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Published: Sunday, 10/23/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago


Toledo architecture a surprising Halloween treat

A face gazes down from the Adams Street side of the Lucas County Courthouse. A face gazes down from the Adams Street side of the Lucas County Courthouse.
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Someone is staring at you.

And he looks mad.

Or maybe a little crazy.

It could be Mercury, or an angel, or a Green Man, but he’s definitely staring.

Look up, look around in downtown Toledo and the faces are there, gazing down from buildings and representing a form of architectural embellishment that seems a little strange, especially in the week leading up to Halloween.

PHOTO GALLERY: Toledo Magazine -- Stone Faces

They’re also fascinating. Take, for example, the winged face of a cherub looking down from the Lucas County Courthouse on the Adams Street side of the historic, sprawling building. The eyes are bulging, the nostrils flared, and the mouth agape, all frozen in time and frankly kind of odd.

On the historic Weber Building in East Toledo is a classic example of a Green Man. These are faces that were popular designs first recorded in the 11th century and that have been used all the way up to modern times that feature foliage surrounding or coming out of the visage. There’s one on the Adams Street side of the courthouse, the leaves looking like wild facial hair.

An art deco take of the Greek god Mercury looks out over the PNC Bank building at 405 Madison Ave., a child stares from the former Irving E. Macomber Vocational Technical High School at 1501 Monroe St., and an angry fellow embellishes the M & M Printing facade at 329 North Superior St.

All of them are essentially variations on much more ghastly gargoyles, reminders from architects and sculptures to incorporate something of the human form into the stone and brick facades of our institutions.

Contact Rod Lockwood at: rlockwood@theblade.com or 419-724-6159.

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