The Toledo History Center has published the Historical Walking Tour of Toledo, Oregon Main Street, a brochure including historical information about the district and early photos of area buildings. Of twenty three buildings described in the five block district, seventeen still stand, although some have been remodeled. The largest number of existing buildings were built in the 1920’s. The oldest buildings on Main Street today include 123/147 N. Main, built prior to 1900, and the Masonic building at 192 S. Main built in 1901.
Toledo’s Main Street was originally called “Hill Street”. It started to develop in the late 1800’s parallel to the original business district of the town which was built on piers along Depot Slough. Early trade approached these businesses from either water side by boat or from land to the east facing business fronts facing the railroad. By 1937, when a fire destroyed the original waterfront business district, most businesses had already moved to Hill Street, creating today’s downtown. The street was renamed in the 1930’s as Toledo adopted an alphabetical and numerical street naming system, and Main Street became the divider between east and west districts.
Information about the early history of the Main Street buildings was taken from a series of articles “Leaves from the History Book…Main Street of Toledo” by Lee J. Sorenson published in the Lincoln County Leader in 1954. The article took the reader on an “imaginary walk with a hypothetical grandpa” along Main Street. Toledo History Center has copies of two of the three serially published articles, found in a scrapbook created by Mrs. Carl Tangen and donated by Pat Westfall. The Lincoln County Leader is available on microfilm at Toledo Library and at the Lincoln County Historical Society.
The new publication was made possible by a grant from the Siletz Tribal Contribution Fund. The brochure is available at Main Street businesses, Toledo History Center, city hall, Toledo Library and Toledo Chamber of Commerce. Graphic design is by Toledo artist Becky Miller, and photos are from the collections of the Lincoln County Historical Society, Toledo History Center, and Toledo residents Margaret Epperson and Larry Clark. For more information, contact Toledo History Center, 208 S. Main, (541) 336-1203.