Aug 30, 2005

The View From Toledo's Baker Street


Left: Meckel Mayes and his grandaughter Makayla

Meckel Mays’ 4-year old granddaughter Makayla showed me the impressive playhouse that her grandfather built in the backyard of his Baker Street home. The structure allows the tiny Toledoan to see much farther than her 3-foot-something frame would ordinarily be able to.

Left: Meckel's beautifully restored Baker Street house

Unfortunately, there is plenty on Baker Street that Mays would rather Makayla not see.

“Across the street are five consecutive abandoned houses,” he said, estimating periods of vacancy from 3 months to 7 years for the buildings. “Stay around long enough, you’ll see prostitutes, drug dealers, addicts, and winos.”

As if on cue, an inebriated young man began to urinate on the back of a party store behind Mays’ house.

“The crime around here is worse than I have ever seen before,” he said. “One day while I was out back with my granddaughter, I heard a noise behind the house. I took a look and there was a prostitute – in broad daylight – having sex like it was nobody’s business.”

The worst of the abandoned buildings is at 1023 Baker, which the county lists as owned by a Thomas and Thelma Higgins. The back door is missing, and the interior of the house is littered with liquor bottles, fast food containers, and drug paraphernalia.

Lucas County is in foreclosure on the property, which has an outstanding tax balance of $2344.07.

“Prostitutes and addicts go in and out of places like these,” said Mays. “People steal everything they can get their hands on. Thieves have even stolen my hedges and my granddaughter’s toy basketball hoop.”

Mays next pointed across the alley at a used appliance store’s storage yard.

“I put a lot of rat bait out, and luckily there haven’t been any rats this year from that place,” he said. “Welcome to the view from my front porch.”

This is an extended photo-essay of an article I wrote for the Toledo Free Press.


Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the city do something about this street? Mr. Mayes is a brave man.

Anonymous said...

What a shame that people have to put up with this.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Makes you sorry to live in Toledo.

Frank said...

A shame. Truly a shame. Will pick up the phone in the morning.

Anonymous said...

People should be mad, because there are Baker Streets all over this city.

Hooda Thunkit said...

And Mr. Mayes will have the only house in the neighborhood, if our current or prior Mayor would have their way.

Tear down seems to be their M.O.

Truly sad...

historymike said...

Unfortunately, the short-term fix is to tear down buildings.

I hope that the LaGrange Development people are able to build some nice homes on these lots.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing to see how bad that street has gotten.

I lived in 1023 Baker St. 10 years ago with my then wife adn newborn daughter. The picture from the inside of the house almost brought me to tears. The far corner is where our TV set used to be. Over your right shoulder was our daughters room.

It's sad to see a neighborhood turn south so fast. The houses on that street were never palaces but the people took what little pride they could in what they had at the time.

Amazing entry.

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected. It appears that the picture may have been taking from the kitchen looking towards the entry way leading to another room and our daughters room.

Truely sad.