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Visiting Toledo, Ohio: Reflecting the Glass City

Updated on January 18, 2018
State flag of Ohio
State flag of Ohio | Source
Evening reflections of Toledo, the Glass City
Evening reflections of Toledo, the Glass City | Source
Veterans' Glass City Skyway
Veterans' Glass City Skyway | Source
Plaque commemorating a battle site of the Toledo War
Plaque commemorating a battle site of the Toledo War | Source

Image of the Glass City, a mirror of a Midwestern psyche?

One reason why Toledo's nickname of 'Glass City' is particularly apt is not only on account of its glass making industry but also because, with glass as a leitmotiv, it expresses the repeated blurring of the image transition between river, estuary and Lake Erie, shimmering with the glass fronted buildings. This, indeed, is the strong, abiding image of Toledo which my memory retains.

The Toledo War

Glass-like images are not the only aspects of Toledo which provoke a sense of blurring. In the early to mid 19th Century, the question of just how far north Ohio extended in the vicinity of Toledo was left unsettled until after the series of events known as the Toledo War. In the run up to Michigan statehood in 1837, the border between Ohio and the former Michigan Territory was undefined along an area known as the Toledo Strip. The Toledo area thus became somewhat of a focal point for a territorial identity tension on the part of many Ohioans.

Attractions for visitors

Today, the estuary of the Maumee River, near Toledo, offers fine opportunities for birdwatching and nature study. History buffs will appreciate Fort Meigs, now reconstructed, just outside Toledo, and its associations with the War of 1812, and General — later US President — William Harrison. Indeed, Harrison's heroic image cannot be separated from his later successful election to Presidential office. (Sadly, President William Harrison died in office later in 1841, after his inauguration that year.)

The city itself also has well appointed museums, including the Toledo Museum of Art, housed in an impressive Greek Revival building; again, image is a key theme.


How to get there: By air, Toledo is served by several airlines which fly into Toledo Express Airport; these include American Airlines and Delta which fly daily to Chicago O'Hare and Minneapolis/St.Paul respectively. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.


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