Growing up in Toledo, in the 70’s & 80’s
I grew up in three parts of Toledo, first was Point Place area (North East area of Toledo). I lived there from the time I moved to Toledo until I was about 5-6 years old. I lived on the corner of Suder Ave., and Northridge Drive. Today the house looks nothing like it did back then, in fact when I lived there the neighborhood was young and the trees were small. Today it looks so much different, the fencing is gone, the pool is gone, I almost don’t even recognize it. I live next to this older couple (Mr. and Mrs. Foster) and they were like grandparents to us kids.
We would ride our bikes the 12-13 blocks to the Food Town Plaza for groceries and candy. There was a really cool Little Caesars Pizza in that plaza that had this really cool arcade and they had a movie night. That was back when Little Caesars was a sit-down restaurant. In fact, it was the first dine-in Little Caesars in Toledo with seating for 250. (source) The Food Town Plaza also had the best donut bakery in Toledo. Hinkle’s Donuts, which was one of three Hinkle’s Donuts in the area. Hinkle’s opened in 1961 and got its name from David Hinkle (a former high school football coach who started Hinkle’s with doughnut trailers at fairs and other events. (source).
We would ride our bikes a mile and a half to the Detwiler swimming pool, passing through the Detwiler Park Golf course. Those were when things were safer and kids would leave the house in the morning and not return until “street lights or fireflies”. In the blizzard of ’78, I remember pulling a sled with my siblings a little over a mile to the Food Town Plaza for essentials. For some reason, the school system would bus us 18 miles to Horace Mann Elementary (now closed and demolished).
I remember going to Westgate Mall and the Sears store was like fun land for kids. You would walk in and the smell of caramel corn would fill the store and we would walk through the many aisles of toys and play the display video game consoles. At first, it was the Magnavox Odyssey, and then the long-time king the Atari 2600. Some stores would have Intellivision as well. We actually had a Magnavox Odyssey 2 growing up.
My family then moved to the the West end of Toledo, near Whitmer High School, off of Douglas Ave. I lived here until I was about 13, those were the most impressionable years of my life. I remember walking the 8 blocks (3/4 mile) to school daily, in the rain, in the snow, in the fog (all weather that schools today, want to close for). I was a crossing guard for a few years as well while I was at Meadowvale Elementary school. I remember vividly watching my best male friend at the time, getting hit by a car while crossing Douglas Road. I was so shaken up by that even.
I started Junior High School at Washington Junior High School, me an my friends would walk the mile to school and on the way back we would stop for video games and “penny” candy at the local Sam’s Drug store. Or the Zip’z ice cream near the high school. I remember playing Defender and Battle Zone for hours after school.
I remember riding my bike the 2 miles to the Miracle Mile shopping center, where my mom worked. I would spend the afternoon, visiting stores while waiting for her to get off work. There used to be a Woolworth’s department store there and I ate lunch at their lunch counter more than once. There was also another Hinkle’s Donuts near-by.
My family then moved to Swanton Township, just outside of the Toledo limits. This is where my memories of Southwyck Mall came from. Southwyck was where we hung out on weekends, where I took my dates, where we watched movies, bought records, and had fun at. I remember there being this arcade called Old Towne, you left the main part of the mall and you walked a maze through this narrow hall to Old Towne. Old Towne was designed to resemble the 1890s-1920s style. It was full of mom-and-pop stores, selling things that are in the kiosks of today’s malls. The aisles were “streets” named after Toledo’s downtown streets. The novelty faded as the shops were replaced with arcade machines and adults complained about the narrow passageways and the number of teenagers. It closed in the 80s’, along with the decline of movie theaters in the mall. I remember hanging out on the steps they had inside the mall.
We would visit “The Andersons” which was a huge farm store in Maumee, if it was for sale, then The Andersons had it (They have since closed).
When we visited my grandparent’s farm in McClure, Ohio, we would stop in Bowling Green on the way home to eat at one of the very few Brazzer Dairy Queen restaurants in Ohio, it was a family tradition, one of the very few my family had. I remember going to Wildwood Park and visiting the Stranahan house. I remember going to Cedar Point as a kid and even on “Senior Skip Day” (school was closed due to fog).
Those were the good times.
Remembering Southwyck Mall