#ISpyDowntown – Historical Buildings

The Spitzer Building was finished being built in 1896 at the cost of $500,000 and is thought to be Toledo’s earliest steel framed structure. The building features Renaissance inspired ninth-floor arches and 16th century Italian Renaissance-style arched entrances. When it was first built the building contained 400 offices with stores on the ground floor in the “Spitzer Arcade”.

The arcade was thought to be Toledo’s first shopping mall. Through the years, restaurants, coffee shops, jewelry stores, drug stores, dress and card shops, and hair salons held residence in the building.

In addition to being the legal-hub of Toledo, other tenants have included insurance agencies, accountants, stockbrokers, and beauty shops.

Some describe the Spitzer Building like a village when it was in its prime; a busy beehive where everyone helped each other out and held a high standard for their building’s care.

The Spitzer Building Co. sold the building to a private-equity group headed by Koray Ergur of San Francisco in 2008, and filed foreclosure action against the company in Lucas County Common Pleas Court on Jan. 24, 2011.


#ISpyDowntown – The Original Port

It’s but a small slip of land, but it has served Downtown Toledo well over the years! In 1817, the town of Port Lawrence was established at the mouth of Swan Creek. By 1833, Port Lawrence and Vistula (a village established near Lagrange and Summit Sts.) became Toledo, and John Berdan was elected its first mayor. The Middlegrounds extended from the mouth of Swan Creek and became one of the largest rail and water networks in the Midwest. The Middlegrounds was separated from the mainland by a bayou that was home to water lilies and wild rice; it was largely filled in in the 1850s to facilitate its use as a rail yard.

The Middlegrounds was home to many interesting structures over the years, including a series of deep-channel piers and docks, 10 grain elevators (to serve the ships docking nearby), boarding houses and a church for railroaders and sailors. In 1856 the 34-room Island House Hotel opened to serve tourists and travelers. This elegant, three-story hotel featured a large dining hall and kitchen, and luxury touches that ensured that Toledo had moved to a new level of respectability as an up-and-coming city.Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 4.34.01 PM

The historic Oliver House is positioned on the highest elevation of the Middlegrounds area.

More than 100 years later, the Middlegrounds was the setting for a new Downtown drama, when construction began in 1988 on the 350-unit Commodore Island. Financial problems halted construction the next year, after only 1/5 of the units complete. The three complete buildings, including 15 units, were moved by barge in 1994 from the Middlegrounds to their final home along Lake Erie near Lakeside, Ohio.

In its place in Downtown Toledo was built the world headquarters building of Owens Corning. Designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, built by The Lathrop Company and opened in 1996, the facility is a campus-like environment for 1,100 employees. The facility is LEED certified, and boasts a number of sustainable features. It also promotes the company’s unique identity through a distinctive red tower that reflects the company’s color and logo look.

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#ISpyDowntown – Interesting Architecture

The Four Seagate Building is a ten-story, class-A, multi-tenant office building with spectacular views of the city and river. It features an efficient underground concourse that connects to the Grand Plaza Hotel, The Imagination Station and the heart of the central business district. One of the many businesses that utilize this office building is Spengler Nathanson LLC.

Spengler Nathanson’s offices were first located on the 10th floor of the Nicholas Building on Madison Avenue, known until recently as the Fifth Third Bank Building. The firm was founded in 1947 as the successor to the firm of Brown, Hahn and Sanger. The firm changed its name to Spengler Nathanson in 1993. It has grown from the four founding attorneys to 31 attorneys. After 60 years on Madison Avenue, the firm moved to the Four Seagate on Summit Street overlooking downtown Toledo’s Riverfront in July 2008.  The firm’s reputation for fairness and professionalism attracts clients, and many of those clients remain with the firm to this day.

Since its inception, the firm has played key roles in the area’s political and business evolution, having been involved in the formation of key enterprises such as Seaway Food Town, Inc. and the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. They continue to represent a broad spectrum of business clients from small family firms, to major corporations such as Fifth Third Bank and Owens-Illinois.

For over six decades, Spengler Nathanson has established itself as a law firm with high professional and ethical standards.  They are dedicated to their clients and the judicial system, which they have pledged to serve.

For inquires and further information visit or call (419)-241-2201.

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#ISpyDowntown – Bringing People Together

United Way of Greater Toledo is a nonprofit organization serving 227,453 individuals in the last year. United Way’s mission is to unite the caring power of people and to improve lives. United Way of Greater Toledo envisions a community where all individuals and families achieve their human potential through education, income stability, and healthy lives.

A prime example of United Way’s work toward building a better community is the community garden on their property. They promote healthier food options by growing fresh vegetables and fruits that are easily accessible and available to anyone. The garden can be used as an educational tool for children, where they can learn about where food comes from and healthy eating choices. The community garden stands as a place where people can come together and find pride in their city.

At United Way of Greater Toledo, creating lasting change in the community is an ambitious goal, and everyone has to be a part of the change. Everyone in the community deserves the chance at a better life. You can give, you can advocate and you can volunteer. But only when everyone is working together toward a common purpose are they truly LIVING UNITED. To learn more about how you can give, advocate and volunteer, visit

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#ISpyDowntown – Serving the World

In 1976, the downtown corner of Madison Avenue and 10th underwent a major renovation by Samborn, Steketee, Otis and Evans, Inc., now known as SSOE Group. The $2.5 million project converted two 50-year old buildings, a former Goodyear tire repair shop and adjoining three-story Cadillac automotive dealership, into it’s now present day 67,000 SF headquarters building. Many of the original buildings elements were preserved such as the building’s basements, foundations, and structural systems as well as an existing automotive ramp which is now utilized as a main circulation artery between floors and is accented by a “sun well” and skylight that illuminate the ramp and lobby area with natural light. Before building their headquarters, SSOE occupied the sixth floor, most of the fourth floor, and part of the basement in the Libbey-Owens-Ford building as well as the fifth floor of the Toledo Home Federal Building.

Today, SSOE Group is ranked the 10th largest engineering, architectural, and construction management firm (Building Design + Construction) and one of the “Best AEC Firms to Work For” (Building Design + Construction). Over the company’s 60-plus year history, it has earned a reputation for providing quality project solutions to chemical, semiconductor, solar / photovoltaic, government, power, automotive, glass, healthcare, food and consumer products, and science and technology industries. SSOE now has more than 20 offices around the world and has completed projects in more than 30 countries.

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#ISpyDowntown – Working in a High Rise

Built in 1896, the 12-story Ohio Building, on the corner of Madison and Superior, was originally the Ohio Bank. It was built in the Sullivanesque style that used exterior ornament and design in response to the tall, steel-frame skyscrapers of the 1890s. Sullivanesque buildings feature intricate patterns, a large arch at the entry and three distinctive parts – a top, middle and bottom.

The three-story flagpole at the top of the building was effective in making the building the location of Toledo’s first radio transmission. And in 1920, the entire, 12-story building (along with other nearby buildings) had to be moved 14 feet to allow the expansion of Superior Street.

Today the popular building houses local offices of the FBI, the US Coast Guard, Sen. Rob Portman and the OSHA of Northwest Ohio. It’s also home to several law and engineering firms, and the first-floor Biggby Coffee provides early-morning sustenance to Downtown workers.

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