Sylvania–Then and Now–5237 Main Street

by Gayleen Gindy

After passing the Yankee Square Apartments on Main Street, the next two homes were both built in 1907, making them 114 years old, while Bernard Clark owned the property. They both look similar in construction and were probably built by Clark. The first home, at 5237 Main St., was in the Clark name until 1911 when John and Florence Dawson purchased it. 

The recorded owners for this property are listed as follows:

  • 1905 – Bernard Clark
  • 1907 – House was constructed
  • 1911 – John and Florence Dawson
  • 1923 – Leo E. Stytle
  • 1934 – Gertrude Stytle
  • 1946 – Walter S. and Meredith R. Brown
  • 1969 – Meredith R. Brown
  • 1994 – Vincent P. Dipofi, Sr.
  • 2000 to current – Sharon Lee Haley Dudgeon, Trustee

Bernard Clark was the son of Owen Clark, an Irish family who came to Sylvania in the 1850s to work for the local railroads. Owen built his home at 5227 S. Main St. at that time, and his son built his home at 5211 S. Main Street. Both of those homes have since been demolished. Then, in 1905 Bernard purchased the property north of his father’s home and constructed our two subject homes two years later. 

Clark was renting out both homes as of the 1910 census, but since this census did not list the families by address I was unable to determine who rented the homes. In 1911 Clark sold our subject home to John and Florence Dawson. They lived in the home for 12 years. They were married in 1906, and he served during World War I, and was honorably discharged in May of 1919. In the 1920 census, the Dawsons are listed living here with their daughters Herma – 8 years old and Florence – 7 months. Mr. Dawson was employed as a laborer at a spring works factory. In 1923 they sold this home to Leo E. Stytle and the Dawson’s appear to have moved to Detroit. 

Stytle purchased this home in 1923 and married Gertrude Restemeier in 1924. In the 1930 census, they are listed living in our subject home valued at $1,500. Leo was listed as 26 years old and Gertrude was 28 years old. Their daughter Nancy Jane was 4 years old. A 1931 Toledo Directory shows Leo Stytle living in Sylvania and employed in Toledo at the Oak Sport Center. A classified ad in the Sylvania Sentinel dated May 26, 1932, read: “NOTICE – Save $$$ – Big Discount on any make new car. Cash, trade, terms. Also some good used cars. See me before you buy. Leo E. Stytle. 5237 Main.”

Sometime in 1934 Leo and Gertrude were divorced and the home transferred to Gertrude at that time. She continued to live in the home and in the 1940 census was listed as owning the home, valued at $2,000. She was 37 years old, divorced and employed as a typist and doing clerical work at the school library. Also living in the home was her daughter Nancy Jane Stytle – 14 years old – attending school. 

Gertrude Stytle sold the home in 1946 to Walter and Meredith Brown. They owned it until he died in 1967 and she died in 1993. Mr. Brown’s obituary notice in the Toledo Blade on Oct. 30, 1967 said that he was 49 years old, of 5237 South Main St., Chairman of the DeVilbiss unit, Local 12 UAW, died of cancer in Toledo Hospital. He was a life-long resident of Sylvania, employed in the rubber division of the DeVilbiss Co. for 28 years and an Army veteran of World War II. Surviving him was his wife, Meredith; daughters, Mrs. Diane Kramer, of Toledo, and Beverly Brown, at home; sons, David and James, both at home; sister, Mrs. Leora Nofen, of Toledo; brothers, Robert and Edward, both of Sylvania, Arthur, of Toledo, and Wilmer and William, both of Curtice, and two grandchildren. 

Between 1968 and 1993 the Suburban Directories listed Mrs. Meredith Brown living and owning the home, while at other times Beverly Brown was listed as occupying the home. Meredith’s obituary notice appeared in the Toledo Blade on April 24, 1993, and said she was 71 years old, of South Main Street, and died in Toledo Hospital. She was a PBX Operator with the Crestview Club Apartments for 17 years, retiring in 1990. She was survived by daughters, Diane (Eugene) DePew and Beverly (Jimmy) Gibson; sons, David (Luann) and James (Martha) Brown, among other brothers, sisters and grandchildren. 

The home was sold to Vincent Dipofi in 1994 and he owned it through 2000. On July 14, 1994, Dipofi was issued a building permit to install a half bath in the home, with no exterior wall changes. The work was completed by John Solly of Toledo. In 1996 a permit was issued to raze the garage. 

Directories indicate that in 1996 Vincent Dipoli was using unit A as an office and unit B was being rented by Virginia Squire. As of the 1997 directory Mary C. Dipoli was living in the home and the 1998 directory shows M.M. Gleckler living here through 2000. 

In 2000 Sharon Lee Haley Dudgeon, Trustee, was listed as owning the home through the current time. Haley family members are listed living in the home. 

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