Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year - 1960 Lorain Style!

Well, here's wishing all of you a Happy New Year and a great 2010!

If this was December 31, 1960 you might be getting ready to welcome in 1961 at Heilman's. As you can tell from the above newspaper ad, Tall Paul Dean had a big night of entertainment planned. I like the fact that they invited frustrated musicians to bring along their instruments!
I'm a frustrated musician – but I'll bet that if I try to bring my trombone into the restaurant tonight, I'll probably get the bum's rush! Oh well, Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy New Year Edition of the Passing Scene


Here's another of Gene Patrick's The Passing Scene comics, this time from the end of December 1966. It is a nice time capsule looking back at the events of that year. (Click on it for a larger view.)

Sights of the Season





Here are a few holiday snapshots from around Lorain and around my house as well.

The rather beat-up plastic light-up Santa is my favorite Christmas decoration. I bought it years ago in an antique shop down in Homerville – for a buck! But that's not why it's my favorite; it's because it obviously saw a lot of use outside and brought a lot of joy to some family and its neighbors. Now he's inside doing the same for us.
I love the vintage light-up snowmen as well. My parents had one just like the smaller of the two. Theirs was also missing whatever it was the snowman was holding in his hand!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!


Here's hoping that all of you enjoy a wonderful Christmas! I'll be back next week, blogging my way towards the New Year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas 1960: O'Neil - Sheffield Center

Here's a full-page Lorain Journal newspaper ad for the old O'Neil - Sheffield Shopping Center. It's rather clever, as the kids could cut out the Santa, glue him down on some cardboard and assemble him like a puppet. (If you click on it and print it out, you could assemble your very own 1960s Santa puppet!)

Of course, no discussion about the Sheffield Shopping Center at Christmas time would be complete without mentioning the Talking Christmas Tree (which is mentioned in the ad). I remember going there with my family and chatting with it along with my siblings, wondering where a talking Christmas tree fit in with all of the various Christmas legends, TV specials, etc. But it didn't really matter. It was magical and fun and just for kids, and that's how Christmas should be. Or at least that's how it was in a more innocent, simpler time.

Christmas 1960: Giant Tiger ad

Here's part of an ad for another local gone-but-not-forgotten store: Giant Tiger. (Click on the ad so you can see all the neat stuff.)

At one time, Giant Tiger was a pretty popular department store in Northern Ohio. According to this article, it was eventually sold to Gaylords, another chain.
This ad is interesting not only because of the toys (Three Stooges colorforms, Tinker Toys, toy pianos, etc.) but because of Giant Tiger's advertising mascot. What the heck is Tony the Tiger doing in a Giant Tiger ad?? Someone call Kellogg's!

Christmas 1960: Gray Drug ad

Here's another ad (or most of it at least) from December 1960, this time for Gray Drug Stores. That's a drug store chain that I had forgotten.

The ad is hilarious though, with Jolly Old Saint Nick chompin' on a cheroot! I don't think they could get away with that today.

Christmas 1960: Oakwood Shopping Center Part 2

While looking through microfilm at the library of old Journals from December 1960, I found this small blurb promoting the big fiberglass Santa Claus that Oakwood Shopping Center had on display. (Click on it to enlarge it for reading.) I guess they had a good PR agent.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas 1960: Oakwood Shopping Center


Here's an ad for Oakwood Shopping Center from December 1960. (Click on it for a larger image.) Unfortunately the ad doesn't feature Oakwood Shopping Center's mascot, Oakie the Squirrel! (Click here if you don't know who Oakie the Squirrel is!)

The ad is very interesting though because the Santa Claus fiberglass statue promoted in the ad looks an awful lot like the one that Hot Dog Heaven displays in front of their restaurant in Amherst (at right). In both poses, Santa is writing in his book. They may be painted a little different (the white fur trim above the boots, for example) but at the very least they look like the same mold might have been used for both.
For a few more looks at Hot Dog Heaven's Santa, click here and here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas 1960: Willow Hardware Ad

Here's a nice tall ad for the much-missed Willow Hardware from December 1960. (Click on it for a super-sized version.) As a graphic designer, I love the 1950s typography for the "Merry Christmas" as well as the Willow Hardware logo itself.

