Monday, February 18, 2019

City Bank Building Demolished – Feb. 18, 1964

I’ve posted many ads for the City Bank Company over the years, so it’s only fitting that I post this. It’s a photo of City Bank’s stately main headquarters at the southwest corner of E. 28th Street and Pearl Avenue being demolished after the building was damaged during an October 1963 fire.

The photo ran on the front page of the Journal on Feb. 18, 1964 – 55 years ago today.

As I noted back on this post, City Bank had an impressive Lorain pedigree. "Among those responsible for organizing the City Bank were A. J. Moxham, president of the Johnson Steel Company which later became the National Tube Co., Lorain Division; Pierre S. DuPont, president of the Sheffield Land Co. and later head of the great E. I. DuPont De Nemours’ extensive interests; F. A. Smythe, who was associated with the Sheffield Land Co. and later was for many years head of the Thew Shovel Co.; Judge Elbert H. Gary, chairman of the board of U. S. Steel Corporation; H. C. Ryding, superintendent  of the rolling mills here who later became head of the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railway Co.; Col. J. J. Sullivan, prominent banker and businessman in Cleveland; Tom L. Johnson, founder of the Johnson Steel Company, one of the nation’s leading steel railway men and famous mayor of Cleveland.

The demolished building was replaced at the 2800 Pearl Avenue location with this structure (seen below in a recent Google Maps view).


City Bank merged with the Central Trust Company (another favorite topic on this blog) in July 1984. Central Trust was then acquired by Bank One in the early 1990s; Bank One merged with JPMorgan Chase & Company in 2004.

It’s sad (but somewhat impressive) that only First Federal Savings of Lorain continues to maintain its original identity and presence in its hometown city.

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Passing Scene – February 1969

Well, February is half over – so I think I'll slip this month's serving of Gene Patrick's The Passing Scene cartoons a little early. They're all from the pages of the Lorain Journal of February 1969.

First up is this one from Saturday, February 1, 1969. It includes one of Gene's funny caricatures of Mayor "Woody" Mathna.
I really like that THINK gag in the third panel. Good advice!
Next is the strip from February 8, 1969. I'm always impressed that so many of Gene's cartoons featured women. They are tough to draw but his simple style enhanced the humor without detracting from it.
Here is the panel from February 15, 1969.
To learn more about the Worthington Ball Company of Elyria, click here to visit the Elyria Country Club website. And this link features an article that includes a history of the company circa 1954, as well as a photo of the company building.
Lastly, here is the strip from February 22, 1969.
The protest at Oberlin College resulting in the Marines being unable to hold a recruitment event was big news back then, but Gene still managed to find a humorous angle to the controversy. And to get the gag in the final panel, you have to be aware that the movie Candy was a psychedelic sex farce. The movie (which was written by Buck Henry) spent several weeks on the screen at Midway Cinema at that time.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Guide to Dinner and Dancing – Feb. 1969

Today is Valentine's Day – and many of you may have plans to celebrate by enjoying a fine dinner at a local restaurant. But where to go?

Well, fifty years ago, the Journal made it easy for you to decide where to dine by publishing a regular advertising feature called the Golden Crescent Guide to Dining and Dancing. It usually included a pretty good review of a restaurant, followed by a series of small boxed ads for other establishments.

(I posted one of these Golden Crescent Guides before, which featured this 1973 review for Amber Oaks.)

Anyway, here are two Guides from February 1969. The first one (below) ran on Feb. 7, 1969 and features a review of the late, great Elberta Inn. There's also a nice photo of the well-remembered Vermilion landmark.

This guide includes ads for McGarvey's, Philbo House, Popi's Colony Restaurant & Lounge, Americana Inn, Sherwood Inn, Presti's of Oberlin, Dover Chalet, Mr. Larry's Beef & Tails, and Avon Lake's Saddle Inn.
(I've featured the Elberta Inn on this blog a few times, including this aerial photo, some vintage ads, the time when Duke Ellington performed there, and this post when the place burned down in Feb. 2011.)
The second Golden Crescent Guide ran right on Valentine's Day 1969 – fifty years ago today. This one highlighted the aforementioned Presti's of Oberlin.
Presti's closed its doors in March of 2014.
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We ate at Presti's a few times in the 1990s, although the restaurant has the somewhat dubious honor of starring in one of my more infamous restaurant recollections.
Although the food and service at Presti's was usually good, on one of my visits there I encountered an off night. Waaaaaaaaay off.
Although I never did find out what was going on in the kitchen that night – whether someone quit or the place just ran out of everything – I endured the longest wait of my entire life for my dinner to be served in a restaurant.
More than two hours after we arrived, we were still waiting for our entrĂ©es, with no explanation from our waitress (who eventually skedaddled and was probably home in bed before our food was served). 
At one point I went looking for a manager – or anyone – so I could ask about our missing dinner, and found nobody. I half expected to see the whole staff hogtied with gags in their mouths, lined up on the floor next to an empty cash register. 
I was determined to wait it out, however, and remember eating dinner well after nine o'clock that night in an almost-empty dining room. 
We skipped dessert.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Demolition for Golden Age Housing – Feb. 12, 1964

Lorain’s been in the demolition business for a long time. But in the old days, things were demolished because something else was going to be built there.

