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Thread: The Good & The Bad: Toledo, Ohio

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    The Good & The Bad: Toledo, Ohio

    Some of you have been to Toledo. Many of you have probably skirted Toledo, via the Ohio Turnpike (east-west I-80/I90). Many have been exposed to a quick view of Toledo from a very busy I-75 (north-south), cruising into Michigan toward Greater Detroit or "snowbirds" heading south.

    A number of threads in Cyburbia have mentioned Toledo....some complimentary but most often included with ramblings and rants about "rust belt cities" and the general economic conditions of much of our USA "industrial heartland".

    This thread is my attempt to "fill you in".....give you the scoop on Toledo and NW Ohio.....the good, the bad, the ugly. My guess is that some of you will throw in your own comments. Bring 'em on.....

    Toledo is the fourth-largest city in Ohio. Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati....referred to by many in NW Ohio as the "3 C's".....seem to get all the attention, all the jobs, all the state buildings, all the "stuff" that seems to separate America's smaller metropolitan areas from the vibrant metros. Those three (3) cities are all with metros over 1,000,000. Even Dayton, smaller in population than Toledo (within the city limits) is head of a metro with just about 1,000,000.

    Metro Toledo limps along with about 600,000.

    But.....is "limping" so bad? The highways, although not well-designed for this century's traffic, are okay enough to usually allow you to get to any area of the metro in just a short time. Even after some really bad economic years, many Toledo area residents own their own homes. Per/capita income has certainly not kept pace with most of the American southwest or south.....but there are still many good jobs staying in this area.....paying well, helping to keep Americans in their cars and trucks (auto-parts capitol of the world).

    Jeeps were born and raised in Toledo. Toledo still makes them, now in one (1) of the most efficient auto assembly plants in the world. Libbey Glass still manufactures much of the glass tableware that America wants.....when they aren't at Mickey-Macs drinking out of styrofoam cups. Toledo (and suburbs) has become an important distribution center.....location, location, location.

    For years Toledo was the 3rd-largest railroad hub. Unit trains of coal, coming from southern Ohio (and West VA) coal mines, clogged the rails....all heading for what used to be the largest coal-shipping facility in the world.....located at the port of Toledo. Still busy, but not nearly as much.....a victim perhaps of stricter EPA rules that force the use of western (can you say "Wyoming"?) coal.....cleaner coal.

    The main line coming out of central Toledo, heading west toward Chicago, remains one (1) of the busiest rail lines in the country. A train, on average, something like every nine (9) minutes. Some unit trains (coal) and many, many modal containers.
    A western suburb, Swanton, is divided in two (2) by these busy tracks, so the State of Ohio has named building an overpass as "number 1 priority". Seems that rescue and fire runs always get stuck by trains.

    In the summer, Toledo plays host to numerous festivals.....mainly ethnic excuses to dance in funny old costumes and drink a lot of beer. The Polish Festival celebrates Toledo's quite large Polish contingent. The German-American Festival is huge. A number of Hispanic festivals have sprouted. A huge Hungarian Festival takes place every August.

    Toledo folks love the water. Every weekend the Maumee River (downtown Toledo is located on the banks.....the Maumee is the largest river feeding the great lakes) is packed with boats. Maumee Bay has islands with beaches and sandy bottoms. On any given summer Saturday or Sunday there will be hundreds of boats lined up at these islands, floating in water about three (3) feet deep, everybody holding a beer in their hand as they stand in the water. (Lake Erie is the warmest and the shallowest of the great lakes. It is much cleaner now than back in the early 1970's.)

    More later, including WHO'S WHO FROM TOLEDO (can you say "Katie Holmes"?), BEST BARS IN GREATER TOLEDO, a snapshot of TOLEDO CULTURE, and perhaps even some mentions of Toledo's place in UNION HISTORY.

    Bear

    BEST BARS IN METRO TOLEDO
    If you ever have to spend some time in the Toledo area, here's a few bars that I know about. There are many more, but this Bear is a creature of habit, so I keep returning to my favorite places.

    LOMA LINDA's
    A Mexican restaurant and bar. My wife swears by the margos. Great food. I always see people I know. Near the airport, near western suburb Swanton, on Airport Highway.

