The Crosby Brothers

Frank Crosby was a well known Toledo entrepreneur and capitalist. He was the father of George and Howard Crosby who were the brothers of the Crosby Reality and Mortgage Company, a well known real-estate firm in the early 1900s. Frank Crosby was born in Toledo in 1891. He lived briefly in Grand Rapids, Ohio before returning at age nine with his parents to Toledo in 1900.

Frank was a member of the board of directors for and vice president of Peoples Savings Association with which he was connected for 25 years. He was also a member of Collingwood Presbyterian Church and the Toledo Chamber of Commerce. When he died on May 21, 1942, his estate was valued at $124,000. He left $10,000 to nine Toledo charities. This included $2000 for the Toledo Society for Crippled Children and $1000 each for the Boys and Girls Scouts, Salvation Army, YMCA, YWCA, Florence Crittendon Home, Lutheran Orphans Home, and Toledo Society for the Blind. The remainder of his estate was left to his sons Howard and George. George was instructed to divide what was left and allow his brother first choice. Both were joint executors and received equal shares of the estate.

Howard Crosby was a prominent Toledo realtor and civic leader. He and his brother George founded the Crosby Reality and Mortgage Company which he joined when he returned from Irving School in Tarrytown, New York. The company, located at 413 Madison Avenue, specialized in real estate development, management, mortgage loans, and insurance. The Crosby firm was involved in various real estate developments in the area, one such was the Golden Gate Shopping Center which is located in Maumee.

Howard was interested in municipal government and the civic affairs of Toledo. He eventually became the vice president of the City Management League. Howard served as the executive secretary of United Toledo Committee when the organization formed and was known as the executor who promoted Toledos first payroll-income tax. He was also a prominent member and chief fund-raiser of the committee which raised money to support tax and bond issues.

Howard was an active promoter of Toledo area hospitals. In 1946 he became a member of the St. Vincent Hospital Advisory Board. He was also vice president as well as the chairman of several hospital fund-raisers.

Howard Crosby circulated amongst the upper echelons of Toledos wealthiest and socially conscious organizations and families. The various organizations to which he belonged included the National Real Estate Board and Brokers Institute - Urban Land Institute, Christ Presbyterian Church, the Toledo Club, the Inverness Club, and the Belmont Country Club. Howard also served as a member and trustee of the Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce and was a member and president of the Toledo Board of Realtors.

Howard Crosby was the father of twin daughters, Susan Graves and Sallie Ann Bean. He was to have wed Mrs. Kay Crew Anderson on 28 December, 1963, but died of a heart attack on May 4, 1963, at the age of 48. His residence was at 6051 Sylvania.

George Crosby, eldest son of Frank Crosby and older brother of Howard Crosby, was a well known business man who founded the George P. Crosby Realty Company in 1927. George began his career with the E. H. Close Company when only 19 years old. He was vice president in charge of the rental and management department. George eventually left the Close Company and formed the George P. Realty Company. This real estate firm dealt in general insurance and property management. His younger brother, Howard, joined the firm as a sales manager. After successive years in a prosperous business, the brothers formed the Crosby Realty and Mortgage Company. Both companies were located at 413 Madison. In 1939 the Crosby brothers severed their business connections. Howard continued with the Realty and Mortgage Company while George returned to his realty company located at 413 Madison Avenue in the Nasby Building.

After the death of his wife Hazel in 1961, George went into semi-retirement. He continued to retain an office at 5403 Elmer Drive where he managed properties for the New England Merchants National Bank. These properties included a parking lot at Superior Street and Jefferson Avenue, buildings at 13th and Jefferson, and properties at 1815-1819 Adams St.

Throughout his career George also managed the Scott family properties at Ontario and Adams which included the Valentine and Esquire theaters and the Toledo Lucas County Board of Elections. He was a member of the Sanford Collins Lodge, F+AM, Collingwood Presbyterian Church, the Inverness Club, and was affiliated with the Toledo and National Real Estate Boards.

George P. Crosby established a successful real estate business which, in turn, enhanced the Crosby family name throughout Toledo. He was a realtor in the city of Toledo for 42 years. At his death on December 18, 1963, his estate was valued at $776,954. The bulk of his estate was willed to various Toledo charities which included the Toledo Hospital, District Nurse Association, Boys Club, Old Newsboys Association, Luella Cummings School, and the Toledo Society for Crippled Children. The Lucas County Chapter of the American Cancer Society received $10,000 while the Collingwood Presbyterian Church received $5,000. He designated his twenty acre farm in Adams Township for park purposes. He also left benefits to three of his employees. Marceil E. Klinger, his secretary, was left $50,000 or a property at 803 Starr Avenue, Nellie Mussellman, $25,000 or a property at 2117 Ashland, and Walter Dietrick, $10,000. All three employees were also extended rent-free privileges in their occupied homes. (Toledo Biography Scrapbook, Local History Collection, Toledo/Lucas County Public Library.)

Frances Crosby
Frances Crosby was editor of the Toledo News in the early 1900s. She was the first woman editor of a city newspaper in Toledo, and it is possible that she was the first woman editor for a daily newspaper in the United States. Frances, the second of four daughters, was descended from a well-known Toledo family. Her father was Alonzo Noteman, the respected inventor and pioneer druggist of early Toledo. Talent and interest in the newspaper business was a common vein that ran through the Crosby family. Her sister, Maud Gurney, was society and club editor of a Toledo newspaper, while nephew Edward Moore became the associate editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Frances had a long and distinguished career in the Toledo newspaper business. Before her position with the Toledo News, she had written society news and features for the Commercial, her first Toledo newspaper. She also reported news assignments as well as features. This was especially noteworthy because at the beginning of the 20th century hard news stories were not normally assigned to women reporters. Women who were included on newspaper staff at that time were designated as feature story writers or as society and domestic-related columnists. Frances also worked at the Sunday Courier Journal. Early 20th century journalists who went on location to cover stories usually had to travel on horse-drawn buggies and wrote the report in long hand.

Toledo, in the early 1900s, could have been considered a liberal city in relation to gender issues. The number of women in editorial positions on newspapers was proportionately high for the size of Toledo at the turn of the century. Frances was also associated with Florence Ingales, the society editor of the (Toledo Times, and Kate Murphy, club editor of the Commercial and editor of the Sunday Courier Journal.) Frances moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, after the death of her husband, Charles Crosby. She resided with her brother-in-law, Percy Oblinger, until her death on January 10, 1931. (Toledo Biography Scrapbook, Local History Collection, Toledo/Lucas County Public Library.)


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