What do you do when your loved one dies and you find a box with hundreds of photos?
If you live in East Toledo, contact Ron Mauter. He may immortalize your ancestors in a book.
Mauter, president of the East Toledo Historical Society, and author Larry Michaels have once again teamed up to bring us a new photo book in time for Christmas. The title: East of the Maumee River: A Pictorial History of East Toledo, Oregon & Other Communities East of The River.
The genesis for the book is the same as the last one they co-authored: East Toledo at Work: A History of Business & Industry of East Toledo. The books emerged when Mauter dug into his family history for a genealogy project back in 2004. His Great Grandmother Trudeau’s family of 15 settled in East Toledo in 1870.
Mauter poured through shoe boxes of old photos for that project and thought at the time those with East Toledo roots would enjoy reminiscing about the forgotten factories and storefronts of their youth. He was right. Some of those readers also wanted to show Mauter their shoeboxes full of photos. So, armed with a portable scanner, Mauter visited 50 or so families and organizations. He came away with enough photos to complement ones he gleaned from the East Toledo Historical Society and the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library for this second book.
Mauter is not a writer so he once again teamed up with author Larry Michaels and designer Sarah Welborn for this 202-page pictorial history featuring 350 to 400 photos.
The photos are organized in 12 chapters. Topics include the riverfront, restaurants, landmarks, parks, early crossroads and ghost towns.
There are many unique aerial views, such as one that shows the 1962 explosion at the Maumee Chemical Company, one of the worst disasters on the east side and one that claimed 10 lives. Another depicts the Cleveland Cliffs freighter just after it plowed through the Fassett Street Bridge and destroyed it in 1957.
There are also photos that capture the throngs that, in the 1890s, used to visit Presque Isle, the East Toledo amusement park that once was compared to Cedar Point. One photo is of a Ferris Wheel, one of the first built by George Ferris.
One of the landmark photos is of a marker you’ve probably passed by many times but never stopped to read, because it’s on a busy street—Miami. The monument is dwarfed by the grain elevators. It marks the location of an Indian fort built around 1650.
There are also photos and short histories of small settlements gone from today’s maps—Booth, Momeneetown, Yondota, Ironville and Sanguishine.
The oldest photo is of the Bay Shore House, a meeting place located at the corner of Wynn and Bay Shore in Oregon. The photo was taken in 1870s. The photo shows about 25 men dressed in formal attire standing in front of the building and two women looking out of a second story window.
A 1932 photo shows the employees and families of the Hostess Bakery, also knows as the Continental Baking Company, located in what is now the Unison Building on Starr Avenue.
Mauter collects sheet music and he includes a picture of the cover of I Love Mickey, a 1956 novelty song sung by East Toledoan Teresa Brewer. The image shows Miss Brewer looking into the eyes of baseball superstar Mickey Mantle. Other musicians depicted are Rossford’s Johnny and the Hurricanes. The group had smash national hits with Reveille Rock and Red River Rock. In 1963, they were the headliners in a concert in Hamburg Germany. The opening band was a little known group called The Beatles.
Many Baby Boomers will remember Pearson Park during the 50s and 60s. The authors include photos of the roller skating rink, the miniature train and the horse-draw sleigh.
Boomers will also remember the Putt-Putt and Mel’s Big Burgers at Great Eastern and the McDonalds where Mancino’s is located.
The bulk of photos are of East Toledo and Oregon and that is understandable. East Toledo was once a part of Oregon Township. But Michaels also provides short histories of Walbridge and Rossford and a smattering of photos from the two towns.
Michaels, who also serves as Pastor at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in East Toledo, has authored or co-authored more than 10 local history books on such subjects as Peter Navarre and East Toledo’s storied involvement in the Civil War. The next two years will be busy ones for him as well as other local history buffs. Next year will be the 200th anniversary of the most significant battles of the War of 1812. And, in 2014 Waite High will celebrate its 100th anniversary.
Although, he wouldn’t tip his hand, we may see another book soon.
The book is available at 11 local stops including Island Variety, Olney Market, Gladieux Home Center and Johnny’s On the Spot. Or, you can call Mauter at 419-698-0964. For a complete list, visit the East Toledo Historical Society on Facebook.