A visit to the city of Toledo, Ohio, never crossed my mind, until I found out my granddaughter was scheduled to be living in the Honors Village at The University of Toledo ( www.utoledo.edu ), during the summer of 2019. That is when I first started reading up on this city I knew absolutely nothing about!
During my research into popular tourist attractions of the city, I learned that the Toledo Museum of Art was one of their highlights, so I put this on my itinerary of places I wanted to visit. The museum is a Greek revival building, and moved to its current location in the 1920's.
A major expansion of the art museum was funded in part by the WPA, during the Great Depression of the 1930's. You can learn more about their history, and some of the famous works of art they house at their website of www.toledomuseum.org
When I arrived at the museum on a Sunday afternoon, I knew I had to put my exploration of the many works of art there on "Fast Forward", because it had a 5 pm closing time. When I asked the docent at the information desk, what would be a top exhibit I should see in this short time, she immediately mentioned the cut glass punch bowl, shown in this photo. It was a piece from the Libby family, whose name in synonymous with glass manufacturing. In fact, the Toledo Art Museum was founded by Edward Drummond Libbey in 1901 . The punchbowl piece was crafted as an entry in the 1904 World's Fair art competition being held in Saint Louis, Missouri. This dazzling Libbey Glass punch bowl was once the largest piece of cut glass in the world! I would agree that its artistry and craftsmanship are magnificent, and a good representative of one of the reasons that Toledo has earned the nickname of "Glass City".
I had read beforehand that the detached Glass Pavilion of the art museum is famous for its curved glass walls, and this photo shows one of those walls. The Glass Pavilion was opened in 2006, and received the Travel & Leisure's 2007 Design Award for Best Museum. Each of the more than 360 panels---many of them curved---that make up the glass walls weighs between 1,300 and 1,500 pounds. These walls were imported from China, which amazes me that they could travel from such a great distance away and not get broken!
There are several locations in the Glass Pavilion annex where the graceful curves of the glass walls, are as significant to the aesthetic of the location, as are the individual works of glass art themselves. There is a separate building, called the Center for the Visual Arts that was designed by prize-winning architect, Frank O. Gehry.
I was glad the museum included this timeline, showing the history of glass production, because my knowledge of this subject was very sketchy!
Just as Seattle/Tacoma, Washington have been made famous in the art glass movement by the presence of the Dale Chihuly studios, so Toledo may even be more deserving of such notoriety! That is because Dale Chihuly "studied" here in his early days, long before he was the world-famous artist he is now. Persons so inclined can take a glass-making class in this Toledo hotshop, and work on making their own piece to take home (along with the skilled guidance of a master glass-artisan), as shown in this photo of the student in the white slacks, waiting for instructions from the artist as to what her next task will be.
The red glow of the fire in the kiln, as well as the red hot ball of glass on the end of the rod, show why "skilled adult supervision" is necessary for any students wanting to create their own glass masterpiece.
Thisglass dress is an intriguing exhibit, and I had seen it earlier (or a similar one by the same artist) at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, in Bentonville, Arkansas ( www.crystalbridges.org ).
When I entered the glass pavilion of the Toledo Art Museum, the very first piece to catch my eye was the unmistakable work of Dale Chihuly. Although such fragility makes me "nervous", I heard Dale Chihuly say in an interview, that it is this very fragility that makes his work so exciting to him! When the Chihuly team installed this chandelier in the Glass Pavilion, they arranged the 243 forms to echo the curves of the architecture seen in the Glass Pavilion.
Since the real purpose of my Toledo visit was to take my granddaughter out for a special meal to celebrate her birthday, I ended up at the docks, down on the Maumee River, because that is where the Internet told me the top rated restaurant was in Toledo, that also had a water view. Therefore, I wanted to check out the place, before I took my granddaughter there.
