Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wednesday, Aug. 23, 1967 – Lorain County Fair Schedule

It's kind of neat seeing what was going on at the Lorain County Fair fifty years ago today. The tall ad shown below ran in the Journal the day before and provides a nice glimpse of what was then a five-day fair. (Is that Beaver Cleaver standing next to his prize bull?)

The ad reflects the popular culture of the times. For entertainment, we have Myron Floren and Jack Imel of the Lawrence Welk Show, which my grandmother enjoyed.
Note that on the same bill was J. Fred Muggs! 
His biography for a similar appearance at the 1965 Clearfield County Fair sums up his career nicely. “You've seen him on television . . . On the Today Show for four and a half years . . . On The Jackie Gleason Show, The Martha Raye Show, The Perry Como Show, Howdy Doody, Ding Dong School, with Winchell and Mahoney among others as guest star. He's a trap drum expert. . . A fencing champ ... A punching bag artist ... A rifle drill monster ... A ball player . . . A rock 'n roller. He's J. Fred Muggs, the world famous chimpanzee."
Happily, J. Fred Muggs is apparently still with us, according to this Wiki page.
By the way, did you notice the glaring typo in the ad?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

New Lorain County Fair Buildings – 1964

I still love going to the Lorain County Fair each year and to me, much of its appeal is its timeless quality. It doesn't change very much from year to year and seems to be frozen in time – which is fine with me.

But at some point, the fair buildings were new – and the article below, which appeared in the Lorain Journal on August 1, 1964 – provides a clue as to when some of them were built. It mentions how the office building, pony barn, rabbit building and dining hall were all new that year. Also, the walking area of the fairgrounds were newly blacktopped.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Aug. 21, 1967 – Journal Front Page With Lorain County Fair Art

Well, it’s Lorain County Fair Week! And since last Friday’s post featured one of cartoonist Gene Patrick’s “Passing Scene” cartoons, today’s post appropriately highlights more of his artwork, this time with a Lorain County Fair theme.

It’s a special header he designed for the Lorain Journal that ran on Monday, August 21, 1967 – 50 years ago today. And as a bonus, he also scored another cartoon on that same front page.

It’s the Erie-Huron County edition of the paper (remember when there were multiple editions of the Journal?) and it includes sad news of a drowning in Berlin Heights, as well as other news items from Norwalk and Wakeman.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Passing Scene – August 6, 1966

To finish out this third week of August, here's yet another edition of Gene Patrick's "Passing Scene" comic strip that ran in the Lorain Journal back in the 1960s and 70s. This strip appeared in the paper on August 6, 1966 and is a little timely in view of what's going on in Lorain right now, school-wise.

In addition to recent U.F.O. sightings, the comic acknowledges the Lorain City Schools having recently hired Dr. Joseph F. Calta to be the Superintendent. Dr. Calta would have the job from 1965 - 1975. (You can read more about Dr. Calta and his long career in the Lorain school system here.)

Some younger blog readers may not recognize Dr. Calta's dropping into the car as a parody of the old Hertz commercial below.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

“Coffee at 10” in Elyria – August 1947

Elyria was in the news lately as it celebrated the 200th anniversary of its founding, so maybe it’s a good time for this post. It features an article that appeared in the Lorain Journal on August 14, 1947 – 70 years ago this month – and it’s about a topic dear to my heart: coffee.

The article, written by Rhea Soper Eddy, examines the fondness of Elyria’s business community back then for taking mid-morning coffee breaks at local eating establishments. The story also includes a little history of a restaurant run by brothers John and Spero Valassis.

‘It’s Coffee at 10’ For Folks in Elyria
Brothers Recall ‘Good Old Days’ When Prices Were
Lower; Eating Habits Changed


ELYRIA – Instead of “cocktails at 5” it’s “breakfast at 10” here in this county-seat.

Unlike some of the larger communities with their swanky afternoon cocktail hour, when friends meet to chat over an ice cold beverage which doesn’t necessarily have to be cocktails, many Elyrians declare recess around 10 a. m. and dash out for coffee and rolls.

Stop in at any of the many eating places around Elyria’s “square” and you’re lucky to find a place to sit down if it’s mid-morning.

“See you at So-and-So’s for coffee at 10” is a popular expression in this inland city, summer or winter. And that goes for office workers as well as the bosses.

Business As Usual
Of course, that doesn’t mean that offices and business places close just so the executives and their helpers can go out for a mid-morning snack. On the contrary, business goes on as usual, all taking turns at storing away a cup of coffee and a roll or doughnut sometime around 10 a. m.

According to John and Spero Valassis, brothers, who have operated an eating establishment on the square here since 1907, when most of their patrons were farmers who hitched their horses to posts out in front of the restaurant, many changes have taken place in man’s eating habits and the mid-morning snack is one of them.

