Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Pueblo – Part 2

Half-page ad from the May 23, 1928 Lorain Times-Herald
The Pueblo opened on May 23, 1928 to great fanfare. In fact, the Lorain Times-Herald devoted several pages that day to the grand opening. After all, a new barbecue restaurant designed to look exactly like an old Spanish mission – and located near Lorain, Ohio – was news.

Mr. and Mrs. F. J. McFadden designed, built and owned the restaurant. The article below, which appeared on the first page of the May 23, 1928 special section, tells the whole story behind the business, and how they came to open it.


Spanish Style Structure Opposite Lorain Country Club One of Most Magnificent in Ohio; 10-Piece Band to Play for Three-Day Opening

After seven months of thorough construction, "The Pueblo," most magnificent barbecue sandwich shoppe in Lorain county and one of the most beautiful in Ohio, opens Wednesday evening and will continue its formal opening through Thursday and Friday.

"The Pueblo" is situated just opposite the Lorain country club at Stop 109, one mile west of Lorain on the Lake-rd. Mr. and Mrs. F. J. McFadden are the proprietors and have taken up their residence on the second floor of the structure.

The building was designed by McFadden, one of Lorain's leading architects for the past nine years. The idea was born in his mind during a trip through the south west last winter. While down in the southern extremity of California, Mr. and Mrs. McFadden stayed at a pueblo hotel for a week and from there came the majority of ideas which are incorporated in "The Pueblo."

Barbecue sandwiches, salads, hot and cold sandwiches and fountain service will be rendered at all hours according to McFadden. Special music will be presented on the three opening nights. A ten piece orchestra will entertain guests. Throughout the remainder of the year entertainment will be furnished by radio and orthophonic victrola.

One of the features of the cuisine is barbecue chicken. The chickens are roasted over the barbecue coals and may be taken home by the purchaser. The barbecue building is situated 30 feet from "The Pueblo." This is most modern in design and one of the most efficient on the market. The machinery is electrically operated and the barbecue is self-basting. The grease is dripped onto a pan which rotates and pours its contents over the meat continuously to keep the roast fresh, juicy and tender.

Ten or twelve girls and young men will be in "The Pueblo" to serve patrons constantly. Girls will be dressed in the bright colored garments of sunny Spain. An experienced caterer will be in charge of the kitchen.

"The Pueblo" has a capacity of 70 persons. Booths, capable of seating from four to six persons, line the west walls of the interior with several tables along the east side. There is also counter service. The kitchen is at the rear of the barbecue shoppe.

In the front to either side are situated ladies and gentlemen's rest rooms.

The building was completed at a cost of more than $25,000 according to McFadden and all architectural work was done by the owner. It was started in October, 1927. McFadden maintains offices at the Black River Lumber company, 28th-st and Fulton-rd.

The building is of two-story type with full basement. It has dimensions of 32 feet by 56 feet. The outer walls are constructed of gyplap or fireproof material covered with three coats of California stucco, the outer coat of which is in three colors, blue, brown and ivory. The entire first floor is devoted to the dining room and kitchen while the upper story comprises living quarters for the McFadden family.

The heating plant, an American radiator vapor system, is in the basement. The most modern plumbing and electrical work is installed in "The Pueblo."

Two highpowered flood lights of 4,000 watt are on two poles in front of the establishment. When lighted at night they give the barbecue a daylight appearance. They also light the surrounding parking space which can handle an unlimited number of automobiles.

Another page of the Times-Herald that day included a photo of the Pueblo’s owners.

Next: The Navajo Room

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Pueblo – Part 1

Have you ever headed west out of Lorain on West Erie Avenue (U.S. Route 6) and noticed a short stretch bit of bypassed roadway on the south side of the street, parallel to the highway, just before the undercut? That's Pueblo Drive, currently home to West Side Tractor & Marine and Charles Akers Construction.

But decades ago, that same bit of pavement was part of Lake Road, which was then the main east-west highway through Lorain. And the spot where the bypassed pavement dead-ends at the railroad undercut was home to its namesake restaurant: The Pueblo.

If you're under 50, I'm guessing that you've probably never heard of it.

I first heard of it from my father. When he was a young man, he was on a bowling team whose sponsor was a South Lorain tavern. When the team won the championship, the tavern owner treated them all to a nice dinner at the Pueblo, which then was one of the swankiest places in town.

Anyway, the Pueblo was truly an original, and a Lorain landmark for many years. It was designed to mimic the traditional adobe construction style of the old Spanish missions and the Pueblo Indians of the American Southwest.

It’s hard to imagine such a building at that location today, overlooking the highway.

The Pueblo's story spans from the late 1920s right into the 1960s, through a variety of changes in ownership and names. It’s an interesting story that has been waiting to be told on this blog for more than five years!

Pueblo Drive looking west; the Pueblo was located on the left near the end of this short road,
which is a bypassed segment of U.S. Route 6. 
Another view of Pueblo Drive from Route 6

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Oberlin’s Warner Hall Meets the Wrecking Ball – Fall 1964

Vintgage Postcard
Although I’m straying dangerously onto the turf of the Oberlin In The Past Facebook page, I thought I would post this vintage article anyway. It ran in the Friday, September 25, 1964 Lorain Journal.

The article is about the upcoming demolition (a favorite topic on this blog) of Warner Hall (seen in the above vintage postcard), home to the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music since 1884. The well-written sentimental tribute was written by Bob Thomas.

THE OLD AND THE NEW – Warner Hall on the left of the trees, which has
housed the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music since 1884 is doomed
to fall before the demolition hammer Monday. In its place the second 
phase of the King Building seen on the left [sic] of the trees will begin to rise in 
the spring. The new building named in honor of Henry Churchill King, former 
president of the college, was designed by the famed Japanese-American 
architect, Minoru Yamasaki of Birmingham, Mich., who also designed the 
new Conservatory of Music which is located across the corner of W. College 
and S. Professor Sts., from the old building.
Old Warner Hall Becomes a Memory

OBERLIN – “It will never be the Con without Warner Hall,” one Oberlin graduate wrote to the editors of the Alumni Magazine in 1958 when plans for the razing of the old Conservatory of Music were announced.

The letter continued referring to Warner Hall and other old college buildings as “...our dignifed ancestors in stone."

Another alumnus writing to the same publication said, “...believe me, Oberlin will certainly lose out should our campus lose the old buildings that so faithful served ‘ten thousand strong.’ Much would be lacking to attract us back to class reunions and graduation time.”

Still another, reminiscing the good old days and his favorites among the faculty members wrote –

“These are the things that make Oberlin and these buildings dear to us. Not what we got from books, but what we got from the lives of men and women that helped us form our characters. These buildings bring back these teachers to our minds with a happy memory.”

There is little doubt that many hearts will be heavy Monday when demolition crews from the Cuyahoga Wrecking Co. begin to raze Warner Hall.

In fact the demolition is already in progress as much of the interior has already been disrupted.

When classes at Oberlin College started Tuesday it marked the first time in 80 years that Conservatory of Music students did not scamper up the broad stone steps to classes, lessons and rehearsals. Instead they scurried through the halls looking for the proper classroom or studio in the beautiful new Conservatory complex across the corner from the old structure.

If stone and mortar had feelings as we humans, the past two years would have been very difficult for the old music center, for day after day workmen, in full view of the aged Warner Hall, were putting together the “scaffold” upon which if would plunge to oblivion.

Yesterday as the gray autumn clouds hovered over the yet stately stone structure, its bare windows, and the absence of life around it seemed to cast gloom over that section of the campus.

There have been many physical changes on the Oberlin campus in recent years as the college is progressing with several major development programs, but certainly none to date have changed the appearance of the college grounds as will the removal of the old Conservatory of Music.

In its place will be constructed the second phase of the King Memorial Building. The first step in this project was completed three years ago. It is the white concrete structure immediately to the north of Warner Hall.

When completed, the King Building, designed by Minoru Yamasaki, who also planned the new Conservatory, will be an appropriate complement to the new $4,500,000 music complex.

Also a part of the King Building is Rice Hall, which was built in 1910 as a part of the Conservatory of Music. It has been completely remodeled. The King Building will accommodate programs in the humanities and social sciences.

So the old must give way to the new, the tears that are shed for old Warner Hall will soon dry. Old grads will return, the campus will not be the same as when they cavorted about as undergrads, but it will be just as beautiful.

The years move swiftly, soon old Warner Hall will be forgotten, and alumni will be cherishing memories about the buildings that are new to this group of students.

This is life’s never-ending cycle, but let’s hope that we can always cherish even stone and mortar when they have meant so much in making life, though short it may be, worthwhile.

Good - bye old Warner Hall, thousands of Oberlinians will miss you when they return to campus for a visit, but you will still hold a lofty place in their memories until they too walk the last mile.

My older brother and I took music lessons from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music students back in the mid-1970s for a few months.

(I was hoping to improve my self-taught trombone technique, learned from watching Stan Laurel in Saps at Sea. In the movie, he takes trombone lessons and the only song he ever learns is "Home Sweet Home.” By mimicking him, I was able to learn trombone over one summer and then play it in the Admiral King Marching Band – where I sat a few seats from Scott Welko.)

But getting back to my Oberlin College music lessons.
It was interesting to drive down there once a week and be part of a campus experience a couple years before officially going off to college myself. It was a nice preview, although Ohio State was pretty different from Oberlin and its latter-day hippies.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Goodbye, St. Joe's

Well, the fences are up and the equipment has been put on site and is ready to go. That means that the demolition of St. Joseph’s Hospital – as well as the former Reidy-Scanlan building – is finally going to take place. It may even have already started by the time you’re reading this post.

