Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween 1938 – The War of the Worlds as Fought in Lorain

The front page of the Lorain Journal of October 31, 1938
Well, today is Halloween – and a good day to remember the panic caused back on Halloween eve back in 1938 by the radio dramatization of "The War of the Worlds" by Orson Welles and his Mercury Theater players.

The realistic announcement during the broadcast that Martians had landed in Grover's Mill, New Jersey caused an uproar that is still remembered and talked about today.

How did the panic play out in Lorain? Here's the story (below) as it appeared on the front page of the Lorain Journal on October 31, 1938 – the day after the broadcast. As you can see, it did not even rate the headline.

Protests Follow in Wake of 'Mars Horror'
Many Lorainites Alarmed as Radio Fantasy Brings War Jitters to U. S.

A horrible fantasy of war waged on the earth by fearsome men from Mars brought near-hysteria to thousands of persons thruout the country who were not listening last night to Charlie McCarthy's rival radio program.

In staccato, news-broadcasting style, the fiction of a "Hallowe'en" program became so realistic that panic prevailed among listeners thruout the United States and Canada.

Today the federal communication commission started an investigation of the program. Sen. Clyde Herring of Indiana said he planned to introduce in congress a bill to outlaw such radio plays.

Calls Flood In
In Lorain, The Journal office last night and again this morning was swamped with calls from frightened residents who wanted information on the attack of the martians.

City police reported they were unable to give comfort to near-hysterical persons who called them for verification of the catastrophe.

Sgt. Britt Buda, who was on duty at the police station desk during the program, said that he, himself, was not sure that the whole thing wasn't true, since he had heard parts of the program on a radio turned on in his office.

"Is the world coming to an end?" screamed one woman who called The Journal.

A man, who said that he had been roused from bed by his wife, cried into the telephone: "What's happening in the east. They say it's almost all destroyed. For God's sake, find out something about it!"

Whole Country Roused
Most of those who called refused to be reassured, having been "worked up" by months of war-tension in Europe.

Other residents who had heard the oft-repeated warnings during the program that it was "just a play," indignantly declared that such horrible descriptions should be banned from the air.

Indications were that Lorain as a whole took the "news" that New Jersey was being destroyed by the "death rays" of the men from Mars much more calmly than other communities thruout the country.

A woman in Pittsburgh tried suicide, saying "I'd rather die this way than like that."

At a high point in the program, the electric power failed at Concrete, Wash., a town of 1,000. As the lights went out most of the homes, many thought the invasion had reached the west coast. Women fainted and men prepared to take their families to the mountains, according to the Associated Press.

Some reported they could smell the gas and see the attackers. People gathered in groups to pray for salvation.

Head for "Open Spaces"
In metropolitan New York City, panicky persons jumped in the autos and headed for the open spaces to escape the expected bombing of New York.

A woman in Indianapolis ran down the main aisle of St. Paul's Episcopal church, crying "The world is coming to an end." The congregation was hastily dismissed.

Three Toledo residents fainted at telephones while trying to call police, the United Press said. Others said they could see the flames and smell the Martian poison gas.

In Newark, N. J., near the scene of the hypothetical invasion, hysteria ran riot. Hundreds fled from two city blocks, carrying what possessions they could snatch up.

Orson Welles, director of the program, today issued a statement expressing "deep regrets."

The whole 1938 "War of the Worlds" hysteria was one of those things that my parents told me about when I was a kid, causing me to forever associate it with Halloween (along with the annual séance to see if Houdini was able to send a message from the Great Beyond).

I was surprised that, according to the Lorain Journal, the city's reaction to the "War of the Worlds" had been so low-key. I was expecting a Journal headline like that of the Boston Daily Globe (at left).

