Monday, February 28, 2011

Winter Weekend Wrap-up

Last weekend (before we got all this snow) I headed out with my camera to grab a few shots.

First up was the former Ontario store on N. Ridge that I had blogged about (now the home of Lorain County Jobs and Family Services). Why? Because one of that post's comments reminded me of that whole 'big ball' controversy that I had forgotten about. If I remember correctly, there were several mounted at various places around the outside of the building.

Strangely enough, I drove all around the whole complex and only found one still there at the far west end facing N. Ridge. It looked a little battered, and was even partially obscured with a sign.

Thinking back, it was a funny controversy, and hard to talk about without generating snickers. I sympathize with the architect, who was trying to do something memorable and different.

Good thing my favorite TV show – ABC's Wipeout (with its well-known big balls competition feature) wasn't on the air at the time!

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Since I had mentioned Hot Waters a little more than a week ago, I headed down there yesterday to see what it looked like after the mini-blizzard on Friday. There were a few cars, and a few Canadian geese hanging around as well.

If you're an out-of-towner, click on each photo for that 'you're back in Lorain' feeling.




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Lastly, yesterday was my birthday, and we usually celebrate it with dinner out someplace. Although I was going to spend the whole week blogging about Midway Oh Boy, and it would have been a nice way to cap off the week with a birthday dinner there, I was asked earlier in the week to come up with something different for a change. 
So early last week, I thought of a place in Vermilion at which I had never eaten before, but had driven by a million times. It was such an old and interesting-looking place that I was surprised that I had never made it a priority to eat there before.
If you read today's paper, then you know the name of the place that I had strongly considered: the Elberta Inn.  
It burned down yesterday, which you can read about here.
Actually the real name of the place was Alize at Elberta. By the end of the week I had changed my mind and decided to go to Salvatore's  (also in Vermilion) instead. They do a baked cod in butter dish that is out of this world (it tastes like lobster), and I had a strong hankering for it – so the Elberta Inn would have to wait for another day.
Unfortunately that day will never come. 
Here's the scene at dusk on Saturday night, the day it burned down.


And here is the view from Route 6 from today (Sunday). At first glance, the damage doesn't look so bad until you realize that the building now resembles a false front found on a movie set. The front and sign survived, but there is nothing behind it but charred rubble.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Midway Oh Boy Part 5

As the 1970's drew to a close, Midway Oh Boy entered a period in which it changed hands a few times.

According to the Elyria City Directory, Larry Burgess took over after the Wrackers around 1980, followed by James Ryan in the mid-1980's. Finally, around 1991, David and Carole Disbrow became the latest owners of the beloved restaurant.

A 1992 Midway Oh Boy ad from the Elyria phone book 
The Disbrows enhanced the Midway Oh Boy brand by standardizing the logo with appealing type to go along with the classic burger boy mascot (see ad above). From there, they gave the restaurant's fans what they apparently wanted all along: Oh Boy merchandise! A wide variety of Oh Boy branded promotional products appeared, including T-shirts, caps, mugs, and even a Cat's Meow® wooden keepsake. New merchandise appears periodically; currently, a nifty travel mug and a water bottle are available.

Enjoying an Oh Boy at the 2010 LCF
By my math, the Disbrows have now owned Midway Oh Boy longer than any of the other previous owners. They have also taken Oh Boy on the road, with their food trailer appearing at local festivals, as well as continuing the restaurant's satellite operation at the Lorain County Fair.

My wife and I always hit the Midway Oh Boy booth at the fair as soon as we arrive at the Fair (see photo at left). It's a tradition that I don't intend to end anytime soon. The booth is easy to find – it's right under the Grandstand.

Happily, the restaurant continues to thrive at its Lake Avenue location and looks like it will be around for a long time – which is a relief to me, as it has become much more than just a mere burger joint to me. I've celebrated several major birthdays there, and the restaurant has been the scene of many family gatherings over the years. My father would always rave about his burger after one of our Oh Boy dinner get-togethers, and I think of him every time we eat there.

