Abandoned hotel in Ohio

Hillcrest Hotel, Toledo Ohio
Date added: May 04, 2023 Categories: Ohio Hotel
Madison at 16th West (1998)

The Hillcrest Hotel was Toledo's last grand hotel built prior to the Great Depression. The building is also Toledo's largest and most intact example of a particular building type - the residential apartment hotel. "Outstanding in the modern apartment house field as one of the finest examples of its type in America today" (The Toledo Blade, October 12, 1929), the Hillcrest was unique because it catered to permanent as well as transient guests. The apartment hotel was a building type more common in much larger cities at this time, but unusual in Toledo. The Hillcrest existed as a testament that not every city dweller was anxious to abandon the dense urban environment for the spaciousness and privacy of the suburbs. The Hillcrest was Toledo's largest apartment hotel and the first large building in Toledo to be constructed on a concrete slab without footings.

Building types, such as the apartment building or hotel, would assumedly offer little opportunity for stylistic expression due to the numerous public safety regulations imposed upon it. The 1920s, however, produced multi-unit buildings that often did not appear "institutional" but rather elegant and attractive with popular architectural styles exhibited on a grand scale. Apartment buildings, hotels and apartment hotels of the 1920s were donned with nearly every type of popular architectural detailing including Jacobethan, Moorish, Meditteranean, Arts and Crafts, Second Renaissance, Neo-Classical and other Revival styles. Some of these buildings were designed to appear as one large mansion-like dwelling, while others gave the appearance of a series of tall row houses. Image was of great consideration as densely populated apartment dwellings might be considered uncivilized by many. Architects responded by designing buildings to be easily distinguished from run-down, crowded tenements otherwise common in large cities and the social stigma attached to their residents.

The Hillcrest met competing needs for light, air, and privacy in its U-shape form while it exhibited efforts to create the greatest amount of rentable space. The appeal of this type of living environment was that residents were relieved of many of the cares and concerns of housekeeping. The apartment hotel is thought to have first been developed to serve tourists on the Pacific Coast at the turn of the Century. This form of temporary domicile was much like a traditional hotel in that its first floor was devoted primarily to public spaces including a foyer, lobby, lounge and dining room. Residents enjoyed the service of a luxury hotel with the semblance of home life that an apartment house offers. The Hillcrest offered modern amenities and centralized services designed to make life easy and pleasurable for its tenants. A 1950 advertisement in the Toledo Polk Directory states, "Radio in every room and suite." In the early days of the building, a bouquet of flowers was delivered to each tenant every Saturday evening (The Toledo Blade, October 12, 1929). A rooftop garden, the equivalent of the suburban backyard, flourished above the chaos and concrete of the city below.

The Hillcrest is situated on twelve parcels of what was platted in 1867 as part of Mott's Second Addition. An 1852 map of Toledo, an 1870 panorama, and an 1881 Toledo atlas all show no buildings occupying the present site of the Hillcrest. Sanborn maps from 1888 indicate that three single family dwellings facing Madison Street were on the site. One of these dwellings, located at 1607 Madison, was an elegant two story Queen Anne structure. The configuration of dwellings continues until the 1920s with little variation except for the addition of two outbuildings at the rear of the houses. In September of 1928, a permit was issued for the demolition of the residential structure at 1603 Madison. The structures at 1607 and 1617 Madison Street were assumedly also demolished around this time and certainly before construction on the Hillcrest began on February 18, 1929.

The Hillcrest co-existed with other single family residences on the block in its early years. The parking lot at the rear of the building was once divided into several lots where individual residential dwellings were situated. By 1962, all of these other structures had been demolished except for a gas station at the corner of Jefferson and Seventeenth.

The upscale hotel was named the Hillcrest due to its positioning at the gentle crest of a hill located on the southwest corner of Madison and Sixteenth Streets in an area on the fringe of downtown Toledo referred to as Uptown. The building spans the entire block of Madison from Sixteenth to Seventeenth Street. Taking into consideration an added surface parking lot, the Hillcrest property now occupies the entire block from Madison to Jefferson between Sixteenth and Seventeenth Streets except for the vacant gas station at the corner of Jefferson and Seventeenth Streets.

