Toledo Edison Steam Plant
Size: 1 bound volume
Provenance: Marsha Fuller on behalf of Roberta Annan Waltersdorf
Collection Summary: This collection consists of photographs, drawings, and specific details about the structure and machinery of the Toledo Edison Steam Plant.
Subjects: Business and Commerce
Related Collections: Toledo Edison Collection, MSS-082
Copyright: The literary rights to this collection are assumed to rest with the person(s) responsible for the production of the particular items within the collection, or with their heirs or assigns. Researchers bear full legal responsibility for the acquisition to publish from any part of said collection per Title 17, United States Code. The Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections may reserve the right to intervene as intermediary at its own discretion.
Completed by: Desiree Swicegood & Kimberly Brownlee, Spring 2011
The now empty building that once housed the Toledo Edison Steam Plant occupies a riverfront site in Toledo, Ohio. Located at Madison Ave. and Water St., the plant’s east side faces the Maumee River. Prior to the plant’s construction, two grain elevators stood on the site. In 1895, the Consolidated Street Railway Company bought out Western Electric Company, and one year later, they constructed the plant in order to expand their business to include supplying light and power to consumers from one large central station. The company began its new operations with its first railway load in July 1896, operating at a 2000 kilowatt capacity. In order to supply electricity for railways, lights, and power, the plant contained engine and turbine powered generators.
Throughout the course of its business expansion, the Consolidated Street Railway Company underwent considerable changes, including the acquisition of two other companies, Toledo Electric and Toledo Electric Street Railway, as well as the equipment from these businesses. The company also changed its name, first becoming Toledo Traction Company, then Toledo Railways and Light Company in 1900. In addition to its main brick plant, a separate battery plant was built on the property.
During the early 1900s, working conditions were harsh for the men who were employed in both operations and repairs. Those who worked in operations were subjected to twelve hour shifts, seven days a week, with only one day off per month and two weeks of vacation a year. Repairmen did not have an easy time of it either, working ten hour shifts plus overtime with no additional compensation, and again, receiving only two weeks of vacation time. The author of the manuscript in this collection notes that the Toledo Railways and Light Company decided not to publish their financial data at the time due to issues with expired street railway franchises and laborers’ fight for municipal ownership of all public utilities. In 1921, the company sold off its streetcar operations and became Toledo Edison.
Sadly, the building was no longer used after 1985. Corporations have looked to redevelop the site since the late 1990s, when Toledo Edison gave the empty plant to the city of Toledo. In 2005, Mayor Jack Ford turned the property over to David Ball and Jimmy Jackson, partners in the Water Street Development Company, and one year later, plans were made to transform the old plant into townhouses and condominiums. Construction was slated to begin in the autumn of 2006, but it was delayed. As a result, the next mayor, Carty Finkbeiner, sued Ball for not going through with his construction plans. However, in January 2010, the new mayor, Mike Bell, pulled the city out of the lawsuit. It has been rumored that Ball wants to return the former Toledo Edison Steam Plant to the city, but Ball claims that he will keep the property and begin construction when the area housing market stabilizes. In the meantime, though, the building that once contained such an amazing powerhouse stands silent and empty except for years of memories.
Scope and Content Note
This collection consists of one undated bound volume containing photographs, drawings, and specific details about the structure and machinery in the Toledo Edison Steam Plant.