The Week in Toledo History 4/19/2021

Lou Hebert

This Week in Toledo's Past: April 18-24

April 18
1912 - Toledo and the nation are stunned by mounting death toll of the Titanic disaster at sea. The News Bee runs a photo of 1500 people at Swayne Field in Toledo to visually show how many people died on the giant ocean liner.

1914 - A proposal is being made to begin censorship of dance halls in Toledo. Dance instructors tell police that a supervisor needs to be appointed to patrol the dances for obscene and lewd behavior. Dance professors in the city contend that the "beautiful art of dance" is being "degraded and morally abused".

1932 - Married female teachers wage a battle with the TPS administration over fears that the district is going to fire all married female teachers in favor of single female teachers. The 150 married teachers have formed an organization to let TPS know that they won't agree to any such move.

1937 - A fire at the Secor Hotel in downtown Toledo sends guests out into the chilly night air and onto the streets. A lack of aerial trucks hampers efforts of city firefighters to reach the 10th floor where the blaze is centered.

1941 - As the German war machine continues its assault on nations of Europe, the U.S. Navy announces that the Bay View Park Naval Center in Toledo will start a school for 2400 sailors to train on non-combat duties. A shortwave radio station will be set up to establish 24 hour contact with other Navy training centers.

1943 - Lucas County Commons Pleas Court Judge Paul Alexander grants a divorce to a couple who didn't make it through their honeymoon. Dean and Mary Purcell of South Toledo said they wanted a divorce because Mary was asthmatic and Dean couldn't stand her frequent sneezing during their honeymoon.

1967 - Bishop Donovan is installed as the fifth bishop of the Toledo Catholic Diocese.

April 19
1889 - First edition of the North Baltimore Beacon is published.

1909 - Wood County officials complain about the number of people who are drinking aboard the electric Interurban trains in their county. They claim the practice of "passing the bottle" has to stop.

1912 - In the aftermath of the tragic sinking of the ocean liner, the Titanic, Toledo Blade reporter Frank Skeldon was the first reporter to interview survivors as they arrived back in New York. He hired a tugboat to meet the ship, the Carpathia, as it sailed near New York Harbor, while other reporters waited on the dock.

1915 - Mothers in Toledo launch a protest with the city about vacant lots that are becoming public dumps hazardous to children. The concerns arise from the recent tragedy where two children died from eating rotten eggs they found in a vacant lot on Vance Street.

1933 - Toledo mother and daughter Julie Fields and Evelyn Long make national news in "Ripley's Believe or Not" column as both women observed their 50th wedding anniversaries on the same day.

1945 - As the Allies prepare to make what could be a final assault against Germany, the victory at hand does not come without a mounting toll in lives. The honor roll for the Toledo area lists the names of 42 local service members either, killed, wounded, missing in action, or held as Prisoners of War.

April 20
1864 - Toledo City Council approves budget for building of the Cherry Street Bridge across the Maumee River. The first bridge to connect the West and East sides of town.

1881 - The magnificent five-masted schooner, the "David Dows" is launched from Toledo shipyards. The launch drew massive crowds to the riverfront as the Dows was considered the largest sailing vessel ever to ply the waters of the Great Lakes. According to a Toledo Blade article, "forests have been leveled to supply the timber" to build her. The Dows, however would be lost in a shipwreck in Lake Michigan in 1889.

1896 - Tornadoes deal heavy destruction in Sandusky County near Fremont, blowing down scores of barns and homes. Three people are killed and many others injured. One account said: The tornado came from the southwest with great fury and every building and tree in its path was swept away. After smashing a road bridge and blowing a big tree across a Wheeling and Lake Erie freight train, which crushed the caboose and came near killing a number of trainmen, the wind began to play havoc with farm buildings.

1922 - "Tony the Ape" at the Toledo Zoo, the largest ape at the zoo, goes on a wild attack against Toledo Zoo's popular animal keeper, Louis Scherer. It was a dramatic life and death struggle as the animal sunk his teeth into the man's neck and Scherer tried in vain to subdue the ape. To stop the attack, Tony was shot to death by Toledo policeman Spike Hennesey. Zookeeper Scherer, bitten numerous times, was seriously injured and took weeks to recover.

1949 - Hundreds of fishermen from Northwest Ohio converge on the Ohio State House in Columbus to cast their protest against a plan to ban all commercial fishing from Sandusky Bay.

1979 - Two explosions and a huge fire at the Sun Oil refinery in Oregon and East Toledo rocked the neighborhood for many blocks. No one was injured.

April 21
1906 - News of the great San Francisco earthquake shocks the nation. The Toledo News Bee reports that they have located six people from Toledo among the survivors. In subsequent days, reporters would identify over 20 more people from the Toledo who were found to be safe.

1910 - One of the last wooden grain elevators, the Clover Leaf Elevator in Toledo, burns to the ground along Lorain Street near the Maumee River in South Toledo. The elevator was one of the oldest in the city and contained almost 100,000 bushels of corn and oats. Damage is said to be about $100,000.