The ad is interesting in that it points out that you can park free with no meters. I guess it was a real competition at that time between Lorain's downtown stores, the big shopping centers (like Sheffield Center, Westgate and Oakwood) and the little shopping strips (like the Willow Shopping Center, where Willow Hardware was located.)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas 1960: Hills Department Store Ad



Here's another jolly ad from December 1960, this time for the late great Hills Department Store out on Route 57. (Click on it for a larger view.) I love the Santa Claus illustration. You don't see too many store ads any more with big custom illustrations like that taking up a bunch of valuable real estate.
Hills was one of my family's favorite stores, and I remember my Mom doing a lot of shopping in there. I think we bought all of our clothes there, including winter coats, for years. We made use of the layaway department, that's for sure.
Going to Hills was interesting, because to get there we had to drive by Oakwood Park. Then we could sneak a peek at the train there, and the 'other' Easter basket.
The best thing about being dragged there shopping as a kid is that if you were lucky, your Mom would buy you a frozen coke or a bag of popcorn on the way out! My Mom did, many times – and I still love frozen cokes.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas 1960: Ohio Edison Ad

Here's another ad from December 1960, for Ohio Edison. It features our old buddy, Reddy Kilowatt. I did a series on him back in August (click here to refresh your memory.) He's looking pretty domesticated in this ad, with his apron.

I like this ad. It's kind of quaint, promoting one of those newfangled dishwashers! "Cleans dishes better than you can do by hand!"
I don't know if I believe that. I still spend a lot of time washing pots and casserole dishes by hand, mainly because if I put them the dishwasher, they'll come out with a hardened crust around the edges.
It's good to see in the ad that Ohio Edison is a "tax-paying" electric company!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas 1960: Shoreway Shopping Center

Here at the blog, I'm going to celebrate Christmas with a series of local ads with a Christmas theme – all from 1960. Why Christmas 1960? No special reason for choosing that season, except that it was a time when most of the shopping centers in Lorain County were new. That means they were still heavily promoting their stores, which made a lot of lively and memorable newspaper ads. I'll throw some other ads in there as well.

First up: an ad from the Shoreway Shopping Center in Sheffield Lake. (Click on it for a larger image.) The Shoreway Shopping Center may be going through a metamorphosis in 2009, but in December 1960 it was still pretty new. I love this great ad with Santa perched on a rocket. (Why do I think of the ending of Dr. Strangelove when I look at this ad?)
Note how Route 301 was Lake Breeze back then, not Abbe Road as it is now.

LHS Demolition Update 4


Well, it's done! Lorain High is now a smoking pile of rubble. The view above is of the entrance to the building, same view as the view in this post.

Kind of an iconic image, isn't it?

Friday, December 11, 2009

You Know it's Christmas When...


...Santa shows up outside of Hot Dog Heaven in Amherst!

That's such a great statue of Santa Claus. I wish I could remember the story behind it. I recall that the statue was found lying on the roof of some business in downtown Lorain. Then Hot Dog Heaven acquired him, cleaned him all up and display him annually in front of their restaurant at 493 Cleveland Avenue in Amherst.
If you love chili dogs like I do, then you gotta visit one of the two locations of Hot Dog Heaven. For a menu and location information, visit their website by clicking here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Old Lake Road Bridge over Beaver Creek Part 2





Here are a few photos of the old alignment of US 6 over Beaver Creek.

The top photo is of Old Lake Road looking east from its intersection with Oak Point Road. As you can see, the road slopes down in the distance. (It is also a private drive, and my short stop to take the photograph attracted the attention of a resident. He came down his driveway to presumably tell me to scram.)
The second photo is of Old Lake Road winding down towards the creek. I took this photo looking south.
The third photo is a slightly wider angle shot showing the road leading to a pic-a-nic pavilion at the far right of the photo.
The bottom photo (from my car window) shows where the bridge was. It ran from the burgundy deck with the white railing on the left to the pic-a-nic pavilion on the other side of the river. You can still see part of the old support structure on both sides of the river.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Old Lake Road Bridge over Beaver Creek Part 1



One of the neat things about late fall is that all the leaves are off the trees, and you can get a good look at things that were previously hidden by foliage – like old road alignments.