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Oakwood Shopping Center Halloween Party Ad – October 26, 1959

Here's yet another glimpse of a Lorain Halloween of long ago, this time from 1959. The above ad –  announcing a South Lorain Community Halloween Party to be held at the Oakwood Shopping Center – appeared in the Lorain Journal on October 26, 1959. The shopping center had opened in November 1958.
It's funny how I had the misconception that Halloween events held at shopping centers – such as the trick or treat event held at Crocker Park last Saturday – were something new. But as you can see, it's an old idea used by savvy store owners for a long time. 
In this case, the Oakwood Shopping Center went to a lot of effort to make it nice, including a parade, a contest for best costumes and a talent show. Unfortunately, for a Lorain West Sider like me, Oakwood Shopping Center was one of those places we just didn't go to. (We did go to Hills in South Lorain, though.)
Hey, I just noticed that the Oakwood merchants forgot to include Pearl the Squirrel in the above ad!

Tomorrow: How the scare associated with the 1938 radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds played out in Lorain

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

1930s Halloween in Lorain

Since the Postwar era of the 1950s, most communities have celebrated Halloween by designating a night for Trick or Treat, on which costumed kids go door to door collecting candy and goodies. But it wasn't always that way.
Halloween in Lorain was very different eighty years ago.
1930s Halloween Decoration
How do I know? I recently talked to someone who grew up at 1216 Sixth Street in Lorain during the 1930s – namely, my 87-year old mother.

The way Mom remembers it, there was no designated night or time for Trick or Treat in Lorain back then. And, it was much more about the tricks, than the treats.

"We went trick or treating for a couple of weeks," Mom reminisced. "It wasn't just one night." She said she and her friends pretty much stuck to the houses on Sixth Street – her neighbors, the people she knew.

I asked her what they did for tricks.

"Oh, we rang doorbells, and banged on people's porches with a stick," she said. "They'd come to the door and then we'd run like hell. I also remember soaping windows and throwing leaves on people's porches."

I kidded Mom as to whether or not the statute of limitations on those crimes had truly expired, or if she could now expect a knock on her West Side door by one of Lorain's Finest.

The funniest trick Mom remembered was seeing two boys standing on the opposite side of a street, both pretending to be holding an end of a rope extending across the road. A car would approach, and the driver couldn't tell if the pranksters were really holding something or not. (After hearing this story in the late 1960s, my brothers and I tried it on our street. It is a good gag, except for the annoyed driver of the car!)

Apparently, Mom's tricks were mild compared to what Dad's Uncle Ben got into when he was a kid in Lorain, twenty years earlier. "Dad said that his Uncle Ben told him that he and his friends used to put people's outhouses on their roofs as a prank."

What about costumes back in the 1930s? I asked Mom about what kind of costumes she and her friends wore when they went trick or treating. "Everyone wore black masks, like the Lone Ranger," she said.

She remembered that there really weren't a lot of store-bought Halloween costumes, or at least no one could afford them anyway. "It was Depression times – people were hurting. You had to make up your own outfit. Sometimes we wore our costumes from our dancing routines." (Mom and her sister Helen were tap dancers, and the duo performed in costume at a variety of local shows during the 1930s.)

The newspapers did mention that Lorain had an annual Halloween "Mardi Gras" parade for the kids to march in while they wore their costumes.

Lastly, how were the Halloween treats back then?

The former Hawkins house at 1172 Sixth Street
Mom has one specific memory about a special treat on one Halloween. There was a house on Sixth Street just across Oberlin Avenue to the east. "An auto dealer named Hawkins lived there," she remembered. One Halloween he was handing out ice cream cones."

That's a pretty nice treat – much better than the tiny "fun size" candy bars being given out now!

The auto dealer was Edwin J. Hawkins, President of Hawkins Motor Sales, and his house – still a magnificent one – is at 1172 Sixth Street. (It is a great house. The spouse and I attended an Open House there back in the late 1990s, and the realtor who was there that day became a family friend. She not only found our current house in Sheffield Lake, but sold our house on Nebraska Ave as well.)

Anyway, special thanks to Mom for sharing some of her 1930s Halloween memories. It was a simpler time back then, and a poorer one – but still a lot of fun for Lorain's youth.

