Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sheffield Lake Carnival at Cleveland Beach Dance Hall – October 1930

Back in early October 1930, Sheffield Lake was getting ready for a fund raiser for their fire department, to be held at the Cleveland Beach Dance Hall. Here's the story as it appeared in the Lorain Journal, October 3, 1930.


(Special to The Journal)

SHEFFIELD LAKE, Oct. 3 – Paralleling the old phrase, tomorrow is the time for all good Sheffield Lakers to come to the aid of their fire department.

Officials in charge of the first community carnival, to be held Saturday afternoon and evening at the Cleveland Beach dance hall, are certainly looking for a record crowd.

All week the dance hall and adjoining buildings have been echoing with the sounds of hammer and saws while booths and various accessories have been erected for the carnival.

Tonight everything is practically in readiness, and nothing has been left undone to make the affair a success.

In the first place, there will be the carnival proper, with more booths than people of the village have ever seen before. Then there will be the German village in the basement.

In addition to these things, a beauty contest, a flower show, a pet show, a baby show, and any number of other features have been arranged.

Climaxing the evening will be old-fashioned and modern dancing until a late hour.

Of course, there will also be the usual "grand prizes"given a way as an added incentive.

Anyway, a cracking good time is promised to all, and village officials haven't even the slightest idea how many will turn out for the carnival.

Proceeds will go to the fire department to pay for new alarm apparatus – and if there is enough left, to buy a resuscitator, which is badly needed but has been too expensive.

I'll bet it was a "cracking good time" with all those fun events.

What interested me in this article was the fact that the carnival was held at the Cleveland Beach dance hall – a favorite research topic of many local history buffs.

The Cleveland Beach dance hall was located where Tennyson Elementary School is today in Sheffield Lake, just a short distance from Lake Road. The official stop on the Lake Shore Electric Railway was Stop 83.

The Cleveland Beach dance hall was actually a barn that had been converted for use as a dance pavilion, and it was a popular place for local bands to perform.

For many years during the 1920s and 30s, Decoration Day (today's Memorial Day) was the traditional opening day for local dance halls from Cleveland to Sandusky, and the newspapers were full of their ads around that time. It's easy to find old ads for the Cleveland Beach dance hall mixed in with other local resorts.

Here are two from May 1928 (below). WHK Radio artists Stan Wood and his Pirates were performing.

Here's another ad, this one from May 27, 1931 (below). Sammy Gerace and his Orchestra were featured.
The dance hall was used for a variety of purposes. In 1942, the Sheffield Lake Civic Club sponsored bingo games there to raise funds for civilian defense, according to an article in the July 4, 1942 Billboard. And according to the July 3, 1943 Plain Dealer, the dance hall was put to use as the location of an assembly line, "producing 3,600 victory garden dusters for the American Specialty Co. of Amherst." (The American Specialty Company manufactured a variety of products for food growers, packers, shippers and processors, as well as labor-saving products for the home.)
Finally, in September 1945, the Sheffield Lake Board of Education purchased the Cleveland Beach dance hall and property for use as the location for a new school. A public auction to sell the building was scheduled for October. 
The October 11, 1945 Chronicle-Telegram included an advertisement for the  auction. It read, "The undersigned will sell at Stop 83, 350 feet south of Lake Road, corner of Kenilworth and Hawthorne Ave's., in Sheffield Lake Village on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 6:00 P.M. the following described building, not including the land; Located in Sheffield Lake Village and known as part of Cleveland Beach allotment, being a large wooden building, approximately 50x100 feet and having been used as a dance hall, known as the Cleveland Beach dance hall. The lumber and installations of this building are in very good condition and the purchaser will be given ample time to take apart and remove. If you need building material now or in the future this will be an excellent opportunity to get it. Don't miss this chance. TERMS: CASH and building will be sold to the highest bidder.
According to an article in the Summer & Fall 2013 issue of the Village Pioneer, the dance hall was purchased by Nick Kelling. It was dismantled and moved to his farm at the northeast corner of Abbe and French Creek Roads, where it was once again put to use as a barn. Unfortunately, the building caught fire and burned in May 1955.
Drew Penfield (local historian and webmaster of the Lake Shore Rail Maps website (which has a whole section dedicated to Sheffield Lake here) has been looking for an vintage photo of the Cleveland Beach dance hall in its heyday for some time now. If you happen to know of a photo, please let Drew or me know!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Shoreway Shopping Center Opens – October 1958

October 2, Lorain Journal ad
Fifty-six years ago, it was the eve of the opening of Shoreway Shopping Center in Sheffield Lake. 
It was an exciting time. Sheffield Lake was evolving from a tiny seasonal cottage community to a full-fledged city – and the addition of a shopping center was a big step.
Although the shopping center is now a little smaller and less busy than it was when it opened, it's still an important part of Sheffield Lake life.
Anyway, here's the story that appeared in the October 1, 1958 Lorain Journal announcing the opening of the center.


Houses 14 Stores In Sheffield Lake
$1,250,000 Shoreway Center To Open Tomorrow

SHEFFIELD LAKE – Opening ceremonies for the $1,250,000 Shoreway Shopping Center, Rt. 301 and East Lake Rd., will begin tomorrow when Mayor Frank Duguid cuts the ribbon at the entrance.

All village officials are scheduled to attend the opening and each will be issued a charter shopper badge commemorating the occasion.

Festivities have been planned for the public with an aerial display of fireworks under the direction of Fire Chief Peter Cifranic at 9:30 p.m. tomorrow.

On Friday at 9 p.m. an all-star variety show will feature George Latshaw, puppet star of the movie "Lili," and two acts from TV Super Circus starring Edward Bier and his trained dogs and the Fabulous Claytons.

On display during store hours from Oct. 6 to 12 will be "Ernie's Miniature Circus," an exhibit of 25,000 hand-carved circus figures. This display has been shown at the the Brussels World Fair and is to be forwarded to Disneyland following the showing.

Store hours have been set from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. However, as part of the grand opening celebration stores will remain open until 9.p.m. this Saturday.

Climaxing the two weeks of activities will be an Ox Roast sponsored by the Sheffield Lake Kiwanis Club on Oct. 9, 10 and 11. The dinner is to be served on the south parking lot of the center.

The shopping center building is approximately 700 feet by 150 feet and houses 14 stores. Parking facilities have been designed for 1,000 cars.

Zehman, Wolf and Sterman Construction Co. of University Heights is the builder, and Sidney H. Morris and Associates of Chicago are the architects. M. H. Hausman of Cleveland is the leasing agent. William DeCarpentier is general supervisor of the project.

Jacob Levin of Sheffield Lake, principal owner of the center, will be host to village officials, store managers, W. R. Hauserman of the Ohio State Department of Highways, former mayor Dr. James C. Markley, former council president Earl Barnhart, and Chris Howley Jr., president of the school board.

Village officials expected to be present at the ceremonies include Shefffield Lake Councilmen William Piersen, John Groleau, Dan Fragassi, Gerald Spradlin, Carl Dietrich, Santino Cambria and Maurice Sturtevant; members of the Board of Public Affairs Paul Riddell, William Freeh and D. E. Ratliffe; Village Solicitor Dale Barnhart, Police Chief Clarence Hambley, Fire Chief Peter Cifranic, Building Commissioner Patrick Towner, Planning Board members Alfred Askew, Charles Ward and Mrs. L.W. Clites, and Zoning Board members Horace Smith, David Jones and Thomas Raptis.

FOODTOWN TO OPEN – This Foodtown Store will open
tomorrow at the new Shoreway Shopping Center in Sheffield
Lake. It will be the first Foodtown market in the area. Ted 
Trakas of Westlake has been named manager.
Shoreway Shopping Center has been a favorite topic of mine on this blog. I did a three-part series on it back in 2009 (here, here and here) when part of the center was demolished, and later, a variety of posts featured various seasonal ads and promotions.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Paul Miller Circus Comes to Town – September 1963

Way back in 2010 (here), I posted a 1960 ad (at left) announcing the arrival of the Paul Miller Circus in N. Ridgeville.

At the time, there were some interesting comments posted, including one by one of the acts – the "Riding Kristensens" – that toured with the circus. But there was another comment that was posted by a local gentleman who had a unique perspective of that circus – namely, from his Lorain front yard!

He wrote, "Dan, the Paul Miller circus was in Lorain in September of 1963. They also were in my front yard. I won a contest that brought some of their  acts to my home. Two clowns, Japanese tumblers and three elephants. Next time you're going through old newspapers, check out page 3 of the September 23, 1963 Lorain Journal.

Well, I finally took his advice! Here is the article (below) and photos of Billy Nahm's memorable experience of the day the circus came to his E. 46th Street home – 51 years ago this month.

And where did all this go down? Over in the area by Clearview High School, east of Broadway on E. 46th Street (below).

Monday, September 29, 2014

Laurel Oaks Ad – September 1961

As long as I'm posting vintage model home ads, here's another one. It's for the Laurel Oaks development, which was located west of Route 57 in the Homewood Drive area.

The ad ran in the Lorain Journal on September 16, 1961 – 53 years ago this month. It's an eye-catching ad, even if it was probably a clip-art layout. Plus, I'm a sucker for these ads showing how Lorain's neighborhoods grew, thanks to countless unsung builders and developers.

In this case, the name associated with Laurel Oaks is Alex Bruscino. According to online Chronicle-Telegram article from September 1994, he was a "pioneer home builder for veterans returning from World War II. His distinguished career lasted into the early 1970's and he built over 4,000 homes in Cuyahoga and Lorain Counties."

