Monday, June 27, 2016

Tornado Damaged Sixth and Hamilton – Then & Now

Since the anniversary of the 1924 Lorain Tornado is tomorrow, it’s a good time to post a few postcards. Here’s one that I hadn’t seen before (above).

It was on Ebay recently (hence the DSAP dealer watermark) and as the caption states, it’s the view “showing homes on Hamilton Street north of Sixth Street after street was cleared of wreckage.”

Although it might seem as if some of the damaged homes were not rebuilt, research revealed that all of the addresses in that neighborhood listed in the pre-tornado city directories were still to be found in subsequent books.

Today there are a few homes missing in that block, and some have been modified a bit. But it’s still a nice neighborhood that belies its sad fate during the infamous 1924 tornado.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

First Lorain International Festival – 1967

Full page ad from the Journal of July 6, 1967
It’s interesting looking back at the very first Lorain International Festival as covered in the Lorain Journal.

The first Lorain International Festival was very well planned, and established the template for all of the succeeding ones. It included the International Princess Pageant and Dance, the International Parade, two International Band Concerts, the International Festival Mayor’s Breakfast and the International Fair and Bazaar. There was also an International Fish Fry at the Lorain Yacht Club, an International Sail Down that began at the Vermilion Yacht Club and finished at the Lorain Yacht Club, and an International Regatta Race.

Back then, the International Princess Pageant and Dance took place on Monday, July 3. As the paper reported, "fourteen lovely girls representing ten nationalities" competed for the title of Queen of the International Festival.  As reported in the JournalIrene Kychan, the Ukrainian princess, was crowned Queen. First runner up was Norma Rosario, the Puerto Rican princess, followed by Peggy Davis, the Afro-American princess as second runner up, and Vickie Chick, the Polish princess as third runner up.

The first International Parade took place on July 4, 1967 kicking off the week-long celebration. Today’s International Parade is now the culmination of the celebration, taking place on the last day of the Festival.

The opening night of the International Bazaar and Fair – Friday, July 7, 1967 – had more than 20,000 visitors.

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On June 27, 1967 the article below appeared about the upcoming International Fair and Bazaar, noting that the booths were under construction inside a building at the Sheffield Shopping Center. It compared the bazaar to a World’s Fair with more than 30 participating nationalities.

Malcolm D. Hartley, then Editorial Page Editor of the Journal, wrote a great article that appeared on the Page of Opinion on July 3, 1967, marking the opening of the first annual International Festival. Its words ring true today.

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International Festival – A Salute to New Lorain
By MALCOLM D. HARTLEY
Editorial Page Editor

TODAY MARKS the opening of the first annual International Festival in Lorain. A full week of pageantry, parading, dancing and fun is ahead for all who desire to share in the activities.

Why an International Festival?

The question is one deserving of an answer and for which there is an answer.

THE FESTIVAL IS A SYMBOL of an awakened Lorain – a Lorain which is becoming aware of its unlimited potential to shape itself into a vibrant, interesting, thriving cosmopolitan metropolis different than any other city in the United States.

Different, yes. Also exciting and inspiring. And a happy place, too – a community in which the residents take pride and from which visitors depart with regret.

For years Lorain has blindly accepted a role an an industrial center, economically adequate but culturally deprived. No such limitation was, or is, necessary. This community has within its reach both economic and spiritual blessings. It possesses rare qualities which will be priceless once they are fully recognized and utilized.

CAN YOU IMAGINE having a treasure in your home which you and your family have left untouched because you did not recognize its value?

That’s what Lorain has been doing, failing to recognize the bright jewels at our fingertips in the form of the customs, languages, dances, arts, foods, architecture and viewpoints of the various nationality groups which comprise this community.

LORAIN HAS BEEN SHAPED by immigration, wave after wave from many countries throughout the past century. Always the immigrants were accepted without hostility by those who had preceded them, and found Lorain a comfortable haven. The newcomers brought with them the jewels of their cultures.

The time has come to use and share the treasure.

The festival is a symbol of a new era. It is an opener, a curtain raiser. It is a force to emphasize and to capitalize the word “International” so that it becomes a part of International Lorain.

Why an International Festival?

As such events go, it is big, action-filled and unusual. It has the capacity to make Fourth of July week of 1967 memorable in Lorain. Yet it is only the beginning of a movement that can make Lorain a unique city with a rare international flavor that will set it apart, with distinction, from all others.

FOR ALL OUR MATERIAL progress in the United States, there is a sameness to cities that is tiresome. The few that have escaped the pattern stand out with the clarity of a lighthouse on a dark night. Lorain hasn’t escaped, but can.