Part of the 1937 Lorain City Directory Listing for Sixth Street

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Grant's Halloween Ad – October 28, 1964

Here's a Halloween-themed ad for the well-remembered W. T. Grant Company (or just plain Grants) chain of dime stores. The ad ran in the October 28, 1964 Lorain Journal – 50 years ago today – reminding readers that they'd better stock up on candy – and get some costumes if they hadn't already – before the big day.
Lorain had several Grants stores, in the Lorain Plaza, Oakwood Shopping Center and Westgate Shopping Center. (I only remember going to the one at the Lorain Plaza, which was always fun and interesting – especially looking at the pet turtles for sale.) The Grants store in the Lorain Plaza appeared in the city directory until 1975; after that, the space went vacant until Revco moved in during the early 1980s. The space is still currently vacant since CVS built their own store at the former Willow Hardware location.

The Grants ad above is interesting in that the only licensed character costume is Yogi Bear  – a favorite of mine. The "smarter than the average bear" was introduced on The Huckleberry Hound Show in 1958, and had received his own TV show in 1961.

I supposed his visibility had received another boost in 1964, thanks to the release of his full-length movie Hey There It's Yogi Bear earlier that year.

I like that little witch icon done in the style of a child's doodle in the Grants ad. Apparently it was used on the Mars candy bar packaging that year, since it seems to be visible in the candy illustrations as well.

But what about the other costumes in the ad?
I finally figured out that the costume the young lady isn't wearing a princess mask – it's a Cleopatra one. (Of course, after I found the photo of the mask at left, I looked more closely at the ad and finally saw the word CLEOPATRA plastered in all caps across her costume.)

As for the generic Frankenstein monster outfit, I couldn't quite find an exact match. But here's a link to a great blog featuring a variety of vintage Ben Cooper monster costumes that probably includes the one shown.

And for a hilarious look at kid's Halloween costumes of the 1950s and 60s, click here to visit John Kricfalusi's blog.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Lawson's Halloween Ad – October 27, 1959

Here's a cute, timeless ad for Lawson's that ran in the Lorain Journal on October 27, 1959 – just a few days before Halloween – 55 years ago today.

As noted back here, the first Lawson's in Lorain opened in June of 1959.

I love the simplicity of the above ad. Back then, stores designed their ads to feature just a few items to get you to visit. You can tell at a glance what's going on. The small ads in today's newspapers are so cluttered and over designed, with tiny type reversed out of black (can you tell I'm a graphic designer?) that they don't have half the selling power of the Lawson's ad.

That kid in the bunny suit looks kinda like Ralphie from A Christmas Story – except he isn't wearing spectacles.

Then as now, Brach's candy is still the dominant brand of classic candy corn. (I've already munched my way through 1/2 a bag!)

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Visit to Swift's Hollow – June 1948

Here's an interesting article that ran in the Lorain Journal on Tuesday, June 8, 1948. It's about a visit that the Silver Buckle Riding Club paid to the Swift House ruins, and provides a nice, capsule history of the place.

Riders Pay Swift's Hollow Visit

Swifts Hollow by state route 113 on the Vermilion river near Birmingham began after the war of 1812 when it was given to Joseph Swift, a war veteran as a bonus for his services to this country.

On the grant which comprised 150 acres of rich bottom land beside the river, he cut large oak, cherry, and whitewood trees to clear a field for planting.

He produced excellent crops of corn and wheat which were readily marketed in the lake ports nearby. He bought more land, cleared more fields and raised more crops and his wealth grew.

Dogged By Trouble
In 1841 he moved from his pioneer homestead into a house he built of Pillared Greek revival style, one of the finest in pioneer architecture ever erected in Ohio.

Altho only a few of the foundation stones can be found now in a tangle of weeds people still talk about the Swift house and how it became haunted after the Swifts left it.

Misfortune beset the Swifts after they moved in their new home. Swift lost money in an early railroad venture through here. He over-extended himself in land and lost money signing notes for friends. His four children died of black diphtheria and were buried along the river's edge.

Headstones Gone
Headstones were erected but all traces of them are gone and patches of myrtle have covered the burial ground. The property went to ruins and ghost stories began to spring up about the place which kept anyone from living there. The home stood vacant for years and in the 1920's fire broke out and destroyed it.

