You Will Do Better in Toledo: The History Behind the Sign

by john amato

With tomorrow being You Will Do Better In Toledo Day, I thought it would be fun to revisit an old blog post of ours with the history of the original Better in Toledo sign.

you will do better in toledo sign at wesleys

I have been fascinated with the You Will Do Better In Toledo sign at Wesley's Bar for some time. I love the authentic look and the inspiring message about Toledo. However, until recently I knew very little about it's history. The Toledo Blade published a book titled "You Will Do Better in Toledo: From Frogtown to Glass City. A Toledo Retrospective in Postcards, 1893-1929". It has so many interesting facts and pictures of Toledo. You should definitely pick up your own copy.

They show a postcard of the sign that was originally constructed. The main slogan sign was centered between two signs: one of a train, the other of a ship. The book explains:

Toledo's slogan sign was presented to the city through the Toledo Commerce Club by the Toledo Railways & Light Company. The slogan itself was chosen from more than 7,000 entries submitted in a contest sponsored by the Toledo Commerce Club. Located atop the Valentine Building at Adams and St. Clair streets, the sign alternated between three images with its 7,000 ten-watt electric lights - the slogan, a railroad locomotive, and a lake freighter. Though this postcard states the dimensions were 78 feet by 68 feet, its appearance and other sources suggest that it was 100 feet by 58 feet. It was reported to weigh 25 tons. The sign was accepted by Mayor Brand Whitlock and first lit on December 17, 1913. According the The Toledo Blade from the following day, "8,000 spectators jammed into St. Clair St., between Madison Ave. and Adams St. to view the sign." The sign remained until 1926 when the City of Toledo offices moved from the Valentine Building to the Safety Building.

original you will do better in toledo sign

Doesn't this piece of Toledo history make you love Toledo even more? It's made a big impact on us, which is why we like to highlight Toledo history in our vintage shirts. There are a lot of reasons to be proud of and feel nostalgic for Toledo. It's our hope that we can remind you of these fond memories you have for your hometown.

Check out our full line of You Will Do Better in Toledo apparel on our website.


Write a comment

*Denotes required fields.