Toledoan searching for home for Libbey WWII plaqueWritten by Danielle Stanton | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite a valiant fight from alumni and supporters, the former Edward Drummond Libbey High School fell victim to the wrecking ball in 2012.
Since then, a woman who led the fight to save the South Toledo school has been searching for a home for a memorial plaque honoring students who died in World War II. It is one of the last remaining pieces of the public high school that held classes from 1923-2010.
Libbey High School, which was part of Toledo Public Schools (TPS), was named after the founder of the Toledo Museum of Art and Libbey Glass. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, the only school in TPS with such an honor.
However, after a failed levy, TPS decided to shutter the school.
Sue Terrill, formerly of South Toledo, worked with a group of neighborhood residents with support from the late Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins (then a Councilman) to save the building but their efforts proved fruitless.
On Jan. 9, 2012, demolition began on the building, whose chief architect was Edwin Gee.
From the wreckage, Terrill, a Libbey alumna, was able to personally save a number of items, including two memorials. One memorializing Robert Craig, a Medal of Honor recipient from Toledo, recently found a home at the Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic; the other was the Libbey High School World War II Memorial Tablet, which honors 106 Libbey graduates who died in the war.
Terrill believes the World War II memorial deserves a place close to its roots in South Toledo, but as of yet, no one has been willing to make room for it. Terrill said she has become increasingly frustrated with the lack of support for what she sees as an important piece of Libbey’s past.
“I want to find a place to put it in the community; I’m not saying it should be on the walls of city hall,” Terrill said. “[But] it deserves a place in South Toledo. That is our highest hope, to place it in South Toledo.”
The memorial plaque still sits in storage at TPS, she said.
Information about TPS’ plans, if any, for the memorial was not immediately available.
Aside from the Craig memorial, Terrill said only the Harold Williams Memorial, also saved from Libbey, has found a home. Terrill still has an inventory of items she would like to place, she said.
As for the World War II plaque, Terrill said she contacted several institutions around the city, including One Government Center and the Toledo-Lucas County Main Library, but both declined.
“There were many places we tried,” she said.
Collins vowed on Memorial Day 2013 that he would put the plaque on the walls of City Hall, Terrill said, but they never discussed the issue again before his death.
“I never even brought it up with him the last year or so,” Terrill said. “There was never an appropriate time to talk about it.”
Terrill said she believes Collins would fully support finding a home for the plaque. He was one of the few government officials who spoke out against the demolition of Libbey and went to bat for the organizers who wanted to save the school, she said.
“Count me among the many who valued Mayor Mike Collins’ courage and support on important issues,” Terrill said.
However, she said, One Government Center is “not necessarily the best placement for it.”
A meeting to discuss placement of the plaque is set for 6 p.m. March 2 at the South Branch Library, 1736 Broadway St. Terrill said community members should come prepared for serious discussion.