TOLEDO, Ohio — It was a great day for a party and a neighborhood in west Toledo near the university had the perfect reason to throw one.
Toledo's Old Orchard neighborhood is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
It has over 1,200 households, all within the confines of about a square mile stretching from W. Bancroft Street to Central Avenue on the south and north and Secor to Douglas roads on the west and east.
On Sunday afternoon, neighbors, former residents, and friends got together at Goddard Field across from the University of Toledo to reminisce and make plans for the next 100 years.
Tom Meyer with the Old Orchard Neighborhood Association grew up playing on Goddard Field as a kid "almost every day".
Old Orchard homes through time - Connections to the past
He says the neighborhood has a “magnetic” quality to it that draws people back even after they move away.
“It’s a whole new crowd from when I was here but you still see some of the old-timers around,” said Tom. “I’m glad I grew up here. It’s a fantastic place to grow up. The community just bonds people together for a lifetime.”
The afternoon was filled with live music, food trucks, games, and more.
Billy Mann, President of the Old Orchard Neighborhood Association says it's actually the 101st anniversary of the neighborhood but they were unable to celebrate last year due to COVID. He says they tried to keep the event simple.
"Being together. Getting to celebrate the history of the homes in the neighborhood as well as a great excuse to bring together family and friends after being unable to see them so long through the pandemic," said Mann.
It's one of the city's best-known neighborhoods deriving its name from the large apple and peach orchards that existed on the land before houses were built there in the 1920s.
The neighborhood has houses of all styles, including a fair number of Tudor houses, which were popular a century ago, according to the Old Orchard Neighborhood Association website.
The neighborhood also has long ties with the university, serving as home for students and staff alike through the decades.
The bells ringing on the hour from University Hall across W. Bancroft Street are so familiar that neighbors might not even notice them ringing.
Mann believes the neighborhood is still going strong after 100 fantastic years.
"Old Orchard is such a great cross-section of so many diverse groups of people and we have such great neighbors with the university and Cricket West," Mann said. "It's just awesome to get everybody out here to celebrate."
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