Well, the other familiar site in that same area was the huge squirrel (at left) that was painted on the side of a building to promote the nearby Oakwood Shopping Center, which was just down Pearl. According to the city directory listings, Lake Erie Oil had a warehouse on the south side of Route 254 right at Pearl, east of the tracks, so it just may have been the building with the squirrel on it.
The original opening day ad for Oakwood Shopping Center made reference to free Oakie the Squirrel balloons – and since the squirrel at left was the only regular mascot in ads as well as signage, I've always assumed that it was Oakie.
Since my family never went to Oakwood Shopping Center, the huge cartoon squirrel painted on that building was an ongoing mystery to me when I noticed it from the back seat of the family car. But it was a familiar landmark to watch for.
This particular version of Oakie was featured in the early ads after the shopping center opened in November 1958.
At the same time, however, other squirrels would also appear in the newspaper ads from time to time (such as the one below).
|May 1959 Squirrel|
Here's another of these "unnamed squirrels" featured in an Oakwood ad. He actually looks more beaver-like to me – and I suspect he's a piece of clip art because of that word balloon he's straddling.
|September 1959 squirrel|
Anyway, my ongoing quest is to uncover a photo of that original squirrel on the building, or even the Oakwood Shopping Center sign. There's gotta be one out there somewhere!