Originally an apartment hotel, the Hillcrest contained rooms for both permanent residents as well as transient guests. The Hillcrest was deemed the "largest apartment hotel in Toledo and one of the finest in the Middle West" (Toledo's Business, September, 1929) and contained 245 one, two and three bedroom apartments. At the time of construction, the building represented the most modern, fireproof construction, while at the same time was cloaked in architectural detailing with distinct historical references. The building also represented expertise and speed in construction management as it was completed in only eight months. The building permit was issued in December of 1928, construction began in February of 1929, and in October of 1929, the building was complete, decorated and occupied.

The Hillcrest Arms, as it was originally called, was designed by Toledo architect Alfred A. Hahn, Sr. Contrary to one report, Hahn did not attend the University of Michigan but rather earned his degree from I.C.S. - International Correspondence School. According to his son, Mr. Hahn never traveled thus his architectural influences were not observed firsthand. He was an avid reader who was particularly interested in history. Hahn first worked for Harry Wachter, a renowned Toledo architect, and left in 1915 or 1916 to work for E.H. Close Realtors, a firm that built many residential dwellings in the elite Toledo suburb of Ottawa Hills. In 1919, Hahn left the Close Company and began his own architectural practice but remained in the Close Realty building at 513 Madison Avenue in Toledo. In 1934, Hahn joined with John J. Hayes to form Hahn and Hayes, architects and engineers, still in existence on Douglas Road in Toledo.

Hahn was appointed the associate architect for the state office building in Columbus, built 1929. His work also includes the design of the Art Deco Toledo-Lucas County Public Library (built 1939-1940) and the Toledo Central High School. His use of Mediterranean stylistic elements and use of terra cotta are also evident on the Gesu Church at 2049 Parkside in Toledo which he also designed. He also worked on many buildings of the Lucas County Children's home, designed the Oberlin, Ohio Post Office and the Ashland, Ohio bandshell. His work was not limited to commercial and civic structures alone as Hahn also designed many Toledo residences. He designed the first house in Ottawa Hills and over thirty others in this Toledo suburb as well as other Toledo neighborhoods such as Westmoreland. In 1940, Hahn was appointed to the Ohio Board of Architectural Examiners and became its president in 1944. Alfred A. Hahn, Sr. retired in the late 1950s, although he technically kept working until his death in 1964. His obituary read, "Architect Designed Hillcrest Hotel" (The Toledo Blade, January 7, 1964).

Hahn was reportedly on the job site of the Hillcrest every day during construction ascertaining that his 22-page set of hand-drawn plans were strictly followed. His son, Alfred A. Hahn, Jr., is doubtful that there was any variation from his father's original plans. The Hillcrest is reported to have been modeled after various lakefront apartments in Chicago (Toledo Wayfarer, March, 1986). Hahn might easily have viewed these buildings in person or based his design on available photographs and promotional architectural and building information. One publication from 1917 displayed not only renderings but also typical floor plans of existing apartment hotels, many of which were located in Chicago.

Upon the completion of the Hillcrest at the height of Hahn's career the Great Depression struck. The only architects to survive the depression without changing to other lines of work were Hahn and the firm of Mills, Rhines, Bellman and Nordhoff. Incidentally, the Hillcrest opened the same week of the Stock Market Crash.

The Henry J. Spieker Company, the oldest operating contracting firm in Toledo, founded in 1881, added the Hillcrest to a long list of Toledo structures they had built. The Spieker Company built many of Toledo's significant buildings including the Toledo Museum of Art, the Central YMCA, Tiedke Brothers Department Store, The Hotel Waldorf, The Commodore Perry Hotel, The Ursuline Convent, The Toledo Club, Libbey High School, The Old West End Edward Libbey residence, The Toledo Blade building, Mercy Hospital, The Ohio Bank Building, and many buildings for the Willys-Overland Company and the Champion Spark Plug Company.

The original owner who commissioned the building of the Hillcrest was Clement Orville Miniger, founder and president of Electric Auto-Lite Company and Presto-Lite Storage Battery Corporation. Miniger was known as a civic minded individual and an ardent supporter of the growth and development of Toledo. Miniger helped establish a $1 million "Community Investment Guarantee Fund" in 1927 to provide loans to attract industry to Toledo (Toledo's Business, February, 1927).

