Peter Navarre (1785-1874), Pioneer
Born in Detroit, French-speaking Navarre was one of the earliest settlers of the Maumee Valley. In 1807 he built a cabin with his five brothers on the east side of the Maumee River near Lake Erie. A French settlement soon sprang up around it. Navarre traded extensively with the Pottawatomie and learned the dialects of several Native American tribes. When the War of 1812 broke out, pitting the young United States against Britain, Navarre became a scout for American General William Hull. He survived the 1813 River Raison Massacre, where hundreds of Americans were killed and captured by the British. He then joined General William Harrison (later President Harrison) stationed at Fort Meigs. His legendary trek to Put-in-Bay with news for Commodore Perry of the British advance is credited with winning the Battle of Put-in-Bay. By the time he died at age 89, he was legendary for his bravery and skill. A portrait of Navarre by the Toledo painter, William Machen, hangs in the local history room of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. His log cabin was relocated to the Toledo Botanical Gardens where it remains today.
George W. Pearson (1870-1955), Volunteer
Born in Covington, Ohio, Pearson worked as a Blade correspondent as a high school senior in Van Wert, Ohio. He attended Ohio Wesleyan University. After pursuing teaching and railroad jobs, he returned to the newspaper work he loved. He came to Toledo in 1893 and was soon working for The Blade. Seven years later, he was "banished" to covering East Toledo as retribution for his loyalty to Mayor Sam Jones. Two years later, he moved from his West Side home to St. Louis Street, and remained a committed "East Sider" for life. From 1897 to 1947, Pearson wrote an almost daily column for the East Side, covering all manners of issues from sports to society. He also championed East Side causes. He demanded that Front Street be paved and Main Street widened. He lobbied for Waite High School and the High Level Bridge. He helped numerous civic groups, including the Boy Scouts and the YMCA. His chief concern was parklands and he urged civic leaders and businessmen to preserve remains of the Great Black Swamp. Pearson Metropark was named in his honor when founded in 1934. Pearson is remembered fondly for his dedication as a "one-man chamber of commerce".
McClinton Nunn (1906-1968)
Nunn was born in Colt, Arkansas, and attended Temple, Fisk, and Wayne State Universities. He worked as an educational administrator and served in the army in 1943 and 1944. Following the war, he worked for various public housing agencies until coming to Toledo in 1950 as executive director of the Toledo Metropolitan Housing Authority. He was the first African American in the nation to lead a major public housing authority. Nunn oversaw the desegregation of Toledo's public housing, and established the first housing project specifically designed for the elderly. He also built the first homes for large families on scattered sites, helping remove the stigma of public housing. He was nationally recognized for his expertise and the recipient of numerous awards.
Tom Hart (1936-1998)
A Toledo native, Hart graduated from Central Catholic High School and the University of Toledo, where he played football. He was an Army Captain in World War II. In 1965, he founded Hart Associates, a marketing and communications firm, in his basement. The firm created many successful public interest advertising campaigns, including the "Toledo Loves Jeep" campaign which helped persuade DaimlerChrysler to keep Jeep in Toledo in the 1990's. Hart was very active in civic affairs. He served on the boards of the Red Cross, St. Charles Hospital and the Press Club of Toledo. He led several fund-raising efforts for area causes and was Northwest Ohio marketing coordinator for the Partnership for a Drug-Free Ohio. Hart is remembered for his outspoken civic pride.