The reason my granddaughter was in Toledo for the summer was because she was completing an internship as part of her college major in Professional Sales, at Baylor University ( www.baylor.edu ) I took the photo below, on one of my visits to see her lead the crowds attending football games in Waco, Texas, in chants yelling "GO BEARS!".
The waterfront views at the restaurant did not disappoint! Plus, I was very thankful for the beautiful weather the city was experiencing on my very "condensed" visit to Toledo!
There was a great view of the Owens-Corning World Headquarters building, on the opposite bank of the Maumee River. That was important to me, because that was where my granddaughter was doing her summer internship.
Before moving to this sprawling, "low rise" , glass encased building in 1997, the Owens-Corning Headquarters in Toledo had been in a skyscraper in downtown Toledo, that had the nickname "Fiberglass Tower", which served as their world headquarters for 37 years, before moving to the new location shown above.
While I wasdown by the river docks, I was fascinated by the rowing activity taking place that morning. As a very amateur paddler of streams and lakes in the Ozarks, the sight of the elongated rowing boats (I think it is called "sculling") was fascinating!
Notice how it takes TWO people to carry the very long paddles required for this sport. This body of water is part of the Maumee River Water Trail, a 107-mile water passage from Maumee Bay (Lake Erie) to the Ohio-Indiana border. With 39 access points along the trail, it is easy for folks to enjoy this State Scenic River, a designation it earned in 1974.
Notice the person in the front of the boat without oars. That person's job is to encourage the crew and set the cadence of the rowing. If a team is not working in unison, the boat's forward motion is impaired, so teamwork is essential!
On the opposite side of the river from the restaurant I had picked for our dinner, sits Promenade Park ( www.toledo.com ). Promenade Park has a play fountain, which children were enjoying immensely on the hot day in July when I visited!
www.promedica.org ) moved their headquarters to the downtown riverfront location. Promedica is a locally owned, non-profit health care organization that serves northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.
www.FirstPlace4Health.com) memory verses that says, "Observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go..." 1 Kings 2:3
www.owenscorning.com ), via a pedestrian bridge over the creek. (The O-C building is shown on the left side of this photo The red protrusion jutting out from the roof line, is an architectural detail that not only incorporates lots of glass (the city's specialty), but also provides the very artistic ceiling to the lobby/entrance of the building.
Another feature of Promenade Park that intrigued me was the gigantic video screen, that was showing a video of women outside doing a group stretching class. Even though in this photo, they are sitting down, earlier the screen was broadcasting a teacher, loudly proclaiming the next stretch they were going to do together) On summer nights, this giant screen shows family friendly movies, free of charge!
I was disappointed that the blue-hulled boat shown in this photo was not available for me to ride when I visited the park, as I had seen it out on the water earlier in the day, full of what appeared to be tourists. Its design is reminiscent of a type of canal boat, which is appropriate since much of Toledo's growth as a city in its earlier days, was because boat canal traffic was the major way goods were transported between distant locations . I read that Toledo experienced a major growth spurt, after the completion of the Miami&Erie Canal in 1824. This particular boat was built in 1984, just down the river in Maumee, Ohio, and is made of welded steel. You can book a cruise on the boat at their website atwww.sandpiperboat.com
The blue-roofed building in this photo is called the Imagination Station. The Imagination Station is a non-profit, hands-on science museum, with 300 exhibits for kids of all ages. The grass-covered terraces outside the entrance to the museum can also double as audience seating for the performance venue created in the plaza.
The Promenade Park is part of a major downtown revitalization that was needed after Toledo experienced a phenomenon common to many large cities. That is, the tendency for urban dwellers to move to the suburbs, especially after the Baby Boomer generation facilitated a house-building boom, and the rise in automobile use for transportation.
My short time in Toledo only provides a glimpse of what the city has to offer, but the reader can learn more by checking out their website at www.VisitToledo.org . I can now say, "O! O! O! Toledo, Ohio gave me Miles of Smiles!!!" Tricia