P.M. Davidson and Associates leased the building from Miniger and acted as the building's first management company. Davidson was one of Toledo's foremost apartment managers and introduced to Toledo many apartment-house services. He was the first in the city to provide a daily maid service and the first to install radios in apartments (The Toledo Blade, October 12, 1929). The first building superintendent was Charles F.C. Hahn, a building contractor and also Alfred A. Hahn's father.

The Hillcrest was designed to provide its residents with the utmost convenience in modern, safe and luxurious quarters. Many of its early permanent residents were single professionals, many of whom were teachers. There were few couples or families. The building not only contained one, two and three private bedroom units with kitchenettes, but also added amenities such as maid service, decorating services, a full-service dining room, laundry facilities, a roof-top garden, and playrooms for children in the ninth-floor pavilions. The ground floor of the building also was subdivided and leased out to commercial entities such as a barber shop, flower shop, gift shop, pharmacy and tailor. The Hillcrest also served as offices for lawyers, insurance agents and other business people. The presence of these businesses not only provided increased revenue for the building, but also efficiently served the needs of the building's residents.

Parking was always provided conveniently on-site and as an advertisement enthusiastically stated, "You can drive right in!" (Toledo Polk Directory, 1971). A resident could drive his or her car into the building off Sixteenth Street and walk directly into the lobby or the Second-floor elevator lobby from the parking garage. This garage, built specifically to serve the Hillcrest's residents and constructed into the building represents a shift in American popular culture. In this case, not only the person but also their car was to be "housed". Convenience took precedence as indoor, attached parking was becoming more common and fears of fire and safety hazards that might result from a car being parked indoors subsided.

The term "Uptown" perhaps was more than a mere geographical description referring to this area's position north of the Maumee River and Downtown proper. The area surrounding the Hillcrest in its early years was an exclusive and upscale area of Toledo. Massive single-family homes on large lots characterized the once mainly residential and elite area of Toledo. In later years Uptown was well known as the area in Toledo to buy luxury cars, the surrounding streets were highly concentrated with automobile dealerships such as Lincoln, Packard and Dusenberg in the early 1900s. The highly sought after location of the Hillcrest resulted in the building being seventy-five percent occupied as soon as it opened.

At a total cost of $2,000,000 to build and furnish, the hotel typifies the opulence and economic success of the 1920s in America and Toledo (the building permit estimates the cost of construction alone to be $600,000). It was during this prosperous era that the population of Toledo nearly doubled and the need for new construction to house the city's burgeoning number of residents was most urgent. Proponents of Toledo's position as a center for industry and growth praised the building of the Hillcrest as it could not only serve as an elegant home to business professionals but also as a venue for conferences and conventions.

Toledo's commercial growth was burgeoning in the 1920s. By the middle 1920s, the city had fourteen commercial banks and had established its own convention bureau that had secured 100 conventions for Toledo in 1926 alone. Through the aggressive efforts of this bureau, Toledo had become known as one of the leading convention cities in the country.

In the decades preceding the opening of the Hillcrest, Toledo had established itself as an industrial center "ranking Sixteenth in the nation" (Toledo's Business, February 1927) and temporary stopover for business people and railroad workers. A favorable economy and growing industries attracted other businesses and therefore many new people to Toledo. A flurry of building activity in the early Twentieth-century in Toledo produced many grand, elegant downtown area hotels. This wave of hotel construction culminated and ceased with the Hillcrest which opened the week of the Stock Market Crash in 1929.

Toledo's advantageous location at the mouth of the Maumee River and at the terminus of the Miami and Erie Canal established the basis for Toledo's development as a rail, industrial and trade center. Raw materials, markets, and transportation opportunities were capitalized. Entrepreneurs responded to the need for temporary housing for new residents and visitors to Toledo by building a series of new hotels in the beginning of the twentieth century. Hotels became symbols of Toledo's success, and promotional tools since they provided out-of-towners with their initial impressions of Toledo. The list of these hotels includes The Secor, which opened in 1908 and the Waldorf in 1917 (demolished). A building boom in the 1920s resulted in the Algeo in 1922 (demolished); the Lorraine in 1924; the Fort Meigs in 1927 (demolished); the Park Lane, located in the Old West End, built in 1927; and the Commodore Perry in 1927. The Hillcrest is the final entry on this list of grand Toledo hotels built during this era, opening in 1929.