Think of Lorain as a center of world culture, with ships from faraway lands in the harbor, with a permanent international market, with sections which preserve the architecture, shops and products of various nationalities, with a new city hall and port headquarters flying the flags of many nations.

Our goal is not to be the same, but to be different. The only “sameness” we need is the true American spirit which already exists and which binds us all together.

Why an International Festival?

To herald the birth – rather, the rebirth – of our community as Lorain, the International City.

That’s why.

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Another editorial summed up the whole reason behind the festival. It appeared in the Journal on Saturday, July 8, 1967.

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New Image for Lorain

LORAIN IS GAINING a new image as a city with a purpose – a city ready to grow culturally, eager to adhere to the principles of brotherhood and prepared to strive for progress and recognition.

The International Festival being held this week has had much to do with putting the community on a new course. The new image was evident at the Mayor’s Breakfast on Thursday.

Every segment of the population was represented, including public officials, industrial and business figures, women’s groups, average citizens, nationality organizations, professional people and top civic leaders.

Headlining the program was Gov. James A. Rhodes, who called for a loudly publicized, hard-hitting program of activities designed to make Lorain known everywhere. His promotional suggestions included an international swim across Lake Erie and international bike races.

The way to gain attention, he commented, was to do things out of the ordinary.

Howard T. Robinson was the second featured speaker. He is labor advisor to the Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs of the U. S. State Department.

He declared that Lorain, a city of moderate size made up of 55 nationalities, has a rare opportunity to demonstrate for others how different languages, cultures, skills and customs can be blended.

The breakfast was the event which, more than any other during this week of the International Festival, put the focus on unity – civic advancement achieved through the cooperation of everyone.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Cedar Point Causeway Opens – June 1957

I found this article about Cedar Point, which appeared in the Lorain Journal on June 29, 1957 to be pretty fascinating – a glimpse of what the park was like that season. It was in a real transitional period; there weren't a lot of rides, the causeway (above) had just opened, Big Bands were still being booked for nightly dances, and hard as it may be to believe, the park's future was in real jeopardy.

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New Road Across Bay Now Open
SANDUSKY – Every year since the turn of the century Cedar Point summer resort has opened to the tub thumping of publicity men beating up a newer and better, and bigger season for the Lake Erie summer resort.
Such is the case this year, despite interpretations that the resort activities are at an end because of purchase of some of the land by Toledo building interests, and the state’s recent attempts at making a park buy.
The noisy merry-go-round, the rides typical of a summer resort, and the Hotel Breakers will be in operation, as will the beach.
The three Sandusky to Cedar Point ferries carry bathers from the hot city to the beach, and the long-established auto-toll road from Rts. 2 and 6 also is open.
Dan M. Schneider, leaseholder for the recreational area, has four years to go on his contract agreement and a Cedar Point as it has been known to millions of fun seekers will continue for that span, at least.
The resort opened on June 15, when the hotel started accepting guests.
The opening of the season also saw realization of a dream of the original founders hatched during the early automobile era. They wanted a short route from near Sandusky to the resort.
Two years of building has seen completion of a causeway across the eastern reaches of Sandusky Bay, only blocks from downtown, bringing the resort only 10 minutes from mid city. The two-and-a-half mile roadway opened June 15
The toll road was built by the Cedar Point Bridge Co. with an eye to the day when the peninsula may become a housing development, and for use as a ready access to the resort now.
The old road off Rts. 2 and 6 will be used my motorists entering from the east, the new approach can be used by traffic from the west.
The report on the season’s activities, in the words of Schneider, are: “June’s bookings are unusually heavy.”
The line-up of dance bands is:
June 29, Buddy Morrow; July 4, Glenn Miller orchestra under Ray McKinley; July 20, Hal McIntyre; July 27, Ernie Rudy; Aug. 3, Ralph Marterie; Aug. 10, Blue Barron; Aug. 17, Charlie Spivak; and Aug. 24, Pee WeeHunt.
Ohio bands booked include Bob Montgomery, July 6; Bus Widmer, July 13 and Vic Stuart, Aug. 31.
Lei Aloha and her Hawaiian trio will appear in the Tavern Terrace patio nightly throughout the season, which ends Labor Day.
Other diversions include moon-light cruises on Sandusky Bay and Lake Erie Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday nights; free round and square dancing five nights weekly in the Coliseum; and free movies every Monday.
Vaudeville and free circus acts have been scheduled and there are new attractions in the amusement section.
Tradition is not forgotten: there’ll be salt water taffy, jerky rides to the liking of amourous couples, weight guessers and games where a swain can win his best girl a Kewpie doll.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

When Huck and Yogi Visited Elyria – June 1960

Another topic that I mention on this blog a lot is animated cartoons, especially my favorites as a kid: Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear.

