THE OLD WEST END HAD BETTER DAYS...

I always heard the stories from my family about how nice the Old West End used to be. They lived there in the forties, fifties and sixties. Just the other day...going through my Dad's attic...I found an old reel of home made films my family took while having cook-outs and the like in their neighborhood. (about 1958-1960}.

It was an awesome neighborhood that was not only kept up...but prestine. What a beautiful place to live.

My question here is...What the hell happened? How did it go from a prime location to a place you don't want to be walking by yourself at night in a matter of forty years?

Hoping you 60 somethings can enlighten me.

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1. People started to work themselves to death. Single-income families turned into double-income families, OR 1- and 1.5-income families, and all along, expenses doubled. Families started to seriously disintegrate.

2. People stopped believing in neighborhood identity and getting involved with neighbors. The rise of air conditioning and video games, combined with the destruction of families, helped ensure people either stayed inside or went elsewhere.

3. The economy started to seriously collapse. Detroit is a prototype of what will happen to Toledo, and the damned thing is, Detroit is still only a decay in progress, since the Detroit city government is still wasting money. Detroit's real collapse will come when its government falls apart (much like New Orleans is at today).

4. Nobody really likes diversity and all attempts to integrate populations has produced the need to escape. In the 1980s, the retards and insane were turned out of their institutions. In addition, welfare recipients (largely Black) could Section 8 to other parts of the city. This moved unwanted people into the general population (who were largely middle-classed, industrial Whites of German and Polish ancestry). So in a sick sense of it, people were more than glad to retreat into their jobs, indoors, or out into the exoburbs.

West Toledo is in a free fall, much accelerated by the popping of the 2001-2005 American Housing Bubble. As more homes go into foreclosure or loaded-owner/absentee-landlord disrepair, the remaining middle class will get more incentive to flee. I keep saying to people (much to their annoyance) that people are moving to Sylvania, Perrysburg, Berkey, etc. since they then don't have to see a Black face around. Although this certainly seems offensive, I'm RIGHT. The banks are more than happy to get you into a house at more (even much more) than 2.5 times your yearly income -- thus putting you into a serious financial stress. That people are willing to enter into such financial mire is strong evidence of their dislike of Toledo's core (and now, traditional suburbs). Obviously, the common sentiment is that Toledo neighborhoods are very distasteful. And what greater indicator of that is the racial makeup of those areas? What else (other than housing degradation) can you SEE in a Toledo neighborhood that would cause you to pack up and leave into such financial slavery?

Particularly 3 and 4.

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In World War 2 we fought (and defeated) the Axis. Today we're afraid of cellphones, smokers, and cheeseburgers. It's about at the end, people.

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'I used to have compassion, but they taxed it and legislated it out of existence.'

Freeways destroyed all the old central areas of most modern cities. During the 1950s President Eisenhower and the congress passed the interstate highways construction bills that eventually cut through the cities and destroyed the interconnectivity of old neighborhoods. Suburbs sprang up and viola! here we are today. Suburbia rules.

The glory days of the old west end were well before the 50's & '60's. I remember wanting to rent a room in one of the houses in the Old West End about 1971,and my mom said if I did, she'd never visit me because she was afraid of being robbed or raped. It was crime ridden even by then. Some of the houses are well maintained & kept historically accurate - but most aren't. A friend of mine always wanted to live there, and her & her husband bought a house there several years ago. First expense was $10,000 for a new historically accurate roof (had to take out loan to do it). Not one of the bigger, cooler homes either. My daughter knows several people who live in that area - young adults, she said lots of gays (not an issue with us, but seems to be true)

from GZ's post:

"2. People stopped believing in neighborhood identity and getting involved with neighbors. The rise of air conditioning and video games, combined with the destruction of families, helped ensure people either stayed inside or went elsewhere."

Alot of things have changed in that time frame. My Gr'ma - God rest her soul - lamented the advent of central heating in homes. She said once that happened the families weren't even together INSIDE the houses.