The Hillcrest is unique from the list of Toledo hotels, however, since from its conception was designed as an apartment hotel. The Hillcrest was never intended solely as a direct competitor to the existing hotels in Toledo. The building's location lent itself to convenience for its residents, many of whom worked nearby, often within walking distance. The largest of its kind in Toledo, the Hillcrest was a lavish, modern and convenient place of residence - regardless of the duration.

Throughout its life span as an apartment hotel, the building did, however, also serve as a temporary residence for all walks of life. Common people, celebrities, visiting dignitaries and political figures alike crossed paths at the Hillcrest. Jack Benny and many other famous entertainers from the big band era who played at the Hillcrest and the nearby Trianon Ballroom (demolished) at 1415 Madison Avenue often stayed at the Hillcrest. The list of other guests who stayed at the hotel includes Celeste Holme, Angela Lansbury, Milton Berle, Red Skelton, George McGovern when he was the Democratic candidate for President in 1972, and Geraldine Ferraro, when she was the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate in 1984.

Perhaps the most significant association that the Hillcrest claims is not of a former overnight guest, but rather a visitor to the building in October of 1933. Amelia Earhart, in her last visit to Toledo, helped paint a large white arrow near the northernmost corner of the building's roof to direct aviators to Metcalf Field - then Toledo's landing area. Evident at least as late as 1983, the roof has since been covered with a new thin bituminous layer. Relics of white painted areas evident on the flat ninth-story roof, however, are remnants of the building's important role as a directional aid for aviators.

The Hillcrest also served as American Legion Horton Dean Navy Post No. 108 and held send-off breakfasts in The Victorian Room for Navy recruits. The 100th Navy send-off breakfast was held at the Hillcrest in May of 1944. The Toledo Landmarks Preservation Council held its meetings at the Hotel for many years beginning in the 1970s.

After surviving the Great Depression the Hillcrest enjoyed many financially successful years and generations of tenants. The Hillcrest was altered many times in appearance and function to persist and remain occupied. The Manhattan Building Company assumed management of the Hotel after Miniger died in 1944. In the years following World War II, much of the building was devoted to more transient guests, with several dozen listing the Hillcrest as their permanent address on Census forms. By early 1980, management of the Hillcrest responded to low transient occupancy rates by converting many of its residential suites on lower floors to offices and continued use of upper floors as mainly apartment-type units. Only two years later, a plan was announced to change the hotel's image to that of a transient hotel to make it more attractive to planners of corporate meetings and conventions.

According to Census data, the 1970 permanent population of the Hillcrest was 58 people divided among 41 occupied units. By 1980, the number had dropped to 41, living in 32 occupied units. Hillcrest employee and manager Lois Boerst who worked at the Hillcrest from 1972 until 1990, reported in 1988 that the Hillcrest then contained 100 apartments, 100 transient rooms, and 40 offices. Seventy percent of her employees had worked at the hotel for 15 years or longer.

Even though it was "Conveniently located near downtown with easy access to I-75" (1988 Hillcrest Hotel brochure), the Hillcrest and other downtown Toledo hotels could no longer capture transient traffic nor business travelers. Furthermore, businesses that had moved out of the downtown also took residents from the area who might want to live downtown and close to work. There were simply fewer people in downtown Toledo to attract.

Hotel over-building and a resulting surplus of rooms made occupancy rates in downtown Toledo hotels drop drastically in the recent past. In addition, lost businesses and jobs from downtown Toledo caused a marked decrease in the number of people in the downtown area. Between 1950 and 1980, the population of the downtown/uptown area west of Monroe Street dropped from 9801 to 2451, a 75% decline. The Commodore Perry closed in November of 1980 and its poor performance economically was blamed upon steadily declining usage of downtown hotels by transient guests and the compounding effects of escalating operating costs.