    DALE'S BAR
    Great sports bar in Maumee.....a southern suburb (15,000). I have been going to Dale's for nearly thirty-two (32) years. Check out the "mug club" mugs hanging on the hooks above the bar. Look at mug # 11....."Bear". (Me.) This bar is owned by an Anderson.....the Anderson's is headquartered in Maumee and is one (1) of the nation's largest grain elevator, retail store, fertilizer manufacturer conglomorates. Bill Anderson ("Grax") is a graduate of Ohio State University. This is where I go for every OSU-University of Michigan football game. I'm usually one (1) of about six (6) people in the place rooting for the Wolverines (a vicious marsupial who eats buckeye tree nuts). The other fifty (50) root for that "other" team. Fun.

    FROGTOWN JOHNNY'S
    Located along one (1) of the only Toledo sprawl roads, Central Avenue, west of the I-475/US 23 bypass. Dirty, loud.....and eighty (80) million televisions, all tuned to sports. I'm there every football Sunday, cheering on my Pittsburgh Steelers. Good food. Dirty bathrooms. Fun.

    TURTLE CLUB
    This bar is included in this list only as a memory. It has been closed for about ten (10) years. It was on the Ottawa River, a small river feeding Maumee Bay. Numerous yacht and boat clubs line this river and "the Turtle" was where everybody on a boat went to. I met my wife, Katie, at "the Turtle". (Does anybody know the correct answer to this question: "Are you a turtle?") We miss this bar.

    HUB'S
    Located in beautiful downtown Swanton. This looks like and comes across as a "biker bar". It's not. Just working folks, some business types (never in a suit), loose women (heh heh heh), and an old Bear and his young wife, Katie, sitting at a table, drinking in the sights. Local yokels.

    .....AND AT PUT-IN-BAY.....
    A number of good bars on the Lake Erie island (South Bass) that is home to the small village of Put-In-Bay. Not really metro Toledo but only about forty (40) miles east. Fun at Frosty's, The Roundhouse, The Boathouse, Beer Barrel Saloon, others, etc.

    Bear
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 22 May 2004 at 8:04 PM.

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    fellow wolverine

    Hey Bear up north!
    I was in Ann Arbor for four years and had many chances to drive through Toledo but never to and within the city. After reading your reports, I think next time I visit my buddies in Ann Arbor, I will try to swing down by Toledo with my camera.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally posted by Bear Up North
    BEST BARS IN METRO TOLEDO
    HUB'S
    Located in beautiful downtown Swanton. This looks like and comes across as a "biker bar". It's not. Just working folks, some business types (never in a suit), loose women (heh heh heh), and an old Bear and his young wife, Katie, sitting at a table, drinking in the sights. Local yokels.

    Is that the one on the east side of Main Street (although the bar itself faces a perpendicular street) just north of the railroad tracks? If so, I remember seeing it. There used to be a picnic table across the road and I watched trains with the kids there one night while eating bread from that pizza place across the street.
    Last edited by Super Amputee Cat; 21 May 2004 at 6:42 PM.

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    Hey Bear.

    I grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana (boy, talk about urban sprawl!). When I was growing up, I used to always enjoy trips to the Toledo Zoo, which for a metro of its size I think is one of the best in the country??? Plus, the glass in the art museum is great. And, I love river cities, so the Maumee is pretty cool.

  5. #5

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    Hey Bear:

    I've always wondered why Toledo didn't grow more during the Industrial Period than it did. Toledo always seemed to me to be ideally positioned geographically (using 19th Century thinking) for major city development. With the Maumee River and Lake Erie, it's got a better natural harbor than Detroit or Cleveland; it had the same kind of access to agricultural hinterlands that Chicago enjoyed.

    Was Toledo slower than other cities to latch onto the railroads?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally posted by pete-rock
    Hey Bear:

    I've always wondered why Toledo didn't grow more during the Industrial Period than it did. Toledo always seemed to me to be ideally positioned geographically (using 19th Century thinking) for major city development. With the Maumee River and Lake Erie, it's got a better natural harbor than Detroit or Cleveland; it had the same kind of access to agricultural hinterlands that Chicago enjoyed.

    Was Toledo slower than other cities to latch onto the railroads?
    I don't think railroads were a big factor. Quite the opposite in fact, as Toledo had many lines in place by 1900 and, as stated, was the third largest rail center in the nation. My theory about the reasons for Toledo's slow growth include that it was "landlocked" in many ways.

    It's location right along the Michigan border kept the city from expanding northward. The same could be said for the southern boundary which is the Maumee River and Wood County.