But you cannot get either of the Valassis brothers to testify that the extra meal in the forenoon has anything to do with adding weight. In fact, they agree that most persons were even heavier back in the early 1900’s when they only ate three meals a day.

Eat More Salads
“Perhaps it’s because they eat more salads, fruits and non-fattening foods than they used to,” declared one of the restaurant partners.

“More likely it’s because they’re more weight-conscious and do more exercising,” contradicted the other.

At “breakfast at 10,” at one eating place here, 12 persons, both men and women, perched on stools at the counter, sipping coffee or soft drinks. The latter are substituted for the hot drink when the thermometer soars.

Occasionally a customer who is real hungry will add a roll or doughnuts. Many drink fruit juice along with coffee.

Population 6,000
Elyria was a mere infant back when the Valassis brothers started in the restaurant business in the same room they now occupy. The population then was less than 6,000.

But a more striking contrast than population are the food prices, then and now. According to the restaurant, eggs in those days sold at eight and nine cents a dozen, the best grade of country butter was obtainable at 16 cents a pound. You could buy bread at 2 1/2 cents a loaf, pork chops were 10 cents and steaks 15 cents a pound.

Is it any wonder they call them “the good old days."

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Before Route 611 Was Widened

Back in the 1990s, Colorado Avenue (Route 611) was widened from two to four lanes with a turning lane in the middle, from Abbe Road east to the I-90 interchange.

The widening drastically changed the look of that area and stole a lot of frontage from the properties. It literally paved the way for much of the development out that way.

It’s strange to think of how the Route 611 exit off I-90 used to be. For many years, there was nothing out there but that lonely Sohio station by the highway – with no traffic lights in sight.

Anyway, shortly after construction was underway, I brought my 35mm camera along for my commute and grabbed a few morning shots of the highway view that would soon disappear. (The Camp Wa-Hoo sign mentions "Saturday, April 23" so I guess that means that these photos are from April 1994.)

Colorado Avenue at Route 301, looking east
Colorado Avenue looking east just east of Route 301
Entrance to Camp Wa-Hoo with Colorado Avenue in the background
Colorado Avenue looking east as it approaches Miller Road
Colorado Avenue looking west from the parking lot of Lorrie’s Floral Shop (now a vapor lounge)
The Wa-Hoo Tavern sign (which was wrecked this year in a storm I believe) got me to wondering how long Camp Wa-Hoo has been out there. I checked city directories and phone books, and it appears that the campground opened sometime around 1972 or so.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Grand View Golf Course Ad – August 20, 1965

It’s interesting how golf is generating so much interest on this blog recently.

On Friday’s post about the former Spring Valley Golf Course, a reader named Todd asked about a Par-3 golf course that was located on Lake Road next to the old Roman Villa restaurant. He noted, "You paid in what in what I think was an old gas station and they gave you a club and two golf balls for your round. 

"The short holes if I remember correctly, went behind the station and Roman Villa's parking lot and maybe a motel. My uncle took me there when he was teaching me how to play. That would have been in the late 60s.

Regular blog contributor Rick Kurish provided a good answer. Rick wrote,"Although I do not personally remember the par 3 golf course you mentioned since I was not in the area during the 1965 to 1969 time frame, I did run across an ad for the course a couple of years ago.

"In the C-T of August 20, 1965 was an ad for the new Grand View Par 3 Golf Course. It was advertised as the only course in Lorain County that was lighted for night play and was located at 4881 West Erie Ave., between the Grand View Motel and Roman Villa Restaurant.

"I wondered how a golf course could have existed in such a small space and your description of the layout of the course explains it. I'm guessing that the course was a short lived attraction, since I drove by there every day in 1970 without noticing it.”

Here is the Chronicle-Telegram ad from August 20, 1965 that Rick mentioned.
As Rick noted, the course wasn’t there very long. It first appeared in the 1965 Lorain Telephone Company directory, and was gone by the time of the 1967 edition.
Here’s an aerial view of the Grand View Golf Course circa 1969, courtesy of the Historic Aerial website. You can kind of make out where the holes were located.

Today the former golf course is home to apartment complexes accessible from Fulmer Drive.
Vintage Arnold Palmer
Putting Courses sign
(Courtesy flickr)
For a little while in the 1960s, that stretch of West Erie Avenue was apparently a haven for golfers. 
A little bit to the west of Grand View on the same side of West Erie Avenue was the Arnold Palmer Putting Course at 5007 West Erie. It first appeared in the phone book in the November 1963 edition. 
But it too was gone by 1968. (Today, an apartment house complex occupies the location.)
Perhaps the Arnold Palmer Putting Course suffered from the same handicap as Grand View Golf Course, being just a little too far out there in-between Lorain and Vermilion – and inconvenient to get to for residents of both towns.