Where's That?

Sylvania Sentinel - August 17, 1977 - WHERE'S THAT? - Part 5 - By Kathryn M. Keller (Old State Line to Rheudi's Tileyard)


OLD STATE LINE. The Ohio-Michigan boundary line which the Territory of Michigan recognized is the line of Old State Line Road which runs from the western county line to Crissey Road - about 6 miles. Extended eastward it would make this old state boundary run through Holland, O. Swan Creek Park, the Medical College of Ohio and the Toledo Zoo, thus putting all of Sylvania Township and the greater part of Toledo under Michigan jurisdiction. A state had more influence in the U.S. Congress than a mere, non-voting territory. So blind justice tipped her scale in favor of the State of Ohio, ruling the present line which is just a little north of us as the official boundary.

OLD STONE ACADEMY. Sterling Store and Lane's (today Element 112 and Keith Brooks Florists) on North Main Street. Early Sylvanians formed a company to finance the building of a two story stone schoolhouse to house the elementary and high school scholars - to be called the Sylvania Academy. This served Sylvania for a little over a decade when the building was taken over by the public school system. In 1868 a new brick school was built on the same land to replace the old stone academy. That new building serving until the Burnham Building was put up and occupied in the 1920's

THE ORCHARD. Between Monroe Street and the creek in the vicinity of the Burnham Building. The T & W R.R. laid its track right through the fruit trees that were part of the Carpenter and Burnham orchards. Motormen on the cars always spoke of "coming through the orchard."

OTTAWA CREEK. OTTAWA RIVER. TEN-MILE CREEK. NORTH FORK. Even today no one knows for sure which stream you're talking about when you mention any of these names. Here's the problem. Detroit Avenue running from the Maumee River at Maumee and heading north to Detroit was the route of the Indians' Great Trail. After Gen. Wayne's victory at Fallen Timbers, the American soldiers laid out a military road on or very close to the Great Trail. The point where this road crosses Ten Mile Creek, near its intersection with Cherry, is 10 miles from the Maumee River - hence the name, one of the oldest place names in the county. At some time the mouth of this stream became the Ottawa River - and that name has been creeping up-stream ever since. Some folks seem to think the name Ten Mile Creek is rustic and somewhat demeaning to the property through which it runs. Would you want to send your son or daughter to the University of Toledo on the Ottawa River or the University of Toledo on Ten Mile Creek? Now the stream must be officially the Ottawa River as far as Central Avenue at Wildwood Preserve because I've noted that the sign put up at the new bridge states that you're crossing the Ottawa. The latest Lucas County map makes no cut-off point, but does mark the stream near Maumee Bay as the Ottawa River, and puts the label Ten Mile well out in the country west of Silica. Now that little creek along Summit St, has its problems. In 1875 it appears on a Monroe County map as the North Branch of the Ottawa River. In between times its been called Ottawa Creek. It came from Ottawa Lake, and the North Fork. We really should contact the U.S. Board of Geographical Names to find out where we stand, stream-wise. It was simpler in the old days when Sylvania was just called "The Forks".

OTTAWA STREET. Monroe Street from Main to Silica Drive.

PLANK ROAD. See Indiana Territorial Road.

PLEASANT POINT SCHOOL. Monroe and Corey. The schoolhouse was on the north side of Monroe Street.

POP POLLEY'S SALOON. Photomat site, Monroe and Main (today the parking lot of Ace Hardware). This saloon might have been a landmark for many reasons, but it became a landmark in Sylvania history because of the 1887 fire that "burned the town down" - an overstatement, for actually it was only the west side of the business block between Maplewood and Monroe that went down. Beginning in Dr. Hank's Drug Store the fire leaped from one small frame building to the next. The citizenry succeeded in keeping it from jumping across Monroe Street to the buildings on that side by pulling down Pop Polley's saloon in advance of the fire. Presumably, this corner stood vacant until the Council Building was put up there in 1898.

POWER HOUSE. Now a city storage building between the creek and Sautter's parking lot. (Today additional parking lot for Sautters). Electricity for the T & W R.R. was generated in this building. Until just recently the Toledo Edison used it for storage. As first built the structure was larger but some parts were torn off for some reason after the T & W went out of business.

PRAIRIE or PRAIRIES. The area south of Sylvania, roughly in the line of Bancroft and Dorr Streets from Holland-Sylvania westward to almost Raab's Corners or Marygrove.

PUMPING STATION. Yankee Road at U.S. 223 in Michigan. When oil began to be pumped from oilfields across the country to refineries in underground lines, pumping stations were necessary along the way to give the oil a "boost" to the next station. The Buckeye Pipe Line Co. built the Yankee Road pumping station and some large storage tanks in the early 1900's. At one time the tanks caught fire which made a spectacular display that is still recalled by old-timers in Sylvania. The station has been inoperative for several years and is being dismantled.

RAAB'S CORNER. A community on the Raab Road between Bancroft and Dorr Streets named for the Raab family that lived there. An earlier name for the place was Six Mile Woods. The name comes up in Sylvanians' reminiscences of the tornado that devastated the western edge of Sylvania Township in the 1920's, for the storm hit Raab's Corners first leveling among other buildings the brick Catholic Church there. Tales of that incident usually start out, "The time that Raab's cyclone hit Sylvania".

RATTLESNAKES CORNERS. Central and Holland-Sylvania. This locale is part of the sandy oak openings country with its typical poor soil, poor drainage, abundant trees and long, long ago, abundant snakes - some of them rattlers. I don't know which came first the name or the saloons that popped up there with none too savory a reputation. If the name came first it was only reinforced by more sighting of rattlesnakes - and pink elephants - than were actually resident thereabouts.

RAY WEST'S HILL. On the south side of Ten Mile Creek in the vicinity of the St. Joseph east parking lot and the Vogt home. (Where Harroun Park is today). It's remembered by everyone who grew up in Sylvania, for sledding down this hill was the ultimate in wintertime thrills. Not having been brought up in Sylvania myself, and rather hesitant about prowling around people's backyards on historical explorations, I can't say whether Ray West's Hill and Suicide Hill are one and the same or two separate topographical marvels that brought you down screaming into the creek flats and maybe even across the creek itself.

RHEUDI'S TILEYARD. South side of Sylvania-Metamora Road, east of Mitchaw and at the back of the McCormack and Holmes property. Suitable clay was available here for making red tiles so important in the draining of the cottonwood swamp in this area. Henry Rheudi ran the tileyard about the turn of the century.