The Secor House
The Last Riverview Mansion Along Summit Street in Vistula.
Most Toledoans can tell you how to get to Secor Road, the Secor Hotel, or Secor Park but I'd be willing to bet you my "You Will Do Better in Toledo" t-shirt that not many can tell you how to get to the Secor House? Although its address is 311 Bush Street, the best directions you can provide someone looking for this three-story, L-shaped, Second French Empire style home is to tell them to head for the corner of Summit and Bush Streets. That's where they'll find this beautiful brick home—the last vestige of the days when Toledo's elite built mansions along this part of Summit Street in the latter half of the 19th Century.
At one time, the historic Secor House enjoyed a sweeping view of Summit Street and the Maumee River across an expansive green lawn as she guarded the north end of the Vistula District. This house was built for Joseph K. Secor and his wife Elizabeth in 1870. An early partner of Valentine Ketcham in the wholesale grocery business, Secor was a Toledo business pioneer and co-founder of Toledo's first private banking firm. It's been said that Ketcham became Toledo's first millionaire but Secor was not too far behind!
Joseph Secor died in 1892. His wife Elizabeth, who was very active in community charities, passed away in 1911. After her passing, the house was remodeled for apartments and as a result, the home's central hall was closed off and the grand staircase was removed. Unfortunately, like many other buildings in Vistula, time and neglect have taken their toll on this “queen” of Summit Street. The Secor House was threatened with demolition in 1977 after it was left vacant and in disrepair. Thankfully, it was purchased in 1978 and renovated. It was entered in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
Today, after serving as a home, apartments, and most recently, office space, the Secor House is privately-owned but, once again, it needs some TLC. Let's hope this last architectural remnant of Summit Street's heyday as a mansion row can be saved for future generations to appreciate. Stay tuned.