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Published: Saturday, 8/5/2006

Restored house was once home of activist for justice

BY CLYDE HUGHES
BLADE STAFF WRITER
E. Michelle Mickens of the
Toledo Community Development
Corp. shows off an
original cabinet in the home
at 1044 Lincoln Ave.
E. Michelle Mickens of the Toledo Community Development Corp. shows off an original cabinet in the home at 1044 Lincoln Ave.
Enlarge

The original green tile roof remained intact over the front porch, as did the fireplace, the staircase, and much of the interior in the large, attractive two-story brick home in the 1000 block of Lincoln Avenue.

The Toledo Community Development Corp., formerly Toledo Central City Neighborhoods, tried to keep as much of the home, built in 1914, as it was while rehabilitating the structure.

Records recently revealed that the home was once owned by Ella P. Stewart, a historic local civil rights activist who promoted justice for minorities and women around the world.

The news came as a surprise to E. Michelle Mickens, the Toledo CDC's executive director.

Ella P. Stewart, a Toledo civil rights activist, owned and lived in the house at 1044 Lincoln Ave. from 1954 to 1976.
Ella P. Stewart, a Toledo civil rights activist, owned and lived in the house at 1044 Lincoln Ave. from 1954 to 1976.
Enlarge

She said one of the group's board members, Robert Brundage, brought that fact to the corporation's attention after reviewing records of previous owners.

The Toledo CDC is selling the home for $90,000.

Ms. Mickens said the three-bedroom, one-bath home has a few changes, such as a sunroof added to the second floor.

The home is located along with other well-kept homes on Lincoln, several blocks away from the Toledo Museum of Art. Ms. Mickens said William and Ella Stewart purchased the home 1954 and lived there until 1976. Mrs. Stewart died in 1987.

She was Toledo's first African-American woman pharmacist. She was the first black graduate of the University of Pittsburgh college of pharmacy and moved in Toledo in 1922 to run a drugstore with her husband.

She was a civic rights activist who was named in 1946 to the original board of Toledo's Board of Community Relations.

Mrs. Stewart was a past president of the National Association of Colored Women, one of the first members inducted into the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame, served on U.N. committees and represented the United States at international conferences.

Ella P. Stewart Elementary School, which is now the Stewart Academy for Girls, was named in her honor in 1961.

Her home, though, had fallen into disrepair and was cited numerous times in recent years for building code violations. Ms. Mickens said the home has been vacant for some time.

"We were excited to find out [that the home was Ms. Stewart's residence]," Mr. Brundage said. "It was like we got double our value.

"I grew up two blocks away and I remember going to the house for Halloween as a child. It's a beautiful home and I hope it helps bring back someone special to the neighborhood."

The Toledo CDC took receivership of the property at the behest of Toledo Municipal Court, Ms. Mickens said.

The corporation then sunk about $80,000 into the property, cleaning and rehabbing the area.

After the Toledo CDC gained control of the property in November, 2004, it took workers about seven months to gut the home, make numerous improvements, and repaint it, she said.

Ms. Mickens said the home has a full basement and attic and is nearly 1,800 square feet.

Contact Clyde Hughes at:

chughes@theblade.com

or 419-724-6095.



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