Sep 23, 2007

Toledo Architectural Mystery

I never cease to be amazed at the interesting contacts I make with people around the world as a result of having a Web presence on this blog. Over the past two-and-a-half years my writing has reached people on every continent (yes, including Antartica) and I have enjoyed making many hundreds of virtual acuaintances.

I received an email from a man in Arizona who is seeking answers to a riddle involving local architecture. Here is the text of the email:
I was talking with an elderly woman from the Toledo area, who now lives in Arizona. She was telling me about this beautiful old home in the Ottawa Hills area where the Kennedy family had once lived. She described a grand staircase guarded by two Knights in armor, gargoyles on the exterior and an old carriage house. Does this place exist... I thought if it did, someone would have some photos and a story to go along with it. I searched and searched, I came up with zilch. I found your blog on the internet and I thought you would be the one to ask.
So, dear readers, if you have any knowledge of the home or family in question, feel free to chime in.


Mad Jack said...

This might have been an enormous home featured in Parade magazine in the Blade some years ago. I remember that I'd never seen it before, and that it was extremely memorable, what with gargoyles and the like. This spread may have been run in the early 1980s.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if they mean the house where the Ford family (or was it just Betty?), not the Kennedys, lived.

Roo said...

Mike - Let me ask someone who is a long time resident of Ottawa Hills. I'm sure she must have some idea - and if not she will certainly know who does. I'll let ya know.

James F. Trumm said...

Mike, I think this woman was referring to the Canaday (not Kennedy) house on Brookside in Ottawa Hills. I used to deliver the paper there back in the 1970s, so I know something about the place. It did indeed contain gargoyles and suits of armour.

The house and the carriage house are still there, but the enormous piece of property it used to occupy all by itself was subdivided about 25 years ago; in an ironic twist, the new road they put through was called "Olde Brookside."

Ward Canaday had been the chairman of Willys Jeep and one of the people responsible for the creation of Ottawa Hills. He was always very nice to me when I was a kid. I remember that although he was surely one of the wealthiest men in Ohio, he rode around in the least-expensive full-size entry-level Chevrolet, a black Bel Air (which was a step below the Impala).

Canaday later had a dormitory named after him at Harvard. It was, I believe, the last new construction in historic Harvard Yard. I was invited to attend the dedication; I guess the Canadays liked getting their paper from me.