East River Road Estates

Toledo Time Travels  |  By Tedd Long  |  02/01/2019 9:00 am

East River Road Between Perrysburg and Rossford. From 1915 to 1930 nearly a dozen estates were built on the southern banks of the Maumee with names such as Stonecroft, Chanticleer, The Terraces, Woodgate, Greystone, and Belle Alliance.  Many of these estates were built after the automobile proved to be dependable enough that families who first made their homes in Toledo's Old West End could replace their smaller, shingle-style, riverfront summer homes with year-round, stately, English-style manor houses. In 1976, this "gold coast" area along East River Road in Wood County's Perrysburg Township, achieved historic district designation by the National Park Service and was entered into the National Register of Historic Places as the historic River Road District. 

Sadly, these historic homes are not immune to the wrecking ball. Belle Alliance, the 16th-century style English manor house built by Gordon Mather between 1924-1927 was partially razed in 1985 as part of a "renovation." Mather was the founder of Mather Spring, the automobile spring used exclusively by Ford for the Model T. He and his wife Charlotte moved from their Collingwood Avenue home in the Old West End to their new riverfront mansion in 1927. In 2008, Graystone, the manor estate built by Carrie Ross Ford, widow of LOF's Edward Ford, was demolished to make way for a new home. In 2016, The Terraces, the Mediterranean-Italianate style mansion of Toledo attorney Rathbun Fuller was destroyed to make way for a modern mansion. 

The photograph above focuses on the stone fence in front of the Miniger estate on East River Road. This beautiful estate was built by Clement O. Miniger, founder of the Auto-Lite Company. "C.O" Miniger was quite a connoisseur of fine buildings. Among the many he built or owned in Toledo are the Hillcrest Hotel, the B.R. Baker Building, and the Bell Building—built during the depression and, in addition to offering office space, it was specifically designed to house Smith's Cafeteria.

These homes do come up for sale now and then. CLICK HERE to learn how these homes were doing in 2013.

For more local history, check out my history blog at www.holytoledohistory.com.


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