you, Bear?
I have mentioned "The Toledo War" before.....possibly in this thread and possibly in other threads. Allow me to mention it again.
Reason for the re-mention? Glad you asked. A Christmas present from Katie was a book called "The Toledo War". Since Christmas Eve (gift-exchange time in our household) I have been reading the book. Being a NW Ohio resident and a bit of a history/geography buff, I already knew the basic details. However, this book dives into the real details......a ton of details.....all pertinent.
For those who don't know, in the late 1700s and early 1800s the map that was used by the newbie U.S. goverment to help with westward expansion had a major error.....Lake Michigan's bottom tip was placed many miles north of where it actually was. Government surveyors, determining the north boundary of Ohio (admitted to the Union in 1803) pronounced the state line to run from that bottom tip of Lake Michigan eastward to Lake Erie.
In the 1830s, Michigan was a territory that wanted to be a state. The state of Ohio and the territory of Michigan disagreed on the location of the state line. The disputed terriroty was called "The Toledo Strip". Michigan sent an armed militia to the disputed area and confronted Ohio-paid surveyors, at a farm just a few miles from my Swanton home. There was a minor skirmish that included a volley of musketfire. The Ohio contingent retreated to Perrysburg, OH, some miles distant.
There were some other minor skirmishes, but nobody was really hurt in this "War Between The States". (Michigan was really just a territory at this time.)
The President, ex-Presidents, and Congress all became participants in deciding the location of the state line. Because of the building tension about slavery, part of the agreement reached included allowing both Arkansas (slave state) and Michigan (free state) to both enter the union. Ohio was allowed to reclaim "The Toledo Strip", including the access to Lake Erie's best harbor, Maumee Bay. Michigan was awarded the western 2/3rds of the Upper Peninsula. (Michigan would learn to appreciate that "booby prize"......the YooPee was filled with iron ore, copper, and hardwoods for building an expanding country.)
Side-note: Two miles north of my Swanton home is a road called "Old State Line Road". Yep......it really was the state line once-upon-a-time.
Side-note 2: In downtown Toledo, at the mouth of Swan Creek as it joins the Maumee River, is a plot of land that originally was going to be the location for The University of Michigan. Once-upon-a-time.
"Toledo War" Linky>
The Census Bureau has changed the population estimate for Toledo. The updated population is 316,851. That is now the official estimate from the Bureau's population estimate tables from July 1, 2007. Toledo jumps ahead of three cities with this announcement. Here's how Toledo fits into the updated estimates.....
57. Toledo (316,851)
58. Bakersfield, CA (315,837)
59. Aurora, CO (311,794)
60. Pittsburgh, PA (311,218)
Toledo was ranked at number 60, with an original estimate of 295,029.
The change is the result of a push by Toledo's mayor and some other civic leaders, and the assistance of a Washington-based non-profit, Social Compact. Inc. The city's argument that spurred the new estimate included under-counting of mobile home park residents, group home residents, and some (possible) miscalculations related to building permits for single-family and multi-family.
Estimates in the increase in federal dollars due to the higher population are in the range of $15 million.
This Bear is skeptical about the increase "holding" when the 2010 Census hits the pavement. I believe Toledo will drop into the 280,000 range......a guesstimate on my part, thinking about smaller family size, suburban flight (even with the housing cost issue), and a continuing parade of folks leaving the area around the Great Lakes.
Toledo is a small metro, though. Cities such as Dayton and Grand Rapids have a much smaller central core city.....but they have suburbs that are more numerous and more heavily-populated than Toledo.
The prestigious Site Selection magazine has again picked Ohio as the best state for attracting new and expanded corporate sites. Ohio has finished first the last three years.....and finished in the top spot in four out of six years. Here are the latest state rankings.....
5. North Carolina
6. New York
Odd, Ohio and Michigan......the states hit the hardest with unemployment and plant closings in the last few years.....have exhibited a penchant for attracting new business. My guess.....when you are way down you fight even harder.
No surpise that Texas is on that list. Same with North Carolina. And look at all of the states that are on the Great Lakes!
For metropolitan areas between 250,000 and 1,000,000.....Toledo finished third!
Here are the rankings for metros of that size.....
5. Des Moines
6. Grand Rapids
7. Greensboro-High Point (TIE)
7. Tulsa (TIE)
Toledo's newest budget is showing a shortfall of "somewhere" between $15 million and $30 million. Officials continue to argue about the deficit's size. No argument with anybody, though, that decreased tax revenues (due to the recession) are the big reason.
The Mayor and all of the announced candidates are all in "argument mode", related to how to balance the budget. The usual......cut back in services, cut back in employee hours, renegotiate (or suspend!) union contracts, change trash service fees, lay-off employees.
