Welcome to our Village Walk. This walk was developed by the late June
Huffman. We start our journey
traveling south over the The Maumee River bridge.
The Mighty Maumee River Looking East From the Bridge
Before there were bridges, ferries, resembling flat barges, transported horse-drawn
wagons and passengers across the river. Old stories say the ferries were unreliable
since the ferrymen weren't always on duty, thanks to their love of strong drink.
The Dominick Labino Marker Amidst the Lush Green
We are now approaching Front St. To the left is the
Dominick Labino Historical Marker. A resident of Grand Rapids for many years, he was
a glass scientist, engineer, artist and inventor. Credited with 57 patents,
"Nick" invented pure silica fiber which was used in insulating tiles covering
the space shuttle Columbia and the Apollo, Mercury, and Gemini spacecrafts. As a
glass artist, Mr. Labino was co-founder of the studio glass movement in America. His
art works are in over 60 museums in the U. S. and abroad.
Directly across the highway you'll notice a small bungalow surrounded by masses of
flowering blooms. Known as an English Garden, it is open to public viewing when the
"Open" sign is posted in the front yard.
The Isaac Ludwig Mill
Now we turn right onto Front St. From this vantage point you see the front of
the Isaac Ludwig Mill. Other names associated with the mill include Peter Manor, who
built the mill and also the first white man to live on the north bank; Augustine Pilliod;
Frank Heising and his son, Cleo. Cleo Heising, the last private owner, sold the mill
in 1971. Isaac Ludwig's grandson, Cleo Ludwig, founder of the L-K Restaurant chain,
purchased the old landmark and deeded it to Toledo Metroparks in memory of his
grandfather. The mill, where grain is still milled and where logs are sawed into
lumber, has been repaired, repainted, and converted into a working museum for the
education and enjoyment of visitors who come to the park. During periods of high
water residents watch the water level in millrace intake to see if flooding is imminent.
Sign Board Showing an Active Village
On your right you'll notice the Organization Sign Board which bears the logos of Grand
Rapids organizations and churches. Considering a population of around 1,000, the
logos indicate a very lively village.