The "Old world nostalgia in the heart of uptown Toledo" (Hillcrest Hotel brochure, 1988) could no longer operate in a modern, financially challenged world. On August 26, 1990, the Hillcrest Hotel could compete no more and closed due to financial difficulties. These difficulties mirrored the problems at the Commodore Perry although the Hillcrest survived ten years longer. A sale in October of 1990 dispersed the vast majority of the building's furniture and finishes.

In mid-1993, the building was reoccupied as it became the Hillcrest Christian Center serving variously as a homeless shelter, education facility, drug rehabilitation clinic, pregnancy clinic and conference center. Its reuse was short-lived, however, as a fire on May 8, 1994 caused an estimated $100,000 damage to the first floor. After the fire, the center never reopened.

After sitting vacant, there was great talk of demolishing the Hillcrest, and the building was placed on the Mayor's "Dirty Dozen" list of nuisance properties in Toledo. Subsequent efforts by the City Department of Neighborhoods to find a buyer to develop the property resulted in the Alexander Company - a renowned rehabilitator of large historic buildings - purchasing the building in 1998 with plans to convert the hotel into apartments.

Building Description

The Hillcrest Hotel is located at 1603 Madison in a largely commercial area near downtown Toledo known as Uptown. Imposing both in its scale and design, the building is situated sixteen blocks north of the Maumee River overlooking the city just northwest of downtown Toledo. The building towers over its present-day sparse surroundings and occupies the entire block of Madison Street between Sixteenth and Seventeenth Streets. The building maintains its original dimensions fronting 200 feet on Madison, 151 feet on Sixteenth, and 154 feet on Seventeenth Streets, with its main entrance off of Sixteenth Street. To the south, a surface parking lot now occupies the entire portion of the remaining block between Sixteenth and Seventeenth Streets with the exception of a small lot on the corner of Seventeenth and Jefferson Streets where a vacant former gas station stands. The area surrounding the Hillcrest has had a fair share of demolition although many commercial buildings do exist intermixed with surface parking lots.

The nine-story, 32-bay Hillcrest Hotel is a U-shaped building constructed of reinforced concrete with brick and terra cotta facing, making it "fireproof throughout" as it was described originally. Built in 1929, its design marks a transition between Second Renaissance Revival and Mediterranean / Spanish Revival Styles. The building has a flat roof obscured by a roofline baluster with corner pavilions at each exterior corner of the structure. Designed by Toledo architect Alfred A. Hahn, Sr., the domestic apartment hotel was a luxurious setting for both its permanent and transient residents who enjoyed the most modern of conveniences. An interior 150-car parking garage, original to the building, is enclosed within the U-shape of the building occupying the first and second floors and is accessed by a ramp at the rear of the building from Sixteenth Street. Two original skylights on the second floor allow the parking garage to be naturally lighted during the day. The rear exterior of the garage, windowless and unadorned, is in close to its original appearance but was not readily visible when the Hillcrest was constructed due to the high-density cluster of houses directly behind the hotel. Today, with all the houses replaced by a parking lot, the blank wall of the garage it is more glaringly visible, aggravated by the recent application of inappropriate white paint which sharply contrasts with the brown brick facing of the main part of the hotel.

The overall tripartite structure of the Hillcrest was based upon a common form in commercial buildings at this time. The building's appearance suggests an influence of the Second Renaissance Revival style in its symmetry and rectangular massing, smooth brick and terra cotta wall surfaces, accentuated horizontal planes, roofline balustrade that obscures the building's flat roof and the use of terra cotta quoins. The Second Renaissance Revival, a conservative, classical style, was commonly implemented in large American public buildings such as apartment buildings and hotels in the late 1800s to the mid-1920s.

Hahn departed from tradition and furthered the architectural qualities of the Hillcrest by adding many elements attributed to the Mediterranean or Spanish Revival Style. The building is framed at the roofline by low-pitched corner pavilions crowned with bronze torch finials. Pavilions located along the corners of the Madison Street facade are hipped while the two pavilions at the rear of the building on Sixteenth and Seventeenth Streets have pyramidal roofs. Randomly placed orange tiles accent the green ceramic tile roofing covering the pavilions. A two-story flat-roofed L-shaped penthouse, located at the corner of Madison and Sixteenth, contains a decorative brick cornice, topped by vertical brick belt coursing. The belt coursing also distinguishes the first and second stories. A flat, bituminous roof is enclosed between the corner pavilions with a continuous balustrade with conical, finial urns along the roofline edge. The roof overhangs slightly with its shallow eaves decorated by a bracketed cornice. Several second-story recessed balconets with wrought iron grilles are intact and original.