Today, the Mayor is trying to prove that no city monies will be utilized to send officials to an awards ceremony. Toledo is a finalist in the "All-American City" pageant. (Toledo has won this award a few times.)
Hi Bear and all--
I'm a new member and I have a question about downtown Toledo:
Back in the 80's my husband used to visit friends in Toledo and they would hang out at a sort of mall/galleria down by the river next to Promenade Park. Our son is attending UT in the fall and on a campus visit we decided to check it out. But it's empty. Anyone know what happened? It's a beautiful building and an interesting area.
The building you mention is probably what is now known as the Toledo Science Center. Originally it was called Portside Festival Marketplace, developed by the Rouse Company. Nice to look at, fun to be in during warmer months.....something like this doesn't work in a rust-belt 4-season climate town. Portside died after a few years and a Center for Science and Industry (COSI) filled the space. Eventually funding ran out and it closed....after a few attempts at levy money.
Finally, a levy passed.....and in late 2009 the building will reopen as the Toledo Science Center.
Hey, next time you are in the area, try the Mexican food at Loma Linda's, west of Toledo (by the airport). I might even be there!
Toledo's Mayor, Carty Finkbeiner, announced today that he will not be a candidate in the upcoming election. I should also note that he is the subject of a re-call drive. His retirement (voluntarily or not so voluntarily) will end a long public career. Accomplishments would certainly include.....
Fought (with the help of State of Ohio financial aid) to keep the huge Jeep Assembly Plant in Toledo. The new facility replaced the oldest operating automobile assembly factory in the world. He also helped established the "supplier park" that rings the plant.
Has been a very vocal supporter of Toledo. Always looking for ways to publicize the positives of a large city that provides a strong example of "dying rustbelt city".
Did not get good press when he suggested that deaf people be moved to the houses adjacent to Toledo Express Airport.....houses that were being demolished because of their closeness to the airport flyways.
Un-invited National Guardsmen who were going to use the empty weekend streets of the CBD for an urban-uprising training exercise.
Supported a city employee who was issuing parking tickets to folks who parked in their own driveway. Their crime? Their driveways were not paved.
This past weekend I was in Toledo and actually got out of the car! I was in town for a wedding and related festivities. The wedding was at St. Stephens Catholic Church in the traditionally Hungarian "Birmingham" neighborhood. The church was nice enough from the outside, nothing too spectacular but the inside had recently been completely renovated and was absolutely gorgeous. I didn't take any pictures inside, but I will try to find some.
Across the street was the original Tony Packo's so of course I had to go over and have a few dogs between the wedding and the reception... I was not disappointed at all.
The reception was around the corner at the Toledo Maritime Center which looked to me to be a brand new building and marina in the shadows of a hulking abandoned electric plant (or maybe it was a steel mill?) and the brand new I-280 bridge over the Maumee River.
For my first trip to Toledo instead of just through Toledo, I was impressed with the bit that I got to see... now I may have to come back this summer for a Mud Hens game and another trip to Tony Packo's!
"Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan
Geography and history nuts know that Toledo was an important shipping center in the 19th Century. Maumee Bay provides protection against the considerable variables of the western basin of Lake Erie. You probably also know that the Toledo CBD does not face the lake.....it is on the Maumee River, a few miles from the lake. Let's take a written tour, to give you a bit of a picture of the influence of Lake Erie (on Toledo).
The Maumee River (originating in Fort Wayne, IN) is the largest river that feeds the Great Lakes. At the mouth of the river, where it slips into Maumee Bay, it is an industrial giant. There is a huge electric powerplant, some of the largest coal-loading docks (and the loading equipment) in the world, a world seaport (with a couple of the tallest cranes on the lakes), large distribution warehouses, and huge rail yards that serve all of the above. Nested between these facilities are yacht clubs and a Toledo park (with small boat launching ramps).
Because the lake freighters and the ocean-going ships will move upstream a few miles (to Toledo's large group of grain elevators) the channel is continually being dreged. The muddy (and very polluted) dregsoil is placed on a huge man-made island that is in Maumee Bay, at the mouth of the river. If you do a Google Maps view you can see the very straight lines of the man-made island.
Cullen Park (that afore-mentioned boat-launching facility) has a rocky peninsula built into the bay, providing reasonable access for shore fishermen. Because of the shallowness of this area that catch is usually catfish or carp. At the point of the peninsula there is a small channel, just wide enough for a couple small boats, separating the Cullen Park peninsula from the man-made island.
If there have been heavier rains in the midwest, the Maumee River will fill with agricultural runoff, primarily farmer soil (with agri-chemicals). I have been on my boat fishing at the mouth where the runoff and the cleaner lake water join.....creating what looks to the observer as a "mud line". This creates great fishing because the hungry fishies hang around the edge of that mud line.
