History & Tradition
The founding of the Village of Ottawa Hills in 1915 can be directly attributed to the visionary John North Willys, president of the Willys-Overland Automobile Company in Toledo. (Interesting sidebar: In 1915, Willys-Overland was second only to Ford in total automobile production and employed 18,000 workers in Toledo and another 20,000 in four other locations.) Back to the point, it was in that year Willys acquired approximately 1,200 acres to the west of Toledo beginning at Bancroft Street and Indian Road and extending along the Ottawa River to Central Avenue to create a new residential area.
The “Toledo Times” newspaper offered the following description of the ensuing project: “Landscape architects, city planning engineers, landscape gardeners, and other experts, backed by an army of workmen equipped with the latest machinery and tools have been steadily at work on the tract for over a year. Practically 35% of it has been given over to park purposes. This includes the wooded area along the river’s course, flanked on one side by Percifilous Bluff and the other side by a slope that rises, by gentle degrees, to a level with the top of the bluff. In the valley, river banks have been dressed gracefully to the water’s edge.”
Subsequent annexations have changed the shape and size of the Village, yet the original vision of a park like setting for a unique residential community remains. A great many of the homes in Ottawa Hills are unique in their grandeur and old world craftsmanship, while newer residences are a mix of traditional and contemporary. About 60% of the homes in Ottawa Hills were built before 1959, with outstanding architectural design and details that lend a feeling of classic elegance to the Village.