Wednesday, March 27, 2013

New Lorain Journal Plant Rendering - 1954

On March 23, 1954 – 59 years ago this month – the Lorain Journal was on the move, as indicated from the above front-page photo and caption.

The photo's a little dark (it was from microfilm) but it shows the Journal's proposed new home. The caption reads, "NEW JOURNAL PLANT – Architect's drawing shows the new plant of The Lorain Journal as it will appear when completed. Construction of the building is to be started within a few weeks. As previously announced, it will be located on the east side of Broadway and Elyria Avenue at the intersection of these two major business streets. The two-story brick and steel structure designed for architectural beauty as well as utility, will occupy a site which has previously been used as a commercial coal yard. The new plant will have more than double the floor space than The Journal's present location on Seventh Street. The newspaper's expansion program, including the building and new equipment, will require an expenditure of more than $1,000,000. Plans for the newspaper plant were prepared by Weinberg & Teare, architects of Cleveland.

Here's how the building looks today.

The fortunes of Lorain's hometown newspaper have certainly changed in the last 50+ years. A new owner takes over the business in the middle of April (which you can read about here.)


Ken said...

Advertising losses and overextended pension obligations! The world we grew up in is no more. As Lorain continues to transition into a Cleveland bedroom community, these kinds of local things will continue to vanish. I can't help but think that the Journal might have done better had it provided a more balanced outlook that would have appealed to more readers.

Dan Brady said...

Hi Ken,
That and so many factors contributed to its present condition. You and I watched Dad sit down and read the paper after dinner so we do the same thing--but that's the exception now, not the rule. Plus in my opinion the Journal has tried to serve so much of Northeast Ohio that it lost its local flavor; it's no longer a Lorain newspaper printed in Lorain.

I spend hours each week looking at old Journals on microfilm, marveling at the content back in the old days. Plenty of great talent (Jim Mahony, Darlene Brown, Jack LaVriha, etc.) They brought great depth to the paper; regular features like the Hotline, Passing Scene, Tell Me Why... the list goes on and on. The Journal had a real personality back then; I think they need to get back to being that type of paper, with regular editorials and features that people look forward to and want to read.

Here's hoping the new owners can turn things around. It would be terrible to lose the hometown paper.

Ken said...

Those were great days. Your blog reminds me so often of what a great place Lorain was, although it went into decrepitude before we were old enough to enjoy it. Downtown nightclubs with name acts coming through, or popular regular (local) comedians! I guess the entertainment stuff is a particular beef of mine-- how many people now remember that Lorain had its own Musician's Union Local, before they were glommed into Cleveland?

Drew Penfield said...

"Architectural beauty"? Sorry, but I always found the Journal building to be quite ugly. I know its main purpose was industrial, but you'd think they could have designed something a little more stately for the city's newspaper and a centerpiece of Broadway and Elyria Ave. The Toledo Blade is an example.

Aesthetics aside, my family always subscribed to the Journal. My sister delivered the paper in our neighborhood, and later I did the same when I was about 11 years old. It was fun in the summer, but nothing was worse than a winter Sunday morning, lugging heavy newspapers through deep snow to my 50+ customers. When they changed to the Morning Journal I quit. No way was I going to get up extra early every day to do that before school. A few years later my sister and I got a route delivering the bundles of papers to retailers. We'd arrive at the plant around midnight, load stacks of papers into the car, and drive throughout Bay Village, Lakewood and North Olmsted dropping them at stores and refilling the vending boxes until nearly sunrise.

-Alan D Hopewell said...

As so many other businesses (and people) have done in the last fifty years, the Journal has sold its soul.

Dan Brady said...

It just seems to have lost its heart in my opinion. Newspapers should weigh in on all the issues facing a community and lead the way on many things regarding civic improvements, etc. A good example is the International Festival, which Lorain would not even have except for the efforts of Journal Editor Irving Leibowitz.

Since the MJ serves a wider area than just Lorain, it no longer serves as a local voice. I enjoy the Sunday editorials (which are usually national in scope) but during the week there are none; not even an editorial page on Monday which I still don't understand.

In the old days there was a column about what was going on in Lorain City Hall. You felt that the Journal was keeping an eye on things; now, it seems the MJ turns a blind eye to everything.

I say give Loraine Ritchey a real column ("Loraine on Lorain") and pay her. She is not afraid to take on anyone or anything in her blog and it is very refreshing.

Bob Kovach said...

I agree with you about having Loraine Ritchey do a column in the Journal.She is definitely a person who could help shape Lorain into a better place!

Loraine Ritchey said...

Thank you for the compliments- having had a mainstream media magazine column for a few years I can tell I wouldn't fit the profile :)
The problem is newsprint editors usually only give you 500 or so words ( they want sound bites and a plug in to a format) two sources pro and con quotes sound bite for headline :)

And people dont' want to "read" hence the short versions - they scan and to tell the real story and indepth background you need more not less column space and that won't happen.

Also they get very ancy if you cover one of their advertisers etc. negatively. there are too many constraints for me :) However that being said I am sad to see what has happened we need a two newspaper or better yet three newspaper city.. just for "balance" :) and we need people who "know" the community