This Week in Toledo History 3/29/2021

Lou Hebert

March 28 to April 3

March 28
1915 - Selma Newman is born in Toledo. She would later become Selma Rubin through marriage and move to Santa Barbara California. There, the Scott High School and UT grad became an influential and energetic environmental activist. She is considered the co-founder of Earth Day in 1970.

1920 - Deadly Palm Sunday tornadoes move across Northwest Ohio dealing heavy damage at Raab Corners in western Lucas County where four people were killed. The twisters also ripped apart the small town of Genoa in Ottawa County destroying many home and killing two women. In all, 19 people were reported to have died in the Toledo region that day.

1928 -The News Bee features a front-page story about the mysterious hauntings of a farm in Fulton County where a woman by the name of Lucinda Poole once ran a "free-love" colony.

March 29
1902 - Tontogany farmer W.T. Van Valenburg sends townsfolk on a treasure hunt after he says he lost his wallets in the fields around town and it contained $300 in cash.

1908 - Police patrolman Patrick Sweeney of Tiffin is killed in a gun battle with a burglar. The suspect is identified as Butch Huffman and police have been searching the area for the young killer.

1956 - Middleweight boxer Wilbert "Skeeter" McClure of Toledo earns a spot to compete in the Pan American games in September.

1956 -Toledo police are embroiled in a scandal after it was revealed that police had injected a "truth serum" into a stabbing suspect they were interrogating. Investigators say they had approval from superiors, but superiors deny those claims. Lawyers for the suspect say his constitutional rights were violated.

March 30
1900 - It's reported that 96-year- old Stephen Wood of Toledo has taken out a marriage license to wed 50- year- old Martha Lindsay in Toledo. He has outlived three other wives during his long life. But at 96, he says he wants his fourth wedding to take place without delay.

1919 - Riots erupt in downtown Toledo as thousands of supporters of Eugene Debs storm Memorial Hall where the socialist leader was not permitted to speak because of his political views. Mobs spill into the street and clash with police. At least 70 people are arrested in the melee.

1921 - Several Toledo businessmen at a store on Ontario Street are able to tune in and listen to a live concert from Pittsburgh on a wireless telephone (radio). The News Bee suggests that these new contraptions just might become popular some day in the future.

1945 - Reports from South Bass Island indicate that the constant testing of heavy guns and artillery at Erie Proving Grounds near Port Clinton is putting cracks in the towering Perry's Monument.

March 31
1892 - A lynch mob of 1000 "respectable citizens" of Findlay in Hancock County, break into the jail and abduct a man by the name of Joseph Lytle who was being held for allegations of murdering his wife and daughter with an ax. The mob dragged Lytle outside and lynched him from a bridge span and then pulled his body down and hung him again from a telegraph pole and riddled his body with bullets.

1904 - Major vandalism is reported at Toledo High School on Michigan when custodians find electric wires cut, bulbs broken and door locks jammed.

1949 - Pinball machine cash payouts are now banned in the city. The machines, say city prosecutors, can only be used for personal amusement and not for gambling.

1973 - Opera singer Patrice Munsel, in Toledo to perform at the Masonic Auditorium, is reunited with her pet boa constrictor" George" after she left the big snake in her Lansing hotel room earlier in the week.

April 1
1885 - The start of the natural gas rush in Northwest Ohio begins to get attention as four drillers strike natural gas within the city limits of Bowling Green.

1918 - Toledo Policeman Louis Jazwiecki dies after being shot the previous night at Erie and Walnut streets as he was attempting to arrest two men.

1969 - City bulldozers roll down to the 1100 block of Upton Avenue to the home of minister Cassius Hettinger to destroy his iconic "Garden of Eden" display in his yard. He had created the menagerie of statues over the years using concrete and sea shells. The many displays depicting scenes from the Bible had become a tourist attraction for some, a curiosity for others and for some, an eyesore. It had hosted busloads of weekend tourists for decades.

April 2
1908 - The new stone Interurban bridge over the Maumee River at Roche De Boeuf is nearing completion. The arched span (which still stands today) was a flash point of controversy when it was built because its construction required partial removal of the famous and historic Roche De Boeuf outcropping in the middle of the Maumee.

1920 - Tiedtke's Department store says it plans to sell about a 1000 bunnies for Easter this year.

1943 - The Toledo Rockets basketball team loses the NIT championship to St. Johns at Madison Square Garden in a 47-27 humiliating blow out.

1977 - The Kenny Rogers hit song "Lucille" written by Hal Bynum while he sat in a "bar room in Toledo" reaches number one on the record charts. (The bar room was the Country Palace bar on Jefferson, and the "depot", as mentioned in the song, was the bus station up the street.)

April 3
1924 - Canton Avenue druggist Myron Selzman and three clerks are arrested on manslaughter charges in the deaths of 18 Toledo men who died a week after Selzman sold them poisoned alcohol (ethanol) or "canned heat" which they drank. It was a tragic and common practice by alcoholics during prohibition who could not buy booze from regular sources. Selzman was later convicted and spent four years in prison.

1946 - Residents of Trilby pledge to support the building of the new Hiawatha Park in Washington Township.

1957 -Tragedy visits the Fort Miami Racetrack in Maumee (now the fairgrounds) when fire and smoke snuff out the lives of 27 race horses.

1984 - The last edition of the East Toledo Sun is published.


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