Northwest of Swift's Hollow is the home of Mr. and Mrs. Pelham Blossom, which was built from lumber torn down from an old Mennonite orphanage which once housed 68 children. The orphanage failed because of lack of funds and the children were sent to a home in Indiana. Later Mr. and Mrs. Blossom bought the property.

The early days of the region were recalled at a recent outdoor get-together of the Silver Buckle Riding club in the hollow. Joe Bickel of Birmingham told the story of the ill-fatted Swift.

Meet At Home
The members who are from Birmingham, Henrietta, Florence, Wakeman, Kipton, Brighton, Elyria and Rochester met at the home of Howard Greene east of Birmingham on route 113 and rode down the Gore Orphanage-rd, named after the orphanage, to the hollow.

Members of the club are Mr. and Mrs. Guy Radecliffe, Mrs. Stella Sharp and son Eldon, Mike Polansky and son, Mr. and Mrs. Green and family, Roy Radecliffe, Mr. and Mrs. William Jackson and family, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Bickel, Earl Smith and son, Jerry Howe.

Fourteen horses began the ride. Kenneth Bell brought his tractor and trailer.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

John Grandetti 1958 - 2014

Admiral King Marching Band Trumpet Section with John Grandetti circled
(photo from the 1975 Trident Yearbook)
It was very sad to see that fellow Admiral King Class of 1977 Graduate John Grandetti passed away on October 18th after battling cancer for six years. I only knew John from Admiral King Marching Band (he did a great impersonation of Curly from the Three Stooges) and had no idea of his illness.
Here is the link to his obituary in the Akron Beacon Journal.
John had quite an impressive career in sports after his marching band days. He played basketball and baseball at Admiral King High School. He then attended Kent State on a full basketball scholarship and after graduation, played basketball in Europe. He came back to Lorain and coached basketball at Admiral King High School, and later was head coach of the girls basketball team at Rittman High School. (Click here for an article from the Wooster Daily Record about his hiring as coach, as well as the story of his cancer.)
He finished up his coaching career as assistant basketball coach at Canton McKinley High School.
John was a nice, funny and talented guy when I knew him in Band, and I offer my condolences to his family.

1923 Swift House Fire as Reported by the Mansfield News

Driving out on Gore Orphanage Road over the weekend reminded me that I had this old article. It is about the fire that destroyed the Joseph Swift House on the evening of December 6, 1923 – and ultimately gave birth to the legend of Gore Orphanage.

The article (at left) appeared in the Mansfield News on Friday, December 14, 1923. Unfortunately, it contains much misinformation – so much that I was a little hesitant to post it. (It's similar to one that appeared in the Chronicle, which I posted here.)

The Mansfield News article implies that Mill Hollow and Swift's Hollow are the same place. It identifies Joseph Swift as a Virginia planter – a Southerner – instead of a New Englander. It also includes a few fanciful ghost stories that have little to do with the actual history of the house.

But the article does have some kernels of truth, so it's evident that the author of the piece probably did visit the house, or at least was familiar with it.

Here is the article (below) as it appeared in the Mansfield News.



Many Mansfield people will remember the old colonial house – said to be haunted – which stood in Mill Hollow, or Swift's Hollow in the Vermilion river valley, several miles south of Vermilion. The place was visited yearly by cottagers from Ruggles Beach and Mitiwanga, as well as by other people from the country round. The house was destroyed by fire recently, according to news from Lorain.

The mansion was said to have been erected about 1818 by a Virginia planter, and was built in typical colonial style. The timbers were hewn out of heavy wood, largely walnut with much of elaborate carving which ornamented the beautiful doorway and full length windows, was carried there on ox carts all the way from Connecticut. Four imposing pillars, which gave the place a southern atmosphere, graced the porch extending across the front of the house.

There were about twelve rooms in the place, all on one floor. Most of them contained large fireplaces. The ceilings were very high, and the halls spacious and dark. Large cupboards and numerous closets contributed to the spooky atmosphere of the house. Names of visitors from all over the country, including autographs of some of the Mansfield young people had been written over the walls.

