Toledo, Ohio
Final Stop

About the time my maternal grandfather, Fischel Reiter, was born in Mielnitza, Galicia, Austria 1841, the village of Toledo was a few years old.

Toledo and Mielnitza , both small villages an ocean apart having similar climate, were situated on rivers surrounded by farmlands. Employment opportunities in Galicia were closing to Jews by the end of the 1800s. Toledo, on the other hand, was on its way to becoming an important city in Ohio. The development of transportation by land and water helped the process.

Erie Kalamazoo RR 1836
"The Erie and Kalazmazoo Railroad connected Toledo with Adrian, Michigan in 1836. The trip cost $1.50 with 50 pounds of baggage allowed. ($1.50 in 1836 would cost $24.73 in 2001)."(1)

2 rival ports: Vistula & Toledo 1837.jpg
Opening the Great Lakes
"Canal fever swept the nation in the 1830s and 1840s. Promoters thought the canals would bring instant prosperity to the state with improved transportation for both passengers and bulk cargoes.

Ohioians joined in the fever, and canal systems spread rapidly. Once a canal system was established in eastern Ohio, people in the western part of the state lobbied for their own canal system. The Miami and Erie Canal began in Cincinnati and headed northward. As the canal reached the Toledo area, many small towns along the Maumee competed to be the end of the canal. Waterville, Maumee, Perrysburg, Port Lawrence, Vistula, Marengo, Manhattan and other towns all battled to be the major city on the Maumee.

In a daring move, Port Lawrence and Vistula pooled their resources, changed their name to Toledo and became the commercial center of the Maumee Valley. The Wabash and Erie Canal connecting Toledo with Fort Wayne, Indiana, opened on May 8, 1843, and the Miami and Erie Canal linked Toledo with Cincinnati two years later on June 27, 1845. The canals did not bring instant prosperity, but they did aid growth until the city developed a stable commericial base."(2)

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Compiled by Susana Leistner Bloch and Edward Rosenbaum.

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