Toledo’s best-loved century-old businesses

. June 1, 2015.

by Jordan Killam      

photos by Jeff Jones

This is Part 3 of our MLiving Series highlighting businesses that have

prospered for over 100 years,

demonstrating hard work,

passion, patience and ingenuity.


Harbor Est. 1913

Harbor began as the Luella Cummings Home, which first operated as a school and also as The Girls Protection Agency in May 1913. The agency was named after Mrs. Luella Cummings, the first president of the Board of Trustees, upon her death in 1914. The agency’s main goals were to provide assistance and education to neglected, dependent, and underprivileged girls. The school provided science training and was accredited by Toledo Public Schools. which provided the school with teaching staff. Residents of the school attended local high schools or participated in employment internships, predominantly in domestic service or childcare.

The Luella Cummings Homestarkly contrasted the operations of asylums and orphanages at the time. The school’s founding coincided with the development of the Juvenile Court system in Toledo – a time when city officials began to see the impact of poverty’s effects on its youngest citizens. The organization modeled trends and policies in child welfare and social work and was known as a progressive institution.


Pre 1920

In its early days, girls were referred to the school by agencies such as the Child Welfare League and the Juvenile Court – which then opened up to referrals from families, schools, and other social service agencies. The Luella Cummings home first operated as a basic rescue home, boarding women as old as twenty-five with the goal of short-term assistance. Policy soon changed and the home began to focus on girls aged fourteen to eighteen, who would stay for an average of several years. With donations from individuals, churches, and the Toledo Community Chest (which would later become United Way), the school’s curriculum was able to expand and eventually include college preparatory courses. The Luella Cummings Home even implemented a summer camp in 1918 merged with the Zucker Center and the Mental Hygiene Clinic.

In 1981, the Luella Cummings School joined forces with the Ralph E. Zucker Center. Until that time, the Zucker Center had operated as a facility that served children and adults with mental handicaps. The Center offered psychological and diagnostic testing for families. It was through this merger that the organization began to truly meet the diverse mental health needs of Toledo’s population. Operations improved when the organization by acquiring the Mental Hygeine Clinic (MHC), which had been in operation since 1941. Harbor Behavioral Healthcare formed in 1995 as the result of the merger. The Harbor Foundation was also formed at this time and eventually all were combined under one banner in 2009.

Steve Benjamin, Vice President of Youth and Family Services at Harbor credits constant innovation of programs and services when it comes to Harbor’s staying power. “Harbor consistently uses evidenced best practices to help people address their goals,” he said. “Our most recent growth is through our new relationship with ProMedica in which we will continue to innovate using the best techniques and innovations available.”

Harbor promotes success in health, family, work, and school – key concepts from its inception 100 years ago that still apply today. “In many ways, we are still starting with where the person is and helping them to reach their goals. The difference is that our understanding and skills have improved over the generations to be much more successful and consistent in our outcomes.” Benjamin added.

Harbor’s valuable services include individual and group counseling, child psychology, alcohol and drug treatment, vocational and rehabilitation services, career assessments, medication management, and wellness education.

For additional info visit



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