    During the 1930s, Oregon Township incorporated itself as a city in order to prevent Toledo from annexing parts of it, thus stopping the city's eastward expansion. (All of East Toledo used to be part of Oregon and the city had been slowly chipping away at the township since the 1850s.)

    That left just the west and southwest. Toledo managed to annex almost two whole townships (Adams and Washington) as well as parts of Sylvania Township during the 1950s and 1960s, and and as a result was one of the few rust belt cities to gain population during the 1960s (even though it's core neighborhoods lost thousands to urban renewal, white flight, and expressway construction). But by this time, anti-Toledo sentiments had become well intrenched in the suburban areas and many took steps to prevent further annexation.

    Toledo has not annexed any significant land since 1968. Attempts to annex large parts of another township in the southwest during the 1980s were not sucessful.
    Last edited by Super Amputee Cat; 21 May 2004 at 6:46 PM.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Pete-Rock: I believe that Cat's analysis is pretty good. Toledo was landlocked.
    I would add that Toledo has long carried a union history....perhaps a union "mentality". As right-to-work southern states started grabbing the jobs in the 1970's and later the industrial base that WAS Toledo withered. I would also add that corporate restructuring and mergers changed the white collar base that Toledo was long proud of.

    At one (1) time T-Town was home to a significant number of Fortune 500 companies. Only a couple remain.

    Kind of interesting school district issue in The Glass City:

    When Washington Township was annexed (with a local school district that included about 10 elementary schools, a couple junior highs, and one of Ohio's largest high schools) the city annexed all but a very small portion of the township. Evidently, this allowed the Washington Local School District to remain separate from the Toledo School District. Almost everybody in this district lives within the corporate limits of Toledo. (My high school.....Whitmer.)

    Cat: Yes, that is the bar, across from the tracks. In fact, heading there right now for a few TGIF drinks.

    BKM: Toledo is just a larger version of Fort Wayne.....except our Indiana metro seems so much more alive. The Toledo Zoo is great, as is the museum. Fort Wayne has a great zoo for kids. Took my older granddaughter there a few years ago. It was fun.

    Bear Heading For Hub's

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    Quote Originally posted by Bear Up North

    BKM: Toledo is just a larger version of Fort Wayne.....except our Indiana metro seems so much more alive. The Toledo Zoo is great, as is the museum. Fort Wayne has a great zoo for kids. Took my older granddaughter there a few years ago. It was fun.

    Bear Heading For Hub's
    My impression is that Fort Wayne has overall remained more prosperous than Toledo. The economic base is more diverse-we had a huge military electronics sector during the 1980s and 90s (Magnavox Defense Systems at one point employed over 6,000 people-including a lot of highly paid engineers). It is not landlocked, either, in the sense that it has no real incorporated suburbs (except for a little farm town on the less desirable east side). Housing, parks, and schools are cheaper and generally better than California.

    On the other hand, downtown Fort Wayne is pretty darn sad, despite the surface glitz of a few nice office buildings and a park at the confluence of the rivers. It has also suffered from the centralization of the American economy. There were once five local banks. I don't think there is a single one left (Its wierd to see Wells Fargo, a San Francisco/Minneapolis bank, branches in my hometown.). The economy has a lot of small firms, but in the era of cheap Chinese manufacturing, can they survive? Fort Wayne will always be my "hometown," but I love California, despite its many problems.

  9. #9
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    A Toledo question I was dontemplating today ...

    Many metropolitan areas in the United States crioss state, or even national boundaries; Kansas City, Jacksonville, Charlotte, San Diego, Chicago, and New York among many others.

    Even though Toledo is located immediately south of the Ohio/Michigan boundary, the urbanized area just stops at the state line. Head north of the Michigan boundary, and there's ... nothing. The sprawl just stops. Even South Bend sprawls into Michigan, but it seems as if the Michigan state line forms a Berlin Wall-like barrier in Toledo. Why?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails toledo.jpg  
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  10. #10
    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    A Toledo question I was dontemplating today ...

    Even though Toledo is located immediately south of the Ohio/Michigan boundary, the urbanized area just stops at the state line. Head north of the Michigan boundary, and there's ... nothing. The sprawl just stops. Even South Bend sprawls into Michigan, but it seems as if the Michigan state line forms a Berlin Wall-like barrier in Toledo. Why?
    Actually this is really no longer the case. The map you have posted is almost 20 years old and a lot has taken place since then.



