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Collingwood Art Center –
Place – Collingwood Art Center
2413 Collingwood Blvd
Toledo, Ohio 43620
Collingwood Art Center web site
The Collingwood Arts Center can be found in
Toledo's historic old west end.
DESCRIPTION and HISTORY:
Toledo's largest and oldest structure, The
Collingwood Arts Center, is an immense and ominous, 6 floored, high
pitched tile roofed brick building, with an attic and huge
basement, made complete with elaborately carved window frames and a
mansard roofed tower. Its architecture is described as being a
"Flemish Gothic" design, blending Gothic and Romanesque styles.
Tom and I visited this grand, imposing
building, and it does have an aura and feeling about it of being
the home of restless spirits; an unmistakable sense that both Tom
and I recognized immediately. It would fit in nicely as the main
building in a spooky ghost yarn or an Adams Family movie.
Designed by Architect E. O. Fallis, this
large, 113,000 square ft., rectangular building, which sits
sideways on its lot, opened in 1905 as the new teaching convent for
nuns in the the Ursuline Order of the Sacred Heart, St. Ursula
Academy. In 1922, the Mary Manse College was established here, and
finally became a retirement home for nuns.
When the retirement home closed, the
building stood vacant for a few years until 1985, when a man with a
dream, Pat Tansey, rented the woe be gone building and Gerber
House, in hopes of creating a community art center. The Collingwood
Arts Center was started, while rescuing these classic buildings
from decay, and saving them from a wrecking ball in their future.
At some time, the property was bought outright from the Ursuline
Order. A third Victorian, next to the Gerber House was also bought.
It is currently being restored.
The Collingwood Arts Center is divided into
4 sections: Gerber House, a Theater Wing, a Dorm Wing for artists,
and Studio Wing. The basement is used for storage and laundry
facilities. The Attic was the place where the work rooms of the
convent were located and was built to be light and airy.
House — This 1872, three storied Victorian mansion,
plus attic and basement, is located right in front of the main
building of The Collingwood Arts Center, connected via a passageway
from the basement to the towering Arts Center building just behind
it. There is a staircase from the second floor of the main building
which leads to the second floor of the Gerber House as well.
This lovely, white painted-brick mansion
was the dream child of a local merchant, Christian Gerber, who
spared no expense in building this showcase of 19th century
craftsmanship. Featuring elegant parlors with 15 foot high
ceilings, solid walnut doors, ornate carvings, the white marble
rococo revival fireplace mantels, and walnut staircases are just a
few of the bells and whistles that Gerber had built into the decor
and design of this house. Unfortunately, He had construction
nightmares in that the mansion wound up costing twice as much than
the original estimate.
Three years later, in 1875, Gerber found
himself to be "financially over-extended", from not only
overspending way above his means, but also because Toledo was
suffering from a economic slow-down. Gerber wound up declaring
Throughout the decades, this lovely
Victorian was the family home of The Ketcham and Laskey families,
before it was bought by the the Ursuline Order of the Sacred Heart,
and then the Collingwood Arts Center, who restored this mansion to
its former glory.
Today, the parlors remain open to the
public for art exhibitions, small conferences and meetings, and
other functions. The second and third floor rooms are rented to
artist residents of the Collingwood Arts Center.
— The Collingwood Arts Center has a glorious, 600 seat
theater auditorium with a balcony, created in the Flemish Gothic
and Romanesques styles with Neo-Baroque embellishments in two
crowns over the box seats at stage left and right. The Theater is
covered with a stained-glass dome. The acoustics are stunning,
making it a favorite place for orchestras, ensembles, recitals,
chamber music, theater arts productions and other small-group
performances in the arts.
The studio wings are located in the old
classrooms and the rooms for rent are found throughout the
spacious, rectangular Gothic structure.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS:
Main Collinwood Arts
Center Building –
Some nuns became really attached to their
convent work here. They refuse to let go from this world to go to
the other side.
The Basement Area –
In the 1950s, a distraught nun hung herself
in the basement.
