Toledo's Attic has reached 25 years in 2022! Since 1997, Toledo's Attic has been Toledo's and Northwest Ohio's virtual museum focusing on the region's commercial, industrial, and social history from the late 19th through the late 20th centuries. It began as a co-operative project led by the Department of History at The University of Toledo in 1997 and joined by the Toledo Lucas County Public Library, the Maumee Valley Historical Society, WGTE Public Media, and the Ward M. Canaday Center of the University of Toledo afterwards. Today, it is a public digital history and storytelling project to connect visitors with the history of the city and surrounding communities.
Toledo's Attic has been completely redesigned, reorganized, and migrated to an updated content management system. It features several original exhibits and galleries from the 1990s and now, there are 63 exhibits, over 4,000 images, and dozens of virtual ours using HistoryPin created over the past 25 years by professional historians, UT students, and other history enthusiasts in the Toledo and Northwest Ohio communities. Use the menu above to view the exhibits, discover resources, interact on social media, or find out more about Toledo's Attic.
Toledo’s Attic: The Beginnings - A commemorative essay by Dr. Timothy Messer-Kruse (original project lead in 1997) on the 25th anniversary of the Toledo's Attic project.
1902 Walking Tour - an original Toledo's Attic project (from 1998) resurrected for new technology: Tour Downtown Toledo of 1902 using the Sanboanr maps and use the Google Street view links for present views.
Passport project - in collaboation with the Northwest Ohio Cultural Heritage Group, a new resource has been added to raise interest in regional history and cultural heritage
Postcard Puzzles - an interactive feature engaging visitors with the large postcard collection on Toledo's Attic. Viewing recommendation: use a larger screen (tablet, laptop, or desktop). Viewing experience varies on smartphones...besides put it down while driving!
Not sure where to start?
Try an exhibit below or explore the exhibit themes below.
William H. Scott - Jay K. Secor - James Secor - Joseph K.Secor - Gen. Isaac R. Sherwood - Spitzer Family - Gen. James B. Steedman - George Butler Storer - Robert A. and Frank D. Stranahan
William H. Scott
William H. Scott, a realtor by profession, helped to establish the second...
The Northwest Ohio Cultural Heritage Group (formed in 2019) is a collaborative group of archives, museums, public and private libraries, historical societies and other cultural heritage institutions in NW Ohio and has just created its first project--a passport book featuring over 50 cultural heritage institutions throughout 19 counties of...
Revised by Tamara Jones, 2012
ABOUT THESE PAGES –The pages that follow are intended to be a comprehensive listing of Toledoans and northwestern Ohioans who have achieved a certain measure of national fame in the world of sports. The listing is a work in progress and the author welcomes additional information...
Discover important facts about the area's history here! Toledo's Attic is linked to several digital archives, library catalogs, and databases to support local history research. While traditional archives maintain rare book and manuscript collections, the growing volume of digital content provide access to historical collections of documents, photographs, and recordings....
The list below includes archive websites and digital collections maintained by states and territories (marked by *) in the U.S. Many regional collections are jointly created and maintained by multiple states and these collections tell the stories of communities in those areas.
Arrangements: By State and Territories -- Diverse and Underrepresented...
The Toledo Mud Hens, 1927
The Toledo Mud Hens have had a long and storied history in Northwest Ohio. The club has pushed the color barrier when other teams were trying to exclude African American players, served as training grounds for future Hall of Fame players and managers, and...
Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship
By Richard Kruzel
Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship
Toledo’s history and the history of commerce on the Great Lakes has been intertwined since the city’s inception. Toledo’s position on the Maumee River at the western end of Lake Erie has made it one of...
« Historical Essay
Use the index on the right to view the individual archives. If you have questions about these photographs, can identify any people in the photographs/videos, or have photographs to add, please contact Marie Demer Rader at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This archive contains photographs of Middle Bass Club members enjoying themselves...
Edwin F. Damschroder Sr. - Isaac Horning Detwiler - Henry Dodge - Charles C. Doolittle - John Hardy Doyle - John Felker - Stevens Warren Flower - George R. Ford - Albert V. Foster - John W. Fuller
Edwin F. Damschroder, Sr.
Edwin F. Damschroder Sr., was born in Elmore, Ohio, in...
Aerial View of Gendron Wheel Company
Aerial View of Gendron Wheel Company
"Toledo, thanks to Peter Gendron, has become prominent throughout the world for its development of the manufacture of metal wheels and for the quantity and quality of its output of that class of products. Mr. Gendron came to the...