I hope you enjoyed this look at one of my favorite places.


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For more Oh Boy fun, check out local journalist and photographer Rona Proudfoot's first-ever encounter with an Oh Boy at the 2009 Lorain County Fair, which you can find here.

And visit this great blog with a mother's well-written account of her visit to Midway Oh Boy with her sons while passing through Lorain County on a trip.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Midway Oh Boy Part 4

1974 Tiny Pines advertisement in the Lorain Journal; note the burger-boy yelling FORE!

For a while, Midway Oh Boy had an added dimension to the restaurant experience: golf. Take a look at this April 15, 1974 article from the advertising section of the Journal.
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Tiny Pines Golf & Oh Boy: An Unbeatable Combination

About eight years ago Jim and Pat Wracker made an important decision to purchase Nel's Oh-Boy Drive-In, the home of the first double-decker sandwich in the county.

This year the sandwich celebrates its 22nd anniversary and the relocated Midway Oh-Boy Drive-In is going strong, along with other enterprises at the 6604 Lake Ave., Elyria, location.

Wracker and his assistant, Steve Frank, completely redesigned and renovated the "Tiny Pines" miniature golf course that the Wrackers bought a few years ago. The renovation has transformed the course into the best mini-golf course in the entire area. In addition, a mini-arcade is operated in conjunction with the mini-golf course.

Last year, Wracker and Frank constructed the Tiny Pines Driving Range, which includes a shelter area for golfers who wish to practice their driving in a light downpour. Also included with the driving range is a large patio area where golfers can relax before or after hitting a basket of balls.

This year Wracker and Frank have constructed another addition to the growing Wracker enterprises. The Tiny Pines Pro Shop carries a complete inventory of all types of golfing equipment and accessories, including such famous names as Hagen, Wilson Burke-Worthington, Wilson, Uniroyal and Worthington.

Frank, who manages the pro shop, indicates the Midway Oh-Boy drive-in is perfect for businessmen who want to practice their golf in the Tiny Pines complex, while waiting for lunch to be prepared. By the use of an intercom, golfers can order their lunch when they first arrive at the driving range, hit a bucket of balls, and then enjoy a delicious lunch prepared and served in the Oh-Boy Drive-In.

So if you enjoy golf and good food, stop by the Wracker's Midway Oh-Boy Restaurant Tiny Pines Golf complex, and have a heaping helping of both.

The Tiny Pines Golf complex is open daily from 11 a.m to 9 p.m.

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I remember playing mini-golf at Tiny Pines during my high school years, long before I ever started eating at Midway Oh-Boy. Alas, all those wasted years! (Not eating at Oh Boy, that is – not high school.)
Later when I was learning how to play golf, I would hit many a bucket of balls at the Tiny Pines driving range. I don't know if I accomplished anything, but at least I could pick up an Oh-Boy afterwards.

Next: I wrap up this Oh Boy Love-fest!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Midway Oh Boy Part 3

1967 Elyria phone book ad

By the mid-1960's, the restaurant had been sold to Pat and Jim Wracker and was now known as the Midway Oh Boy Drive In. The mayonnaise-based secret sauce that Millie Krugman created was now described in ads as "the tantalizing sauce". (The sauce really is unique – mildly onion-flavored – and great for dipping french fries in as well.)

Here's another phone book ad from 1970.

1970 Elyria phone book ad

In the early 1970's, the Wrackers moved the restaurant to its present location at 6620 Lake Avenue. Here's a 1971 ad with a nice drawing of the new building.

1971 Elyria phone book ad
Next: Fore!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Midway Oh Boy Part 2

Nelson and Millie Krugman, the original owners of Midway Oh Boy (photo courtesy Chronicle-Telegram)

Midway Oh Boy was founded back in 1953 by Nelson and Millie Krugman.

Where Midway Oh Boy began back in 1953
The restaurant wasn't originally located where it is now; it was a little bit north down Lake Avenue near where Fenik's Corn is today. (The addresses in that neck of the woods were renumbered at some point, so the restaurant's original Lake Avenue address doesn't officially exist anymore. But the building is still there.)

