Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Al Doane Remembers: The Tourist Home at 1219 West Erie

Partial 1931 City Directory Listing of West Erie Ave. 
I received an interesting email from well-known Lorain historian and author Albert Doane concerning my post about the tourist home at 1219 West Erie Avenue. Mr. Doane has a unique perspective about the tourist home – because it was right across the street from where he grew up at 1224 West Erie Avenue.

"I knew the family very well," wrote Mr. Doane. "This home was owned by Mr. & Mrs. Smith H. Stone. The Stones had three sons and one daughter. Son John started work for my father's electrical business that was conducted at 1224 West Erie in the rear garage."

John Stone also figures in a cute story Mr. Doane relates about when he was born.
"John always remembered when he and my older brother Bob came home from school, John beat Bob into my house to claim that he got to see the new baby – me – first."

The former tourist home at 1219 W. Erie
(now demolished)
Smith Stone's tourist home was a busy place that was host to both celebrities and working men. 
As Mr. Doane noted, "I remember John Stone, son of Smith Stone, telling me that one time Al Jolson came to Lorain to do a show at the Palace, and he roomed at the tourist home at 1219 West Erie. John also remarked that in the summer, the Army Corps of Engineers would come to Lorain to do repair to the harbor breakwaters with a crew of men and their tugs, crane, and barges. There would be some men renting rooms at 1219 West Erie for the duration of their time in Lorain."
Mr. Doane noted that Smith Stone had other business endeavors besides the tourist home.
"Mr. Smith Stone had a cigar store Confection store in the basement of the Verbeck Theater at the time of its fire (December 1905). The Stone family made popcorn balls in the barn for sale on Broadway."
1905 ad from the Lorain City Directory
Thinking about the tourist home reminded Mr. Doane of other pleasant memories of growing up in that neighborhood.
The former Doane home
at 1224 West Erie Avenue
"I remember the constant running of the street cars on West Erie all the time, and the steady stream of trailer trucks traveling on the street," he noted. "Our dog never got hit by the trucks nor the street cars. West Erie was a nice street to live. It was a short block from the lake, where we kids grew up living at the lake most every day."

Although the tourist home at 1219 West Erie is gone, the barn behind it remains – and Mr. Doane has a memory connected to it too. 

"My brother Bob and Bob Stilgenbauer each built an 18-foot sailboat in the barn in the rear of 1219 West Erie, and, with the help of their buddies, lowered both boats by rope and sweat from the second floor of the barn to the ground."

Special thanks to Albert Doane for his reminisces.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Name Blondie's Baby Daughter – April 1941

April 22, 1941 ad which ran in the Lorain Journal

Blondie has been entertaining us on the comic pages since 1930.

In the early days of the comic strip, Blondie was a beautiful and carefree "flapper" with a lot of boyfriends, including rich Dagwood Bumstead. When the two fell in love and got married, Dagwood was disinherited by his parents for marrying beneath his station. This forced him to go to work, and thus the premise of the strip – namely the day-to-day life and problems of a middle-class family – was born.

Along the way, Blondie and Dagwood had two children: a boy and a girl. The boy – originally nicknamed Baby Dumpling – eventually became known as Alexander.

When the baby girl was born, however, a mail-in contest was held to name her. The ad above announcing the contest ran in the Lorain Journal on April 22, 1941 – 73 years ago today.

Hundreds of thousands of the comic strip's fans sent in suggestions before a name was chosen. Do you remember her name? (If you don't, I'll reveal it shortly.)

Anyway, Blondie is one of my favorite strips and the best of the classics that have been around for decades. It's still well-drawn and well-written, incorporating modern technology and fads to keep it fresh and topical. And the situations are universal enough that everyone can identify with the beloved characters.

Channel 61 in Cleveland used to show the old Blondie movie series featuring Arthur Lake and Penny Singleton. I remember watching them on Saturday afternoons in the late 1960s. There's several where Dagwood is working for someone other than Mr. Dithers and I remember being confused.

Here's the well-remembered opening that was created for the movie series for when it was syndicated on TV.

(I was such a Blondie fan that I even watched the little-remembered 1968 TV series featuring Will Hutchins as Dagwood and Jim Backus as Mr. Dithers.)
Anyway, in case you forgot – the Bumstead daughter is named Cookie!

Monday, April 21, 2014

It's Dog 'n Suds' 54th Year – or is it?

Although I'm a little late announcing it here on the blog, I'm really happy to note that Dog 'n Suds has been open for a few weeks. I've already eaten there once (after a stint last week on Jury Duty in Elyria), and I enjoyed my usual light, healthy lunch of a footlong coney dog and large root beer.

Despite the fact that Dog 'n Suds has been a favorite topic on my blog since 2009, I'm still not exactly sure how long the drive-in has been there out on North Ridge Road.

Various ads for the restaurant in the Chronicle over the years have been doggone inconsistent.

