The wall may be gone but stones find new purpose

Toledo Memorial Park President/ CEO Jeff Clegg and his staff are determined to find new life for the limestone pieces that remain after the 100-year-old stone wall lining the Monroe Street grounds of the park had to be removed to make room for the Monroe Street/Harroun Road interchange expansion.

Just as the phoenix rises from the ashes, Jeff Clegg and his Toledo Memorial Park staff are determined to craft innovative new uses for the historic stone wall and entry gates that lined Monroe Street. The wall has been removed to make way for road construction. A plan to reuse the 23 mature trees that were removed along with the removed utility poles is also under discussion.
Because of an Ohio Department of Transportation study denoting Harroun Road/Monroe Street as a dangerous intersection, a mandate to fix that was issued. Monroe Street is to be widened, which requires using 35 feet of park frontage. Over 23 trees have been cut down and utility poles lining the north side of Monroe Street have been reset, which also necessitated the removal of that section of the wall.  
According to Clegg, the historic wall could not be moved and saved because of its age and the way it was built. “We first tried to salvage the wall, but that was not feasible. We have some pieces of wall that have been saved and we are considering how to make use of those. We have a selection of stones that we are planning to use to line our many flower beds throughout the park,” he stated. “These limestone rocks have been in place for over 100 years, making up the wall, which was well built by Sylvania craftsmen. While we are all devastated that this beautiful piece of craftsmanship must be removed, we are pleased that we can make use of what remains from the wall. We are also developing plans to rebuild a stone wall and gates from stone quarried in Indiana.” The wall and gates are anticipated to be installed in 2025.
The imported roses from England that blossomed along the wall have been transplanted in the back of the park during construction. They will be returned once the new wall is completed.
Reuse of trees and utility poles
Clegg and his staff are making lemonade from lemons. They are looking to build an outdoor chapel adjacent to the 9/11 Memorial using the felled trees and utility poles. “We have saved all of those trees and the poles that are being replaced,” he said. “An outdoor chapel would be a welcome addition and would offer shelter for many of the events we host as well as serving as a chapel,” Clegg said. “We are using every possible item that we can from this project, just as was done when this park was established 100 years ago.”
Centennial anniversary
A centennial celebration will be postponed until 2024 because of the disruption of construction in the park.
A look back
 Toledo Memorial Park was originally farmland owned by General David White (1779-1839), and was known as Whiteford, Mich. in 1831. The land was plated for home sites in 1832 but never saw full development due to the Ohio-Michigan border dispute, which was settled in September of 1835, moving the Ohio – Michigan state line just north of the city of Sylvania. The land north of Sylvania would become Whiteford. Ironically, Toledo Memorial Park is still evenly split between Sylvania and Whiteford Township, just as General White’s property was split in 1885. General White, in his forever home, is interred in plot l07, just east of the North Branch of the Ten-Mile Creek on the grounds of Toledo Memorial Park.
In 1920, a drainage project was begun by crews excavating the bedrock limestone after using explosives to deepen the North Branch extension of Ten Mile Creek, just as the development of TIM began. An unnamed farmer, who owned a 20-acre parcel one mile due north of the park was hired to do the initial excavation and roadwork for TMP. During his daily trips from home to the park,  he and his team of horses would haul loads of limestone to the stonemasons building the wall at Toledo Memorial Park. In the evening he would drop off his empty wagon and pick up the full wagon in the morning on his way to work. This process was repeated each day until the 1,600 feet of limestone wall was completed over two years later. It was stated in the labor union yearbook of 1923, “The stone wall is considered the most attractive masonry in Toledo.”
“This is a legacy we hope to continue, as we look to replicate what has been removed and create even more memorable landmarks,” Clegg said.

One thought on “The wall may be gone but stones find new purpose

  1. So nice to learn of forward thinking plans! My family is there, and I have a lot there also.

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