Downtown Toledo Building Booms
The Development of Toledo's Urban Canyon was Driven by Pride and Ego
Over the years, Toledo has seen several major building booms in the downtown area. One major surge was the result of the influx of supplies and materials arriving east from the lake, river, canals, and railroads, the upshot was the warehouse district. Another major boom began with the construction of the Boody House Hotel on Madison and St. Clair in 1878. The Boody House served as a catalyst for other downtown office buildings in the late nineteenth century.
Two major building booms in Toledo were the direct result of industry rivalries. The first was the construction of several bank buildings along Madison Avenue in downtown Toledo. The other occurred later in the 20th century as three glass industry giants built corporate headquarters in downtown Toledo.
Two other building booms were the direct result of industry rivalries. The first was the construction of several bank buildings along Madison Avenue in downtown Toledo. After Horace Walbridge built the 9-story Nasby Building at the corner of Madison and Huron in 1891, the bankers building boom was on. It started low and slow with the Commercial Savings Bank's 2-story granite building in 1912. This was followed by the Northern National Bank's classically columned Greek-styled building on Madison and Superior and the Dime Savings Bank, just down the street at Adams and Superior. In 1913, the Second National Bank built its 21-story tower on Summit and Madison. This was followed by the Commercial Bank's 6-story building on the corner of Madison and Huron in 1924. This all led up to Ohio Savings Bank and Trust constructing the tallest bank building (and the tallest at that time in Toledo) on the former site of the Boody House on the corner of Madison and St. Clair in 1930 (they barely moved in before they had to sell the building due to the effects of the Great Depression). In the end, a number of extraordinary bank buildings were constructed in downtown Toledo, each designed to top the others.
The other industry-rivalry building boom occurred later in the 20th century as Toledo's three glass industry businesses built corporate headquarters in downtown Toledo. The first was the Libbey-Owens-Ford headquarters. The International Style building, constructed in 1960, was the first high-rise building erected in downtown Toledo in nearly 30 years. It was the first in the area to include its own plaza and made generous use of the company's products throughout. Owens Corning followed up with the construction of what was then Toledo's tallest building, the Fiberglas Tower in 1969. The 400 foot tall building, located at 200 North Saint Clair Street served as the world headquarters for Owens Corning until 1996, when the company moved to a new location on the Middle Grounds along the Maumee River. The last big glass company build was One SeaGate. Going last had its advantages, it gave Owens-Illinois an opportunity to make sure their headquarters was tallest and many amenities were added to make sure it stood out among the rest.