A Brief History

UpTown holds a unique place in Toledo’s history. Most see the area only as it exists today, not realizing the grandness of its past. UpTown was platted into development sized lots between 1855 and 1901. Demand for housing close to downtown spurred residential development shortly thereafter. By the late 1800’s, trolley lines extended along Adams, Monroe and Washington Streets providing convenient transportation to downtown and heightening the district’s appeal. Stately mansions of Toledo’s more wealthy residents were constructed on large lots fronting the major streets, with the smaller interior lots developed with less pretentious homes. Commercial development, attracted by the expanding population, began to appear on the streets traveled by trolleys, particularly Adams and Monroe Streets.

Continued expansion of downtown Toledo during the early 1900’s and the growing demand for housing resulted in many of the single family homes being demolished to make way for apartment buildings. Auto service garages and parking lots were constructed along major streets and businesses that catered to the needs of downtown companies began to appear. During this time, the Toledo Catholic Diocese acquired several lots on the corner of Madison and 23rd Streets including the home of prominent banker Col. Sheldon C. Reynolds, and constructed what would be the first building of the Mercy Hospital complex. The facility has grown to occupy the entire area between Jefferson and Madison and 21st and 23rd Streets. The early 1900’s also brought the construction of the Toledo Club at Madison and 14th and the new main Post Office (now the Jefferson Center) at Madison and 13th.

In the late 1920’s and 1930’s, further redevelopment happened with the construction of the Hillcrest Hotel (1929) and the Macomber (1938) and Whitney (1939) Vocational High Schools.

Development lagged after World War II, but in the 1950’s and 1960’s, several mid-century modern commmercial buildings were constructed in close proximity to the Mercy properties. More recent developments include construction of the new St. Paul’s Methodist church on Madison to replace its original building which was destroyed by fire in 1979.

The late 1980’s experienced continued improvement including: The Toledo Trust operations building, now The Source at Monroe and 14th, SSOE, Brooks Insurance and the Lucas County Juvenile Detention facility.

More recent developments include the Toledo Metro Federal Credit Union on Adams Street, the Toledo Lucas County Main Library expansion, the UpTown Arts Apartments on 14th and the New Cheney Flats at Adams and 17th.

In 2005, Toledo City Council adopted the UpTown Association’s proposal to create an Arts and Entertainment Village overlay for the UpTown district. The Association also partnered with a local developer to pursue redevelopment of the long-vacant three story building at 1301 Adams into a mixed use project containing ground floor commercial space and market-rate apartments on the upper floors.

Other changes include the continued conversion of streets back to two-way use including Washington and Monroe Streets. Madison and Jefferson were converted in mid 2009.

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Images courtesy of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library, Images in Time collection