Front and Main
The corner of Front and Main in East Toledo is dominated by the 3 story brick commercial Webber Block, a Queen Anne style, 35,000 square foot building constructed in 1888 by John and Gustave Weber. This building has had many tenants over the years including, A&P, Liggett Drugs, The East Side Business School, and Murphy's Department Store. In the 1920s the upper stories contained a gymnasium while the rear portion of the building was occupied by the Alvin Theater.
By the mid 1980's the Webber Block had become derelict and abandoned. Demolition of the landmark structure was prevented with the intervention of the River East Economic Revitalization Corporation. River East was one of about a dozen Community Development Corporations (CDCs) that receive federal block grant funds from the city to redevelop blighted neighborhoods with new residential housing and new businesses.
Sadly, River East closed its doors in 2010 after 35 years and millions of investment. The East Toledo-based CDC assisted and educated the local business community, created and maintained jobs, operated a business incubator, and redeveloped existing buildings and vacant land, in particular, brownfield sites. It also played an important role in the development of The Docks in International Park, Starboardside Condominiums, and the proposed Marina District. Fortunately, there are still CDCs successfully operating in Toledo. A great example is the ONE (Old North End) Village CDC. The ONE Village label represents a new beginning for the formal merger between the Lagrange Development Corporation and the NorthRiver Development Corporation located on the opposite side of the river of Front and Main on the East Side. CDCs have come a long way since their origin in the ‘60s as an outgrowth of the civil rights movement and the War on Poverty. Combined with community development banks, credit unions and loan fund entities – many of whom became CDFIs – community-based development and finance entities number over 4,000 today, managing billions in housing, real estate and small business assets and investments.
As we look out on Front and Main of East Toledo, here's your I didn't know that fact. In 1929 and 1930, Main Street east of Front, was widened to 75 feet by moving all the buildings along the south side of Main street back 15 feet. All the basements were excavated and large rollers were placed under the buildings so pulleys and levers could be used to slide them back. CLICK HERE for a photo...