The colonial house was the only one left standing in the valley, a very lonesome but beautiful place. High hills, once river banks, overhang the hollow. A stately entrance to the estate has its traces left in the old stone posts that stand at the edge of the yard now overgrown with brambles.

At this place many years ago, the young folks of the whole country round used to gather to enjoy the hospitality of the Swift family. The commodious residence was well fitted for entertaining of all kinds, and help was so plentiful, if one may judge from the large servant quarters built, southern style, at the rear of the mansion.

There are several stories as to the ghost that "haunted" the house, and had kept people from living there for many years. One tale runs that the southerner who built the house and brought his family there lost three of his children soon after arriving, when they contacted a contagious disease from handling goods of a peddler's pack. The family were said to have left the place immediately afterward, and never to have been heard of afterward.

Another story is that the Swift family, of prominence in that part of the country, occupied the farm a great while ago, Mr. Swift owning many acres of rich river bottom land. His son, only a short time before his wedding day, went to his new home in that same valley to clean the well, and was overcome by "black damp" and died. The whole hollow was said to have been haunted from that time on.

The mansion in ruins was a famous spot for tourists as well as people living nearby. Several artists have used it in studies. College hikers from Oberlin were fond of the place. All will regret to hear of its destruction, as it was indeed an unusual spot of northern Ohio.

Tomorrow, I'll post a newspaper article about a 1948 visit to the Swift house ruins.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October Opening Ads: DeLuca Bakery (1959) and The Sands (1964)

Here's a pair of vintage Opening ads that ran in the October pages of the Lorain Journal.

First up is an ad from October 24th, 1959 for the opening of the new DeLuca Bakery location at 8th and Reid in Lorain.

I've written about DeLuca Bakery before, including a 3-part series back here. I sure wish the family would reopen an outlet somewhere; their bakery is as iconic as Yala's Pizza in Lorain.
And next is the Grand Opening ad for The Sands on Colorado Avenue, which ran in the paper on October 5, 1964. It's such a great name for a nightclub, invoking the coolness of its namesake Las Vegas hotel/casino.
I also did a few posts on The Sands, including a 1967 ad (here) and the eventual demolition of the building when it was home to Margie's Magpie Inn (here).

Looking at the ad, I wonder what the 'surprises for the men' were?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Own a Piece of Sheffield History – the Matthew Webber House

While out shooting fall foliage in Sheffield on Sunday, I noticed that this house on Old Colorado Avenue was for sale. It's located on the corner of old Colorado Avenue and Lake Breeze.

The house was featured in the Summer & Fall 2013 edition of the Village Pioneer. Editor Charles E. Herdendorf, Ph.D., provided a detailed history of Lake Breeze Road in that issue.

According to the magazine, the house was apparently built in the 1880s by Matthew Webber. The "large Folk Vernacular-style farmhouse" has five bedrooms and an original fireplace. From the 1930s into the 1950s the house was owned by Michael and Rosella Bruder, who operated a dairy farm there.

Read more about the house here.

And in case you're interested, the house is listed by Virginia Lindsay, Realtor, part of "The Lindsay Team" at Keller Williams Greater Cleveland West and Sell and Rent Cleveland.

Aerial view of Webber House Courtesy of Bing Maps

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall Foliage 2014

Fall is my favorite season, and it's a tradition here on the Brady Blog to post some of my photos of local autumn color. (It's also a public service for transplanted Lorain Countians pining for a look at what's going on at home.) I usually grab my Canon Powershot and head out on Sunday afternoon to some of the rural townships in western Lorain County: Brownhelm, Vermilion and Henrietta.

Last weekend, the trees hadn't completely changed, and I only got a few shots. Here's Mill Hollow from the weekend of October 12th (below). I posted this one on Facebook and it received a nice reception.

Yesterday (a week later), it was a completely different view. We'd had quite a few windy nights and rain lately, and many of the trees were stripped of their leaves (below).