    At some point, Bedford Township, which is immediately to the north of Toledo, started getting city water and since then there has been an orgy of residential subdividing, commercial sprawl, traffic congestion and all the attending decrease in of quality of life. Schools are overcrowded, and since there is relatively little industry, infrastructure and municipal services are strained. I read somewhere that Bedford Township is now the largest suburb of Toledo (I'll post some stats later.)

    But I don't need statistics to tell me how bad it's getting, I have seen it for myself. Just try driving down some of the east-west roads just north of the state line.

    Bedford Township is argueably one of the worst cases of sprawl in the northwest Ohio/Southeast Michigan region. Unlike other townships, like Sylvania, and cities like Oregon, it has no real established pre-War neighborhoods so other than a few old farms, which are rapidly disappearing, there is very little late 19th/early 20th Century charm to be found. I'm willing to argue that 70% of what you see there has been built in the last 20 years, with the vast majority of that less than 10 years old. Indeed Bedford Township, at least the southern part, is the poster child for every type of backward, wasteful Postwar planning ideology imagineable. And this is jsut the beginning.

    Immediately to the west of Bedford Township, are Whiteford and Riga Townships, which run along the border of northwest Toledo and Sylvania. Here, your comments about the sprawl just stopping at the state line are more or less still true. It's all because there is no city water available for large sections of these townships, and houses are serviced by wells and cesspool systems. There is some new construction, but it tends to be on lots of 5 acres or more. The wall-to-wall sprawl of Sylvania literally stops dead at the state line.

    But how much longer? How much time before greedy developers and real estate agents grease up the local politicians to the point that the water lines start being built and all the creeping crud development that forms in its wake? It's a double edged sword: As wells dry up from lower water tables due to all the mindless sprawl, so increases the demand for city water, and thus opening the door for rampant development not too far down the road.
    Last edited by Super Amputee Cat; 22 May 2004 at 12:14 AM.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Again, Super Amputee Cat has a good feel for the Toledo area. I had also heard that Bedford Township is Toledo's largest suburb. (Toledo is unusual in that it has very few suburbs and all of them are quite small.....population-wise.)

    The east-west roads thru Bedford are horrible. I stay away from them. It's actually easier going into Toledo and going east-west on Alexis Road or digging even deeper into the city and using the x-way.

    There is a small industrial grouping on the eastern edge of the Bedford area. Some factories producing auto parts, etc., have spring-up near north-south Detroit Avenue and north-south Telegraph Road.

    On the west, Cat's comment about development literally stopping at the state line is right on the mark. If you go north in Sylvania Township on Centennial Road you can literally see the state line.....all the houses are in Ohio.

    Bear

    STUFF THAT'S NO LONGER IN TOLEDO

    Ahh, yes....the times they do change. Living in the Toledo metro (if you can count rural Henry County, 35 miles away) all of my life gave me a "bear's eye-view" of stuff that WAS in Toledo but has since long gone.....

    CHAMPION SPARK PLUG
    Once the world's number one spark plug manufacturer, the world HQ was in Toledo, crammed into a really old neighborhood on a side street. Next to the HQ was a huge tall factory. Champion also had a newer facility in an industrial park in the north end. Purchased by Cooper Industries years ago....the manufacturing and the HQ all went bye-bye.

    TOLEDO SCALE
    Once the most-visible advertisement for Toledo......remember, you yung'ens....mechanical scales were the "deal" forever.....until electronics and computer chips and digital read-outs changed everything. Watch an old movie and you may see a Toledo Scale. Purchased by a Columbus, OH, company, and moved to the cap city. Bye-bye.

    BUCKEYE BEER
    An old north end brewery. Seems that everybody in T-Town bought Buckeye but they couldn't give it away anyplace else. Gone in the late 1960's, if my old memory is serving me correctly. (Yes, this Wolverine had more than a few "Buckeye" beers.)

    THE DOWNTOWN FEEDER (RIVERFRONT) EXPRESSWAY
    Including this one (1), even though it never happened. Original plans were for the riverfront of Toledo to have an expressway, feeding downtown streets. This x-way was planned to go from I-75 to I-280. They even built I-75 with the interchange included. But.....local groups (ah, the power of local groups) fought the plan and pushed for the establishment of a riverfront park. It happened.....and, the park areas along the river in Toledo are really quite nice. These grassy and terraced areas have been host to events, festivals, concerts, beer-drinking parties, etc.

