Old West End Tour
Presented by the Women of the Old West End
Research, 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 popular with Americans around the turn of the century. The Old West End is a 'living' monument to the style, grace, and beauty of fine architecture, quality craftsmanship, and, yes, even exquisite opulence. Wealthy industrialists benefited from Toledo’s prime Great Lakes trading location, bountiful agricultural production, and riverside factory and warehouse operations. Their great wealth was evident in the suburban homes they built for their families in the area that would later become the Old West End, nestled in the heart of metropolitan Toledo.
The Tour (1998)
Situated on a large double lot overlooking the Toledo Museum of Art, the nearly 10,000-square-foot home was built for Toledo glass pioneer and museum benefactor Edward Drummond Libbey. It was designed by architect David L. Stine in a combination of shingle and colonial revival style and completed in 1885 after two years of construction. The 18-room home features a granite and shingle exterior with a large wrap-around veranda; a curved two-story bay; and the date "1895" highlighted on the south side of the house, which overlooks the Toledo Museum of Art.
Nearby are several very old copper beech trees that were transplanted by Mrs. Florence Scott Libbey from the fashionable grounds of her father's estate on Monroe Street, which the Libbeys donated as the site for the Toledo Museum of Art.
The interior grandeur begins in the 30-foot reception hall highlighted by a cherry wood grand staircase featuring a large stained glass bay. Flowing off the reception hall is a music room, a mahogany parlor, and an ornately paneled dining room accented by 10 hand-carved lions' heads. Repeated throughout the house are dentil, egg and dart, and bead and reel moldings; and doric, ionic, and Corinthian order columns.
Prominent throughout the home are cherry, oak, and mahogany hand-carved woodworks; pillars; mantles; stained, leaded, and curved glass windows; and built-in bookcases. One of the many fireplaces features hand-painted Delft tile imported from the Netherlands. The third floor, which originally housed the servants, has been converted to bedrooms and an office. Bathrooms in the home feature pedestal lavs, oversized claw tubs, and a marble shower with full body spray. Other interesting features of the home are the underground wine cellar and many of the original gas light fixtures, most of which have been converted to electric.
In 1983, the residence was named a National Historical Landmark because of Mr. Libbey's contributions to the glass industry in the United States. Florence Scott Libbey was the daughter of Maurice A. Scott and the granddaughter of Jessup Scott, who donated the land on which the University of Toledo was built and for whom Scott High School was named. Sometime after Mr. Libbey's death in 1925, Mrs. Libbey vacated the house. From 1927 to 1937, Mary A. and Hattie B. McConkey were the residents. From 1938, the year Mrs. Libbey died, until 1940 the house was vacant. Dr. Herbert C. Weller bought the home from the Libbey Estate in 1941. He sold it in 1966 to the Toledo Society for Crippled Children. Since 1979 the home has served as a single family residence.
The Julius G. Lamson House, 2056 Scottwood Avenue
This house, built in 1903, was designed by Toledo architect David L. Stine. Unlike Stine's design for the Libbey House, this structure shows the influence of the American Colonial Revival. It is one of the few residences in the Old West End still maintained by the original family.
The Barber Carriage House, 2271 Scottwood Avenue
This carriage house is a grand addition to the home built on the lot in 1897 for Dr. Barber, a prominent dentist in Toledo. Originally, it was home to the livery man and four horses. The exterior is a blend of clapboard siding and shingle style, typical of the Victorian era.
The carriage house boasts over 3,000 square feet, including a half basement. It was heated at one time with coal and was then converted to gas with a boiler in the cellar. The only radiator left is located in the washing or bathing area that was used for the horses.
The carriage room originally had an oak floor. There are four horse stalls and one large stall that was known as the birthing stable. After washing the stalls, the water drained into the narrow trough located in front of the stalls. As you look around this room you will also see an oats cleaner found next to the first stall and a small sliding door, behind which the hay was kept. At the far end of the building is the tack room. This was a storage area for the harness equipment. The semicircular room in the front is where the horse collar and blankets were stored. This is also where the driver would wait for a call from the main house. The bulls-eye and fluted molding can be seen above the windows in the carriage room. The carriage is called a Doctor's Buggy, and was manufactured in Millersburg, Ohio.
The second floor houses the sleeping quarters complete with a wash basin, closet, and original gas conversion electric chandelier. In the summer, transoms above the doors provided ventilation for the livery man. The large room beyond was storage for the different carriages and the sleigh, which would have been raised and lowered by the carriage lift. The large room to the back was storage for the hay and straw.
The Moses G. Bloch House, 2272 Scottwood Avenue
The Wright-Wilmington House, 2320 Scottwood Avenue
This rose brick Queen Anne style home was constructed circa 1895 for Albert G. Wright – founder of the Jennison Wright Company – who lived here until 1911. It was then purchased by William Wilmington of the Wilmington Luggage Company, which in later years was on the main floor of the original Lamson's store in Downtown Toledo. The home remained in the Wilmington family until the mid 1960s.
The house has a rare Hip-On Gable roof, a shingle gable wall curving into the gable window, and an even rarer cupola above the gable. The broad encircling veranda sits on a foundation of cut stone. The main entrance is set off by a Richardsonian-Romanesque arch surround, tile entry, the original doors, and hardware.
Throughout the first floor are oak and cherry woods, with egg and dart and bead and reel detailed moldings. The foyer is highlighted by a solid oak fireplace, and the fireplace in the living room is solid cherry. Pocket doors in the living room are cherry on the living room side and oak on the foyer side. There are also pocket doors in the dining room, which has two built-in china cabinets with curved glass. The modern kitchen has original pine wainscoting on two walls. The second-floor bedroom and bath area is spacious with nine-foot ceilings and a variety of "built-ins." The pine woodwork has been painted, which is typical of many homes.