The rest of the shots below are all from Sunday, October 19th.
Here's a view (below) of Claus Road looking north from Cooper Foster Park Road (the spouse took this one for me out of her window).
Closer to Lorain, the Root House is still a favorite photo subject of mine. This was another one of my patented over-the-shoulder shots (below), where I'm glad to get anything at all.
I also spent a little time in Sheffield Village on Sunday. This is a shot of Old Colorado Avenue (below). Several dogleg remnants of the old road still exist in a few spots. This view is looking west.
Lastly, I headed out to – where else? – Gore Orphanage Road, another favorite spot. It was, not surprisingly, quite busy out there since Halloween is coming. There were people on the bridge and a bunch of cars parked at the old Swift Mansion ruins site.
I still think Gore Orphanage Road is one of the most beautiful drives in the fall (below).

Friday, October 17, 2014

Benny's Ad – October 16, 1964

I've written several times about Benny Hart's nightclub, as well as some of the acts that appeared there. It's fun to try and find out if the performers ever hit the big time after their Lorain appearances.

The ad above – which appeared in the Lorain Journal on October 16, 1964 – 50 years ago yesterday – shines the spotlight on Billy Webb. He's identified as a well-traveled comedian, emcee and impressionist who performed all over the country, including gigs at the Morrison Hotel in Chicago, the Holiday House in Pittsburg, Fontainebleu in Miami Beach and Ben Maksik's Town & Country in Brooklyn.

Also on the bill were The Stags, fresh from a Las Vegas engagement.

I did a little online research trying to find out about Mr. Webb. He's identified as a Pittsburgh comedian and impressionist in the April 15, 1965 Evening Standard in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. The article notes, "He has appeared in many popular supper clubs throughout the United States and Canada where his version of "Laugh Clown Laugh" has been termed a "classic." He seemed to be particularly active in the Uniontown area as a master of ceremonies for a lot of events.

Here's hoping that Mr. Webb enjoyed a fine career, and that he or a family member finds this post and posts an update.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hollywood Bread Ad – October 21, 1958

My family ate a lot of bread from both DeLuca Bakery and Hough Bakeries while I was growing up, so Hollywood Bread – shown above in an ad which which ran in the Lorain Journal on October 21, 1958 – seems a little foreign to me.

I didn't know the story behind Hollywood Bread until I prepared this blog post. I had assumed that it was baked in Los Angeles. It turns out that it was headquartered in Hollywood, Florida!

Hollywood Bread also positioned itself marketing-wise as a healthy choice for women trying to lose weight. According to ads, the diet bread was baked with 8 great vegetable flours without lard, grease or animal fats.

I read online that at some point the makers of Hollywood Bread got in trouble with the FTC for some of its weight loss claims. You can read about that here.

The bread is apparently no longer being manufactured. Its stylish, landmark headquarters building in Hollywood, Florida was for sale a few years ago (which you can see here).

The ad makes a vague tie-in to the movie Party Girl (1958), which runs on Turner Classics every once in a while. The movie is a film noir, full of gangsters, shootouts and scantily clad showgirls; in other words, not the best match for a product a mom might use to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the kids.

See for yourself – here's the trailer!

When Mom did buy a national or regional brand of bread when we were kids, it was probably good ol' squishy Wonder Bread (it was great for making dough balls when we went fishing) or something from Nickles Bakery, like Hillbilly Bread – the subject of one of my very early blog posts.

I also remember annoying TV ads for Taystee Bread too, in which kids spelled out the name T-A-Y-S-T-E-E in raucous song. I don't think that bread is still around either.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

More Passing Scene Cartoons – October 1968

I'm a little bit busy this week with my other ongoing writing project, contributing articles to the Black Swamp Trader & Firelands Gazette. As I'm preparing this blog post on Tuesday night, my current  article for the paper is due this week. So forgive me if you see a few blog posts of the "filler" variety as I slowly get back to my normal schedule.

First up are a couple of The Passing Scene cartoons by Gene Patrick that ran on October 12, 19, and 26, 1968. (By George, I've cleaned up so many of these strips in Photoshop that if I keep this blog going for a few more years, I'll probably have posted The Passing Scene's entire run!

