Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lorain Gets its Own "White House" – July 1930

A Leiter photograph of Lorain City Hall
(Courtesy Paula Shorf)
Lorain's former City Hall is a favorite topic of mine on this blog.

Why? Because it's a symbol of Lorain during its thriving days, in which the steel mill, the Ford Plant, the shipyard and all of the other companies and family businesses were booming. It represents the Lorain of my youth.

Ironically, it seems that once the old, decrepit City Hall was knocked down (along with the Police Station and much of Downtown) and replaced with a towering, garish monstrosity, the city's fortunes began to sink.

I've chronicled much of the history of the old City Hall, including a 6-part history (here), a 1934 article about the building's original "life" as the William Jones mansion (here), and the addition of more parking around the building in 1955 (here).

Well, here's another piece of the former City Hall's history – a Lorain Journal article (below) from July 12, 1930 about the impending whitewashing of the building, whose bricks had been painted red for years.

From the article, it sounds like part of the decision to paint the building white was just to keep men employed during the Depression.


Anonymous said...

Do you have a recent picture of what it all looks like there now?
And what was that tower used for?

Dan Brady said...

You can see a recent photo here:

As for the cvil defense tower used by the Ground Observer Corps, this article explains the story behind it:

Anonymous said...

I actually had looked back in your archives and glanced at that recent photo, and the "now" looks so hideous I thought it was an older, dated view.

And I figured that was a tower from the duck and cover days!

Anonymous said...

Do you have any information on the hobby shop that was located behind the police station?

Dan Brady said...

I remember it being back there but I don't have any information in my files about it. The next time I'm at the library I'll see what I can find out.

Matt Weisman said...


Al asked Al Doane about the tower. Here's his reply.

The tower behind Lorain's City Hall was used during WW II as a air plane spotter for the Civilian Corp.
This tower originally was located on the east river pier north of the USCG Station Lorain, and when it was deemed not used any more was moved behind City Hall for plane spotting.
Does this explain what it was and then what it is for?

Looks like another search for you!