Former Toledo Jail in Whitehouse —known as the Workhouse—to be demolished
A building that once housed prisoners at the former Toledo House of Corrections is slated to be demolished this summer as part of Metroparks ongoing plans to develop the Blue Creek Conservation Area.
Bids will be sought this month for a contractor to demolish the two-story structure, with work expected to begin in July or August, 2014.
Several other buildings on the property, commonly known as the “Workhouse,” will remain. They include a large white barn and a smaller, stone hog barn. A building that once housed a gymnasium and dormitories is now the base of operations for Metroparks native seed nursery and other land management operations.
Signage and other displays on the site will inform future park visitors of the property’s past as a working prison farm. Representatives from the Toledo Police Museum are collecting items from the jail for possible display in the museum, located at Toledo’s Ottawa Park.
The Toledo House of Corrections operated from 1918 until 1991 and housed people serving sentences for misdemeanor crimes. The inmates grew vegetables, raised hogs and cattle, and quarried limestone on the farm.
Metroparks purchased 207 acres of the property, then known as Quarry Pond Farm, from the City of Toledo in 2000 to preserve it as public open space. The park system purchased an additional 137 acres from Lucas County in 2002.
Portions of the property are leased to the Village of Whitehouse, and the Anthony Wayne Youth Foundation uses part of the property for recreation fields.
Metroparks operates part of the farm in partnership with Nature’s Nursery wildlife rehabilitation center and the Lucas Soil and Water Conservation District. It includes the Metroparks native seed nursery, which grows native plants and harvests the seeds for use in natural area restoration projects.
A portion of Blue Creek, on the south side of Schadel Road, has been open for daily public use since March 2013, with a walking trail and a quarry pond available for fishing.
Using state EPA grants, Metroparks is in the process of restoring a manmade wetland and completing other water quality projects on the property.