When the building was vacant for awhile, an
occult group broke in and had ceremonies in the basement
The Gerber House –
From the 1870s through 1900, people would
dump their sewage into The Maumee River. The untreated water was
used as a water supply. The people of Toledo suffered and died from
Typhoid and other water-borne diseases, until the city of Toledo
built a treatment plant and opened it on February 2, 1910.
The Gerber House –
A sociable entity of a female, dressed in a
wedding gown appears in the back and front parlors, in front of the
living, who are using the parlors for their events.
It is theorized that if could be a daughter
of one of the families who lived here, scheduled to be married, but
died of a disease from the bad river water before she could be
It could also be a young novice in
training, who was getting ready to join the order as a bride of
Christ, but she died before she could do so.
A group of happy little entities of
children run around the hallways of the second floor, hiding from
each other in the closets. They are seen and heard. The children are usually hit hard in epidemics, and perhaps these
children also died in a Typhoid epidemic.
The Theater –
The ill-humored, hate-filled entity of a
nun haunts the back rows of the auditorium, but makes the third row
of the balcony, stage left, her favorite seat in the house to
crabbily watch the living. Performers on stage rehearsing have seen
her glaring at them from her seat, from her ghostly peanut
If the living invade its space, this entity
has been known to throw sparks and ugly images at them. As Chris
Woodyard describes her in her book, Haunted Ohio III, this is an entity so full of
hate that it radiates from her face and eyes, when she turned her
ashen face toward Chris.
Main Building –
This same hate-filled nun, when she isn't
in the theater, also haunts the halls and cells of the old
A resident was minding her own business,
and was on her way to get a soda from the machine, when this
"molecular windstorm" appeared in the middle of the hallway, going
right through her, making her feel enraged for a few minutes and
then ice cold.
Chris Woodyard reports in her book, Haunted
Ohio III, that she felt an oppressive presence when she entered the
center, which put pressure on her back for a while, causing her to
hunch her shoulders.
The Attic –
A spirit of a loving nun with a bright smile and
friendly countenance, who smiles and waves at the living, likes to
spend her time sewing clothes on her plain of existence, perhaps
trying to finish some projects, enjoying her work for the Lord.
The Basement –
is haunted by one to three rather scary
The entity of the nun and/or an entity
conjured up by the occult group.
A black-hooded entity has been haunting the
basement and the stairways to the basement and to the Gerber House,
and has been seen gliding around, giving off "anxious feeling"
energy. Past residents of the convent who lived here in the 1950s
asked about this haunting when they visited with the manager. This
haunting had been going on since the 1950s, after a fellow sister
A darker entity described as a unearthly,
dwarfish figure dressed in a hooded black robe, also gets its
chuckles aggressively gliding up and down the staircases, and
haunting the passageways of the basement.
Residents call an entity, the shadow man,
who brushed past them as they were going down in the basement to
the laundry room.
Pictures taken at the Collingwood Arts
Center & Gerber House reveal an orb in the attic, an orb in the
balcony, an orb at the foot of the stairs in the basement leading
up to the main building, and an orb has been captured on film in
the front parlor near the big bay window.
The entity of the bride in the Gerber
House, still waits in hopeful excitement to either become married
to her beloved, or to take her vows as a full fledged sister
— a dream she can't let go of.
The entities of the children are still
happily playing on the upper floors of the Gerber House, perhaps
unaware that they are dead, or not ready to go to the other
The mean and hateful entity is trapped in
this world, unable to let go of her anger enough to go to the other
side. The nun in the attic isn't finished yet with her sewing
projects, and loves serving in this world so much she doesn't want
to retire and go to the other side.
The distraught entity of the nun who killed
herself in the basement is still anxious and unhappy, and still
leaving her anxious energy near the bottom of the stairs.
A sinister presence is also wandering
around the basement, amusing itself at the expense of the living,
though not hurting anyone.
by John B. Kachuba
Haunted Ohio III
by Chris Woodyard
Collingwood Arts Center page on Unsolved Mysteries.com * Collingwood Arts Center web site * City of Toldeo web site – History of Water Treatment * Toledo Volunteer Opportunities on Volunteer Match.org * The Collingwood Arts Center page on Forgotten Ohio.com * Collingwood Arts Center page on Toledo Arts.org * Shadowlands.net – Haunted places in Ohio