The Inner Bay
Going north from the Cullen Park peninsula, the large inner bay is not navigable for the lake freighters but is oft-filled with recreational craft. Small lakeside homes line the shore from Cullen Park to what is called "The Lost Peninsula of Michigan". These homes have their front doors facing the lake and their back doors facing the streets of Toledo's unique Point Place neighborhood.
This Bear's first home (until about age 2 weeks! ) was on a home that was on the lake, at the corner of 145th and Lakeside. The inner bay is shallow with a generally hard sandy bottom. Some areas have a mucky bottom. In the cold Winter months the inner bay will have dozens of ice sailboats sliding around.
There are a number of islands that help to create Maumee Bay. These islands are in Michigan but straddle the state line. Experienced boaters know the channels between the islands and enjoy the protection they provide when the winds make venturing on the "big lake" a questionable move. Many of the islands have sand beaches and a hard sandy bottom just offshore, creating great places for boaters to camp and just hang-out.
On the lake-side of the islands is the big open water of the western basin of Lake Erie. On this side, on a calm day, hundreds of boaters will raft off of each other, stand in 3-feet deep clean water (about 100 yards from the island), drink alcohol, and party down. From here you can see tiny Turtle Island, a few miles out in the lake.
If you motor east from here, just a few miles, you will find what is considered the best fishing in the Great Lakes.....especially for walleye and yellow perch.
Note: Zebra mussells were introduced into the Great Lakes a number of years ago, by hitching a ride in the ballast tanks of ocean freighters. These little guys have helped make the lake look and feel pretty clean......but on many beach areas they hurt your feet (so wear sandals, or flops).
The Maumee River feeds Maumee Bay, and eventually that water gets into the big western basin of Lake Erie. Others feeds include the Ottawa River and Halfway Creek. These small streams are home to numerous yacht clubs, boat marinas, and water-recreation-oriented businesses. Toledo-area boaters will stay within the confines of the rivers and the bay, if the winds are strong and the big lake is rough. On calmer days, the big lake gets most of the boats.
Sloshing & Flooding
Take a shallow pan and fill it with water. Tip it slighty down to the right......this shows what happens to western Lake Erie (and Maumee Bay) when the winds are strong from the west. The water level drops so low that some of the shallower boat marinas have boats literally stuck ON the mud.....the water is sometimes completely gone!
Tip that pan slightly down to the left.....this shows what happens when the winds are strong from the east and (especially) the northeast. The water levels goes way up.....almost dangerously up.
Flooding in Point Place was a common occurence. New Orleans-style photos are the best way to describe it. Strong (and consistent) east or northeast winds would flood entire neighborhoods......and most of the Point Place homes are on or near the water. My Grandmother lived on the lake, on 145th Street. During a major flood in the early 1970s her basement was filled with water and the first floor had some water. The National Guard was called in to assist because conditions were so bad.
At that time, there was a small concrete breakwall that helped to protect against high water. But that breakwall (only about 3 feet high) was good enough to sit on but not good enough to protect from a high-water situation. After the major flooding in the 1970s a series of much-taller breakwalls was built, along with flood control gates. If my family would still be owners of my Grandmother's house we would not be able to see the lake from the living room. We would have to go upstairs to see Maumee Bay. It is a tall breakwall.
Like many Great Lakes' areas, Metro Toledo is significantly affected by our lake, Lake Erie. Lake-effect snowfall is a rarity, because of the location at the "wrong" or "right" (depends on how much you like snow) end of the lake. Temperature is another story, though. The warm lake waters in Autumn will keep areas near the lake much warmer on cold nights. The opposite will happen in Spring, when my area near Swanton (far from the lake) will be 50F and by the lake (that still has some ice) it will be 35F.
Do a Google Maps and check out Maumee Bay.
Toledo, like many government units, is running on empty. The city has a projected deficit of $44 million. The new mayor, Mike Bell, has published (in the local rag, with campaign dollars, not public dollars) a long list of comments and suggestions for budget reductions. I belive that the list is honest, straightforward, and damn challenging. Mister Bell, with whom I have sat with at some other events, has a daunting task. Here are some samples from the long list.....
Examine a historical schedule showing the numbers of employees and City population.
Examine early or lump-sum retirement incentives.
Benchmark employee numbers vs. other cities.
Eliminate all or most of the vacant positions.
Work to renegotiate contract expenses.
Modify employee vehicle policy.
Control Worker's Comp costs.
Sell real estate and other assets.
Sell ads on garbage cans.
Increase the employee share of medical costs to 20%.
Reduce the number of paid holidays.
I am from Toledo as well. Just finished my MA at UT in 2009 and moved back to Hawaii. I appreciate this thread a lot. Thanks for posting an insider's perspective about the how the city is doing. I'm especially interested to hear about the new mayor - Mike Bell and his goals, accomplishments, and/or shortcomings.