In the mornings people would race to get into their clothes and to the kitchen where the stove was on. They had breakfast together.

After school - right back to the kitchen, where - you guess it, the stove was on. Kids did their homework and the traditional housewife cooked. Dad came home and they lit the fireplace in the living room - where the family was once again gathered together. Match that to a working mother - NO ONE cooking breakfast or dinner usually.

If you're here to tell me it's my fault - you're right. I meant to do it. It was alot of fun. That's why I have this happy smile on my face.

I can only comment on the late '60s. The Old West End was falling apart, with a few original residents living in mansions. The rest of those huge homes were divided into apartments. The streets weren't safe to walk during the summer. Winter wasn't very good either. I lived there a short time and when my apartment was broken into I packed up and left.

The second time I lived in the West End, again in a divided mansion, the neighbors next door were plotting to murder us - you could hear everything through those walls, because the place was originally a single family dwelling, remember?

I packed up and left, and I've never been back.

I blame a combination of poverty, crime and racism, although when I lived there I got to know some of my black neighbors and gained some insight into life when you're black.

I have never experienced neighborhood life, but my Mother has. Mom is 81, and grew up in Toledo during the depression. Mom's family was very wealthy prior to the depression (her mother received an allowance of $400 a week just to run the household) and they lost everything in the depression. Even when things were hard, nobody bothered to lock their doors at night and everyone knew everyone else. People would go for walks at night instead of watching TV.

What a life, huh?

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

Dammit - this is alot like the track Detroit went down.

First and foremost I point to the schools. The schools provide an education to the cities' families and private industries' employees children.

Educated children have opportunities. Companies who have employees with healthy family lives are in a good place.

Once a base level of education is not available the skilled and educated city dwellers WILL PACK UP AND MOVE WHERE THEIR CHILDREN CAN OBTAIN A DECENT EDUCATION. Happens every time.

Following this, the private industry follows the workers. In Detroit, following a fragmented and directionless public school system was a fractured city council. The city began to assess fees to the those who were left in the city - obviously oblivious to the fact that those who were left in the city were economically disadvantaged - or they also would have left. Taxes were raised, city services were cut and fees, fines and parking tickets flew.

In short, the infrastructure ran off city families, workers and industry. Then they tried to squeeze those who were left for more money.

Toledo is making these same erroneous assumptions. That the workers will stay no matter what quality of education the children experience. Well, no. They won't. They never do. They never have. Nowhere have they ever tolerated it.

The tax increases, periodic property re-valuations and fees have begun.

But that snowball starts at the top of the mountain with public education.

If you're here to tell me it's my fault - you're right. I meant to do it. It was alot of fun. That's why I have this happy smile on my face.

this is all true of ALL of toledo, not just the old west end.

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In World War 2 we fought (and defeated) the Axis. Today we're afraid of cellphones, smokers, and cheeseburgers. It's about at the end, people.

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'I used to have compassion, but they taxed it and legislated it out of existence.'

GZ for toledo to be in a free fall due to the housing bubble that would mean there was a housing bubble.

Now I have seen little to no impact of the housing bubble in Toledo because the bubble was virtually nonesistent.

Sure the number of foreclosures are up but it's not as much of an impact as other areas of the country.

I lived in Northern VA, where the bubble was HUGE, where not only have foreclosures increased but those just trying to sell their homes have seen their values drop significantly.

A home there that would go for $200K here was going for $400K there. Since the bubble burst those houses are now going for $200K again. Meaning those who can still afford their house payment cannot sell unless they take a huge loss. This is not prevalent in Toledo, in some of the suburbs a little but still not much. Plus the cost of living here is much lower than the east coast so the effect is further marginalized.

Thus any instantaneous rise in foreclosures can be more linked to the personal wealth and financial managment in Toledo.

MikeyA

MikeyA

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