Dorr Street: A Witness of Toledo, Ohio’s Black History

The 1950s and 1960s were Dorr Street’s golden era. Once considered Toledo’s “Black downtown,” it housed a majority of the city’s Black community and was an important commercial and community hub. The February 3,1992 Black History edition of The Toledo Journal recalled the street as a place where people young and old got together on the weekend and where families would go shopping, go to the movies, go bowling and attend church. All types of stores and shops decorated the streets, a colorful and lively setting for its residents.

Thirty years ago, The Toledo Journal wrote about the impact of urban renewal on Dorr Street, a once-thriving cultural hub that served as a commercial and community center for the mid-sized Ohio city’s Black community. In the mid-1970s, urban renewal projects relocated businesses by widening the two-lane, walkable street to a five-lane traffic corridor — a blow not only to the commercial health of the neighborhood, but also to the residents who had made home there. Over the past three decades, urban planning and community development efforts have sought to return Dorr Street to its former vibrancy.

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