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Autobiography

1916

Toledo’s leading role as a manufacturing center attracted a growing pool of skilled labor as evidenced by the boom in residential housing in the 1910’s. The population of Toledo swelled by 144% and topped 243,000 residents by the end of the decade. Thus, the demand for new housing was dramatic. In 1916, Michael and Louis Lewandowski pooled their resources and opened the first office of Lewandowski Engineers on the second floor of the Summit-Cherry Building overlooking the Maumee River in downtown Toledo. On October 18, 1916, the firm’s plat of Haverfied Addition in Washington Township was filed with the Lucas County Recorder’s office. The 18-lot development was among the first to have public water mains and sanitary sewers in the township and began the firm’s commitment to the design and development of residential housing.

1916 Packard at the Michigan Hotel on Jefferson


1920′s

During this decade, Lewandowski Engineers platted 58 residential subdivisions incorporating 3000 individual lots, including the 458-lot Catawba Cliffs development (1924), Meredith Place, Eastmoreland and Willow Beach.The creation of suburbs and the relative wealth provided by a booming economy fueled the demand for personal transportation. In 1929, Lewandowski Engineers designed the firm’s first service station, the Sun Oil Service station located at Jefferson and 23rd Streets in downtown Toledo.

1929 Model "A" on Erie St.


1930′s

In the 1930’s Louis Lewandowski, P.E., P.L.S., was asked by the local Democrat party to serve a number of posts in Lucas County Government. He served as County Sanitary Engineer, County Commissioner, and served as a member of the Board of Health for many years. Additionally, he served as a Technical Adviser to the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the extension of sewers and water mains, construction of bridges and the placement of roadway improvements throughout the area. During his tenure as director of the WPA drainage improvements, he supervised the channelization of more than 460 miles of ditches and founded Lucas County’s mosquito abatement division.

1935 Ford


1940′s

Local industries such as Jeep, American Propeller and DeVilbiss Companies contributed heavily to the War effort in the 1940’s. A review of the firm’s plan files from this period reveals land acquisition, plant expansion and waste water treatment improvements at these facilities. Lou’s oldest son, John, made his individual contribution to the war effort by enlisting in the Navy. He obtained his bachelor of science in civil engineering (BSCE) from Marquette University and served as an officer in the Navy’s construction battalion, or “Fighting Seabees.” The Sixth Naval construction battalion Seabees adopted the motto “We Build – We Fight” and was responsible for building petroleum tank farms, airstrips, and roadways often under enemy fire. Upon his release from active duty, Lt. Commander John Lewandowski joined the family engineering firm and earned his professional licenses as an engineer and land surveyor. Once again, the focus of the firm returned to residential development.

1945 Ford at Madison & Superior


1950′s

The age of Elvis and Eisenhower witnessed a number of technological awards for the father and son team of Louis & John Lewandowski. The firm designed the areas first step aerated activated sludge waste water treatment system which was installed at the Cherry Grove Dairy in 1950 and they designed the first pre-stressed concrete span bridge in Ohio located on the campus of Lourdes University in 1954. Residential development was marked by a housing boom that would never be rivaled in Ohio and Michigan. Single family developments exploded in West Toledo with Lewandowski Engineers designing and developing 63 plats and adding 1,426 new homes to the local tax roll.

1953 Chevy at Tiedketes


1960's

Schools and churches followed the migration from the urban core to the suburbs in the 1960’s. The firm was active in the growth and development of Christ the King, Regina Coeli, Ladyfield, and St. Pius parishes and schools. The Toledo Board of Education provided opportunities for Lewandowski Engineer with Roosevelt, Glenwood, Fulton and Nathan Hale elementary. The new St. Johns High School as well as improvements to TPS schools at Waite, DeVilbess and Roy C. Start High represented the Secondary Education segment while Bowling Green State University kept the growing firm active with the Library building, Life Science, Education, Health Science and Anderson Arena projects.

The local refineries of Gulf Oil, Standard Oil and Sunoco ensured that Lewandowski Engineers maintained a heavy workload with design, inspection and certification of improvements to processing, storage and pipeline distribution systems. These industry giants battled with Pure Oil, Texaco, Kayo, Phillips 66, Hudson and Sinclair Oil for local market share with gas stations blossoming at the corners of every major intersection.

In 1969, Mike Lewandowski, the oldest son of John and Ruth, returned from Xavier University to become the fourth generation to enter the family business.

1966 Chevy at Libby-Owens-Ford Headquarters


1970's

Despite the Energy Crisis of the 1970’s, it was full steam ahead for new retail in Toledo. In ’71, The Rouse company converted West Toledo’s Franklin Airfield and Ice Cream parlor into the City’s newest mall while South Toledo countered with the Southwyck Mall in 1972. Both retail projects formed loci from which Lewandowski Engineers’ commercial, multi-family and single family residential projects emanated.

The firms commercial projects dominated Reynolds Road and Heatherdowns Boulevard with developments of Heatherwyck, Renywck, Meadowbrook and Mossville Acres.  Monroe Street was dotted with commercial strip centers founded by Dynamic Stores and Bellevue Investors while two of our refining and marketing clients battled for supremacy at Sylvania and Talmadge.

The decade also found brothers Jake and Patrick joining their older brother in the family business.  Louis Lewandowski now had his son, John and three grandsons working at his side.

1970 Blazer


1980's

The 1980’s saw the rise of Reaganomics, MTV and the fall of the Berlin Wall.  It also found Lewandowski Engineers performing tank certifications, dike volumes and control surveys at the Standard Oil (BP Husky) and Sunoco (TRC ) refineries.  The firm’s work load swelled with the petroleum market aggressive expansion of service stations across a three state area.    

Owens Community College and the Universities of Toledo and Bowling Green State kept the Lewandowski Brothers busy with new housing, classrooms and parking improvements while John Lewandowski placed a renewed emphasis in performing residential boundary surveys that had long been a hallmark for the firm.   

1980 Ford at the Toledo Museum of Art