The Manor House at Wildwood Preserve is one of the Toledo area’s best-known homes, especially during the holidays. The Metroparks staff, readying for the annual holiday season tours of the house, has volunteers decorate the stately, three-story house, expecting more than 20,000 guests for holiday tours. Tours of the decorated house are free. (See hours below)
Adding to the grandeur of the 30,000-square-foot, Georgian colonial revival-style home, is its setting in the center of our area’s most visited Metropark, with 1 million visitors a year.
Built in the 1930s for Frank Stranahan, co-founder of Champion Spark Plug, and his wife, Page, the house and surrounding estate grounds looked to be destined to become a housing development in the 1970s. But Dr. Bill Mewborn, a Sylvania veterinarian, had other ideas. “Doc” led a citizen’s campaign for a tax levy to purchase the property for a Metropark. In November 1974, the issue narrowly passed, overcoming opposition and a weak economy.
The story of how the “Stranleigh” Estate, as it was called, became Wildwood is now legend, recounted four years ago in an hour-long WGTE documentary, “Land as Good as Gold.” The story was revisited by nes outlets in September, 2018 when Dr. Mewborn died at age 77.
The Manor House is open for free tours Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. January through October, with some exceptions to accommodate events. See it in all its splendor from December 1 through 16 during the annual Holidays in the Manor House—a 40-year holiday tradition when hours are 10 am to 8 pm every day. Admission is free.
For more information, visit metroparkstoledo.com.