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Useful Notes / Toledo, Ohio

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Toledo is the fourth most populous city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Lucas County. Toledo is in northwest Ohio, on the western end of Lake Erie, and borders the state of Michigan to the north. The city was founded in 1833 on the west bank of the Maumee River and originally incorporated as part of Monroe County, Michigan Territory, then re-founded in 1837 after conclusion of the Toledo Warnote  at which time it was incorporated in Ohio. Toledo grew quickly as a result of the Miami and Erie Canal and its position on the railway line between New York and Chicago.

While having taken a sizable hit in the collapse of the auto industry along with the nearby cities of Detroit and Cleveland, it has still become a city well known for its industry, particularly in glass (giving it its nickname of the Glass City) and auto assembly, as well as for its art community, education, and local sports teams. It also prides itself on the Toledo Zoo, which is touted as being one of the top ten in the nation.


In fiction, the city is a favorite to mean a not-really-significant-place. Even its residents aren't immune to this. Once a tourism campaign for the city ("Toledo" as in things to do), was turned into a Simpsons reference of "D'oh!" instead of "Do". While Cleveland holds claim to the name "The Mistake on the Lake", sometimes Toledo is called "The Other Mistake of the Lake".

Works set in or citing Toledo, Ohio

  • George Carlin's sixth album was titled Toledo Window Box. It refers to a strain of marijuana he claimed was once offered to him.


  • In Michael Moore's breakthrough film, Roger & Me, Moore and his film crew impersonate a film crew from Toledo. They film the last chassis to roll off the assembly line in one of Flint's most historic factories.
  • In Apocalypse Now, we learn that Willard is from Toledo during his first confrontation with Kurtz.
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  • In the 1985 film of Brewster's Millions, it is mentioned that Brewster's highest-paying job was a year playing for the Toledo Mud Hens.


  • Half Magic is set in Toledo, which was author Edward Eager's childhood home

Live Action TV

  • Mash. Corporal Maxwell Q. Klinger is from Toledo, as is Jamie Farr, the actor who played him (Farr is actually from the Toledo suburb of Sylvania, which, interestingly, didn't suffer an electrical outage during the Great Blackout of 2003, which did cause a blackout in Toledo proper).
  • Melissa & Joey is set in Toledo, and Melissa is a councillor.
  • In an episode of Grey's Anatomy,"The Girl With No Name", Dr. Alex Karev goes to interview at a city in the middle of nowhere, and goes on to state that the city is Toledo.
  • The Drew Carey Show, set in Drew Carey's real hometown of Cleveland, makes several references to Toledo. A few notable examples include Mr. Wick being sent there by the Winfred Louder board for retraining, Mimi being rewarded for a good idea with a gift certificate that can only be used at their Toledo store (and only under some very specific conditions), and Drew's brother Steve attending a porcelain doll convention hosted by the city.
  • In the season 2 finale for The Last Ship Rachel says she's been chosen to take the cure to several cities, including Toledo.


  • John Denver popularized the song "Saturday Night in Toledo, Ohio". It was written in 1967 when Randy Sparks and his group arrived in Toledo at 10 PM on a Saturday night, and found everything closed. Following a performance of the song on The Tonight Show, there was a large public outcry from Toledo residents. In response, the City Fathers recorded a song entitled "We're Strong For Toledo". Ultimately the controversy was such that John Denver cancelled a concert shortly thereafter, but when Denver returned for a 1980 concert, he set a one-show attendance record at the venue, Centennial Hall, and sang the song as well to the approval of the crowd.
    You ask how I know of Toledo, Ohio/Well, I spent a week there one day
  • In Kenny Rogers' "Lucille," the singer mentions being "[i]n a bar in Toledo, across from the depot."
  • "Our Song", on Yes' 90125 album mentions the city several times.
  • The Ray Stevens song "Erik the Awful", about a viking who will chase you to the ends of the Earth chases people through Toledo at one point in the song.


  • The old man in The Time of Your Life identified in the Dramatis Personae as "Kit Carson" (which may or may not be his name). Among his many stories is one about herding cattle on a bicycle in Toledo, Ohio in 1918, when a hurricane struck the town and left him floating northwest sitting on the roof of a house.

Video Games

Western Animation

  • The original VeggieTales short "Where's God When I'm S-s-scared?" reveals that the actor playing FrankenCelery in a horror movie that scared Junior Asparagus is actually a pretty nice guy. His name is Phil Winklestein, and he`s from Toledo, Ohio.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar: Marlene points out that a zoo inmate Skipper believes "disappeared under suspicious circumstances" was actually just transferred to Toledo.note 

Tropes applying to Toledo:

  • Inherently Funny Words: Toh-Lee-Doh. It's pretty fun to say all the "oh" sounds.
    • For many years and two separate terms had a mayor named "Carty Finkbeiner". (CAR-tee FINK-bye-ner)
  • Name's the Same: With Toledo, Spain. No one is completely sure if the two cities are related by name or not, but they are official sister cities. When the work of the celebrated Toledo, Spain artist El Greco (1541–1614) came to Toledo, Ohio on tour in the 1980s, the Toledo Museum of Art called it "El Greco comes home".
    • Although it is somewhat important to note that there is a pronunciation difference between the two cities. Toledo, Ohio, is toh-LEE-doh whereas Toledo, Spain, is toh-LEY-doh.
    • Toledo, Spain has a street named Calle de Toledo, Ohio. Picture
    • And Toledo, Ohio's major newspaper is called The Blade, to honor the Spanish city's legendary steel industry.
  • Pretext for War: Toledo almost came to that in 1835–36. The state of Ohio and the territory of Michigan both wanted the "Toledo strip", the entire strip of land bordering Michigan and Ohio including Toledo and stretching to Indiana — due to subjective interpretation of both laws and geography. The dispute came to the point where both Michigan and Ohio assembled their militias. Finally, the federal government intervened before any formal hostilities and they gave the Toledo strip to Ohio. Ohio was a swing state for the upcoming presidential election (as it always has been), so President Andrew Jackson wanted to keep Ohio happy, and Michigan was still just a territory with no electoral votes and no representation in Congress. In 1837, as one of Jackson's last presidential acts, Michigan was given statehood and that upper peninsula it still has today, which ended up being rich in resources. (So who really lost? Wisconsin!) Feel free to check out the full story on Wikipedia.
    • While on the subject, the Toledo War has an interesting connection to the trope You Are Number 6 — Having a number instead of a name. Major Benjamin F. Stickney, an Ohio partisan, had two sons who were actually named "One" and "Two."note  Two Stickney goes down in history for being responsible for the only bloodshed of the "war", when he stabbed a Michigan Sheriff's Deputy (whose injuries were non-life-threatening).
  • Water Source Tampering: Made national news when a citywide ban on drinking municipal water affecting 400,000 people was issued for about 48 hours, August 2–4, 2014. An algae bloom in Lake Erie — caused by fertilizer runoff from the Maumee River, thus a manmade problem — was releasing a toxin into the water supply and the citizens were warned against drinking and washing in it.
    • Social media was having fun calling it the "(Empty) Glass City"

"Holy Toledo!"

"Holy Toledo! Somebody had fun..."

We've all heard the phrase "Holy Toledo!" in fiction. It's an exclamation of surprise, but its origins are unknown. No one's even sure if it refers to Toledo, Ohio or Toledo, Spain. Locally it pops up often, and is unavoidable in local religion stories.

Famous people from Toledo


Example of: