Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Ed Blahay Transportation Company

Aerial View of the Blahay Transportation Company Property Circa Mid-1950s
(Courtesy Lorain Historical Society)
Although you would never know it by looking at it today, the property nestled between Garwell's and Skate World today was quite a beehive of activity during the 1940s, 50s and early 60s.

It was home to a trucking company – Ed Blahay Transportation Company – and was a truck stop as well, providing lodging (cabins and later, a motel) and a restaurant.

Ed Blahay began his roadside business as operator of a service station on West Erie. He founded the transportation company bearing his name in the late 1920s (according to his obituary).

As you can see by the 1954 Lorain Telephone Directory ad at left, his trucks hauled freight all over Ohio. The company was also a freight carrier for U. S. Steel.

Ed Blahay's health suffered a downward turn in the early 1960s. His grandson Richard Olson successfully ran the company during his illness. 

The company moved out to 2147 E. 28th Street in South Lorain in the early to mid-1960s. The business was sold in 1970, and Ed Blahay passed away in February 1972.

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Looking at the vintage photo at the top of this post, you might recognize the former Tiffany's Steakhouse restaurant building in the center of the photo. You can see the two huge doors that are covered up today.

Ed's Place motel is the long building at the western edge of the property in the photo. It was referred to as cabins in an early directory. (I'll have more to say about Ed's Place – and Benny's Restaurant, forerunner of Tiffany's Steakhouse – in a later post.)

In addition to the trucking company, motel and restaurant, the Blahay property on West Erie was also home to a handful of residents, according to the 1948 Lorain County Directory. You can see some long-gone houses close to the railroad tracks in the vintage photo.

Here's an aerial view of the property today, courtesy of Bing Maps. It's hard to believe that there were once many more buildings on the site than the sad, empty restaurant that sits there today.

That's Skate World to the left of the former Tiffany's, 
and the former Garwell's (with the blue buildings in the rear) on the right

6 comments:

Drew Penfield said...

Very cool. I'm always amazed at how places that look like a vacant lot or a single defunct business can have quite a lot of history of their own. The Lake Shore Electric right-of-way is easily visible in the 1950's photo, parallel to the railroad tracks. At at the far right a few buildings at the place once called "On Erie Beach." I'm still trying to find info on that little mystery.

dorie schiefer said...

My name is Dorie Olson Schiefer. My Dad was Richard Olson who is mentioned in running the Trucking business. I found this while working on a family tree project for my daughter. Wow! So many memories coming back to me. I remember my grandfather-only while he was ill, and that my dad left the military to take over the trucking business. My dad passed away 3 years ago at the age of 80. Thanks for the memories.

Dan Brady said...

Hi Dorie,
I'm sorry about your father's passing but glad that you found this post if it brought back some pleasant memories. I'm sure you're very proud that your family ran such a successful and well-known business. It's risk-takers like your grandfather that made such a difference in the area's economy. That particular area where his various business concerns were located was such an incredible hub of activity.

If you have any information about the old Ed's Place motel, I'd love to hear about it! I've been working on a post about it for some time and I've been trying to find a date when it opened, and if cabins preceded the motel (possible those Green Lantern Camp cabins). (You can email me if you have any information.)

Thanks again for posting your comment!

Dan

Anonymous said...

Hey, just thought I'd let you know that on the far left of the photo the "strip motel" that borders the mobile home park is actually still there.

Skate World was built over top of the motel after they removed the pitched roof.

The rooms are currently used as the skate room, pro-shop, and offices. the original showers are still in some of the rooms.

Dan Brady said...

Thanks very much for leaving that comment, because it's kind of a preview of an upcoming post that I've postponed for too long. Last year, the owner of Skate World was kind enough to let me ask her some questions, and take some photographs of the area that you've mentioned that was the old motel. Hopefully I will write it all up and post it here in the next month or so.

Michael Blahay said...

Thank you all for posting all of this. As you can see by my name, Michael Blahay, I am related to Ed Blahay. I never knew my great-grandfather as he died before I was born, but I gain knowledge of what he was like through posts and like this. My father, Ed Blahay II, keeps rather mum on family past and I hope sharing information I find will prompt him to open up more. I would love to see the new post you have been working on as well as additional photos if you have them.