I first wrote about the proposed demolition on the blog back in August 2013 here. It originally was supposed to be done by the spring of 2014.

There’s been some interesting comments made on the Lorain, Ohio By Photos Facebook page. For every comment in which someone remarks how sad it is, there’s another where someone takes the City’s position and bristles at the idea that the building should be spared, citing how expensive it would be to rehabilitate it.

All I can say is that it’s impossible for anyone over the age of fifty with Lorain as their hometown not to feel a little bit sad about it. Not merely because most of us in that age bracket were born there, but because for decades it was the place we went to get healed and feel better. A lot of us came into the world there, and some of our family members left the world there too.

It’s a special place.

Anyway, I headed over there on Sunday to get some last looks at an old building that was very important to Lorain for many years.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Big Dick's Ad – March 21, 1975

To finish off my week of Lincoln Park posts, here's an advertisement from a later era – when the nightclub was called Big Dick’s. It regularly ran these attention-getting hand-lettered ads in the entertainment section of the local papers.

The one shown above ran in the Chronicle-Telegram on March 20, 1975.

Interestingly, I traded emails with a gentleman back in November 2010 about these very ads.

Raleigh wrote, "If you ever look at the microfiche of the Journal, take a look in the seventies [1976-78?] for the ads for Big Dick's Bar which was in operation at the old Lincoln Ballroom.  My brother-in-law tended bar there as he knew Dick Schupe and Dave Smith, the owners.

"He was doing the weekly ad for them in the paper, but tired of it and it was handed down to yours truly.  Crude art work at best, and I remember prying the information for the new ads out of Dick, doing the art work, then hustling to make it to the Journal by the Wednesday deadline.

"I have not seen those ads since I submitted them and saw them that following Friday night in the paper. If memory serves... usually long, tall ads… reversed boarders... fairly good size.  That would be a trip to see those again."
Raleigh had a good memory. I'm just sorry it took me almost five years to stumble upon one of these ads, and use his great reminisce on the blog!  

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Lincoln Park Rowdiness – 1906 Style

Rick Kurish continues to do my work for me – whatta pal!

He recently sent me the above article from the pages of the Elyria Daily Chronicle of September 11, 1906. (It originally appeared in the Lorain Times-Herald and was reprinted in the Elyria paper.) The article details the morality concerns as to what was going on at Baerenwald Park (Lincoln Park's predecessor) at Stop 48 on the Green Line.

It's an appropriate companion piece and follow-up to yesterday's post about the same thing: rowdy youths.

As Rick noted in his email, the vintage article is "full of moral indignation at the effect of the place on the young women of the surrounding area." He added, "It's a pretty funny article, but you have to remember that this was 1906 – a completely different era.

"While the 1906 article's antics allegedly included such activities as rifle practice near the dance pavilion, a shanty in the woods selling liquor, rowdy behavior on the streetcars, and dancing on Sunday, the noise complaints, littering, and traffic complaints don't seem excessive."
It's an interesting read, so be sure to click on it for a larger version. Thanks once again goes out to Rick for his research help!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Trouble at Lincoln Park – April 1967

Since the last two days’ posts have been about Lincoln Park Ballroom, I might as well post this article, which ran in the Journal on April 1, 1967. It details some of the unhappy problems that were going on at that time between the nightclub and the neighborhood surrounding it.

It's nothing to be nostalgic about, but still, it's part of the history of the property.


Lincoln Park Is Talking About…
Battle Plans
Staff Writer

Inside, Lincoln Park Ballroom throbs with the sounds of electric guitars and snare drums.

Outside, neighbors seethe with resentment.

Inside, young people sway with the beat of rock-and-roll bands.

Outside, home owners shake their fists and curse.

Discord between area families and ballroom owners is mounting and does not promise to diminish even when the last chords of popular songs fade away.

In fact, the rift promises to erupt at any moment into a legal showdown.

THE PROBLEM at Lincoln Park is an old one – but the recent fuss, which culminated at a public hearing last week, began when ballroom owner Richard Yepko petitioned the City Planning Commission for a rezoning ordinance.

The private park is one block west of Broadway, nestled between mobile homes on the west side and Lincoln, Jefferson and Josephine streets on the east.

Last summer, Yepko asked that seven acres of his property be rezoned. Yepko said he needed the new classification to build a swim club at one end of the park.

HIS PLANS call for pool and clubhouse that would shelter a dining room and bar, at one end, and bathhouses at the other. The club would be private with 500 members and would be operated independently of the ballroom.

The swim club would take up only a small portion of available land in the park. The remaining area, between the club and ballroom would be used for parking, tennis courts and picnic facilities.

