1000 ADAMS STREET: A LOOK AT HISTORY
The stunning Art Deco building at 1000 Adams has been the home to numerous Toledo businesses over its long history. Originally built by the Gettins-Kopitke Co. as an automobile showroom, this building's history (like much of Toledo's) is largely tied to the automotive industry.
After losing his job in a business which burned to the ground, Harrison Williams Blevins had the building constructed in 1914 with its original address of 1002-1010 Adams. Vowing never to lose a job to fire again, he had the building fully protected with a fire sprinkler system, the first building in Toledo to be so equipped. Much of the sprinkler system remains in use today.
According to William Speck, in his book Toledo: A History in Architecture 1914 to Century’s End, the building was designed by Harry Wachter, “the architect of some of the Old West End’s most interesting homes.” It is described in Nevin Winter's 1917 book The History of Northwest Ohio as "a magnificent new building...regarded as one of the finest additions to the rapidly growing Adams Street district." Of the unique ornate facing on the building which includes eagles, sheaves of wheat, and geometric shapes, Mr. Speck adds that “the Architectural Terra Cotta Company of Brooklyn, New York, provided the facade of cream, matte glazed terra cotta at the cost of $4350.”
Mr. Blevins opened the Blevins Auto Sales Company here on January 1, 1915, and it was from this building that Mr. Blevins became the largest distributor of Studebaker cars in the world. A large part of the second floor was dedicated to the service department, then one of the most important features of the Studebaker idea in automobiles. It was reached by a large automobile-sized elevator which remained in use until the building's renovation in 1995.
Upon Mr. Blevins' death, the building became occupied in 1919 by Charles Doan's Doan Motor Co., which added Nash-Ajax automobiles to the Studebaker line. Lincolns and Fords began appearing in its showrooms when Lyman D. Arnold's dealership located here in 1930.
During 1936 and 1937, a different kind of product was displayed in the large windows when Lang Appliance Corp. moved in. After a brief vacancy in 1938, the federal government's National Youth Administration had its Toledo headquarters in the building.
Automobiles returned to its showrooms when Jim White began selling Chevrolets in 1941. In 1946, Hertzfeld Oldsmobile became the last car dealership to occupy the building. From 1954 until the early 1990's, the building was well-known to radio buffs as the home of Warren Radio. Unfortunately, when Warren Radio closed its doors, this architectural treasure fell into disrepair.
In 1994, the building was purchased and extensively renovated by Grand Adams Limited, a local partnership dedicated to restoring and preserving this unique piece of Toledo's architectural history. According to an Ohio Historic Inventory performed by the Ohio Historic Preservation Office, the terra cotta eagles, sheaves of wheat, and geometric shapes adorning the building's exterior provide "an outstanding example of the Art Deco idiom in glazed ceramic tile -- a rare facing material in Toledo."
The building is now occupied by Spitler & Williams-Young Co., L.P.A. It has received several awards in recognition of its importance to the downtown area's commercial and social viability. These include the Civitas Award from the Downtown Economic Development Committee, as well as the Historic Preservation Award from the Landmarks Preservation Council of the Maumee Valley Historical Society.