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.
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...
War In Their Words
War In Their Words
War in Their Own Words: Toledo’s Veterans Write Home
By Lauren White, Manuscripts Librarian, Ward M. Canaday Center
The best picture of the realities of war is painted by the words of those who lived it. The Ward M. Canaday Center is honored to hold...
Paul Laurence Dunbar
By Timothy Messer-Kruse
Paul Laurence Dunbar
Paul Laurence Dunbar was a young man who witnessed firsthand the fruits of struggle. His father escaped slavery in Kentucky and made his way to Canada through Ohio, and then returned to fight with a Massachusetts regiment against the system that had...
Barney Oldfield was born in a farmhouse on the outskirts of Wauseon, Ohio. In 1889, when he was 11 years old, he moved with his family to Toledo. By 1904, Oldfield was America's most famous race car driver, owning the most track wins and virtually all the...
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...
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...
Aerial View of the University of Toledo Campus
by Barbara Floyd
"...We believe you are going to respond to the challenge of a beautiful environment, that the traditions which have grown up about this noble architecture will stimulate you to greater efforts in learning, and to finer decorum, and to...
St. Patrick's Church
Essay and photographs by Gregory Johnson, 2007 Revised by Tamara Jones, 2012
This is a brief history, in both pictures and text, of the creation and renovation of the Historic St. Patrick's Church of Toledo. Archival footage courtesy of The Historic Church of St. Patrick's and the Toledo...
Albert E. Macomber - Guido Marx - William V. McMaken - George Stratford Mills - Clement Orville Miniger - Raymon Mulford - Elizabeth Mulholland - Lynn M. Murphy - Colonel Henry. G. Neubert - Albert Neukom - C. Burton Nickels - Charles Northup - John William Oswald - Earle L....
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...
Bowling Green State University, Center for Archival Collections
Ohio History Connection, State Archives
Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museum: Research and Collections
The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration: Presidential Libraries
The University of Toledo, Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections
Veterans History Project...
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)...
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...
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!...
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 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...
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.
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...
Toledo Fire Rescue Department Patch
A Century of Fire: Toledo's Firefighting History
Bill O'Connor and Herb Zieman.Fire Rescue Department Patch 1936 Schacht Ladder Truck
The Toledo Fire Department dates back to 1837. This exhibit explores the rich and colorful history of the fire department, examining the firefighters, their equipment, and the fires...
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...
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....
Michigan and Ohio borders in 1830 and 1755
This little known but very important "war" shaped the borders of the states of Michigan and Ohio, with the final outcome granting Toledo, MI and what is now the upper corner of Northwest Ohio to Ohio. Michigan did not leave empty handed,...
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...
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...
"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...
by Tedd A. Long
Each December, members of Toledo’s Old Newsboys Goodfellow Association are seen throughout Northwest Ohio as they conduct their annual charity paper sale. Many people recognize their familiar canvas newspaper bags and homemade donation buckets, but few actually know the story behind the origins of one...
Samuel M. Jones
Samuel Milton "Golden Rule" Jones was nominated for mayor of Toledo at a tumultuous Republican convention on February 25, 1897. That day would usher in a nearly two decade period of reform government in the city and would propel Mayor Jones to national, and even international...
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,...
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...
We are reviving an original exhibit from 2012 [archive link] an an effort to tap into local knowledge of people, places, and events to get more information on undescribed photographs. A collection of photographs is also on Pinterest: Exhibits Anonymous
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...
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...
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 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...
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...
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,...
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...
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...
by Timothy Messer-Kruse
Toledo has had more than its share of inventors. Some are well remembered - Michael Owens, inventor of the automated glass-blowing machine, and Allen DeVilbiss, inventor of the spray atomizer, both of have schools named after them. The fame and fortunes of many of the familiar...
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...
« 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 the Middle Bass Club including...
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...
by Mickiel Nathaniel Graves and Sean Sabo, Spring 2018 (Class Project for Public History Practicum, HIS 4980)
University Hall has been an iconic part of the University of Toledo and the City of Toledo since its conception in 1929. The building utilizes collegiate gothic architecture and stands as an inspiration to students...
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 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...
Essay by Patrick Cook (November 2013)
Gustavus Ohlinger was born into extraordinary circumstance. His parents, Franklin and Bertha Ohlinger, served as missionaries in Foochow, China. It was in Foochow on July 15, 1877, that Gustavus was born to his Methodist missionary parents more than seventy five hundred miles from...
The Tiedtke Brothers - Sergeant Ernst Torgler - Thomas H. Tracy - Morrison Remmick Waite - The Walbridge Family - William Spooner Walbridge - Herbert Whitney - Alvin Mansfield Woolson - Samuel Young
The Tiedtke Brothers
The Tiedtke brothers were active members of the Toledo community and during their lives experienced financial success...
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 --...
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...
Medicine on the Maumee
Clara Church, 8 years old, tetanus, January 29, 1859. Chris Fall, 35 years old, laborer, drinking ice water, May 15, 1860. Avery McCarthy, 19 years old, fits, September 20, 1860. John Ayers, 32 years old, bad whiskey, June 3, 1863. Theodore Hansen, 27 years old, soldier, starved...
Images (in order of appearance): Original stage curtain, original theater interior, original lobby, original stage, original ticket booth, exterior view by Milton Zink (1957), and Loew's sign (all courtesy of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library).
Valentine Theatre Symbol
By Timothy Messer-Kruse, University of Toledo, 1998
In its pioneer decades, Toledo was, not...
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...