You can view recorded lectures and presentations focusing on the region's history--arranged alphabetically below. Many of these have been produced by WGTE/Knowledgestream. Toledo Stories is a separate series of documentaries also produced by WGTE.
Presentation Title, Presenter, Date
"The Blow is Struck: Northwest Ohio Goes to War", Bruce Way, September 24, 2011
The Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections at the University of Toledo has recently received a collection of records and artifacts from the Owens-Illinois company. This large collection includes business documents, bottle catalogs, photographs, films, books, patents, stock certificates, company newsletters, press releases and two collections of...
"Our Girls' Club Magazine"
Toledo working women banded together in the early twentieth century for support and camaraderie. Our Club Girls Magazine stood for the "social and commercial education of young wage-earning women." Experience life for young working women through its pages. This exhibit is drawn from four issues of Our...
Downtown Toledo Map
Original exhibit text:
Below is a map of downtown Toledo in 1902. By clicking on any city block you will see a detailed map of the buildings, businesses, and general geography of the area. Or you may browse through a detailed index of businesses, places, and attractions that are...
Inside Hines' Farm Blues Club
Credits: Prof. Thomas Barden for the donated photographs in this collection.
Hines' Farm Blues Club
by Thomas E. Barden and Matthew Donahue
The whole thing started in Frank and Sarah Hines' basement. By the time they built the club itself in 1957, Hines' Farm was already in full...
The History of the Toledo and Lake Erie Boating and Fishing Association and The Middle Bass Club
By Marie Demer Rader, July 2021
Original Club (1874-1922)
The Original Club consisted of the Toledo and Lake Erie Boating and Fishing Association (1874-1894) and the renamed Middle Bass Club (1894-1922). The prominent Toledo families...
Pinterest: Toledo Sister Cities -- Libraries
In 1931, Toledo, Ohio and Toledo Spain forged the world's first sister-city relationship. While Toledo may have been named after the former capital of Spain, Toledo, on December 1, 1837, the latter responded with gifts of swords and other items in 1876. Toledo's steel industry...
Presented by the Women of the Old West EndResearch, Writing, and Photography by Darren LaShelle and Richard Wall
The Old West End neighborhood is one of the largest collections of Victorian, Edwardian, and Arts and Crafts homes in the United States, and serves as a showcase of architectural styles...
John C. Gipe - Benjamin F. Griffin - John Gunckel - Arthur Hickock - Henry Hinde - Hugh Webb Hubbard - Thomas Hubbard - Samuel Milton Jones - Adrian "Addie" Joss - John Milton Killits
John C. Gipe
Born in Indianapolis on May 12, 1881, John C. Gipe attended Indiana public schools...
Exhibits in Toledo's Attic contain historical (including pictorial) essays by various authors and contributors. Many are contributions of former UT History Professor Timothy Messer-Kruse who spearheaded the Toledo's Attic project in the 1990s and is featured on many Toledo Stories, which you can watch on WGTE. The thematic arrangement of...
The shield of Toledo, Spain
The shield of Toledo, Spain
History of Toledo, Spain 540-1936
Photo of Toledo, Spain
Toledo, Spain has a much longer history than that of its sister city, Toledo, Ohio. Spanish tradition dates the founding of the city to 540 B.C.E., under the original moniker of Toledoth. The city...
The "Wholly Toledo: The Business and Industry that Shaped the City" virtual exhibit conveys in digital format the actual exhibit that was on display in the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections from November 17, 2010 to November 4, 2011. The exhibit looks at the city's commercial and industrial...
National Register Plaque
The slides in this presentation were sorted by year the properties were built. Captions show the name of the property, the year they were built, the name of the architect (if that information has been supplied), the street address, and status as demolished where that is the...
James Ashley, Sr. - Roy William Babcock - Marcus Barbour - Rudolph A. Bartley - James Baumgardner - Bentley Family - John Berdan - Charles H. Breyman - Otis Avery Browning
James Ashley, Sr.
James Ashley Sr.
James Ashley, Sr. was born in 1824 in Allegheny County Pennsylvania.Unless otherwise noted all information is...
Catholic Architecture and History of Toledo, Ohio
The Department Store Museum: Lamson’s Lasalle’s Lion Store
History in Your Own Backyard (Ohio)
Holy Toledo History
The Toledo Gazette
Retro Toledo Metro
Toledo History Box
Historical Societies and Museums
East Toledo Historical Society
Great Lakes Historical Society
Henry County Historical Society
Historic Old West End
Historic Vistula Foundation
Holland Springfield Spencer Historical...
