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BIRMINGHAM HISTORIC DISTRICT

Magyar Street

SURVEY RESULTS-BUILDINGS

  • A total of 842 existing primary structures were documented in this updated survey, down from about 877 when the Birmingham nomination was written in the early 1990s. About 35 structures have been demolished since 1993. Based on the Criteria used to document historic resources within the historic district, of the 842 identified structures, 763 of them, or 90.6% were found to be contributing. The 35 properties that have been demolished since 1993, accounts for about 5% of the number of primarily buildings in the original nomination.

  • Since the original nomination was written in 1993, about thirty structures, listed as contributing in the original nomination are now classified as "non-contributing". These structures were so heavily altered over the past seven years that their integrity has diminished to the point that they cannot in good conscience be continued to be listed as Contributing. This was primarily the result of installing downsized windows and/or completely enclosing porches on structures that were already alterted, although installing vinyl siding, also may have put originally marginally contributing properties in the non-contrubuting column. (It was observed that other structures have also underwent alteration since 1993 but are still classified as contributing because they retain at least some historic elements character.)

    318 Whittemore
    There has been a net loss of about 26 contributing structures, considering that seven structures listed as non-contributing in the original nomination have been reclassified as contributing. These are primarilty late 1940s to 1950-built houses that retain character and architectural features but were less than fifty years old at the time of the original nomination, but now fall within the extended period of significance. Also adding to the contribiting list are one or two stuctures were misclassified as non-contributing in the original nomination and should have been listed as contrubuting in the first place.

  • Combining the number of buildings demolished (35) with those new reclassified as non-contributing (35) and subtracting the (7) properties now reclassified as contributing, results in about loss of about 62 historic buildings (or about 7% of the historic housing stock) in Birmingham in less than seven years. This is a rate of about 1% per year.

  • Of great concern is the fact that some of the more recently demolished properties (as well as properties torn down before 1993) were significant commercial buildings located at prominant street corners or heavily travelled commercial thoroughfares. These buildings, which were often brick veneered, were built during the early 1900s and housed Hungarian businesses such as butchers, bakers and groceries. The loss of these significant commercial properties, located at highly visible intersections, is argueably a far greater misfortune than the loss of other contributing housing stock located in the middle of the block.

  • Although not documented, there were a notable number of abandoned structures seen throughout the neighborhood. Although only four structures are currently listed on the City's demolition list, others have been cited as nuisances and may be added to the list soon.

    ETHNIC CONCENTRATIONS

    The significance of the Birmingham neighborhood as part of the East Toledo Multiple Properties nomination was based in part on Ethnicity, specifically for the notable number of Hungarian-born residents that began settling there beginning in the 1890s. The general early history of this group is documented in the original nomination. However, the nomination explained very little about settlement patterns within Birmingham or occupations of early Birmingham residents. For this survey, census data was compiled and analyzed in detail, revealing a few surprises.

    Ethnic data was compiled and analyzed for each householder living in the Birmingham area. In researching 1900 Census data, it was found that Hungarians, although the dominant ethnic group that year, had yet to comprise 50% of the neighborhood. Other ethnic origins of householders, included Germans, Canadian, English and Irish who collectively accounted for about 30% of householders residing in Birmingahm.

    Over the next twenty years, mass immigration of Hungarians into the neighborhood, mostly into newly constructed housing, had pushed their ratio past 75% of all householders. By 1920 93% of Birmingham's head-of-households were born abroad, making it one of the largest concentrations of immigrant populations in the city . Another 3% had at least one parent born abroad and 2% were African-American, resulting in ethnicity rate of almost 98%.

    As stated, the overwhelming majority of householders were Hungarian-born comprising over three-quarters of the neighborhood. However, the data showed that, while Hungarians were found throughout the entire Birmingham neighborhood, their concentrations varied greatly from block to block, occupying 100% of some blocks, while making up as little as 40% or less in others.

    2213 Bakewell
    Generally, the most predominantly Hungarian blocks (over 85%) were found in the southwest and south-central parts of the neighborhood, along primary north-south streets like Genesee, Bakewell, Caldedonia, and Valentine as well as intersecting streets such as Paine and Whittemore. Additionally, Magyar and Burr Streets comprised over 90% Hungarian-American tenure.
    Other streets, such as Burger, Milford and Woodford, were home to relatively few Hungarians, and there was a notable drop-off of Hungarians above the 2200 block on all north-south streets. Front Street, the major commercial thoroughfare of Birmingham, had few Hungarians north Whittemore Street. Overall, Birmingham 78% of Head of Households in Birmingham were of Hungarian ancestry - either born in Hungary or had at least one parent born there.

    Other ethnic groups, primarily from Eastern Europe, were also found in the neighborhood, clustered along certain blocks. Although their numbers did not even begin to approach those of the Hungarians they nevertheless were often times a predominant part of the ethnic make up of some blocks. These groups largely replaced the earlier established groups such as Germans, English and Irish.

    Besides the Hungarians, the largest of the immigrant groups were the Austrians, who were primarily found concentrated in the 2200 to 2400 blocks of Caledonia, where they comprised up to a third of some blocks. During this era, Birmingham most likely contained greater Toledo's largest number of Austrian-born residents outside of Rossford. Overall, they comprised almost 7% of Birmingham, up from less than 1% two decades earlier.

    Birmingham may have also been home to the largest concentration of Czechoslovakians in Toledo. Although only comprising about 3% of the neighborhood as a whole, they constituted almost 30% of a the section of Birmigham south of Consaul and east of present day Birmigham Terrace. Slovaks could be found concentrated along Milford and Burger Streets, where their numbers approached 40% along some blocks. Czechs (Bohemians) were also most relatively common in this section of Birmingham, especially on Milford Street where 30% of the head-of-households were Bohemian.

    Italians were a distant fifth in the ranking of ethnic groups in 1920, but nevertheless found a stronghold along York Street (Other notable concentrations of Italians could be found in the adjacent Swaynetown neighborhood and the Old Mill and Hicks Farms sections to the south). Residents of African descent also lived along York Street and the 2300 block of Genesee. Like the Italians, they could also be found in the adjacent Swaynetown and Old Mill/Hicks Farm sections. Bulgarians, primarily occupying commercial property along major thoroughfares, were heaviest along the 2000 and 2100 blocks of Front Street.

    There was a significant drop-off of Hungarians outside of the Birminham section. Adjacent Swaynetown, directly to the northeast of Birmingham was thought to have a noteworthy number of Hungarians due to its proximity. However, Hungarians barely made a dent in the ethnic makeup of that section, accounting for only 2% of the population. York Street appeared to be the north demarcation line of the Hungarian community for very few could be found north of there.

    Birmingham - Ethnic Make-up of Head of Household - 1900 & 1920
    1900 1920
    Ethnic Group PercentEthnic Group Percent
    Hungarian 42.7%Hungarian 78.3%
    German 14.0%Austrian 6.5%
    Canadian (inc.)Fre.
    Canadian
    9.9%Slovakian (Czech) 2.6%
    (3.9%)
    Irish 3.6%German 1.9%
    English 3.6%Italian 1.7%
    Swiss 1.2%African-American 1.7%

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