Since I'm an old road junkie, last weekend I took a look at the old US 6 roadbed behind Beaver Park Marina. For years I have seen on local maps a chunk of bypassed US 6 called "Old Lake Road" that ran behind Beaver Park Marina after crossing Oak Point Road. But I've never been sure whether the old roadbed was still there.
After paying a visit to the area last week, I think it is. The corresponding maps of the area (from 1896 and 1972) show Old Lake Road crossing almost diagonally across Beaver Creek. (Click on each map for a super-sized view.) I labeled the old map so that you could match up the current names of the roads.
The 1972 map shows that when the new alignment of Lake Road was built, Oak Point Road was apparently extended to meet it.
I'll upload some photos in Part 2.

Monday, December 7, 2009

LHS Demolition Update 3




Stopped over by Lorain High School again to see how much had been 'erased' since I last stopped. I guess this is probably what Hiroshima High School looked like in August 1945.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Gene Patrick and the Passing Scene Part 2




Here's a few more of cartoonist Gene Patrick's The Passing Scene cartoons from November 1965. (Click on each for a larger view.) I also included one of his cartoons that was featured on the sports page during the same time period, showing the football matchup between the Lorain High Steelmen and the Elyria High Pioneers (I love the 5 o'clock shadow on the normally cute Pioneer mascot!)

Looking at these cartoons brings back a lot of good Lorain memories. Remember Mayor 'Woody' Mathna? I don't think any local politician loved this town more. I still don't know why there isn't a school named after him. I remember running into him at Big Town and being really thrilled that he smiled and said hi to me.
Other items in the cartoons are pretty interesting, such as the paving of State Route 254, as well as the "Save the Lighthouse" campaign. And in the "some things never change" department, a sales tax had just gone down in defeat in the November 6, 1965 cartoon!
I don't know what ever happened to Gene Patrick. He seemed to have disappeared from the city directories in the late 1970's. The funny thing is, while researching him, I learned that in the 1970's, he worked for Evans Graphics Arts in Elyria, which later became a branch office (Elyria Graphics) of the company that I work for.
If anyone knew or knows what happened to the talented Gene Patrick, please leave a comment!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Gene Patrick and the Passing Scene Part 1




Last week I was blogging about Gene's Hobby Hub, which in 1972 was right between Yala's Pizza and Dom & Luigi's Barber Shop on Oberlin Avenue. I hinted that Mr. Gene Patrick, the owner of Gene's Hobby Hub, had another occupation that showcased his talents on a weekly basis.

Jeff Rash, one of the regular readers (Thanks, Jeff!) of this blog guessed correctly that Mr. Patrick was an artist and cartoonist. His comic feature The Passing Scene ran in the Lorain Journal for many years, beginning in the mid-1960's and into the 1970's. (I'm not 100% sure of those dates.)
I always looked forward to The Passing Scene, which ran on Saturdays in the back section of the newspaper. I admired the simple style and gentle humor, as well as the great caricatures of both local and national figures.
The above samples are from May 1965 microfilms. Click on each for a larger view.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The return of Faroh's Candies... for a while, anyway


A few weeks ago I noticed a big Faroh's Candies sign in a storefront on Broadway. I wasn't sure if it was just plunked in the window or what. It looked like the sign that used to be in front of the Henderson Drive store.

Over the weekend, I got my answer. The Morning Journal had a nice article revealing that Faroh's Candies now has a store at 657 Broadway for the holidays. The store will be open from 10 am to 6 pm.
Click here to read the article in case you missed it.
The store is a great idea, and a great bit of Lorain nostalgia. I sure hope the public supports it!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's an ad for Thanksgiving dinner at Heilman's restaurant from November 1965. Heilman's was right at the intersection of Broadway and West Erie, or the Loop as it was known.

The photo at right is from the Black River Historical Society's website, which has a great collection of pictures that you can access here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Oberlin Avenue Mystery Business Revealed!