1926 - The Cla-Zel Theater opens in Bowling Green, using a mash up of the names of the owners, Clark and Hazel Young.

1930 - A deadly fire erupts at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Columbus. Inmates are trapped in their cells and 322 of them perish in the flame and smoke. Twenty-four of the victims were inmates from Lucas County. A Toledo inmate, George Mengione, a convicted robber, was credited with saving the lives of 20 fellow prisoners.

1935 - Toledo residents learn of the death of Sylvanus. P. Jermain, the man considered the "First Citizen" of Toledo and the "Father of American Public Golf". Jermain's legacy to create public recreation in Toledo was honored by many. He was a friend to numerous top golfers in the country and helped establish the Ryder Cup tournament. Jermain Park is named for him.

1937 - An ad hoc campaign gets underway by some disgruntled East Toledo residents to secede from the city. Many on the Eastside of the river say they feel they are not being treated fairly or equally with the rest of the city.

April 22
1908 - Eleven people in Maumee are forced to begin a series of painful shots in their spines for rabies. All had been bitten by a rabid dog.

1922 - A wild shoot out on the streets of downtown Toledo had pedestrians diving for cover. At Erie and Madison on a Saturday morning, an irate husband shot his wife four times, and a nearby policeman drew his revolver and started firing at the husband. Bullets were flying everywhere, said witnesses. The husband fell to the ground with a leg wound and a nearby pedestrian was also hit by a bullet.

1933 - School officials in Tiffin say they have a problem with under nourished children. Too many are coming to school without having breakfast.

1936 - The grand gala opening of the newly renovated Mayfair nightclub at Adams and Franklin is held with seven new floor acts, nightly dancing with Mat Reams and The Melody Boys, a new menu and a full bar, plus souvenir roses for the ladies.

1947 - Toledo Health officials say there is no evidence of a rabies outbreak in the area, although 14 rabid dogs were found and picked up in the past week.

1959 - Big Spring sales are featured at area stories. Lamson's has summer dresses on sale for $3.99 each, Kobackers downtown is offering a quilted full-size mattress for $39.95, and Lasalle's has boy's cotton shirts, just 2 for $1.00, while Tiedtke's is selling a pound of its Parkwood coffee for 59 cents.

April 23
1911 - Detectives from California investigating the deadly blast that killed 21 men at the Los Angeles Times in 1910 follow clues to Northwest Ohio. The focus is on the town of Bloomville in Seneca County after it was discovered that the 100 pounds of dynamite used in the blast was stolen from the France Stone Company quarry in that town.

1913 - Two buffaloes escape from the Toledo Zoo. "Bill and Belle" sent neighbors of Harvard Terrace running to the safety of their homes. The two bison at the park "sniffed a bit of freedom" and started roaming the nearby streets. They were eventually rounded up by zookeeper Louis Scherer, who got into a car, headed them off, and honked the horn to wrangle them back in their pens.

1919 - More than 2000 workers at the Toledo Shipyards walk out on strike after the union objects to the hiring of "negroes" by the company. The white union workers had warned the company that they did not want to integrate the workforce. It came to a boiling point on this day when two work parties of 40 "negroes" reported to the shipyards for work and 2000 workers walked off their jobs.

1928 - Toledo police say they have arrested 63 people in a series of weekend vice raids targeting prostitution and gambling houses in the city. Of those arrested, 12 of them were women, several of whom were charged with running brothels.

1940 - Two Toledo policemen are injured when their accident investigation car is involved in an accident. It is hit by a car and a Toledo Edison truck at Monroe and 17th Streets. The officers were en-route to investigate an accident on Nebraska Avenue when their car was hit and knocked over by the impact.

1977 - Elvis Presley performs at Centennial Hall at the University of Toledo, drawing a sell-out crowd of over 10,000 fans.

April 24
1837 - The first tax rates are levied on the citizens of Toledo to pay for city services. The first city marshal, Calvin Comstock, is hired.

1861 - More than 100 recruits leave Toledo to muster for duty in the Union Army. They will be a part of the 14th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

1916 - Toledo's Food and Style show opens at the Terminal Auditorium where hundreds of food producers from Toledo and the region will display their products to demonstrate how "pure" and healthy they are for families to consume.

1945 - The Toledo Blade in today's editions runs pictures and images of bodies, mass graves and other atrocities being discovered in Nazi prison camps. The Blade defends their actions in an op-ed. They say they are running the images because "too many Americans say they don't believe it!"

1953 - Toledo's industrial scene changes dramatically as stockholders approve the merger between Willys Overland Company of Toledo and the Kaiser-Frazer Company of Detroit.

1961 - The Trilby Fire Department rescues four county workers who become trapped in a 24-foot deep sewer line on Jackman Road. Four men and the fire chief Willis Glander were overcome by the fumes and had to be treated at the hospital.

1979 - Ohio State Representative Irma Karmol, 56, of Toledo is killed in an auto accident in Perrysburg. A passenger with her, Robert Brown, also a state legislator, is injured but survives. Karmol and Brown were on their way to Columbus when their car collided with a car on West Boundary Road.



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