    PORTSIDE MARKETPLACE
    A Rouse developed festival marketplace, beautifully constructed, integrated into downtown and the riverfront. Great idea.....IN SOMEPLACE WARM THAT HAS TOURISTS !!! Total flop. Closed after a couple years. Re-designed, quite effectively, as the Toledo COSI (Center for Science & Industry) Museum.

    DOWNTOWN TOLEDO SHOPPING
    When I was a little Bear, mid-1950's, my younger brother and I would hop on a bus (with Mama Bear) and go shopping in downtown Toledo. This was the only place to shop. Sears, Lamson's, LaSalle's, Tiedke's, Lion Store....and blocks and blocks of little stores. Toledo even tried, for a couple years, pedestrian malls, with a major street closed to traffic.....but it only was for a couple years. Sear's built a stand-alone store in the "new" (about 1961) suburban shopping center (Westgate) and closed the downtown store. Lamson's closed. LaSalle's was purchased by somebody else (can't remember), tried a suburban store, and died. Lion Store closed up shop in downtown but built a number of suburban stores. They were eventually gobbled-up by a larger chain. Tiedke's burnt to the ground and died a slow death owned by Federal (in a small shopping center that never made it.)

    (One of the reasons I enjoy downtown Chicago's Marshall Field store is that it reminds me so much of my youth in downtown Toledo.)

    DOWNTOWN TOLEDO THEATERS
    There were no huge cineplexes in the mid-1950's. Downtown Toledo was where you went to see a movie. Rivoli, Pantheon, Paramount, Valentine, Royal, Loop, and others. The Valentine did come back.....refurbished a few years ago and is now the "premier" venue for some classy Toledo events. (Still financially struggling, though.)

    FOOD TOWN
    Including this example because it highlights the rise and fall of a family business. This chain of food stores, all through the 60's, 70's, 80's and early 90's became the dominant player in selling groceries in NW Ohio....especially Toledo. With about thirty (30) stores, a number of huge distribution centers, a concept drug store idea.....Seaway Foodtown was at the top of the heap. They eventually sold to a Grand Rapids, MI, grocery distributor.....a company that had very little retail grocery experience. A few years later all of the stores are gone. Many are just empty shells, littering Toledo's main thoroughfares....some were purchased by an agressive Kroger Corp. (Foodtown was, for years, a very major benefactor in the Toledo area. All of that community support is gone.)

    BRAIN DRAIN
    Finally, can't forget to mention recent University of Toledo studies showing that a significant number of UT graduates move away from Toledo. Color that perceptions, climate (weather and economic), blue-collar mentality, the call of the south and southwest cities.

    Bear
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 22 May 2004 at 8:05 PM.

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    Toledo is a lot like Syracuse. Both are stagnant, mid-sized metros over-shadowed by larger metros in the State. Both also have a lot of potential if their respective economy ever improves.

    Pics I took of Toledo on my recent Midwest trip





    Toledo's suburban housing construction is booming compared to Syracuse's. (Isn't everyone's)


  13. #13
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Billboard row ... yuk.

    I think most of Toledo's suburbs, excepting Oregon, are towships, which have limited planning and zoning powers under Ohio law. Townships in Ohio can only do what state statutes permit, as opposed to incorporated cities and villages, which have much more freedom to implement innovative planning policies. Townships throughout Ohio are reluctent to impose tough design regulations, fearing that they'll run afoul of state law.

    You know how many billboards I pass on my 27 mile drive to work? One if I take I-90; none if I go along the lake. Then again, I only pass through one township, and development there consists almost entirely of high-end single family houses.

    The majority of Cleveland's suburbs are incorporated cities and townships. Drive around, and you'll be surprised at the quality of new development arond here. Sure, it's sprawl, but it's the knder, gentler sprawl that one encounters in suburban Denver or Phoenix, with retail uses bearing small signs, lots of landscaping, and decent architectural design. There's ugly overhead utility lines, but even blue-collar 'burbs like Euclid and Parma have tough sign regulations..
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Off Topic Sign rant: Well, we try to have tough design regulations, but we are dealing with awful California construction standards. We have some nice projects (better than my town of residence for new construction, imo) But, my employer is located at a chokepoint for the regional freeway netwrok, and we have allowed this vast collection of fast food junk to crop up southwest of the main town (at the end of a cherrystem annexation). Thus, my employer has a veritable forest of freeway pole signs.