When the restaurant opened, it was originally known as the Midway Drive In. This name can be found in early phone book ads, as well as on a vintage ash tray that I purchased at a Castalia antique shop more than twenty years ago.

Here's an early Elyria phone book ad from 1955.


And here's that ash tray that I mentioned.

Next: Midway Oh Boy History Continues

Monday, February 21, 2011

Midway Oh Boy Part 1

Midway Oh Boy at 6620 Lake Avenue
Several times my wife and I have watched the TV news, and heard about an execution that just took place. Occasionally the news report includes what the condemned person had for their last meal, such as a steak or a lobster tail.

More than once, I've turned to my wife and matter-of-factly remarked, "Well, if it was me on Death Row – I'd want an Oh Boy and fries."

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I guess you can tell I 'm a big fan of Midway Oh Boy and have been for years.

You see, if we're in the mood for great burgers, we go to Mutt & Jeff's. Or, I might even cook some on the grill myself. But when you have a hankering for an Oh Boy, there's only one place to go.

It's not just the one-of-a-kind taste of an Oh Boy, which is somewhat similar to a Big Boy double-decker sandwich, that I enjoy. It's also the atmosphere of the place itself, casual and unassuming, so anyone can feel welcome in there, no matter what they're wearing. Plus, there's the whole local aspect of it, the fact that there is a real family running it and depending on customers to come back.

They never have to worry about that, though – because once you've enjoyed your first Oh Boy, you're hooked.

Vintage Oh Boy Sign
While growing up, my family never went to Midway Oh Boy. We would pass it on the way to Midway Mall, and I would notice the unique burger-boy sign (at left), but the place just wasn't on our restaurant radar. Why? Probably because Dad cooked out hamburgers on the grill almost every Saturday night during the summer months. When we did have to go out for hamburgers, we would head to Sandy's which was minutes from our home.

It wasn't until the mid-1980's, when I was living on my own, that I stopped in at Midway Oh Boy on a whim while Christmas shopping, not knowing what to expect. Soon I was dragging my future bride there.

Fortunately, she passed the Oh Boy litmus test. We've been there many times since.

Next: Midway Oh Boy History

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sparkle Reveal


I did a double-take driving by the Lorain Metropolitan Housing Authority complex (above) at 1600 Kansas Avenue today. Apparently, some work being done to the outside of the building revealed its previous use as a Sparkle grocery store back in the 1980's.

The building first showed up in the City Directory in 1960 as an A&P. It continued as an A&P up until around 1979 or 1980 when it became a Sparkle.

Around the late 1980's, it became the Harbor IGA (which I shopped at). Unfortunately, it didn't last long, and was closed in the early 1990's.

Nevertheless, it was interesting yesterday to see a reminder of Sparkle's heyday in the Lorain area. Sparky the mascot would certainly approve!

Sparky, the Sparkle Mascot (shown here in a 1958 Journal ad) 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Oh Boy! Look what I'm serving up next week!

If you live in Lorain County, then no doubt you know who this is. It's the advertising mascot of Midway Oh Boy!

This winking burger boy has been the symbol of the popular Midway Oh Boy restaurant on Lake Avenue since it opened in 1953, and his appearance hasn't changed one bit. An Oh Boy double-decker hamburger serves as his body, and he makes the 'OK' sign with his thumb and index finger to express his approval.

Midway Oh Boy's fans express their approval by regularly jamming the booths of the restaurant while they enjoy the one-of-a-kind Oh Boy with its top secret sauce. It's one of my most favorite places to eat. (That's the link to the restaurant's website on the right side of this blog's home page.)

So stop back here at the blog next week to learn about the history of the restaurant and see some vintage Midway Oh Boy advertising. And maybe even a few surprises!

(But don't expect to see the secret recipe for Oh Boy sauce.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hot Waters in the Blizzard

Over at fellow blogger Alan Hopewell's Pointing the Cannon, he is featuring his thoughts and memories about Lorain's well-known Hot Waters pier and boat launch.

