THE BLADE/HERRAL LONG Enlarge | Buy This Photo
As the cars whizzed by on Navarre Avenue, Sara Davies explained what it was like to travel all over East Toledo in her horse and buggy to help women deliver their babies.
Two hundred years of history came alive at Navarre Park last week during the East Toledo Historical Society's first Historical Lantern Tour. There, society members portrayed several figures from East Toledo's storied past to celebrate its bicentennial.
Many of the speeches were told in the first person to the small groups of history buffs and East Toledo natives who were led around the park by volunteers with lanterns.
Dr. Davies, portrayed by society member Gail Wahl, 36, of East Toledo, was one of the last people to visit on the 45-minute tour.
Born in 1866, Dr. Davies decided she wanted to be a doctor at the age of 31. Throughout her 50-year career as a physician and midwife, she delivered more than 3,800 babies throughout the area, earning her the nickname "Dr. Stork.
I decided I wanted to take care of all of Toledo, Ms. Wahl said as Dr. Davies. The East side kept me moving. I just doted on my patients.
Of course, no East Toledo bicentennial event would be complete without some mention of Peter Navarre, who founded East Toledo in 1807.
The first tour stop was dedicated to the early pioneer, portrayed by Larry Michaels, author of several books on East Toledo.
Peter Navarre and his four brothers were the first white settlers to move near Otter Creek Road 200 years ago.
Mr. Navarre traded furs until the War of 1812, when he served as a scout.
He is best known for taking reinforcements to Port Clinton before the Sept. 9, 1813 Battle of Lake Erie.
Other lantern tour stops were to Victoria Cadaract, the last survivor of the Chippewa Tribe and Native American in Northwest Ohio; Oliver Stevens, the original owner of the land on whichNavarre Park and Sun Oil sit; and George Pearson, a columnist for The Blade and the namesake of Pearson Metropark.
The only presentation that wasn t given in the first person was that of Elijah Woodruff, an early East side pioneer who lived to be 102 years old and helped on the Underground Railroad.
Jeff Eversman told Mr. Woodruff s life story as himself, Mr. Woodruff s cousin.
There s only one pioneer greater than Elijah Peter Navarre, he said. Elijah did his thing and never had the notoriety of Peter.
After going on the tour, Melissa Lodge of Rossford said it was an asset to learn about the history of the area.
They did a good job of making a connection between the past and the present, she said of the historical society actors.
Though he wasn t sure what to expect for attendance, Mr. Michaels said he would have liked to see more people coming out for the event. Fewer than two dozen did.
He said he hopes future lantern tours become more popular.
The next historical society-sponsored event to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the earliest settlement will be on Peter Navarre Day.
From 1 to 5 p.m. on Sept. 9, historical society members are hosting a bicentennial bash at Navarre Park.
The celebration of 200 years of East Toledo pride will begin with a Navarre family reunion and other activities for people of all ages.
The feature event will be in the middle of the celebration at 3 p.m., when officials plan to dedicate the park s new Ohio Historical Marker.