Last week I asked if anyone (besides me) remembered the business that in 1972 was in the spot right between Yala's Pizza and Dom & Luigi's Barber Shop. Since I know the suspense (or the boredom, as the case may be) is killing you, I'll tell you. It was Gene's Hobby Hub.
Gene's Hobby Hub was your basic old-time hobby shop. It was an interesting place for kids to poke around, full of toys, models, paint, etc. I remember going in there a few times, with a boyhood chum who was into rockets.
At right is the Lorain City Directory listing for the "Willow Shopping Center" area on the west side of the street. Remember all those other great Lorain businesses?
Despite being located between two popular businesses, Gene's Hobby Hub didn't last very long. In fact, nothing at that particular location at 3350 Oberlin Avenue lasted very long. In 1966 the spot was occupied by Judi's Wig Center. Then from 1967 - 1970: nothing. In 1971 the Lorain Dental Laboratory was in there, followed by Gene's Hobby Hub in 1972. Gene's Hobby Hub has the distinction of being the last business in there until Yala's Pizza took over the space around 1986.
A gentleman named Gene Patrick ran Gene's Hobby Hub. Next week I'll tell you a little more about Mr. Patrick and his other high-profile occupation, which provided him a weekly forum for his talents. How's that for a smooth transition of blog topics?

Monday, November 23, 2009

LHS Demolition Update 2




I did my weekly drive-by to see how the LHS demolition is coming along. What a difference a week makes... it's like the building is being erased little by little, like the picture of Marty McFly in Back to the Future!

Strangely enough, the Morning Journal has yet to run a photo of the demolition.
I think if the paper had its way, the demo team would head on over to Admiral King High School next. Last week in a controversial editorial, the paper suggested getting rid of the Admiral King name when the two current high schools combine sooner than expected.
I agree with this letter writer that it would be a disgrace if Lorain doesn't continue to honor Ernest J. King, its all-time most accomplished hometown hero.
What do you think?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Oberlin Avenue Shopping Strip Question!


I mentioned a few days ago that I was going to post a question here about the old Oberlin Avenue strip of businesses. As you can see by the photo above, I've zoomed in a little more on the specific building of interest! (I'll bet you thought I was going to ask something about old-time businesses Steve's Shoe Repair or Super's Tavern, since the first photo was a wide angle shot. Ooh, I'm such a sneak!)
No, the specific part of the building I'm interested in is the spot right between the two Lorain landmarks: Yala's Pizza and Dom & Luigi's Barber Shop! As you can see, there's nothing there now. But there was in 1972 – and only for about a year or so! It left an impression on me as a kid – and maybe you too! Can you name that business?
Be sure to post your guesses/thoughts/indifference by clicking on the 'comments' link and then going from there!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Trip Down Memory Lane... I mean, Oberlin Avenue!



Take a good look at the photo above. I'm sure all of you recognize it. It's the little strip of stores on the west side of Oberlin Avenue opposite Lorain Plaza. (Click on the photo for a jumbo version.)
If you haven't lived in Lorain for a long time, it certainly looks... um.. different from the old days, doesn't it?
Well anyways, take a look at the photo and mentally take a trip back to the early 1970's. I'm going to pose a question here in a day or so about one of the businesses that used to be in this strip and I'm curious as to how good everyone's memory is. Maybe no one will remember what I'm going to ask.
But we'll see!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More Thoughts on the LHS Demolition


On Sunday while I was snapping some shots of the ongoing demolition of the old Lorain High School, the guy who was wrangling a big brick-and-mortar souvenir chunk into his trunk stopped to talk to me.

"I graduated from here in 1970," he stated rather glumly. I could see the demolition really bothered him. "I live in Elyria now," he went on. "If this school was in Elyria, we would have saved it."
I think he's right.
Some communities value their heritage and try to hold on to the things that define them. Unfortunately, Lorain isn't one of them. I've written several letters to the Editor over the past decade to lament the fact that so many schools were being abandoned or slated for demolition that really weren't all that old. And the sterile, ugly 3-story boxes that replace them have none of the character of the old buildings.
The same thing that happened to LHS will eventually happen to Admiral King (my Alma Mater.) And I'm willing to bet the new school will not be called Admiral King either.

Monday, November 16, 2009

LHS Demolition Update




After a stop at the Lorain Public Library yesterday, I swung by the old Lorain High School to see how the demolition was coming along. I wasn't the only one there with a camera in hand, and one guy was even lugging away a pretty good size chunk of a brick wall – which was going to make a dandy doorstop.

Anyway, I dug out my old LHS postcard (top) as well as a photo of the same view from around 2007 (middle) and finally a shot from Sunday (bottom).
I like the surgical strike method of demolition that is being employed here. Anyone who hated the modern addition to the building (seen in the middle photo) got to see what the whole scene looked like without it.