Sylvania–Then and Now: 8940 Sylvania-Metamora Road

by Gayleen Gindy

The last building in Sylvania Township, on the north side of Sylvania-Metamora Road, is 100 years old this year, and is a brick building built in 1920 by the Toledo & Western Railway Company as an automatic substation. This was built in order to increase power to their electric railway line which ran from Toledo to Pioneer, Ohio, and then north to Adrian, Mich.
It was at this location in 1902 that the T & W Railway Co. purchased from George W. Ford, the curved triangle parcel that sits within the northeast corner of Sylvania-Metamora and Allen roads. This is where a railroad track was established to run north. The spur, as it was called, became known as Allen Junction, named for the T & W’s first president Luther Allen. It was here that the trains could stop to pick-up passengers and continue east or west, or shift north and head into Michigan. Allen Junction also had a passenger depot.
The Depression hit the T & W’s business hard and by 1932 they discontinued passenger service on the Pioneer Branch, and in 1933 they abandoned the track from Allen Junction to Pioneer. The Joseph Schonthal Co. of Columbus, Ohio purchased the abandoned railroad line in 1935 and in 1937 Summer & Company acquired the line. Soon after, they began tearing up the tracks, and sold the old line to the adjoining property owners along the route in most cases.

Here is the list of owners of this triangle parcel:

  • 1902 – Toledo & Western RR
  • 1924 – Toledo & Western Railway Co.
  • 1935 – The Joseph Schonthal Co.
  • 1937 – Summer & Company
  • 1939 – Clayton Woodward
  • 1940 – Lester R. & Alice A. Marsh
  • 1942 – Lawrence J. & Naomi R. Overmyer
  • 1954 – Lester R. Marsh
  • 1955 – Clyde C. Comstock
  • 1969 – Theresa A. Herr
  • 1989 – MFB, an Ohio Partnership c/o Fred G. Mossing
  • 1991 – Louisville Title Agency NW Ohio

Records indicate that by 1938 the tracks were pulled up from Allen Junction to Berkey, and in 1939 the Allen Junction property was sold to a private individual named Clayton Woodward.
Clayton Woodward lived in Sylvania on South Main Street and he was employed as a lineman for the electric light company, according to the 1940 census. He only owned the parcel for one year before selling to Lester and Alice Mars
Lester and Alice (Smith) Marsh owned and lived in the farmhouse that was directly across the street from this building and property. They sold this old T & W property to Lawrence and Naomi Overmyer in 1942, who then owned the building for 12 years. Mr. and Mrs. Overmyer were the owners of the Cube Steak Tower Restaurant on Lewis Avenue until 1942 when they gave up the restaurant business and purchased the 76 acres of land that surrounded the old T & W property here, just to the east of the old sub-station. The Overmyer’s farmed the land where the Sunset Village complex is today.

They kept their 76 acres, but in 1954 they sold the corner triangle parcel with the old T & W building back to Lester Marsh in 1954, who still lived across the street. He only kept it for one year before selling it to Clyde Comstock.
Comstock grew up in Sylvania and lived on Holt Road. His obituary notice said that he was a machinist most of his life, who retired in 1967 and died in 1979. In 1942, according to his World War II registration form, he was listed as a vocational teacher at Burnham High School in Sylvania. Comstock sold this Allen Junction property in 1969 to Theresa Herr. She owned the property for the next 20 years and I was unable to find any documentation that shows what she did, if anything, to the building or property while she owned it. It appears that the building sat windowless and abandoned during this time, as seen in the 1990 photo.
The 1989 purchase of this building and parcel by MFB shows the name of Fred G. Mossing. Mossing was at this time president and chief executive officer of Metamora State Bank.
As of 1991 the ownership was transfered into the title agency name, therefore it is not possible to determine what individuals were involved in the purchase. It may have been that about this time the building was renovated and made into offices, however no records could be found of this renovation.
The Suburban Directory dated 2000 and 2001 listed the Millstream Development Co. as having offices in this building
It seems somebody loves the building that can no longer be seen from the road. It’s an awesome building on the outside, however I have not seen the inside.

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