Remembering Battery B
Sue Stankey, Editor Bill Hinsch, Art Director
In Today’s cover story, Robert G. Morris, a local attorney, writes about Toledo men, including his father, Tom Morris, who went into World War I together as members of Battery B. [Read the complete article in Toledo Magazine, March 27, 1988, p....
Paul Laurence Dunbar and Herbert Woodward Martin
Dunbar and Martin: Printed with the Same Ink
By Patrick Cook
Paul Laurence Dunbar
Paul Laurence Dunbar
Paul Laurence Dunbar was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1872 as the son of former slaves. Showing potential from a tender age, Dunbar was the first African American poet...
by Timothy Messer-Kruse
Toledo's Attic and Toledo Scale
Among the most recognized brand names of the twentieth century is Toledo Scale, a company whose headquarters and primary design and production facilities were located in its namesake. One of the greatest achievements of the Toledo's Attic Committee (especially its point man...
By Mary Koslovsky (July 2004) and Cathy Seitz Whitaker (August 2005)
Josina Lott with Sheltered Workshop sign
Josina Lott, Part I: Lott Day School
Josina Jones Lott believed that every child, regardless of physical or mental limitations, had ability and could learn. She began Lott Day School in her apartment in September...
Richard Gosser, 1942
by Timothy Messer-Kruse, October 1, 2002
Richard Gosser speaking on occasion of Army Navy production award given to Willys-Overland in 1942
In the history of labor in Toledo, no figure stands taller than Richard T. Gosser.
Gosser's life both spanned and reflected the major trends of labor in the Twentieth...
Uhl Brothers Bicycle Emporium
From Bicycles to Furniture: A Brief Historical Sketch of the Toledo Metal Furniture Company’s First Decade
Historical sketch by: Arjun Sabharwal, Marty Uhl*
Capitalism in America was a robust system for enduring ideas, innovation, perseverance, and (of course) capital; from the 1890s through the 1920s, Toledo represented a...
Greater Toledo: The City in the World (case views and galleries)
By the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collection
Exhibit Case 1 -- Exhibit Case 2 -- Exhibit Case 3 -- Exhibit Case 4 -- Exhibit Case 5 -- Exhibit Case 6 -- Exhibit Case 7 -- Exhibit Case 8 --...
Alonzo Chesbrough - Albert "Bert" S. Close - Elmer Harry Close - Frank Collins* - John Craig - Frank, Howard and George Crosby/Crosby Brothers - Frances Crosby - William Culver - Judge Joseph W. Cummings - Robert S. Cummings - William Cummings
*The original list from 1995 (not used herein)...
Memories of Semi-Pro Basketball in Toledo: Twisters of 1961-62 and Tartans of 1962-63
By: Ken Kander
As the statistician for Toledo’s minor league professional basketball teams in the early 1960s, I was able to meet some future NBA stars, a few college superstars, several former University of Toledo players, and...
Boys and Girls Club of Toledo
Saluting the American flag at Camp
The roots of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Toledo can be traced back more than a century to the Toledo Newsboys Association begun by John Gunckel in 1892. Although the name of the organization has changed on more...
The entrance to Woodlawn Cemetery
Photo credits: Josef Schneider (all Woodlawn photogragraphs) and Larry Leach (Doria and Thomas T Tracy).
Historic Woodlawn Cemetery was recognized as a National Historic site in 1998. The overall landscape design, which follows the principles of the rural cemetery movement, is a significant feature of the...
Chillicothe, first capital of Ohio
"Another View of Ohio's Bicentennial": A Speech Given Before the Annual Dinner of the Lucas County-Maumee Valley Historical Society, June 11, 2003
by Timothy Messer-Kruse, Assoc. Prof. of Labor History, Univ. of Toledo 
Being a classroom lecturer I am accustomed to speaking extemporaneously but tonight I...
This series of articles from the Toledo Blade of 1927 and 1928 that profiles the 'out-of-the-ordinary work of Toledo wage earners,' including that of Frank Barey whose job it was to pick the bullets out of the beans before roasting at one of Toledo's coffee plants. The...
Over the past few decades, genealogical research has been revolutionized with the help of electronic databases, DNA analysis, and improved access to historical documents at libraries and archives. The growing number of Web resources and available volunteers have also made a considerable difference to those who could not find information...
