Friday, November 5, 2010

1960's Memories of Skyline Drive Part 1

Real estate ad from the Lorain Journal of May 15, 1954
Skyline Drive. 
The name still sounds vaguely chic to my ear. Maybe it's because the name suggests a trendy neighborhood on the western edge of a community, silhouetted against the horizon.
Before I get carried away here, however, I've got a confession to make. My family didn't really live on Skyline Drive. We lived on East Skyline Drive.
It makes a difference, which I'll explain. But first, a short history lesson of the area.
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Skyline Drive first appeared officially in the Lorain City Directory in 1958, but the street and many of the homes listed had already been there for many years. A quick check of some of the homes on the Lorain County Auditor's website shows that the earliest ones were built in 1951. A few more were built each year until 28 homes were listed in 1958.
As you can see from the 1959 map (below), only the portion of the street west of Leavitt Road (Route 58) existed at that time. The eastern portion where we moved to in 1965 would follow later. (Click on the map for a closer look.)
The whole area east of Leavitt from the creek south to W. 40th and east to Edgewood Drive hadn't been developed yet.

Anyway, Skyline Drive in the 1950's must have been a fairly elite address. It was part of a brand new development with bigger lots and consequently, bigger homes. (It was still part of Black River Township in the 1950's.) Plus, it didn't conform to Lorain's standard street naming system of numbering the roads from north to south. That made the name a little bit special.

Thus when it was time to develop the portion of Skyline Drive on the east side of Leavitt, it was my parents' recollection that the residents on the west side objected to the use of the Skyline Drive name.

Whether that's 100% true or not, I'm not sure. All I know is that our street sign read E SKYLINE DRIVE and the sign on the other side of Leavitt Road read just SKYLINE DRIVE. Which makes East Skyline Drive the only 'east' address on the west side of Lorain.

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Here's another map of the area a few years later – some time in the early 1960's. A lot of change occurred in a few years!

The map includes several iconic Lorain landmarks, such as the Westgate Shopping Center, the Lorain Plaza Shopping Center and the airport. 

Although the map shows E. Skyline Drive reaching Leavitt Road, it didn't happen until later.

For several years, Skyline Drive ended in front of our house, which in 1965 was the last one on the block. The street then trailed off towards Leavitt as a dirt road before disappearing in the field.

Temple Avenue didn't exist in 1965 either, only on paper.

Also note that Skyline Drive's eastern terminus was Palm Springs Drive. Since there was no access from Leavitt Road, we were kind of landlocked. To get to our house, we had to come in on either Palm Springs Drive or Marshall Avenue.

This map of the Amelia Meadows allotment from the same time period will give you a better idea of what it was like at the time we moved in. Notice that the streets are mapped out but in reality weren't built yet. And that was one big piece of property waiting to be developed.


We lived where the red 'X' was, and as you can see, we were indeed the last house on the block on the south side of the street. In 1965 there were no homes behind our house all the way to W. 40th and beyond. 

Well, I showed you all the maps. So what was it like for a kid living in that part of Lorain at that time? Stop back here next time and find out!

4 comments:

-Alan D Hopewell said...

Back in our youthful ignorance(late 60's / early 70's), we children of color used to refer to that part of town as "Honky Valley".

Dan Brady said...

That's funny! Especially since I'm making a big deal out of the fact that we felt like riff-raff living on EAST Skyline Drive. I guess it's all in your perspective.

I never thought of our neighborhood as being particularly upper middle class, because everybody's dad seemed to work in a factory (either Ford, the steel mill, or BFGoodrich).

-Alan D Hopewell said...

Y'want to hear REALLY funny? Most of our dads worked the same places; as you said, perspective.

John said...

lol my dad also used to make industrial fasteners in a factory just shows you how much so called different neighbourhoods were very similar really.