Your Gateway to Toledo and Northwest Ohio History

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"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 Johan Ibsen (1828-1906, Norwegian playwright, founder of realism and modernism in theatre) wrote ""A thousand words leave not the same deep impression as does a single deed."  A much earlier proverb attributed to Chinese philosopher Confucius (trad. 551–479 BCE) also been quoted: "one picture is worth ten thousand words." 

This photo archive of images just a century attest to the power of images and the memories attached to them.  The various photograph collections in this archive speak to the compelling history of Northwest Ohio -- and to large extent, Toledo -- to the region's commerical, industrial, and social history -- through the large collection of black-and-white photographs contributed form the Maumee Valley Historical Society, Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, Ward M. Canaday Center, and other unnamed contributors.   The archive spans the region's automobile history, businesses and industries, the social unrests and strikes, mayors and institutions, cityscapes and future visions, and the nationally renowned architectural heritage of Toledo most typically represented in the city's first suburban community: the Old West End.  The photographs in the archive are without caption but they appear in some of the exhibits and essays.  The Timeline of Toledo History from 1900 through 1970 will also provide historical and social contexts to these photographs.

Use the index on the right to view them separately. 

History presented through images of events and places.


 Toledo's architectural heritage is presented through the photographs in this series.


A futuristic vision of Toledo in 1945 through photographs was the work of designer Norman Bel Geddes who had lived in Toledo and imagined a growth well beyond possibilities.  Booklet: "Toledo Tomorrow..." by Norman Bel Geddes and Associates [PDF]


Photographs of Toledo's Mayors who led the city through its booms and busts in the past century.


Photographs of the area's small and large businesses

 Photographs of industries established as leaders in glass, scale, and other other industries.


Photos of Toledo's history of making the nation's iconic jeeps, steam-powered early cars, and pioneering ventures in electric cars.


In addition to the Woman's Suffrage Movement, the labor force has been on the collision course with the regions's histories.  Among the photographs are those taken during the Auto-Litre Strike from April 12 to June 3, 1934, which has led  to the mobilization of the Ohio National Guard.