That reminded me of this Journal clipping that I found on microfilm at the Lorain Public Library. It's from the infamous late January Blizzard of 1978, featuring the fact that the water level at the pier had dropped dramatically. (Give it a click so you can read it.)

Like Alan, I've also enjoyed hanging around Hot Waters both as a kid and an adult. 
My father brought my siblings and me there once in a while to fish, and we usually managed to get the lines from our Zebco fishing reels stuck on the rocks at the base of the pier. When we did manage to catch some gruesome looking specimen (like a sheephead), my Dad would offer it to one of the other fisherman there, who was glad to get it and knew how to cook it.
When I first got my own apartment in the 1980's, I would bring my dinner down to Hot Waters and watch the fishermen while I ate and listened to the radio. And now, decades later, my wife and I bring our ice cream treats from Terry's Dairy down there during the summer, so we can take in the fishing action. It makes for a pretty cheap date.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Remember Ontario Dept. Store?

Portion of 1963 newspaper ad

During the last few months, I've received several emails from readers suggesting that I do a blog entry on the old Ontario department store. Well, I can't ignore a coincidence like that - so here goes!

I'm sure most Lorain Baby Boomers remember this store. It was located at the intersection of Elyria Avenue and North Ridge Road.

September 1962 ad from Lorain Journal

Researching the store and finding out when it opened has proved rather difficult. Since the store really wasn't in Lorain, it was not to be found in the Lorain phone book listings. Like the Dog 'n Suds nearby (which I've seen described variously as being in Sheffield Township, Elyria Township, Lorain, and Elyria), Ontario was kind of in a no-man's land. The best way to describe its location was just past O' Neil's on the way to Midway Mall.

Ontario was one of several department stores back then that my mother might take my siblings and I to on a Saturday afternoon. Another store would be Hills out in South Lorain. (Sorry, but since a trip to Hills might be capped off with a frozen Coke, I am much more sentimental about that store than Ontario!)

Each of these stores had a different personality, based on their line of goods, their location and clientele. For instance, my mother bought a lot of clothes for us at Hills, but never Ontario. In our house at least, Ontario was more for hardware and sporting goods.

Although Ontario didn't show up in the Lorain City Directory until 1968, I know for certain that it was in existence as early as 1962. Here's a full page ad from the Lorain Journal from March 2, 1962. (Give it a click so you can peruse all the great deals!)


Here's what the company logo looked like by 1969.


Note that under the logo it says 'a division of Cook United'. According to this entry on the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History website, Cook United also owned the Uncle Bill's Discount Department Store chain.

Here's an Uncle Bill's commercial that also has Ontario branding at the end.



Strangely enough, I interviewed at Cook United back in the early 1980's. If they had hired me, I might have worked on some Ontario advertisements and got real used to those squiggly-line borders!

Anyway, I dug through the city directories and noticed that Ontario was no longer listed beginning in 1982. If I ever come up with some concrete dates for the store's grand opening and ultimate closing, I'll post them here.

Today, the old Ontario store complex is home to Lorain County Department of Job and Family Services (shown below). It was a great use of the old building, and one of the projects that former Lorain County Commissioner Betty Blair rightfully considered one of her proudest accomplishments that she voted for while a member of the board.


Ontario seems to have been quickly forgotten. I don't think I've ever seen a newspaper article about the conversion of the store complex to the Lorain County Department of Job and Family Services that ever mentions the former tenant of the building by name.

At least the store lives on in our memories. Raleigh, one of the readers of this blog remembers:

"I remember my brother and I used to get our allowance on Fridays, and once we entered the doors of Ontario's, we would make a bee-line to the model car rack.  If you can believe it, that was back in the day when the boxes were sealed with two small pieces of scotch tape on either side of the box... and the paint rack.... people had "tested" the color in the can by redecorating the rack with the prospective color."