Although the presence of the ballroom upset Yepko's neighbors, it was his announcement of swim club plans that really riled them.

They felt it would only be another headache – creating more traffic congestion, more vandalism and more noise.

In the past, they say, windows have been broken by flying wine bottles, yards have been torn up by passing cars, mail boxes have been knocked down, noise has kept them awake at night, and streets have been clogged with cars that file in and out of the park.

THEY DIDN'T fight it before but with the announcement of the swim club, they feel their headaches will double.

Some of them are pretty upset.

Said Mrs. Junior B. Haller of 194 Lincoln Ave.: "When I first moved out here my taxes were $38 a year. Now I pay $100 a year and all I got to show for it is a busted street."

"The speeding out here is terrible," said Mrs. Michael Yuhas Jr. of 202 Lincoln Ave. "We have 36 children who live out here in this area and someday one of them is going to get killed."

Donald R. Jordan of 198 Lincoln Ave. agrees.

"THE STREETS out here are pretty narrow and there aren't any sidewalks. With all these cars coming in and out, there isn't even room for a teenager to ride a bicycle on them," he said.

"It's not that we object to a swimming pool," said Robert M. Bernhardt, leader of the opposition group. "As a matter of fact, I think it's a great idea. But this just isn't the place for it."

BERNHARDT, who lives at 230 Jefferson Ave., recently gathered his neighbors in an organized band to fight the rezoning measure. They appeared before city council at the public hearing and presented a petition signed by 27 residents who were against it.

Yepko, on the other hand, gave council a petition with names of 37 people who were in favor of it.

Yepko says he fails to see what neighbors were complaining about.

"I don't know," he said, shaking his head, "you try to do something nice and look what they do to you."

Yepko pointed with pride to the inside of the night club.

"We run a good place here. No trouble, and no complaints until I proposed this swim club," he said.

Yepko said he kept a careful watch on young patrons who come to his place to dance. He pulled out a list of rules.

ANYONE WHO violates the rules or misbehaves could be banned from the club anywhere from six months to six years. The list of offenses ranges from abusive language to possession of a false identification card to possession of fireworks.

"We've kicked out more than 200 kids for rule violations," he said.

He said he takes special care to see no one carries drinks in or out of the building.

"If bottles of beer or pop are thrown on these people's lawns (and I don't believe they are), they don't come out of my place."

Yepko said he employes four special patrolmen to check rowdyism, illegal drinking, reckless driving and to park cars in the lot."

"I DON'T think these people have anything to complain about," he said, "and I still can't see why they oppose my swim club."

Yepko said he had received few or no complaints from the 106 families who live in two mobile home parks on the ballroom's west side.

"Most of them favor the swim club," he declared.

Mrs. Neal Szabados, a member of the neighborhood opposing the club, disagrees with Yepko.

"I don't think many of them are well-informed about how it is going to be operated or what they are going to charge. Most of the people in the trailer park won't be able to send their children to the pool every day."

Mrs. Szabados, who lives with her family at 3945 Josephine St., said the neighbors finally decided to fight the proposal after taking "all we could stand."

"WE'VE TAKEN it all – car jams, vandalism, noise – everything – without a whimper. Now we're going to stick up for our rights," she said.

Her husband has been helping the effort by taking pictures of alleged offenses and plans to display them at next Monday's meeting with City Council.

At the neighborhood powwow last Monday night, Bernhardt laid out the strategy for the skirmishes ahead.

"We've had all kinds of complaints. We've bent over backwards and went along with all this wahoo. Now we're going to fight back.

"We're going to make him obey all parking violations. If a car pulls into your driveway," Bernhardt told the group, "call the police. If the police give you a run-around, keep calling them back.

"Anytime you have any vandalism, call the police and then call Yepko. Get him over here and confront him with it.

"If you have any bottles and cans on your yard, don't pick them up," he continued. "Let it sit there until it gets nice and thick. Then call the city service director.

"KEEP COMPLAINING until something gets done.

"If we have to get nasty, let's get nasty. We'll tear city hall apart if we have to But, above all, stick together."

Bernhardt confided the group may hire an attorney, "if worse comes to worse," adding that his group would fight to have their ward declared "dry" by voters if Yepko's swim club is approved.

Yepko, in turn, says he'll exhaust all legal possibilities until he gets approval. It's either sink or swim for him.

UPDATE (October 1, 2015)
According to an article sent to me by Rick Kurish that appeared in the Chronicle-Telegram on June 28, 1967, Lorain City Council’s building-lands committee "recommended unanimously that rezoning to permit the club be denied.” That apparently scuttled the swim club for good.

In May, the Planning Commission had voted to approve the request to rezone the area from a residential classification to one that would allow for the swim club. But Council refused to agree with the Commission’s recommendation, due to the objection of the nearby land owners.