I didn't get a chance this weekend to drive out to South Lorain and try and find some of these model homes for "then and now" shots. It's just as well. I probably would have ended up in the Journal police blotter, mentioned as some suspicious middle-aged guy taking photographs from a car seen cruising slowly through the neighborhood.

The House of Enchantment – September 1964

According to this website, the Servel Corporation dates back to 1923, and is credited with pioneering the perfection of an "All-Year" gas residential air conditioning unit, in which the unit became a heater during the cool months. The company also produced a variety of products, including Servel gas refrigerators, and Servel Gas water heaters.

It's that Servel "All-Year" air conditioner that's in the spotlight in this ad (below) for the House of Enchantment, a model home constructed by local builder Clem Rice at 5109 Leavitt Road. The full-page ad appeared in the Lorain Journal on September 18, 1964.

Here's another ad for the House of Enchantment that ran in the Journal the same day as part of a special promotional section (below).
And what about the House of Enchantment today? Is it still enchanting 50 years later?
Today it sits on a beautiful wooded, private lot on the east side of Leavitt Road (below), across the road and just north of the Superior Medical Care building.
It's still a nice looking house in a cozy, country setting. Here's my shot from Saturday afternoon (below).
It'd be interesting to know if they still have the original Servel appliances!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Heilman's Ranch House Opens – Sept. 1961

July 1967 newspaper ad from the Journal
Remember Heilman's Ranch House on Broadway?

I still think it was a neat idea to have a Western-themed restaurant in Downtown Lorain that was open 24 hours a day. (The Western motif was popular back then, as the Saddle Inn in Avon Lake had the same idea.) I hope that they both served Wild West Sarsaparilla.

Well, Heilman's Ranch House opened up for business on September 21, 1961 – 53 years ago this month. Here's the small article that tells the story. It appeared in the Journal on September 16, 1961.

West Style Restaurant Opens Here

A new western style restaurant, Heilman's Ranch House, will officially open Thursday at 211 W. Erie.

To say that the decor of the new 24-hour restaurant, built at the site of the former Park Restaurant, is inspired by the Wild West would be an understatement. The pine walls of the 60 seat dining room are covered with cattle hides, longhorn skulls and lariats.

A hamburger goes by the handle of a "ranchburger."

According to Hubert Heilman, the Ranch House was designed to replace the grill in Heilman's Marine Room, which will be turned into an enlarged bar.

Heilman describes the Ranch House as "informal, masculine, friendly, American." By using modern cooking methods, the Ranch House will be able to offer a wide variety of fine, moderately-priced meals at any hour.

The photo and caption below appeared on the front page of the Journal on September 23, 1961. You can't say that the Journal wasn't supportive of new businesses back then .

NO HAMBURGERS – Hamburgers go by the name of ranchburgers 
at Heilman's Ranch House, newest addition to the city's restaurant 
industry. Opened Thursday, the Ranch House carries a "wild west" 
theme throughout its decor, complete with cattle hides, longhorn 
skulls and lariats. Located on the site of the old Park Restaurant, 
the Ranch House was built to replace the grill in Heilman's Marine 
Room. It is open 24 hours a day.
Heilman's Ranch House lasted 13 years before becoming a victim of urban renewal. You can read a great article about its March 1974 closing below (which I originally posted back in April 2010). Give it a click.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dairymens New Plant on Abbe Road Opens – Sept. 29, 1956

Here's an ad for an Open House at the brand new Dairymens facility that was located on Abbe Road near the railroad tracks between E. Lake Road and Colorado Avenue. The ad appeared in the Lorain Journal on September 29, 1956 – 58 years ago today.

I wonder what the refreshments were at that 1956 Open House? I have a hunch that it wasn't punch – and that chilled glasses of delicious, farm-fresh milk were served instead.

I've written about Dairymens on this blog before, including here.

What I didn't know until recently was that Dairymens had bought out Mackert's Dairy on Abbe Road in Sheffield Village in 1954. Dairymens operated it as a substation, and eventually constructed the new, modern plant (mentioned in the grand opening ad) just north of the Mackert's Dairy cow barn.

You can download a terrific 2009 article from The Village Pioneer that provides the entire history of Sheffield's Dairy Industry by clicking here.  (Actually it's the whole issue.) As with all of his research topics, Sheffield Village Historical Society Director Charles "Eddie" Herdendorf has done the incredible work of digging up the complete story, and then compiling a fascinating narrative, complete with vintage photos and interviews with the people involved.

Whatever happened to the Dairymens plant? According to the Village Pioneer article, Dairymens closed their Sheffield operations in 1969. And Sandy (my source for Sheffield Lake local history) reminded me that the abandoned dairy complex at 1181 Abbe Road later became the home of Patrick Electric and the storefront for Village Lighting.

You can see the Dairymens plant's "footprint" on this current Bing Maps aerial below. The facility was located just south of the railroad tracks on the east side of Abbe Road. Some of the former Mackert Dairy buildings can be seen immediately south of it.