How a German Brewer Founded a Toledo Neighborhood.
Today, much of Lenk's Hill and the eastern part of Kushwantz form the neighborhood we know now as ONYX.
When I'm giving a tour of Toledo from the top of One SeaGate, I ask the guests to look beyond the corner of Summit and Monroe, past the Warehouse District and I point out Lenk’s Hill. This fifty-square-block area is named for Peter Lenk who came to Toledo from Wurzburg, Bavaria in 1848. Lenk was the son of a prominent family back in Bavaria. In fact, he left at the age of eighteen, one year after his father gave him a brewery, to make a new life here in the United States. Apparently, Lenk was a revolutionary activist opposed to King Ludwig’s government in Bavaria and like many other Europeans disenchanted with hereditary rule. He headed for America to explore democracy. As the story goes, Lenk was on his way to settle in St. Louis when he stopped here for a hunting trip. He liked the area so much he settled in Toledo instead. He established a winery and later a brewery in Toledo.
Lenk became a prominent businessman and speculated on the land later called Lenk’s Hill. He erected houses here for the fast arriving German immigrants, many of whom he also employed in his nearby brewery on Hamilton. Lenk's Hill was the center of German-American life in Toledo between 1875 and 1950. Today, much of Lenk's Hill and the eastern part of Kushwantz form the neighborhood we know now as ONYX.