Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Poultry Past of O'Hara's Beverage Spot

Here's a place that should look familiar to Lorainites: O'Hara's Beverage Spot at 2300 Leavitt Road, just south of W. 21 Street. It's a real landmark on the west side of Lorain and has been for years.
Beverage stores usually don't seem that interesting, but O'Hara's has a surprising past. While at the library a few weeks ago, I found this article that tells a bit about the history of the store. It ran in the Lorain Journal on June 21, 1955.

Poultry Farm Growing Big

A World War II veteran of the U. S. Navy, Vance O'Hara is the owner of O'Hara's Poultry Farm Store which he established in January, 1946, on a five acre site at 2308 Leavitt Road.

O'Hara became interested in raising chickens in the early 40's when his parents operated a small poultry farm in a barn in the rear of 887 W. 23rd Street.

He started in the poultry business in the city but zoning restrictions forced him to purchase the present site in 1947 on which he and his wife, Grace, erected a home. A large building comprised of raising rooms for chickens and turkeys, processing room and sales room was also constructed.

When O'Hara started his business, he had an inventory of 1,500 chickens and processed 100 per week. Today he has an average inventory of more than 4,000 chickens and 400 turkeys and processes more than 350 chickens and turkeys weekly.

The O'Hara's have erected several smaller buildings for hens and starting turkeys and have put up a run for turkeys.

Fresh poultry, whole or cut up, and eggs are always featured in the store operated by the O'Hara's at their farm.


It may seem strange to think of a poultry farm at that location on Route 58 now, but for many years, there just wasn't much out there in that neck of the woods except for the airports.

I did dig a little bit in the Lorain City Directories to see what else I could find out about O'Hara's. For the first few years in the directory, the store was listed as O'Hara Lakeland Poultry Farm. By the mid-1950's, the store became O'Hara's Poultry Farm Market.

And when did O'Hara's apparently chicken out and switch from birds to brewski's? In 1961, O'Hara's Beverage Spot made its first appearance in the city directory.

UPDATE (August 20, 2015)
Here's the Grand Opening ad for O'Hara's Poultry Farm Market that ran in the Lorain Journal on June 27, 1958. The big event was scheduled for Friday and Saturday, June 29th and 30th, 1958.

It's interesting to see the launching of the first version of the store that's still there today. I'll bet the chicken and fresh eggs tasted great.


-Alan D Hopewell said...

We used to trick-or-treat there; you always had to sing or dance or do something to get candy.

Doug Majka said...

I talked to Bev O'Hara about this yesterday. She mentioned the white building behind the ice machine was one of the original buildings of the poultry business. It had two roll up garage doors on the south side, and that also housed a farmers market which would sell fruits and vegetables.