The Mediterranean style, a favored style in America from 1915 to the early 1940s, was popularized by the 1915 Panama - California Exposition in San Diego, celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal. As its name suggests, the style is reminiscent of the architecture found in Spain, Italy and Southern France. Rivaled only by the Central YMCA building located nearby at Jefferson and Eleventh Streets, the Hillcrest is arguably Toledo's best example of the Mediterranean style and certainly the largest building in Toledo exhibiting this style.

After over 17,000 cubic yards of earth were removed from the site, the Hillcrest was constructed on a mat of concrete that was two feet, six inches thick. The foundation slab was comprised of 4,000 cubic yards of concrete and another 4,000 cubic yards of concrete were used throughout the construction of the building. A total of 60,280 sacks of Medusa Portland Cement were used in the building's construction. All concrete was mixed by machines that were on site which allowed for rapid speed and consistency in mixture.

A granite faced sill, visible at the sidewalk level forms the base of the building. The first and second floors have terra cotta panels and arcaded coping. Wall surfaces on floors three through eight are brick faced with terra cotta panels evenly inserted between window pairs forming a vertical pattern on the wall surface. Patterned brick decorates the wall surface of the ninth story while terra cotta is fashioned as arched window surrounds and highly ornamented and brightly colored medieval crest-like keystones. Throughout the first, second and ninth story wall surfaces, terra cotta is also prevalent in the form of dentils, spiraled columns, medallions, elaborate door and window surrounds and quoins. Although some of the terra cotta decoration is replication, it is all of the original design, produced in the same molds by the Northwestern Terra Cotta Company of Chicago. Copper eaves troughs and down spouts that have weathered green over time echo the green mission tile roof and accents of green in the terra cotta keystones above many of the building's windows.

Original multi-paned steel Fenestra casement windows are present throughout the building, produced by the Detroit Steel Products Company, then the largest and oldest manufacturer of steel windows in the United States. All windows were equipped with screens accessible from the interior by the Rollscreen Company of Pella, Iowa. Many of the screens still exist in operable condition and are similar to a window shade in that the screen is rolled up into the window casement. This arrangement offered convenience in that the windows did not need to be maintained from the exterior of the building or be taken in or out.

The second floor features shouldered terra cotta window surrounds above the rectangular windows. The remaining floors have simple rectangular fenestration with lintels formed of soldier bricks above window openings. The ninth floor has paired terra cotta shouldered arches above the windows while the pavilions have round-arched terra cotta surrounds alternating with shouldered arches above paired windows. Window sills are terra cotta.

The main entrance to the building is accessed off of Sixteenth Street and originally featured a cast iron architrave, pilasters and paneling surrounding the doors and a copper marquee. The three wooden entry doors produced by the Western Manufacturing Company had lead beading surrounding the Libbey-Owens glass panes and featured brass bars and kick plates. The entrance foyer had a terrazzo marble floor and cast iron wall panels on the ceiling and walls. A secondary entrance off Madison Street leading to the main lobby also had a copper cornice and suspended copper ceiling. Currently a replacement stainless steel entrance canopy (installed in 1959) exists at the Sixteenth Street entrance. Entrance doors are modern steel and glass replacements and synthetic panels have been applied on the exterior wall surface surrounding the main entrance. A first-floor commercial space entrance located at the corner of Madison and Sixteenth Streets also has an applied stainless steel surround. Four original flagpoles are present above this entrance, placed around three pediment window surrounds on the third floor, one unbroken and two broken pediments.