Thanks for the story suggestion, the help with the Uncle Bill's research and the personal recollection, Raleigh! And if anyone has a specific memory of shopping at Ontario, be sure to post it here in the comments section! Since there is almost nothing at all on the internet about Ontario, this blog post may be all the attention that this fondly remembered store ever gets!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A. A. Demmer House

Sometimes I set out to do a quick 'then and now' for this blog and manage to get into a pickle. Remember the Ebeneezer Gregg/Myron Foote house debacle?

Well here's another one. It comes from the pages of the 1895 Lorain Evening Herald Industrial Edition, which highlighted Lorain's manufacturing strengths and featured prominent businessmen of that era. It included this short biography of A. A. Demmer, as well as his portrait and photo of his home.

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Mr. A. A. Demmer, the contractor and builder of Lorain, was born in York township, Medina county, Ohio, in 1857 and received his early education in the district schools at his home. His father was a carpenter and contractor, and for forty years carried on an extensive business in his line.

Mr. A. A. Demmer was for some time in business in Cleveland, and during that time enjoyed an exceptionally good business.

Since his location in Lorain he has been employed by all the representative business men and has been successful, indeed, and is prepared to do all kinds of building and contracting, also wood work of every kind.

He is a man of honesty and can be depended upon, and his business is always satisfactory, and in all he is a citizen of true worth.

His office and shop is at No. 50 Everett Street. A cut of Mr. Demmer and his beautiful residence is given herewith.


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Although the above article indicated that A. A. Demmer's office and shop was at 50 Everett Street, his residence in the 1903 directory (the earliest book available) was listed as 321 Everett Street. Charles Demmer lived right next door at 325 Everett Street.

When the newly renamed and renumbered addresses appeared in the 1912 Lorain City Directory, Mr. Demmer was now listed at 121 W. 22nd Street. Assuming that he stayed put, and that the house in the above photo was the 321 Everett address, then that would make it the house shown below.


But maybe he didn't stay put. Check out the house right next door (below).

It looks more like the 1895 photo than the other one! Did A. A. Demmer move into Charles Demmer's slightly nicer house just in time for the 1912 City Directory with the new addresses? Charles Demmer was nowhere to be found in the 1912 book, and A. A. Demmer soon disappeared as well.

Some days it just doesn't pay to be an amateur historian. I guess I will let you know if I figure this whole thing out!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ohio Fuel Gas Company Mystery Mascot

You first saw him – the Ohio Fuel Gas Company mascot – on my blog in the 1958 'Welcome to Lorain' Ford ad from a few days ago. Here he is again in a 1950 newspaper ad from the Lorain Journal, sporting a snappy moustache as a circus ringleader. (Give it a click so you can read it.)


I don't know if I like the idea of a gas refrigerator. At least I don't have to worry about my present refrigerator exploding. But the fact that a gas refrigerator is totally quiet is definitely an attribute. Ours makes so much noise that sometimes I wonder if it's haunted.

Unfortunately, there is nothing about this flame mascot in any of my advertising mascot books, or on the internet. It's pretty bad when the only thing that Google can find about him is my posting from a few days ago! I guess he will remain a nameless mystery until I can find some ad that hopefully reveals his name (if any).

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Victory Park in Winter


For my out-of-town readers, this was the scene in Lorain this past Sunday. As you can see, it's been a rough winter this year.

If something in this picture of Victory Park looks different to you, there's a good reason. The shrubs and brush at the back of the park were removed last fall, exposing the neighboring building.

Quite a different weather scene than last June (below)!


Incidentally, watch for my special blog series on the history of Victory Park in early April. The park's been there since 1922, and the hoopla around its unveiling that year is well-documented and worth revisiting.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The History of 3700 Oberlin Avenue


Ever since I started this blog almost two years ago, I've been feeding you the history of the building at 3700 Oberlin Avenue (above) piecemeal. Of course, many of you recognize it as Mutt & Jeff'sBut during my last update, a regular reader of this blog named Bill noticed that I had overlooked two other businesses that had called that address home. So I had to go back and do a little more research.

What follows below is a compilation of my research so far.