A Grand Opening ad ran in the Journal on July 1, 1966. A 1973 ad states "8 years at same location," putting the opening in 1965. A 1979 ad mentioned "15 wonderful years," which would make the opening about 1964. A 1981 ad invites customers to "Celebrate with us our 17th anniversary" so it seems to favor the 1964 date. A 2008 Chronicle article mentioned that the restaurant opened in 1957 and was purchased by Ilene Hampton in 1961. And lastly, a sign at the restaurant right now reads, "CELEBRATING OUR 54TH YEAR."

It doesn't really matter when it actually opened. I'm just glad it's still there – it's the last Dog 'n Suds in Ohio. Along with the Dinner Bell over on Lake Avenue, the drive-in helps keep Lorain County a magical place to live, where time stands still and things don't change much from year to year.

So be sure to head out to Dog 'n Suds and help Ilene and the drive-in celebrate their anniversary – whichever one it is!

A July 1, 1966 ad from the Journal
An April 17, 1969 ad from the Chronicle-Telegram
A March 29, 1973 ad from the Chronicle-Telegram
A Feb. 21, 1974 ad from the Chronicle-Telegram
A March 21, 1975 ad from the Chronicle-Telegram
A May 23, 1981 ad from the Chronicle-Telegram
A May 17, 1982 ad from the Chronicle-Telegram

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter in Lorain – 1954

What was Easter like in Lorain in 1954?

This short article – which ran on the front page of the Lorain Journal on Saturday, April 17, 1954 describes it very nicely. It's actually quite quaint in its description of overflowing church attendance and the "usual Easter Parade" which my mother has mentioned to me many times, to my disbelief.

Also of interest in the article is the reference to the opening of the 1954 season at some of the resort dance halls east and west of Lorain.

That sure is a cute photo. I wonder if the Frederick family still has that four foot Easter bunny?

Anyway, here's hoping you enjoy a Happy Easter!

Friday, April 18, 2014

David Shukait Article – April 1957

Here's a vintage article (above) about David Shukait, the man who created Lorain's iconic Easter Baskets that grace Lakeview and Oakwood Parks. (Click on it for a readable version.)

I'd posted a similar 1966 article that ran in the Journal back here; the article above is a little bit older. It's from April 17, 1957 and ran in the Chronicle-Telegram. It's a slightly different take – written by Dan J. Warner – on the same subject matter, namely how Mr. Shukait came to create his baskets.

In the article, Mr. Shukait has just received the patent for his basket design, right on the verge of his impending retirement.

As usual, there are incorrect dates, the kind that have plagued the story of Lorain's Easter Basket for many years. The basket was not installed in Lakeview Park until 1941 (as noted back here). Interestingly, the article makes reference to Lorain having five baskets in Lakeview and Oakwood Parks.

It's supposed to be a beautiful Easter Sunday, so I'm sure Lakeview Park will be packed with families making their annual pilgrimage for a photo opportunity. On one of these Easters, I'll have to swing by Oakwood Park and see what it's like over there, crowd-wise.

The best article about Lorain's Easter Basket is still the one written by Rona Proudfoot back in 2009 with extensive input from the Shukait family. Rona's byline has been unceremoniously scrubbed from the online version, but nevertheless you can still read it here on the Chronicle-Telegram website.

And in case you're wondering, Rona still has her flickr collection of Lorain Easter Basket photos (which you can visit here). Be sure to take a look – I'm sure you'll recognize a friend or neighbor.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Trotter's Easter Ad – 1964

Here's a cute Easter-themed ad for Trotter's Office Supply, which was located at 515 Broadway in Lorain. The ad ran in the Journal on March 17, 1964 (and is the last of my 1964 Easter ads).

Roy Trotter was formerly a foreman at Thew Shovel before becoming a vice-president at Eldred's in the early 1950s. Eldred's was an outfitter of books, stationery and office supplies that was located at 375 Broadway.

Around 1957 or so the firm became Trotter's; by 1960 the firm had moved to the 515 Broadway location. It remained there until the mid-1960s, when the address became vacant.

Today the 515 Broadway address is part of the sprawling Lorain National Bank complex.

After the office supply company closed, Roy Trotter operated the Colonial and Blue Bird Bargain Store at 1644 E. 28th Street.

You don't hear too much about Gibson greeting cards these days. American Greetings acquired the firm in March 2000.

That's a good looking cartoon rabbit in the ad. It looks like the artist actually looked at a real one before trying to draw a cartoon one.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lorain Creamery Easter Ad – 1964

Here's another top-hatted Easter bunny ad from 1964 – this time for the well-remembered Lorain Creamery (one of the favorite topics on this blog over the years). The ad ran in the Journal on March 17, 1964.

This bunny is a little less menacing than the giant that towered over the kids in the Pic-Way ad.

Courtesy Ebay
It's kind of a good deal in the ad: buy 2 dozen eggs (you're going to color a dozen of them anyway) and get an Easter bucket and a coloring kit for two dimes.

Although we weren't customers of Lorain Creamery's milk delivery service, we did have milk delivered by Home Dairy. Memories of the milk man coming to our house on Skyline Drive are still very clear.

We didn't have a little milk door at our house on Skyline (we did on W. 30th Street) so our milkman – Bill – used to open up the garage door and leave the milk carrier alongside the steps leading into the house.

Milk men are a funny memory, one that will surely die with the Baby Boomers.