Sylvania–Then and Now–5716 Summit St.

by Gayleen Gindy

This structure was built in 1912 using Chandler Block which was produced right here in Sylvania by Dana Chandler. Jasper and Cora Parker were the property owners at that time. Over the next 110 years the owners are recorded as follows:

  • 1912 – Cora M. Parker
  • 1924 – Jasper J. Parker
  • 1924 – Henry C. Quinnell
  • 1933 – Grace M. Quinnell
  • 1953 – Henry C. Quinnell, Charles R. Quinnell and Robert N. Quinnell
  • 1953 – Charles R and Robert N. Quinnell
  • 1957 – Lucille Quinnell, et al
  • 1980 – Charles R. and Lucille M. Quinnell
  • 1983 – Lucille M. Quinnell
  • 1995 to current – Quinnell Investments, an Ohio Limited Liability

Parker came to Sylvania from Three Rivers, Mich. to take over the operation of Sylvania’s local newspaper in 1910. He first rented a building on South Main Street and in 1912 purchased this property and planned this one-story building with a full basement. The first level was used as living quarters and the basement area was used as his Sylvania Sentinel newspaper office and printing operations. The Dec. 19, 1912, Sentinel reported, “Plasterers have finished work on the new Sentinel building across from the Congregational Church, and the building will soon be ready for occupancy.” Then the Jan. 1, 1913 issue of the Sentinel reported, “After this week the Sentinel office will be located in its new building across the street from the Congregational Church.”

When the 1920 census was taken Jasper and Cora Parker were living on the first floor of this building. This census showed that he owned the building, with a mortgage, was 63 years old and his occupation was printer/publisher for a newspaper. His wife, Cora, was listed as 62 years old. 

In 1921 Jasper and Cora Parker moved to Glendale, Calif., where he worked in the real estate business. Cora died in 1924 and Jasper continued to live there with his niece and her husband until he died in 1933.

In 1921, after Sylvania Village Council advertised in the Toledo Weekly Blade for an experienced newspaperman, Sylvania found Henry (who went by Harry) Quinnell and Harry Crawford, who became co-owners of the local newspaper. They purchased the business and at first rented this building from Parker. In 1924 Quinnell purchased the building, and old directories indicate that the Quinnell family lived on the first floor. According to the April 8, 1926 issue of the Toledo Blade, H.C. Quinnell bought the interest of his partner, Harry Crawford of Toledo, in the Sentinel Publishing Co. of Sylvania. From that time on Harry was the publisher and his wife, Grace, edited and wrote most of the stories. 

Quinnell was born in 1895 in Kent County, England and at the age of 16 came to Toledo to live with a cousin. He was in the Army during World War I, serving overseas. He was honorably discharged on Feb. 12, 1919, obtaining the rank of corporal. He returned to Toledo to marry Grace Schmuhl on Sept. 27, 1919. They had two sons: Charles Ralph, born in 1920 and Robert Neil born in 1928.

In May 1928, Quinnell obtained a building permit to add an addition to the rear of the building using cement block to match the existing building. 

In the 1930 census Henry and Grace were listed living in this building valued at $6,000. He was listed as 34 years old, employed as a printer for a printing and publishing company. Grace was 33 years old, and their son Charles R. was listed as 9 years old and Robert N. was listed as 1 year and 7 months old. 

In 1933 Quinnell transferred this property into Grace’s name. Also in 1933 he obtained a building permit to add a four-foot by four-foot dormer window on the front roof area. (See 1960 photo). In 1936 the Quinnells purchased the 60-foot by 110-foot parcel to the south from Dr. John Counter. There were no structures on this parcel and it seems to have always been used for parking. 

The 1940 census shows the Quinnells still living here. He was listed as 44 years old and employed as a publisher of a privately owned print shop. Grace was 43 years old and employed as the bookkeeper of the print shop. Son Charles was listed as 19 years old, employed as a printer in the print shop and son Robert was 11 years old was attending school.

Their son, Charles, married Lucille Kahle in May of 1941 and, of course, the full details were reported in the Sylvania Sentinel. Charles was a 1938 Burnham graduate and Lucille was a 1939 Burnham graduate. Charles served during World War II as the Buglemaster of the 12th Regiment starting at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois. They will later take ownership of the subject structure in 1953, and their descendants still own it today. (We will address Charles’ legacy to Sylvania in up-coming articles, as he owned several more properties along Summit Street). 

For 21 years,  Quinnell continued as sole editor of the Sylvania Sentinel newspaper until 1942,   and promoted Sylvania like no other had done. During this time he was also elected as mayor of Sylvania, serving from Jan. 1, 1930 through Dec. 31, 1937, all during the Great Depression. He was then elected to Sylvania Village Council, serving from Jan. 1, 1938 through Dec. 31, 1941, all while serving as editor of his newspaper. 

At the time Sylvania did not have a municipal court, so Quinnell held all necessary court hearings in his “Mayor’s Court,” each week. This included traffic violations, domestic disputes, drunk and disorderly and even unpaid debts were heard by him. During his time as mayor, he was able to get many WPA work projects completed throughout Sylvania, which helped keep many employed during the Depression years, and benefits us to this day. In 1942 Quinnell had a stroke, and the Sept. 24, 1942 issue of the Sentinel featured a letter from Harry and Grace Quinnell reporting that because of the need of complete rest they had leased the business to Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Mack of Port Clinton, Ohio. They ended by saying that they would continue their residence above the newspaper office and would have lots of time to visit with their friends. 

In 1943 Quinnell sold the paper to Ray Corbin and Gordon Long, and rented the entire building to them at that time. In 1944 Quinnell took a position with the Toledo office of the War Manpower Commission, resigning a year later as senior administrative assistant. Mrs. Quinnell died in 1951. They had been living in Toledo and Florida. In 1953 this building transferred to their two sons. Harry remarried Alma G., and worked for the Toledo Blade for a period of time. He died in 1959, at the age of 64. His obituary said he suffered a heart attack while working at The Blade.

In 1957 the building transferred into Lucille Quinnell’s name, (wife of Charles) and continues to be owned by their children to this day. 

The Nov. 26, 1964 issue of the Sylvania Sentinel reported, “The Sentinel has undergone remodeling at the office at 5716 Summit St., which included wood paneling in the office, new ceilings, floors, air conditioning, a paint job on the outside, new porch, front door and shutters.” The Fred W. Bostleman Company did the work. 

This building continued to be rented out by the Quinnells, each time there was a new owner of the local newspaper, until 1980 when Allen C. Foster moved the newspaper business to 4444 Alexis Rd. in Sylvania Township. The 1980 suburban directory listed Sylvania Engraving Co.; Sylvania Herald newspaper; and Cleo’s Antique Sales occupying the building. Then the 1982 directory showsed Carol’s Pet Pride Grooming; Peacock Alley Singing Telegram; and Cleo’s Antique sales. 

Carol’s Pet Pride Grooming was still occupying the building in 1990, then Sweet Kountry Pickins crafts as of 1992. The building seems to be used residentially as of the 1997 directory, with Carl Dorcas, Attorney, occupying the basement area for a period of time. 

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