The Old West End is a historic neighborhood in Toledo, Ohio, located west of downtown that features 25 city blocks of late 19th century structures. The area includes many architectural styles such as Victorian, Edwardian, Arts & Crafts, Queen Ann, Georgian, French Second Empire, Colonial, Dutch Colonial, and Italian Renaissance. It's also home to the Toledo Museum of Art and several bed and breakfast inns.
The Old West End neighborhood officially began in early 1800s when the first log home and store were built, though it would take years for the area’s appeal to catch on. In the 1860s, wealthy Toledoans moved from their downtown homes to the Old West End to get away from the city. It was from 1875 through 1915 that the neighborhood expanded at a rapid rate with most families moving to the area during this period.
The OWE's appeal declined as the city grew in the 1920s and 1930s. The construction of the interstate in the 60s made lively in the suburbs convenient and many OWE houses were destroyed during this time. Although the reputation of the area west of downtown was one of crime and decay, the OWE community worked to keep the historic area intact. Their hard work paid off in 1973 when the neighborhood became part of the National Register of Historic Places and was later expanded in 1984. Since then, many homes and buildings have been restored, bringing the area back to its original glory.
The Old West End Festival:
A big draw to the Old West End is the annual festival typically held on the first weekend in June each spring. The 2008 event is June 7th and 8th. The King Wamba Parade brings together an eclectic and diverse group of people for a unique Toledo experience. The parade is June 7th at 10am and features floats, performers, and the crowning of King Wamba and Queen Sancha.
In addition to the parade, the festival includes a number of food vendors, entertainers, a car show, yard sales, an art fair, and house tours. The house tours are available on both days of the festival from 10am to 5pm. Pre-sale tickets are $12 per person, $15 for day-of tickets and $4 for a single house tour.
Visiting the Old West End:
There are many things to see in the Old West End in addition to many historical homes and buildings. Collingwood Avenue boasts a large number of historic churches featuring a range of denominations that host special events and welcome visitors. Other attractions include:
- The Mansion View Inn Bed & Breakfast and special events center - a historic 10,000 square foot mansion built in 1887 by a prominent Toledo family.
- The Toledo Museum of Art
- Rosary Cathedral
- Collingwood Arts Center
- Agnes Reynolds Jackson Arboretum