How Toledo, Ohio Revolutionized the Coffee Industry

Toledo has a long history of roasting and selling coffee. When mass production of coffee in the United States first began, Toledo was at the forefront of the industry on an international level, and locally, coffee was a special part of shopping for many Toledoans. Today, Toledo's rich heritage in coffee production lives on in the image of a lion and through local roasters reviving the tradition.

Safeguarding Ukraine’s Artistic Heritage on Chicago’s West Side

Generations of Ukrainian immigrants have called Chicago’s Ukrainian Village home. An explosion of avant garde creativity in the area in the ‘60s and ‘70s gave birth to an art museum whose mission seems prescient today. Now, the art that hangs in the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art's galleries serves as a small but mighty protest against Russia’s attempts to erase Ukrainian culture.

America has a fresh water problem. Here’s why.

America's fresh water is in danger. The Great Lakes hold roughly 20% of the world’s surface freshwater, and Lake Erie alone provides drinking water to more than 11 million residents in the United States. But serious water quality, access and infrastructure problems are threatening our fresh water future.

A Taste of Central Asia in Central U.S.A.

In Chicago, an ancestrally nomadic people settle down and bring their food traditions with them. A historical journey of empires, conquests, cultural diffusion and migrations, all captured in the spices, textures and ingredients of Kyrgyz cuisine.

What is the Midwest?

Some distinctions are clear-cut: California is iconically West Coast, New York unabashedly screams East Coast and Mississippi just sounds right when said with a Southern twang. But move toward the middle of the U.S. and boundaries may not be as simple as you think.

How the Van Aken District Brought New Life to Shaker Heights: An Illustration Essay

The Van Aken District was once a glorified strip mall with more parking space than storefronts, but thanks to a strategic plan designed to help improve Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, the District has been revitalized into a vibrant, welcoming space for dining, shopping and community gatherings.

Speaking Chinglish in Milwaukee: How Heritage Languages Shape the AAPI Experience

Within the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, language learning and bilingual fluency levels vary widely, affecting how AAPI individuals navigate the world and communicate with others.

Remembering Elektro, Mansfield and the “World of Tomorrow”

For nearly two decades, a futuristic robot and his robo-dog sidekick amazed the nation — a spectacular vision of the world to come. Then, they disappeared. Fast forward half a century and a basement, storage room and retired Westinghouse truck later, and Elektro and his pup reappeared, restored, in their birthplace of Mansfield, Ohio.

Resettlement to Revitalization: Toledo’s History of Immigration

Between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a period of rapid growth for Toledo, immigrants played an essential role in building Toledo’s economy, infrastructure, cultural heritage and even ecological landscapes. Today, as Toledo works to revitalize its economy and overcome ongoing trends of depopulation, looking to the past may provide valuable insights. If immigrants built Toledo yesterday, could they rebuild it today? This article is the first in a series titled “Resettlement to Revitalization,” which explores the past, present and future of immigration to the city.

How Climate Change is Transforming how the Midwest Farms

Across the United States, and particularly in the Midwest, a multitude of industries depend on the agricultural success of the nation’s farmers. Climate change is altering how farmers have to approach their jobs by causing irregularity in a crucial resource: water.

The Politics of Midwestern Identity & Racial Divides

As protests and unrest continue, Midstory considers the Midwestern identity and the role the region has historically played in civil rights progress.

How Wisconsin Ginseng Became a Globally Coveted Commodity

Wisconsin is the number one producer of ginseng in the U.S. with ginseng products that are coveted nationally and internationally. The healing herb highlights the unique commercial and cultural interconnectedness of Asian communities across the globe with communities in the rural Midwest.

Hidden in Plain Sight the GBS
The Quiet Revolution of Midwestern Speech

For decades, the Midwest was the example of perfect, accent-less English. Now, increasing dialectic quirks are changing that perception, and with it, Midwestern identity.

South to Midwest: My Grandfather’s Great Migration

Through conversations with her grandfather, the author unpacks his personal history during the Civil Rights Movement and the Great Migration—one that paved the way for generations to come. Read his story and listen to excerpts from the interview.

The path that brought us to Toledo was a winding one. In a way, you could say that we were brought here by the birth of our first child. Our beautiful baby girl was born on the evening of August 20th, 2016 in Bismarck, North Dakota.

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Rejuvenating an Aging “Asia on Argyle” in Chicago

For most people in Chicago’s Uptown, there’s a go-to neighborhood for grabbing some quality Asian food.  Tucked right off the Red Line, Argyle’s streets are lined with business signs featuring various Southeast Asian cuisines. The smell of Chinese pastries wafts down the street. Multiple stores shelve bamboo plants in outdoor displays and West Argyle Street alone hosts at least five...

American Crayon Company’s Enduring Legacy: A Review of “Color Capital of the World”

As a child, John Kropf knew he could always find a bucket of American Crayon coloring sticks to doodle on old newspapers, draw on dining room walls or inhale a good whiff of their waxy scent. So when, thirty-five years later, he found himself without a single crayon, he went on eBay and bought five used boxes for $18.  Kropf,...

You May Not Know It, But Shakespeare Is Thriving in the Heartland

Jennifer Pennington didn’t get good grades in high school, nor did she excel at sports.  Instead, she got into acting, much to the chagrin of her parents: “You don't really want your kid to go into theater because what a way to be broke,” she said.  But Pennington’s interest in theater persisted throughout her undergraduate years at Lansing Community College in...

Taking the Lead on Lead in Toledo, Ohio

Marilynne Wood first began researching lead poisoning in Toledo in order to investigate its potential correlation with school dropout and crime rates. A professor emeritus at the University of Toledo’s College of Nursing, her team started by speaking with nurses and screening children’s lead levels at local charter schools. Throughout the process, Wood was able to confirm her suspicions: that...

Why Are the Kansas City Chiefs Still the Chiefs?

In July 2020, amid widespread protest against racial injustice in the United States, the then-Washington Redskins of the National Football League (NFL) announced that they would retire their name. The National Congress of American Indians, which had campaigned for a name change for decades, praised the move: “We commend the Washington NFL team for eliminating a brand that disrespected, demeaned,...

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For most people in Chicago’s Uptown, there’s a go-to neighborhood for grabbing some quality Asian food.

While Chicago’s historic Lincoln Park envisions a future defined by new developments, “ghost signs” quietly tell a story of the neighborhood’s past.

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