The distinctive aluminum signage on the roof is not present in earliest photographs of the building but was added not too long after it was built since it is present in photographs from the early 1940s. (No building permit records are available documenting the exact year the sign was installed) The letters are formed of hollowed sheet metal. Neon tubing still present in some letters once outlined the large red letters and made the building easily recognizable from a great distance at day or night. Although the signage prominently displays the name, "Hotel Hillcrest", there is no evidence that this was its official name. The building has been referred to in all advertisements and directories as the Hillcrest Hotel or merely "The Hillcrest". The Hillcrest's original rooftop garden is no longer present and no information could be found concerning its appearance.

Much of the interior has undergone several renovations leaving uncertainty of what original elements and conditions remain under applied layers of paneling, carpeting and drop ceilings. According to plans and accounts, however, the original finishes of the primary interior spaces have been recorded. The main 30' x 60' lobby with its entrance off of Sixteenth Street featured plaster Corinthian columns, plaster beams and brackets, and a putty run plaster cornice, sand finished suspended plaster ceiling, and terrazzo marble floor. The lobby had a reception hall and waiting room. Passage ways on the main floor of the building had plaster rope molding and textured finish plaster walls and terrazzo marble floors. Elevator door fronts are stainless steel with inlaid brass.

The main lobby has been heavily altered with paneling and carpeting. Chandeliers are modern replacements. The restaurant, dining rooms and meeting room have also been altered in the same manner. In the restaurant, there was once a black glass dance floor but it was either replaced or covered up by carpeting. The room does appear to have maintained its original configurations as well as a stage along the west wall. The main dining room, remodeled several times through the years, was one of the areas most heavily damaged by a fire in 1994. No evidence of original dining room mouldings or decor could be found behind the charred and water-damaged carpet, modern paneling, and drop ceilings.

The rough finish of the walls throughout the building are Structolite gypsum panels that were covered with plaster that was tinted as it was mixed. At the time of the hotel's opening this technique was referred to as "California Stucco". The plaster contractor for the Hillcrest was the A. J. Nutt Company of Toledo. Ceiling and wall junctions had plaster moldings which survives in many of the units and in the majority of the corridors. Millwork for the Hillcrest was produced by the Western Manufacturing Company and included 37,000 linear feet of baseboard and shoe molding. The Morgan Standardized Woodwork Company supplied 2,429 wooden doors, most of which are still present although often damaged. The La Salle and Koch Company of Toledo supplied all furniture, draperies, rugs, carpet, lamps, pictures, linens, dishes, and utensils for the units.

The building maintains its original floor plan configuration on the first floor in lobby areas, commercial spaces, restaurant and bar areas and management offices. Uniformity in many of the floor plans of the suites was maintained although there exist many unique units. Typical hotel rooms contained only a bedroom, and bathroom. The building's corner units are characterized by curved walls and spacious living areas with many windows and both a bathroom with tub and a second bathroom with a tiled walk-in shower. One unit in the building also has a fireplace. The second floor contains large meeting rooms spanning the Sixteenth Street facade along one side of the corridor. These spaces are heavily altered with paneling and dropped ceiling tiles.

Each apartment unit was equipped with some of the first wired compact kitchens, although many were removed and none survive on the second floor. Kitchen floors were linoleum. Most units contained compact kitchenettes although some units had larger kitchens with unique built-in cabinets. Many units still contain an ironing board that pulls down from a wall cabinet. Each unit was also equipped with a door bed from the White Door Bed Company. Very soon after construction, many of the swinging door beds began to be removed and exist today in none of the apartments, although the alcove that formerly housed the unit is still present in many of the units. In several units, the wall between the living room and bedroom could be opened up by sliding shutters that separated the adjacent rooms.

The building's temperature was regulated by the Dunham differential vacuum heating system, installed by the Howard C. Baker Company, Plumbing and Heating Contractor of Toledo. Hot steam, praised at the time for its non-dry, "healthy" form of heat, was fed to 725 radiators through five miles of piping. Ventilation was provided for all bathrooms, kitchens, halls and lobbies. Refuse was disposed of in chutes on each floor that led to an incinerator, one in the basement and one on the second floor.