Did you know that Daws Butler, the voice actor behind those two cartoon stars and many more, had relatives in Elyria that he used to visit? And that one of his visits made the pages of the Chronicle-Telegram?

Read all about it in the nice article by Bill Klucas below that appeared in that paper on June 23, 1960 – 56 years ago today. It gets a few things wrong (it mistakenly confuses the meaning of the word ‘animator’ with that of a voice performer) but is still fascinating.

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Series Popular With Adults, Too
‘Voice' For Huckleberry Hound
Magnet To Elyria Kids In Visit
by BILL KLUCAS

“Better than the aver-a-a-a-age type bear!”

The familiar Yogi Bear twang rolls off the lips of Daws Butler, now a resident of Beverly Hills, chief animator of America’s most popular adult cartoon show.

Butler, visiting relatives in Elyria, was entertaining every kid in the neighborhood who could walk or crawl, including one tot in a wheelchair.

A former vaudeville performer, commercial writer, and radio announcer, the Toledo-born star is the voice for Huckleberry Hound, Mr. Jinks and, of course, Yogi Bear.

Butler’s voice is not only familiar to millions as the characters in Huckleberry Hound, but it also entertains the numerous small-fry fans of Quick Draw McGraw, Tom and Jerry and Ruff and Ready.

While working for MGM on the Tom and Jerry cartoon series, producers Bill Hanna and Joseph Barbera approached him with the idea for the Ruff and Ready cartoon show. With the origination of the Huckleberry Hound series, he was hired for the animation.

His job does not stop with the animation of the cartoon, though. He helps edit the script and suggests new story angles to the writers.

Made Hit With Adults
Originally intended as a children’s cartoon series, Huckleberry Hound drew such an adult response that today much of the satire in the series is definitely planned. “It may be poking fun at some government official, popular world figure or just an incident which happened to one of the crew, but it is all in fun,” Butler said.

The 44 year-old father of four believes that Huckleberry and company may stick around for at least five years. “It could last as long as 10 years if fresh material is poured into the series.”

The series appeals to all ages. An island in the Pacific Ocean has been named after Huckleberry, Butler said. Recently the University of Seattle held a Huckleberry Hound Day and tapes of Huckleberry Hound stories were piped over loud speaker throughout the campus.

Children “Sophisticated”
The controversial point of excessive brutality in today’s children shows does not bother Butler. “Children today are more sophisticated. They realize that the characters in Huckleberry Hound are not real.”

The producers always keep a friendly battle going between the characters and despite the fact that Mr. Jinks may hit the two little “Meeses” with a broom, shove them off a cliff or drop them down an eavestrough, when the chips are down the cat will come to their aid. “If you are going to have a ‘heavy’ character in a series, it has to be a humorous type of ruffian.”

Butler’s biggest challenge, in his own opinion, is writing commercials. “It is a real challenge to tell a whole story in 20 seconds.” His commercial work includes the bouncing kangaroo in the Jif Peanut Butter Commercials.

The four Butler boys, David, 16; Donny, 13; Paul, 10; and Charles, 6, all have started in show business already. Charles recently completed the animation for a Disney produced feature, “The Little Fur Tree.”

Butler met his wife, Myrtis while in the Navy during World War II. A former North Carolina resident, Mrs. Butler was working for the special services bureau in Washington, C.C. when the couple met.

The Butler family was staying with Butler’s cousins, Mr. and Mrs. Don Kirkbride, 207 Princeton Ave.

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I was hoping to contact Jane Kirkbride, the cute little girl in the photo clutching a Huckleberry Hound doll, but sadly, the longtime Elyria resident passed away in October 2008.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Oberlin Inn Comes Down Part 3

Vintage postcard
When it was announced that the Oberlin Inn was going to be torn down, I made a few trips out to Oberlin to get some “now” shots (below) in 2014 and 2015 to compare with the vintage postcards. The hotel portion of the complex went first.

October 2014
August 2015
About a week ago, when I learned that that the last remaining portion of the Inn was being demolished, I headed out to Oberlin on a Sunday afternoon and grabbed the shot below.
I also swung around to the back of the property to see what shape the 1969 addition was in. Much of it was gone, and it was only a sad shadow of how it looked on the vintage postcard.
The addition in the process of being demolished
Vintage postcard for comparison
I’ll have to grab a photo of The Hotel at Oberlin at a later date for a “then and now” comparison with the original Oberlin Inn.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Oberlin Inn Comes Down Part 2

The Oberlin Inn that was just demolished was a popular subject of color postcards. Here’s a selection of them from through the years (below).

