THANKS TO KELLY MCGILVERY, SCRIBE AND ORGANIZER EXTRAORDINAIRE
There are lots of great neighborhoods in Toledo, but there is one that stands out in terms of residents’ enthusiasm and richness of character: the Old West End.
Recognizing this, we started our conversation by talking about some of the attributes of the other great neighborhoods of the city, before focusing on the O.W.E.
One of our attendees lives in South Toledo. He loves the architecture of his neighborhood, the fact that his house backs up against a park, which has basketball and tennis courts. The neighborhood has lots of tree coverage and is not too expensive. However, one of its downsides is that it is far from the freeways.
Old Orchard is another of Toledo’s distinctive neighborhoods. It is the neighborhood that surrounds the University of Toledo, and is home to many university professors and attorneys. Old Orchard is within walking distance of lots of things, including two hometown grocery stores, Schorling’s and Churchill’s. One can also walk easily to the Westgate shopping center and the Sanger branch of the public library.
It’s a great neighborhood in which to raise a family.
Collingwood Springs is a neighborhood right next to the Old West End, and just two blocks away from Adams Street, which is the heart of the UpTown district.
Now, onto the Old West End. It is a diverse, harmonious neighborhood not far from the downtown, and immediately adjacent to the Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo’s best-known cultural treasure. It is home to a lot of young people and a strong sense of community. People new to town noted that the OWE is the neighborhood about which people say “you really have to check it out!” Many of the homes in the neighborhood are in the Victorian Style, and are available at very reasonable prices. Some of the other cultural riches of the neighborhood are the TMA’s new Glass Pavilion, the community gardens, the arboretum on Delaware and Robinwood.
In many ways the OWE is like an island – it is surrounded by neighborhoods that are perceived to be undesirable, and the property values are highest close to the museum, and get lesser as you move north of Bancroft. In our discussion, several people offered anecdotal evidence of redlining.
It is a mostly residential neighborhood except for a record store on Monroe Street, a soul food restaurant on Delaware, and a community market on Ashland.
It is widely perceived to be the most artsy neighborhood in town, though residents have a mix of careers, with 22 % blue collar jobs.
The median household income is $48,000. Schools attended by kids in the OWE include: Toledo Public Schools, Gesu Academy, Toledo School for the Arts, Cathedral School, Old West End Academy, and Scott High School (which has its own jazz radio station).
The demographics that we found for one of the two zip codes in this neighborhood show that 43620 is home to 1100 white residents and 3400 black residents. 43604 is the other zip code in this area.
The assets of the Old West End are numerous: parks, the museum, gardens, interesting architecture, the cathedral and all the churches on Collingwood Avenue. The Collingwood Arts Center is an unique residential arts community housed in a former nunnery that is reported to be haunted (though none of us have ever seen ghosts there). The OWE is convenient to uptown, downtown, the Warehouse District and the expressway. There is a bike co-op, and many historic buildings, including Libbey House, and one of Ella Fitzgerald’s favorite places to stay, the Park Lane Hotel (now residential). The Old West End festival happens the first weekend of every June, and encompasses yard sales, an art fair, a wild art parade, and many yard parties. The neighborhood offers a bohemian lifestyle attractive to its eclectic residents. One attendee mentioned that all of “THE parties” of Toledo happen in the Old West End, including the parties during the festival, on Halloween and on New Year’s Eve. It is a very musical neighborhood.
The Old West End magazine is run by a resident and local champion, who covers stories about local personalities, events, history, and notable architecture.
The history of the Old West End is that its earliest inhabitants were wealthy industrialists who moved to the area as Toledo was expanding out of the downtown.
More info with links here:
In terms of transportation, there is the bus system, TARTA, and a shuttle to the University of Toledo. Most people use cars for transportation, but it is easy to bike downtown or to UT from the OWE.
There used to be a trolley system in the neighborhood.
To sum up, there is a strong neighborhood bond and sense of community in this unique part of town.