This Week In Toledo History

Lou Hebert

February 11-17

February 11
1906 - The Humane Society in Toledo is outraged by a report that a "negro" man on the riverfront was tortured and burned with a hot iron by the so called "Water Street Gang" of young toughs.
1929 -Toledo movie houses promoting "talking" pictures. At the State Theater, "In Old Arizona" is playing. And the soon-to-open Paramount Theater will feature "talking and singing" pictures.
1936 - Three icebound freighters in river declared hazard to Cherry Street Bridge. Workers blast ice out of river with dynamite to move the ships.
1938 - As flames raced through their home on Vermont Avenue, Mrs. Rose Daniels drops her-4- year old daughter out of a window into the arms of neighbors saving her life.
1959 - Ice jams break loose in Grand Rapids, causing major flooding along Maumee River. Major floods also hit downtown Fremont on Sandusky River.

February 12
1820 - Wood County officially formed by state legislature.
1893 - Major oil strike in Wood County’s Middleton Township. It is reported to be almost 1,000 barrels a day.
1900 - Toledo Police Court forced to change locations after smallpox fumigation kills rats under floor, creating an unbearable stench.
1906 - The Wood County sheriff apprehends accused killer Frank McGuire during a chase on the ice-covered Maumee River near the Fassett Street Bridge. McGuire is wanted in the slaying of Perrysburg Marshal Frank Thornton, but later escapes from jail.
1935 - Hundreds of Boy Scouts from Toledo area visit over 1,300 patients in local hospitals to wish them well and give them flowers.
1999 - Life Flight helicopter crashes into a home in central Toledo during a snow squall, injuring the pilot, nurse and doctor on board.

February 13
1894 - A massive blaze wipes out much of the Genoa business district.
1903 - Toledo health official says smallpox outbreak in city is depleting funds for public healthcare in the city.
1943 - Joseph Urbaytis, the man convicted of masterminding robbery of the main Post Office in Toledo in 1921 is released from Alcatraz Prison in California and returns home to Toledo.
1956 - Downtown gas explosion kills three people at Higrade Beagle Meat Packing. Numerous buildings are leveled on Superior St.
1965 - Six children left alone, die in a house fire in Monclova Twp. Fire was started by 14-year-old girl trying to light an oil stove.
1998 -Terror on the streets of Toledo when Vivian Morris is stabbed to death in her West Toledo apartment and her son is wounded in the attack. Suspect Joe Chappel then shoots another woman to death on Barrows Street. His rampage ends when he is shot dead by police on Monroe Street.

February 14
1838 - Toledo City Council establishes salaries for city workers. City Marshal, $40 monthly; City Attorney $40 monthly; Treasurer gets 2% of money handled.
1848 - First regular telegraph service reaches Toledo. Will immediately change the speed of news delivery to local newspapers.
1918 - A massive “gorge” of water rushes towards Toledo after an ice jam takes out a bridge in Napoleon. Rail passengers are taking excursions along the Maumee River to see the flooding.
1940 - Tragedy strikes as a doctor, his wife and two children perish when their car goes through frozen Lake Erie as they drove over the ice to Middle Bass Island.

February 15
1888 - American humorist David Ross Locke passes away. He was the longtime publisher and writer for the Toledo Blade, was known world-wide by his pseudonym Petroleum V. Nasby. A satirical character who was a lazy and ignorant bigot.
1908 - Eight people are killed and 16 injured in a collision between an interurban trolley and a freight train in West Toledo on Phillips Avenue.
1922 -A mysterious blast at the old Taylor Farm on Consaul Street destroys two large trees on the property. The explosion is thought by police to be the result of some treasure hunters looking for a cache of gold reportedly buried on the farm by Ottawa Indians near the ancient twin elms.
1944 - Sergeant William Provonsha of Toledo is credited with shooting down two Nazi attack planes during a Flying Fortress bombing raid over Germany.
1945- Toledo fireman Tim Morrissey dies while battling house fire at 1128 Dorr St.

February 16
1929 - The grand $2 million Paramount Theater opens on Adams Street in downtown Toledo amid much fanfare and celebration. First movie shown was “Redskin,” starring Richard Dix.
1984 - Scott Hamilton of Bowling Green wins gold medal in figure skating at Winter Olympics in Sarajevo.
2004 - Massive truss-style crane collapses on construction site of new Skyway Bridge over Maumee River. Four workers are killed, others seriously injured in the tragedy that shocked the city and delayed the project for more than a year.

February 17
1917 -The Toledo Yacht Club holds a huge so-called "rat dinner" of fresh muskrat. More than 600 people attend to enjoy the culinary delight.
1921 - Largest robbery in Toledo history as the Joe Urbaytis gang robs U.S. Post Office on 14th Street. More than a million dollars in bonds, securities and cash are taken. The gang is eventually caught and convicted in a series of trials in Toledo Federal Court.
1943 - Fire on West Woodruff Avenue claims life of Toledo fireman Howard Rippel.
1949 - Oldest tree in Toledo, a 500-year-old white oak, located at Detroit and Byrne, is cut down because of aging and rot.

Lou’s Notes: Does anyone remember the bust of Abraham Lincoln on Woodville Road near Millbury? A local sculptor created the art object which was there during the 1950s and 60s. It was later moved. Whereabouts unknown. If you know where it might be or anything about it, I’m trying to track it down. Email me at


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