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Swayne inducted to Toledo Civic Hall of Fame!

November 7, 2011

On Monday, November 7, 2011, Noah H. Swayne Jr., namesake of Toledo's landmark baseball park, Swayne Field, was inducted posthumously to the Toledo Civic Hall of Fame. The induction took place at the weekly Toledo Rotary meeting at the Park Inn hotel in downtown Toledo. Established by former Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner in 1998, the Toledo Civic Hall of Fame honors people who helped build the Toledo area. Each member is honored with a plaque in the Main Toledo-Lucas County Public Library's local history and genealogy area.

Mud Hens' team historian John Husman accepted the award on behalf of Swayne.

"Probably no man in Toledo in the last 50 years was more closely identified with the social, political, religious and financial life of the city than Mr. Swayne." - The Toledo Blade, October 23, 1922.

Noah H. Swayne, Jr.
November 30, 1848 - October 21, 1922

By John R. Husman

A young lawyer, Noah Swayne followed his older brother General Wager Swayne to Toledo in 1870. In his 52 years here he "was more closely identified with the social, political, religious and financial life of the city", than any other man. He died a millionaire and Swayne Field was his legacy.

Swayne, the son of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, was educated at Yale and Columbia Law School in Washington, D.C. He was a brilliant lawyer and formed law partnerships with his brother Frank, Birchard Hayes (son of the President), Julian Tyler (later a Judge) and Rathbun Fuller over the years. He was a bank director and officer, president of a manufacturing company, a director and president of the Toledo Public Library board and served on many civic commissions. He assisted in bringing Edward Drummond Libbey to Toledo. He managed his family's extensive land holdings in Toledo, much of which was secured by his father before the city was formed. The elder Swayne may have developed an interest in Toledo as he was a governor appointed to a commission to resolve the Ohio-Michigan border dispute. He was baptized at Trinity Episcopal Church in 1872 where he remained a generous, life long member, serving on the vestry. He served a term in the Ohio State Legislature (a staunch Republican) where he was instrumental in establishing Toledo State Hospital. He rejected further offers to run for office.

Swayne himself was a notable athlete, a sportsman from his youth. He rowed crew at Yale and played top flight amateur baseball and was an ardent fly fisherman. He was a director of numerous professional Toledo baseball clubs, and did not relinquish his interest in Swayne Field until just days before his death.

Swayne married Frances Sickles of St. Louis in 1886. The couple had no children, and lived for years in their landmark home (designed by Stanford White) on Madison Avenue. Swayne commented that he was "the only man in the city with a backyard on Collingwood Boulevard." Swayne died at age 73 at his fishing lodge in Chateau Frontenac, Quebec leaving an estate of well over a million dollars and extensive library which was donated to the University of Toledo. Mrs. Swayne died in 1928, the couple is buried in Toledo's historic Woodlawn Cemetery.

Notable achievements of Noah Swayne Jr.

  • Practiced law in Toledo 1870-1922
  • Elected to the Ohio legislature in 1882
  • Involved in Toledo professional baseball as director of many clubs
  • As chair of the House Committee on Insane Asylums, put forth a bill appointing the commission that located the Toledo State Hospital in Toledo
  • Aided in efforts that brought Edward Drummond Libbey to Toledo
  • Director of the Toledo Public Library 1902-1914 and served as its president 1906-1914
  • Director of the Second National Bank
  • Served as advisor to the water purification commission that established Toledo's first water treatment plant in 1910
  • Provided funds to purchase the Smead School, precursor to Maumee Valley Country Day School
  • Provided the vision and the land for Swayne Field - home of the Mud Hens from 1909-1955
  • President The Toledo Moulding Company
  • Served on the vestry of Trinity Episcopal Church
  • Official of the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad
  • Benefactor of The Toledo Hospital, The Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo District Nurse Association, the Women's and Children's Hospital, the Toledo Society for the Blind, the Smead School and the Charles Feilbach School for Crippled Children