Friday, July 12, 2013

Ghost Signs From the Past

I was driving along Broadway a few weeks ago and noticed the above building – at 1434 Broadway that is apparently undergoing some renovations. It's a unique building with its attractive geometric design pattern.

What caught my eye were the vintage signs that I'm guessing had been hidden for decades behind other structural elements. The signs advertise Central Furniture, along with some of the items the store carried, including beds, washers, and linoleum.

So when was Central Furniture at that address? Being curious (and having the time to waste), I hit the city directories.

The building appears to have been there since the mid-1930s. It started out as the home of a confectioner (Jennie Rouse) before being associated with the furniture business in the early 1940s. That's when Julius Margolis and his furniture company were there, until 1945 or so.

Central Furniture appeared in the 1947 book at that address, lasting until around 1960.

A recent view prior to the current renovation
(courtesy of the Lorain County Auditors site)
After that, a variety of firms had the 1434 Broadway address, including Klein Radio Equipment Company (1961-62), Essex Electronics (1964), and Crystal Clear Dry Cleaners (1966-1983). (All dates are approximate.)

The late 1980s saw the Lorain County Goodwill Store as the tenant, followed by Kathy's Bargains in the early 1990s, before a long period of not even being listed at all.

Anyway, it's always good to see an old building in Lorain being used for something instead of being torn down. Here's hoping that whatever is being done to the building gives it new life and a role on Broadway.


Jen Wolford said...

Great grab on the vintage signage!

-Alan D Hopewell said...

I thought they'd torn down that whole block!

Randall Chet said...

great job on getting that photo before the old sign disappears! From one design geek to another, that would make an excellent font. While it is reminiscent of other deco fonts, what's unique are some of the angles in the U and N, and the position of the crossbars. I can work with this. Thanks!