I still haven't determined exactly when it was built, since that information for this building is not on the Lorain County Auditor's website. But as early as 1939, it was the residence of Penny Morgan, who rented rooms to tourists.

Listing from 1939-1940 City Directory
From around 1942 until about 1962 it was the Airport Tavern, taking its name from the airport that was located nearby at the corner of Meister Road and Leavitt Road. At that time, there was nothing out this way (since it was outside the city limits) but farms and the airport.

1942 City Directory ad
April 1958 Lorain Journal ad
Around 1962, the Airport Tavern became the Sherwood Inn. (This is what I remember the place as being while I was growing up.)

1973 Lorain Phone Book ad
From about 1982 to 1983 it was The Trademark.

Next, it was Scardi's in the 1984 phone book.

And since 1984, Mutt & Jeff's has called 3700 Oberlin Avenue home.

Special thanks to Bill for filling in the gap in between the Sherwood Inn and Mutt & Jeff's.

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Most Saturday nights, you can find my wife and me at Mutt & Jeff's, sitting at the same table near the bar, enjoying the great food, the ambience and most of all, the company of the warm, friendly staff. Brenda (our favorite), her sister Becky, Tracy and the rest of the gang make Mutt & Jeff's a special place for their customers and growing group of regulars.

If you've never tried one of their excellent burgers, by all means stop in and try one – or anything on the menu for that matter. You might just get hooked and become a regular yourself. (But please – don't take our table!)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Martin Run – or Martin's Run?

Back here during my series about growing up on Lorain's west side, I mentioned that all the kids referred to the small stream that ran through Willow Park as Willow Creek. Further west, where it ran under Leavitt Road, we just called it 'the creek'.

That's it at left, after its natural state was replaced by concrete. (It was never any fun to poke around in it after that.)

A few years later, I saw a map (in the phone book, I think) where it was revealed that this same creek was actually named Martin Run. I assumed (erroneously, as we will see) that Martin must have been the name of the guy who developed the area.

When the far west side of Lorain began to get developed, I was happy to see that the development was going to be named Martin's Run in a nod to local history, but I was curious as to why they made it possessive on some signs and just 'Martins Run' on others – but never just plain 'Martin Run'.

After all, Bull Run of Civil War fame is never referred to as Bull's Run!

Anyway, recently I was looking at an 1874 Atlas of Lorain County at the Lorain Public Library and lo and behold, I noticed on a map of the area that the name 'Martin Run' was a lot older than I realized (below).

The 'n' in Run on the map rests upon what is now Meister Road.

Then, I was happy to find on the Black River Historical Society website a history of Lorain written by J. B. Nichols in 1924 (which you can access here) that tells how the creek got its name.

As J. B. Nichols relates: "William Martin came with his family in April 1811, from Pennsylvania. He made the trip with an ox team and went on after trading his farm in Pennsylvania, consisting of 300 acres, for nearly 1000 acres in Black River and Amherst. The Martin family settled on lot 21, which adjoins the present country club on the west. It is said that for "some unknown reason" he never got title to any of his western lands except that in lot 21 in Black River Township.


Martin died in Oct. 1830 as a result of an accident. He had been assisting digging a well on a farm on Oberlin Rd. After the day's work was done, Martin, while indulging in a friendly scuffle with some of his companions, fell into the well. After being lifted out of the well he asked to be raised to a sitting posture. With a motion of his hands behind him, he said: "Get thee behind me Satan," and fell backwards, dead. It is said that Jane Martin, his daughter, who afterward became Mrs. Slater, drove the ox team in assembling the logs for the Martin log cabin. This cabin was built on land which has long since been washed away by Lake Erie.


Out of the graves of some of the members of the Martin family grew two large oak trees. These trees are near the present lake bank, just east of the stream known as Martin's Run which runs through the Martin farm."


History also notes that the first schoolhouse in Black River Township was erected on William Martin's farm.

Well, that's the story. It looks like even as far back as 1924, the creek was being referred to as Martin's Run – so I guess the name of the development is fine as it is!