Was able to spend the beautiful weather on Sunday at the Wander the Warehouse tour. Downtown Toledo has hit the ground running over the past few years, with near-nonstop development happening throughout the Warehouse District, City Center and the Adam's Street/Uptown scene. Tours like this one allow people to connect with an area they may not be familiar with and see first-hand what's happening.
We bough admission online and collected our maps/tickets at the temporary Will Call table set up on the corner of St. Clair and Lafayette. First building up was not what I had in mind for the tour - some office-type structure from the mid-1950s. It had a sweet relief done in wood of a map of downtown Toledo, I regret not having a picture to share. We ducked out a side door and continued on down the river towards the Oliver House.
Next up on the tour is a building that I responded to on a run, when the back part of it collapsed down the embankment and into the Maumee River. A local restoration company, ARK Restorations, bought the home, and the owners of ARK made it their own. It is a beautiful home, with large ceilings throughout and a clean blend of old warehouse features with new construction and technology. Being a private residence, I neglected to take pictures, as I feel they are allowing it to be seen in the moment, not memorialized for eternity on my website. Totally different if they paid me to come take photos!
So third stop is where I finally felt it was okay to start snapping some photos. It was the Oliver House's Distillery, and it was pretty neat to get a tour and explanation of the process inside the actual distillery. The inside area separate from the actual distillery (you can see into the distillery through the glass windows!) is an event area; I overheard they are planning on opening for certain weekends for vodka flights and music!
Having conquered the south side of the Warehouse District, we walked back past Will Call to the apartments at 100 South Huron. These are an imposing structure from the main sides, but entering back by the individual garages, with the calming blue of the shared in ground swimming pool reflecting off the mailboxes in the lobby, it felt a little more relaxed. The shared nature of the interior makes for a pleasant communal feel.
Next up was the Berdan Building. I was so excited to see inside that I didn't wait at some good photo spots for the shot to materialize - it was definitely the busiest place, and people were coming out of their way to see it. I did snag some detail shots of the exterior brick, a shot of one of the stairwells, and a downtown skyline from the decked rooftop. That will definitely be a nice place to have available to residents once they get some furniture and such up there! The wrought iron of the lobby is very reminiscent of the lobby of the famous Bradbury building in LA, where Bladerunner was filmed. I regret not taking some pictures. Next time!
Last two on the list were two very different buildings. First up was Commerce Paper, which is still in the bare bones phase - the stairwell still has that pungent open-earth smell I grew accustomed to back in my urban exploration days - brick mold and cold garbage. Looks like they are hoping to put a bunch of single-units in, which could help open downtown living up to younger workers getting started and wanting to be downtown without paying $1000/month rent. Or they'll still be $1000/month and the cost of living is about to explode....
Following this industrial behemoth, and for us the final home on the tour, was one of the little apartments in a stretch on Washington, backed into Moorish. The front of the apartments face Washington St. and are sparse if colorful; the back garage section provides individual parking for the units as well as an outdoor patio for some seasonal living. The image that says "ANGING" is on the brick wall at the base of the stairwell in this home; it is the original, vintage advertising/signage that was painted onto the brick before the apartment was added on. While some still exist throughout Toledo's downtown, this one has been inadvertently turned into a private work of art for the owner.
All in all, a successful day. We managed to see all of the buildings on the tour, without feeling rushed, in about 2.5 hours, which seemed pretty reasonable for the $12/ticket cost. There is definitely a sense of pride as a Toledo resident to watch things change for the better - I hope it continues with an amphitheater on the river! Okay, maybe wishful thinking, but a good outdoor concert venue that can hold more people than the zoo would be nice.
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