An addition was later added in the rear, as seen in this postcard (below). It was designed in 1969 by Joseph Ceruti, a Cleveland architect.
And here’s a 1973 phone book ad featuring the sign art seen in one of the vintage photos.
Tomorrow: Demo Shots

Monday, June 20, 2016

Oberlin Inn Comes Down Part 1

April 29, 1949 ad from the Chronicle-Telegram
A few weeks ago, my spy out in Oberlin (also known as the webmaster of the Oberlin in the Past Facebook page) emailed me to let me know that the last portion of the Oberlin Inn that was still standing was finally in the process of being torn down. That’s because its modern replacement, The Hotel at Oberlin was now open.

That particular corner in the college town had played host to some sort of lodging and dining since Oberlin College was founded in the 1830s.

The Oberlin Inn that was there the longest was built in the late 1860s, with businesses on the first floor and the hotel on the second and third floors. In its early days it was known as the Park Hotel.

1915 Ad
(Courtesy Ebay)


A 1937 view
An early 1950s view
In April 1954 it was announced that this version of the Oberlin Inn was going to be replaced. The article below ran in the April 7, 1954 Lorain Journal.

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Old Inn to Be Replaced
By New, Modern Building

OBERLIN – The quaint, 87-year-old Oberlin Inn, one of Ohio’s best-known country inns, will be replaced by a unique, modern structure by Jan. 15, 1955, Dr. William E. Stevenson, president of Oberlin College, announced today.

Construction will begin “immediately,” Stevenson added, but the architect’s plans will permit use of the old inn until the new one is ready for occupancy.

Estimated cost is $600,000, college officials said.

The new inn and eight shops will be constructed on land directly behind the present inn and rows of business buildings on North Main and East College Streets.

Martin Block, on the eastern end of the row on East College and the McClelland Block on the northern end of the row on North Main Street will be torn down beginning June 15.

Air-Conditioned
The new, air-conditioned inn will contain 48 double bedrooms, and extensive dining and meeting rooms. The present structure has only 24 rooms, six with baths, in addition to its famous dinning room, meeting rooms and a faculty lounge.

Two of the new shops will be in the inn itself and six more will be in a separate building just east of the building.

All the stores will face on East College Street, but they will also be accessible from a large parking lot on Willard Court serving both the inn and the stores as well as Oberlin College’s new, $1,200,000 Sophronia Brooks Hall Auditorium, north of the inn.

In addition, diagonal, off street parking for 25 cars will be provided on the East College Street side.

General Contractor
General Contractor for the inn and stores will be the Knowlton Construction Company of Bellefontaine. T. O. Murphy Company of Oberlin has been awarded the contract for heating, plumbing and ventilating. Eldridge Snyder of New York City is the architect.

The new inn will be constructed by Oberlin College as an investment, President Stevenson said, and will be operated on a sound business basis to safeguard regular college budgets.

The project is not part of Oberlin’s recently announced 10-year development program. Dr. Stevenson added that Oberlin College has long recognized the need for good hotel facilities for parents, visitors and all friends of the College, as well as the community generally.

He said the new inn and stores will be landscaped attractively and when the project is completed it will add a new touch of beauty to both the community and the college campus.

Outstanding Feature
The outstanding feature of the new inn will be the skillful combination of carefully designed motel-type accommodations for motorists with compete hotel and dining facilities.

Automobile travelers may park their cars immediately outside bedrooms on the first floor of the building and have access to the lobby, dining rooms, meeting rooms, and shops either via covered outside walks along the side of the building or through an interior corridor.

It is expected that ground will be broken soon.

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By December 1954, much progress had been made. According to an article that appeared in the Lorain Journal on December 8, 1954, it was announced that the new Oberlin Inn would be open in March or April 1955. (The new Inn would eventually open in June 1955.)

The article also stated, “Buildings on either side of the old landmark were razed this summer to make room for the new structure. The 88 year old inn, which in its early history was known as the Park Hotel, will be crumbled with the blows of the razors’ axe as soon as the new building is completed.

You can see both the old hotel and the new one in the 1955 aerial photo, taken before the older structure was razed.
(Courtesy Cleveland Memory website)
The new Oberlin Inn
(Courtesy Cleveland Memory website)