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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    Billboard row ... yuk.

    The majority of Cleveland's suburbs are incorporated cities and townships. Drive around, and you'll be surprised at the quality of new development arond here. Sure, it's sprawl, but it's the knder, gentler sprawl that one encounters in suburban Denver or Phoenix, with retail uses bearing small signs, lots of landscaping, and decent architectural design. There's ugly pverhead utility lines, but even blue-collar 'burbs like Euclid and Parma have tough sign regulations..
    Its amazing what slow (relatively) regional population growth allows. They can build absolutely any piece of stucco-coated junk crammed on a tiny lot out here, and it'll sell for big bucks.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Toledo made the national news today, Monday, 10-11-04. Seems that we are the number one (1) market in the country for advertisements for the presidential race. We really are bombarded. You get to know each advertisement by heart.

    Why Toledo?

    You all know that Ohio is one (1) of the ......stop the presses.....as I type this another ad just came on.......now back to your normally scheduled program.....

    ......is one (1) of the states that will make or break the two (2) candidates. IMO, the Republicans have given up on northeastern Ohio, except for the eastern burbs; the Demoncrats have given up on central and southwestern Ohio.

    That leaves T-Town as the only real battleground.

    Zogby Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Toledo's street pattern is similar to Detroit's (and some other places). The downtown grid pattern has major streets extending out in different directions, much like the spokes on a wheel.

    The Anthony Wayne Trail spokes off to the south. Monroe Street heads west from downtown. Cherry Street spokes to the north. Summit Street spokes north, almost northeast.

    A boulevard system, a few miles from the central core, connects all of these spokes. Manhattan Boulevard goes from Summit Street to Cherry Street. North Cove Boulevard and South Cove Boulevard move from the Cherry Street area, cross Monroe Street and work their way through some significant parkland.

    Parkside Boulevard works its' way from the parkland to Hill Avenue, which is just a stone's throw away from (a long throw) the Anthony Wayne Trail.

    It all makes sense on a map.

    Bear Waiting For The Connect With Sunset Boulevard
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  18. #18
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Bear Up North
    That leaves T-Town as the only real battleground.
    Off-topic:
    What about Appalachia? The Plain Dealer is insisting that it's where the real action is at. Split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, with many elements of the conservative South (gun culture, religion, etc.), but with an economy that was hit hard in the past three and a half years. Unlike the South, Appalachian Ohio is heavily unionized.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  19. #19
    Quote Originally posted by Bear Up North
    STUFF THAT'S NO LONGER IN TOLEDO

    FOOD TOWN
    Including this example because it highlights the rise and fall of a family business. This chain of food stores, all through the 60's, 70's, 80's and early 90's became the dominant player in selling groceries in NW Ohio....especially Toledo. With about thirty (30) stores, a number of huge distribution centers, a concept drug store idea.....Seaway Foodtown was at the top of the heap. They eventually sold to a Grand Rapids, MI, grocery distributor.....a company that had very little retail grocery experience. A few years later all of the stores are gone. Many are just empty shells, littering Toledo's main thoroughfares....some were purchased by an agressive Kroger Corp. (Foodtown was, for years, a very major benefactor in the Toledo area. All of that community support is gone.)
    Funny thing about Foodtown. There is actually a Foodtown still operating in Monroe, Michigan. I realize it's not the same Foodtown but the old signage (the 1980s style big block upper case orange and white letters on the store and the orange pole signs are still there. The new owners must have retained the rights to the signage through some sort of agreement.) All the other Foodtowns I know were either closed down or converted to other names, such as Kroger, but this one still looks exactly as it did when Seaway Foodtown was in its prime in the 1980s and 1990s.

    It's was almost surreal to see it and brought back a strange feeling of nostalga. For Foodtown was once so ubiquitous, so entrenced in the community, one would think that it would come out on top in Toledo's grocery store wars of the early 2000s. But it disappeared virtually overnight.

    Except for this one store in Monroe which is being retained as some sort of relic, albiet one from the very recent past.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally posted by Super Amputee Cat
    Funny thing about Foodtown. There is actually a Foodtown still operating in Monroe, Michigan. I realize it's not the same Foodtown but the old signage (the 1980s style big block upper case orange and white letters on the store and the orange pole signs are still there. The new owners must have retained the rights to the signage through some sort of agreement.) All the other Foodtowns I know were either closed down or converted to other names, such as Kroger, but this one still looks exactly as it did when Seaway Foodtown was in its prime in the 1980s and 1990s.

