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Toledo Botanical Garden Records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS-327

Scope and Contents

The Toledo Botanical Garden Records collection consists of six series.

Series 1: Administrative Files consists primarily of board minutes from the mid-to-late 2000s and includes minutes, treasurer’s reports, and balance sheets, among information. The series also contains annual reports covering the 1970s-1990s, though not all years in these decades are included. This series also includes miscellaneous board information and some financial information; more of the latter can be found in the board minutes.

Series 2: Development Projects is the largest series and documents the various changes made to the property, such as land acquisitions and building construction/renovations. Most of this series consists of oversize drawings. Several drawings of the various gardens comprising the property are also included, as are some maps of properties other than the botanical garden.

Series 3: Programming and Events contains information on specific programs, such as the Crosby Festival of the Arts; the Rose Garden Arts Festival; and Toledo GROWS, with some documentation of other programs provided by the TBG.

Series 4: Publications and Printed Material contains several brochures, pamphlets, programs, newspaper clippings, magazines, press releases, and newsletters regarding Crosby Gardens/TBG history and educational programs.

Series 5: Photographic Material consists largely of slides, negatives, and proof sheets; there are few printed photographs. This series contains several shots of garden plant life, facility construction, pieces of art, and events and programs held at the TBG.

Series 6: Miscellaneous is a small series containing certificates and proclamations, as well as some correspondence and several documents covering the history and organizational structure of Crosby Gardens/TBG.


  • Creation: 1956-2016

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials may be accessed by request at the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections on the fifth floor of the William S. Carlson Library on the main campus of the University of Toledo. Materials do not circulate.

Conditions Governing Use

In most cases, the Canaday Center does not own the copyright and literary rights to items in its collections; it is the responsibility of the researcher to adhere to U.S. Copyright and Fair Use laws, including seeking permission from the copyright holder and payment of any royalty fees, in the reproduction and use of archival materials.

Providing copies or scans does not constitute a license to publish or reproduce images in print or electronic form.

Biographical / Historical

The land currently occupied by the Toledo Botanical Garden (TBG) was first cultivated in the mid-1870s, when H.V. Hawkins arrived in Lucas County with his sons and cleared 120 acres of land located on Bancroft Street west of Reynolds Road. For the next fifty years, subsequent generations of the Hawkins family farmed the land, including George H. Hawkins, who later subdivided the property. In the 1940s, realtor George P. Crosby purchased 20 of these acres, where he maintained his horses and summer home. He also planted hundreds of trees and thousands of shrubs throughout the property. Crosby’s will bequeathed the land to Adams Township (which later became part of Toledo), and in 1964, Toledo City Council accepted title to the property. After acquiring the land, a debate arose over how it was to be used. Crosby’s will stipulated that it was to be used as both a public park and for recreational purposes. Those supporting the latter wanted to add baseball diamonds, tennis courts, and swimming pools. Conservationists, however, wanted the area’s natural beauty preserved. A compromise was reached when the city’s Division of Forestry purchased an additional 8.5 acres to use as a recreation area in 1969.

Now named George P. Crosby Park, the new garden would also serve as a site for programming, classes, and special events for the residents of northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. The gardens continued to expand over the following decades, eventually totaling over 60 acres and seeing the creation of a children’s garden (1969); wildflower garden (1970); and an herb and rose garden (1972), among several other features. In 1974, the name was changed to Crosby Gardens before becoming George P. Crosby Gardens three years later. In 1989, the board changed the name to Toledo Botanical Garden to better reflect the inclusive nature of the property. In 2006, the city of Toledo ceased operating the TBG, turning this responsibility over to the Toledo Metroparks as part of a joint operation with the Toledo Botanical Garden Board. The transition to full Metroparks control was finalized in 2017, with the exception of Toledo GROWS; the community garden outreach program continues to be operated by the TBG Board.


3 Linear Feet

25 Linear Feet (Drawing tubes)

Language of Materials


Toledo Botanical Garden Records, 1956-2016
Tamara Jones
December 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
First edition

Repository Details

Part of the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections Repository

2801 West Bancroft Street
William S. Carlson Library, Fifth Floor
Toledo Ohio 43606 United States