Birmingham Days (cover)
Birmingham Days: Life and Times of Toledo's Hungarian Neighborhood
by John F. Ahern, Thomas E. Barden, and Andrew Ludanyi
From the beginning, Birmingham's strategic location near the mouth of the Maumee River was attractive to settlers in northwest Ohio. The locale's easy access to Lake Erie, its abundant fresh fish,...
Toledo Humane Society
All images were published here with permission from the Toledo Area Humane Society
by Arjun Sabharwal
Toledo Produce Exchange
The Toledo Humane Society formed on January 29, 1884 and incorporated on February 14, 1884 , following meetings held at the Richard Mott's Home and Toledo Produce Exchange in Downtown Toledo...
By Emily Ruckel, M.A. Public/Applied History
January 6, 2013 marked the 125th anniversary of the Toledo State Hospital (TSH), now known as the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital. The last 125 years have witnessed many changes including various names, buildings that have come and gone, shifting philosophies of insanity, and a variety...
Erwin P. Raymond - Colonel William H. Raynor - Frazier Reams - Dr. Calvin Hamilton Reed - S.C. Reynolds and W. B. Reynolds - Ramson Richards - William Edgar Richards - George W. Ritter - Jefferson D. Robinson - Horton C. Rorick
Erwin P. Raymond
Erwin P. Raymond was a prominent Toledo attorney,...
Clarence Lamb - George W. Lathrop - Gustav A. Lay - The Charles T. Lewis Family - Edward Drummond Libbey - Gilson Don Light - David Ross Locke - Robinson Locke
Clarence Lamb was born on August 1, 1854, in Hornell, New York. As a young man, Lamb came to...
Nasby Interlocking Tower
By Greg Johnson and John Ehrmin
This exhibit, donated by John Ehrmin of Toledo, is a brief photographic essay on the former Nasby Interlocking Tower, which ended its operations on March 22, 1998. The essays on Petroleum V. Nasby and David Ross Locke were written by Greg Johnson.
"A picture is worth a thousand words" -- according to the adage attributed to advertising executive Frederick R. Barnard Frederick R. Barnard who authored his article in 1921 titled "One look is worth a thousand words." Some others attribute is to U.S. newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane in 1911. Going back, Henrik...
S.S. Willis Boyer
Side view of the S.S. Willis Boyer pilot house.
In the shadow of the downtown Toledo skyline, moored alongside the rolling landscape of International Park, a splash of history and romance awaits you on the S.S. Willis B. Boyer. Careful, authentic restoration has made the ship come alive!...
« Toledo Sister City Digital Heritage: A Virtual Exhibition
Use the index on the right to view information on a sister city.
Map of Toledo, Ohio, USA
Wikipedia: "Toledo (/təˈliːdoʊ/) is the fourth most populous city in the U.S. state of Ohio after Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus, and it is the county seat...
An illustrated historical atlas of Lucas and part of Wood Counties, Ohio (Chicago : Andreas & Baskin, 1875) presents township maps and illustrations of homes and townscapes as they were seen in 1875. Most structures are gone but some of the landscape, water ways, and some roads are recognizable. You...
Let's meet up on social media! Toledo's Attic visitors can explore local history information resources, meet local history enthusiast, and engage in discussions on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. You can share your photos and videos of historically significant places in the area with others or see what others have...
Acklin Plant Exterior, 1925
By Benjamin Grillot, 2000
I. Early Days - "To such men as the late Grafton M. Acklin is the city of Toledo indebted for its prominence in the industrial world.." -The Story of the Maumee Valley, 1929.
A. Toledo, Ohio in 1911, A Backdrop
The story of Acklin Stamping,...
by Timothy Messer-Kruse
A monument is a curious way to record history. It is the oldest, most ancient form of history writing (what else is a pyramid or a statue but a memorial of some past?) and still remains a popular means of expressing historical ideas. Like the ancients, our society...
Moses Fleetwood Walker
African-American athletes in Toledo sport history
From Moses Fleetwood and Welday Walker and the 1883 Toledo Blue Stockings, to the African American sparring partners who helped train Jack Dempsey for his crushing defeat of Jess Willard in 1919, to the various twentieth century football players at the University...
By the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections
Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections
By choosing the name “Toledo,” the founders of the city in 1837 seemed interested in promoting it as a place with an international focus. It is uncertain why “Toledo” was selected as the name for...