    It's was almost surreal to see it and brought back a strange feeling of nostalga. For Foodtown was once so ubiquitous, so entrenced in the community, one would think that it would come out on top in Toledo's grocery store wars of the early 2000s. But it disappeared virtually overnight.

    Except for this one store in Monroe which is being retained as some sort of relic, albiet one from the very recent past.
    Completely Off-Topic (old chain nostalgia)

    There was a fish-and-chips shop in my hometown (Fort Wayne, Indiana) called H. Salt Esquire, Fish and Chips. Disappeared decades ago

    Imagine my surprise when I moved out to California and found an old H. Salt franchise (still operating) on a gritty commercial strip in San Pablo (a working class East Bay suburb).

  21. #21
    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Completely Off-Topic (old chain nostalgia)

    There was a fish-and-chips shop in my hometown (Fort Wayne, Indiana) called H. Salt Esquire, Fish and Chips. Disappeared decades ago

    Imagine my surprise when I moved out to California and found an old H. Salt franchise (still operating) on a gritty commercial strip in San Pablo (a working class East Bay suburb).
    It seems that when a chain or franchise pulls out of a market, one kind of naturally assumes that its all gone. Out of sight, out of mind. But over the past 20 years I have found several companies that had long left Toledo, but suprised to discover them thriving elsewhere.

    Gulf Oil. Pulled out of Toledo in 1983 but two years later I found stations still existing less than 30 miles away.

    Hot 'N Now. A cheap hamburger chain, similar to White Castle that opened in Toledo during the late 1980s, closed down a few years later, reopened in the mid-1990s and closed down for good within a year. But in nearby Monroe, Michigan, they still exist.

    Burger Chef. Moved out of Toledo during the mid-1970s, but found out that the restaurants survived as late as 1992 in some markets.

    Godfathers Pizza. Had a couple of stores in Toledo, but they moved out by 1990. In my travels I have seen them in such places as Cedar City, Utah and Savannah, Georgia.

    A & W Root Beer. Toledo had a couple of these drive-up restaurants until the late 1980s. Now the closest one is in Monroe, Michigan.

  22. #22

    Registered
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    Quote Originally posted by Super Amputee Cat
    It seems that when a chain or franchise pulls out of a market, one kind of naturally assumes that its all gone. Out of sight, out of mind. But over the past 20 years I have found several companies that had long left Toledo, but suprised to discover them thriving elsewhere.

    Gulf Oil. Pulled out of Toledo in 1983 but two years later I found stations still existing less than 30 miles away.

    Hot 'N Now. A cheap hamburger chain, similar to White Castle that opened in Toledo during the late 1980s, closed down a few years later, reopened in the mid-1990s and closed down for good within a year. But in nearby Monroe, Michigan, they still exist.

    Burger Chef. Moved out of Toledo during the mid-1970s, but found out that the restaurants survived as late as 1992 in some markets.

    Godfathers Pizza. Had a couple of stores in Toledo, but they moved out by 1990. In my travels I have seen them in such places as Cedar City, Utah and Savannah, Georgia.

    A & W Root Beer. Toledo had a couple of these drive-up restaurants until the late 1980s. Now the closest one is in Monroe, Michigan.
    Is Monroe in some kind of time warp? THE LAND WHERE SMALL CHAINS NEVER DIE or comething?

  23. #23
    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Is Monroe in some kind of time warp? THE LAND WHERE SMALL CHAINS NEVER DIE or comething?
    Yes, it certainly would seem so: Foodtown, A & W. and Hot & Now.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Is Monroe in some kind of time warp? THE LAND WHERE SMALL CHAINS NEVER DIE or comething?
    I believe that "Terrible" Ted Nugent, that loin-cloth wearing, gun-toting, rock and roller, was from Monroe, MI.

    His original group, The Amboy Dukes, played rock and roll in Michigan.

    Grand Funk Railroad, another rock bunch, also played rock and roll in Michigan. One (1) of their best tunes is "Time Machine".

    It all fits.

    Bear Jumping Into Your Action
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Toledo's city proper population greater than Cincinatti's (sp?)?
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

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