For two hours, enter a world of gangsters, women of the night, rum running and police on the take as the Toledo History Museum opens up the seamier side of Toledo’s past with a new  bus tour of notorious locations called Glass City Garters, Gambling, Gangsters and Gin.

The monthly bus tours begin and end in downtown Toledo. Tour dates for the rest of 2023 are sold out. We will soon be posting dates for 2024. Please check back. 

Historians often point to Toledo’s history as a major rail hub, big into coal shipping, and ship building. There was, however, a much seedier side to Toledo.

“As we moved into the 20th century Toledo was a city of drinkers with one bar for every 300 residents, prostitution was considered a legitimate occupation with women of the night being licensed, and the city was notorious for its gambling,” said Donna Christian Rehfeldt, president of the Toledo History Museum. “Not to mention, believe it or not, the city was considered a safe haven for out-of-town gangsters!”

Ms. Rehfeldt is one of the tour’s hosts.  “We’ll point out where the big gambling spots were located and talk about the notables who ran them, explain how city leaders managed the prostitution industry as we ride through what was called the ‘tenderloin district,’ and point out where hoodlums exchanged gunfire in broad daylight.”

Tickets for the tour are $30 for Toledo History Museum members and $35 for non-members. Seating on the bus is limited. The tour begins in downtown Toledo in the parking lot on Michigan Street between the Shell station and the old Greyhound terminal. The two hour tour begins at 10:00 a.m. and runs until noon.