Where's That?

Sylvania Sentinel - August 24, 1977 - WHERE'S THAT? - Part 6 - By Kathryn M. Keller (Riga to Whiteford) 


RIGA. - Berkey. This crossroads community with one of the early post offices on the Indiana Territorial Road was first called Riga. At one time the store and post office were run by a Mr. Berkebile - Berkey to the people in the neighborhood. The post office department in Washington had a great deal of trouble with duplication of names in pioneer times and would insist on a change. Since there is a Riga in Michigan not far from Berkey, it may be that it was the post office department that asked for a change. Since the place was popularly known as Berkey's Corners. Berkey became official with the post office department.

SMITH'S SIDING. - Sylvania Metamora Road and Mitchaw Road. When the T & W R.R. was built out Sylvania Metamora Road, Michael Smith whose farm lay along the north side of the tracks arranged to have a siding put in on the west side of Mitchaw, Mr. Smith had a general store on the northwest corner and a freight house, hay scales, coal yard and loading dock on the southwest corner. In addition he moved a small grandstand from east of Sylvania to the same southwest corner of the intersection. A ball diamond was laid out which became the home grounds for the Richfield Center baseball team. Milk and dairy products were shipped out of Smith's Siding heading for Toledo. Sugar beets were loaded here for the Blissfield sugar refinery that was built about the same time as the T & W.

SOUTH STREET. - Monroe Street from Main Street eastward. Ottawa Street and South Street were combined under the name, Monroe Street in 1923 by the village council.

STRANAHAN ESTATE. STRANAHAN SCHOOL. STRANAHAN ARBORETUM. Robert Stranahan, one of the founders of the Champion Spark Plug Co. in Toledo, bought almost an entire section of land between Corey and Holland-Sylvania, Central and Sylvania Avenue to develop into his estate. He left the woods, the dunes, and the creek as it had been from time immemorial. This name the place an ideal spot for nature and even archeological study and enjoyment, and so it was purchased by the Metropolitan Park Board to become Wilderness (Wildwood) Preserve. Before his death, Mr. and Mrs. Stranahan had given a sizeable acreage along Holland-Sylvania Road for Stranahan Elementary School. The Stranahan Arboretum at Corey and Sylvania was given to the University of Toledo by Mr. Stranahan's daughter, Mrs. William Knight, Jr., in memory of her father.

WHITEFORD. - That part of the city of Sylvania that roughly lies east of Summit Street. This was the village envisioned by Gen. David White, a plat for which he entered an official record in Monroe County, Michigan. His one-time partner, Judge William Wilson, had other ideas and filed a plat for a town to lie immediately west of Whiteford to be called Sylvania. The coming of the Erie and Kalamazoo R.R. right through the center of Wilson's Sylvania probably tells the reason why White's village continued to be still farmland at the time it was purchased in the early 1920's for development as Toledo Memorial Park.