Back in October 1963, Lorain was making preparations to demolish the Broadway block between 17th and 18th Streets to make way for the Lorain Metropolitan Housing Authority’s new Golden Age Housing Center. The demolition would force many businesses to move, including Bob’s Donuts and Scutt Auto Parts.

(I posted an article about it here, in which the area had been designated a slum.)

As one astute reader noted in a comment left on a post last week, at least one house was moved from Lexington to make way for the new construction.

Anyway, here is a Journal article from February 12, 1964 (below) serving as a progress report on the project. As you can see, the demolition phase was just about wrapped up.

The building in the “Before and After" photo was the home of B&H Furniture at 1704 Broadway.
And here’s a look at the area today.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Beatle Mania Comes to Lorain – Feb. 1964

Three days after the Beatles made their first live television appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9, 1964, the ad above was printed in the Lorain Journal.

The Feb. 12, 1964 ad – featuring our old pal Ed (currently appearing in Ed Tomko Chrysler Jeep Dodge ads) – advertises Beatle wigs and records for sale in the Patio Room adjacent to the Colony bar, located at the intersection of Kansas Avenue and Colorado Ave.

(I’ve written about the Colony a few times, including how the bar was the successor to Gus Atthanasoff’s Showboat restaurant, which had been destroyed in a fire. I also posted a 1963 St. Paddy’s Day ad, and another ad noting that you could purchase Cleveland Indians tickets there.)

Anyway, you have to admit that it’s pretty impressive to be selling Beatles stuff only a couple days after the Fab Four exploded into the nation’s consciousness. I’d sure like to see what one of those wigs looked like.

But what I can’t figure out is why the artist who designed the ad didn’t retouch the art so that Ed was wearing one!

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I wrote about how the Beatles affected the Brady family back here, including how each of my siblings and I each had a favorite member of the group.

Somehow, “my” Beatle ended up being Ringo – the goofy one (at least in those TV cartoons we watched).

Monday, February 11, 2019

1959 Thomas Edison Birthday Article

Well, it’s February 11th – the birthday of Thomas Alva Edison – so it’s a good time to post the article below. It ran in the Lorain Journal back on January 15, 1959 in advance of Edison’s 112th birthday anniversary that year.

(Edison has been a favorite topic on this blog over the years. I posted a two-part series on the 1947 Edison Centennial here and here, and late last year featured an article about a barber who cut Edison’s hair. I even wrote about my family’s 1962 visit to Edison’s birthplace in Milan, Ohio here.)

Anyway, here is the article. It makes a few interesting points, including the observation that by 1947 it was estimated that his inventions had provided employment for 4,000,000 people.

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In preparation for this post, I made a pilgrimage on Sunday to Milan (not that far a jaunt from Vermilion, where I live) for a quick photo.

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On the way out to Milan on State Route 113, I passed Miller’s Ice Cream, which recently closed for good after 69 years. Here is the link to the now-shuttered business’ Facebook page.

Friday, February 8, 2019

McDonald’s Filet o’ Fish Ad – Feb. 10, 1964

If you’ve been a fan of McDonald’s classic Filet-O-Fish sandwich for a long time, you’re probably familiar with how it first got onto the menu of the fast food giant.

According to this Wiki entry (and this great Smithsonian article), it was back in 1962 that a McDonalds’s franchise owner in Cincinnati noticed the drop in hamburger sales on Friday in his store, which was located in a largely Roman Catholic neighborhood. Looking for something that his Roman Catholic patrons (who abstained from eating meat on Fridays) could enjoy, he invented the Filet-O-Fish sandwich.

However, McDonald’s owner Ray Kroc has his own idea for meatless Friday fare: a grilled pineapple and cheese sandwich. As a result, the two sandwiches competed for a permanent spot on the national menu with sales to determine the winner. The Filet-O-Fish won, and was slowly added to McDonald’s menus beginning in 1963.

As the ad above (which appeared in the Lorain Journal on Feb. 10, 1964), the sandwich had reached Lorain the following year. By 1965, it had reached nationwide status.

Today the sandwich remains popular, especially with people whose diet requires them to avoid meat.

Anyway, I still enjoy a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish now and then, although I am pretty nostalgic for the price that I remember from the 1970s: forty cents.

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McDonald’s has been a regular topic on this blog since the beginning, including this early post from 2009.

I also wrote about the 1960 Grand Opening of the West Erie Avenue store here; a 1962 Christmas ad for the West Erie store here; the 1963 Grand Opening of the Colorado Avenue store here; an article about the new store coming to Elyria Township here; a 1968 ad for the new Big Mac sandwich here; and a few posts about the system which McDonald’s uses to assign a number to its restaurants here and here.