A small fire in 1937 that started in the cocktail lounge caused minor damage estimated at $175.00 (The Toledo Blade, April 22, 1937). Two years later, the Main floor dining room and cocktail lounge were renamed "The Nassau Room" after a 1939 redecoration. Various newspaper articles described its appearance and promoted its July, 1939 opening. The new scheme designed by interior decorator Clare Hoffman was gray, blue and coral in color. "Sparkling blue Formica and a soft restful lighting effect accent the graceful lines of the semi-circular bar with its coral leather chairs and gleaming African mahogany top." (The Toledo Times, July 29, 1939). Highlighted were two 8 x 10 murals painted by Toledo artist Lawrence Swiderski. One mural was located over the coffee shop counter and the other on the opposite wall in the cocktail lounge. Leather folding doors were installed to separate the main dining room from the coffee shop during the day and the entire space could then be utilized at night to accommodate up to 200 people. At the present time, the murals are not apparent, although they may still exist under applied wall paneling. The mahogany bar is also not present.

The next description of alterations to the Hillcrest was provided by a newspaper article from 1969. A three month renovation of the Hillcrest was complete with a newly decorated reception area in the lobby, an enlarged cocktail lounge, individual resident mailboxes and direct dial phones in every room (The Toledo Blade, June 12, 1969).

Other dates of alterations provided by building permit records for the City of Toledo include a September 1949 building permit for interior alterations to the coffee shop at an estimated cost of $12,000. A July 1954 building permit was issued to "alter" with no specific area indicated at an estimated cost of $75,000. In November of 1956, a permit was issued, again, to "alter" at an estimated cost of $14,500. In November of 1959, a permit was issued to install a new canopy over the Sixteenth Street entrance with no estimated cost given. In August of 1964, a permit was issued to "alter" with an estimated cost of $26,880. In December of 1968, a permit for fire repairs was issued with an estimated cost of $20,000. In September of 1969 and November of 1974, separate permits were issued to "alter offices" at an estimated cost of $4,000 and $40,000, respectively.

A June, 1972 newspaper article reported that renovations were complete of the Hillcrest's dining, dancing, and bar areas. The Victorian terrace was divided into the new Victorian Parlour dining room with turn-of-the-century western decor. The bar was renamed Crystal Pistol Saloon, also with western decor. The bar was extended through what was the Apple Cart Luncheonette. The new Victorian Terrace was reported to be completed by the summer which could accommodate social gatherings for up to 300 persons. (The Toledo Blade, June 30, 1972). Redecoration of transient rooms, residential apartments and lower terrace was also underway at that time.

Although the date is unknown, a record of commissions indicates that the penthouse of the Hillcrest Hotel was remodeled by the architectural firm of Mills, Rhines, Bellman and Nordhoff. The penthouse currently is wood paneled and houses exercise rooms, bathrooms and an existing sauna.

A 1994 fire that resulted in the closing of the building began in the first-floor bar area located at the corner of Madison and Sixteenth Streets. Fire damage sustained by the building was limited primarily to the first floor, although a large percentage of the wooden doors on upper floors were damaged in firefighting efforts to make certain that the fire had not spread throughout the building.

Hillcrest Hotel, Toledo Ohio Historic view (1942)
Historic view (1942)

Hillcrest Hotel, Toledo Ohio Madison at 17<sup>th</sup> South (1998)
Madison at 17th South (1998)

Hillcrest Hotel, Toledo Ohio Madison at 16<sup>th</sup> West (1998)
Madison at 16th West (1998)

Hillcrest Hotel, Toledo Ohio 17<sup>th</sup> Street elevation Southeast (1998)
17th Street elevation Southeast (1998)

Hillcrest Hotel, Toledo Ohio Rear elevation Northeast (1998)
Rear elevation Northeast (1998)

Hillcrest Hotel, Toledo Ohio Roof and pavilions North (1998)
Roof and pavilions North (1998)

Hillcrest Hotel, Toledo Ohio Skylights - looking down from roof (1998)
Skylights - looking down from roof (1998)

Hillcrest Hotel, Toledo Ohio Skylight - looking up from garage (1998)
Skylight - looking up from garage (1998)

Hillcrest Hotel, Toledo Ohio Pyramidal roof pavilion (1998)
Pyramidal roof pavilion (1998)

Hillcrest Hotel, Toledo Ohio Hipped roof pavilion - Madison & 17<sup>th</sup> (1998)
Hipped roof pavilion - Madison & 17th (1998)