Of interest in the October 19th strip – particularly in view of the current Ebola scare –  is the reference to the Hong Kong flu, a 1968 flu pandemic that killed one million people worldwide.

The October 26th strip is interesting also – in it, it's shown that you could still burn leaves in Lorain.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Johnson Hill Revisited and Amherst Town Hall – Then and Now

Johnson Hill looking south on S. Main Street in Amherst
Back in July I did a "then and now" post on Johnson Hill in Amherst. At the time, Col. Matt Nahorn of the New Indian Ridge Museum kindly left a comment explaining that "the name comes from an early settler, Salmon Johnson, who bought land from the founder of Amherst's downtown area, Josiah Harris."

Since then, I received in my email a copy of an undated vintage postcard (above) of the hill from the other direction (from the webmaster of the Oberlin in the Past Facebook page). So, on Saturday I went out to get a "now" shot from that perspective, as well as a better companion photo of one of the original vintage postcards.

Just as it was when I was trying to get my shot back in July, there was an incredible amount of traffic along that stretch of the road. Rather than sensibly park somewhere and get a shot on foot, I cruised back and forth several times, shooting out the window and trying to frame the shot from memory. I finally did get a usable shot (below).
Like I said, I was hoping to to improve on one of my original 'then and nows' from July. Here is one of the vintage postcards of the view looking north (below).
Courtesy Amherst Public Library
And here's my "now" companion shot from Saturday (below).

After driving back and forth so many times, I was happy to pull over and grab a nice shot of the old Town Hall so it too could get the 'then and now' treatment.
Courtesy Amherst Public Library 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cleveland Browns Brownie Mascot Through the Years

I'm sure everyone will be talking about the Cleveland Browns today at work since they beat the Steelers on Sunday, so here's a little look back at their classic Brownie mascot through the years. Many of the images are from Ebay. I had my pal Gene at work – who is a sports authority and collector of sports memorabilia – help me establish a rough time frame for some of them.

There's few that are downright unusual – and a couple that are hilarious.


Although I'm not a big football fan, I've always rooted for the Browns – and liked their Brownie mascot too. I was disappointed that Browns owner Art Modell didn't like him and did away with him for so many years. But the team's new ownership brought the little elf back and he's more popular than ever.

For a terrific article about the history of the Cleveland Browns Brownie mascot, click here.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Three Stooges Play the RKO Palace – October 1946

As a longtime fan of the Three Stooges, I found this ad kind of interesting. It appeared in the Lorain Sunday News on Sunday, October 13, 1946 and promoted the comedy trio's live appearance at the RKO Palace in Cleveland – 68 years ago this month.

You might remember I did a two-part post (here and here) about their personal appearance at the Palace in Lorain much later in their career.
Why is the ad interesting to me? Because, sadly, Curly had suffered a stroke by that time, ending his career as a Stooge, and brother Shemp was already back in the act. (Many people don't know that Shemp was indeed the original third stooge opposite Moe and Larry.)

Moe was quite fond of playing the Palace in Cleveland, even mentioning it in his autobiography, I Stooged to Conquer.

Anyway, on the bill with the Stooges was humorist Herb Shriner, as well as the movie Black Angel, starring Dan Duryea and Peter Lorre. Here's the trailer (below).

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The House at 1403 E. Erie Avenue

Several people emailed me a few weeks ago to tell me that the fine old house at 1403 E. Erie Avenue – the house adjacent to the St. Anthony of Padua parking lot – was going to be torn down. I had always kind of admired the house while sitting at the stop light there, so I made sure I grabbed a few shots when I went through there.

The house was finally demolished last week.

How long had the house been there? The Lorain County Auditor website had 1900 listed as the year it was built, meaning that the actual date was unknown. So I hit the city directories to see if I could find out.

As usual, Lorain's penchant for renumbering the house addresses has made it quite confusing. Fortunately, many of the homeowners in that area stayed put from 1912 on – allowing me to possibly determine when the house showed up in the directory.

The 1915 Lorain City Directory included an address not found in the 1912 book: 1405 E. Erie Avenue (owned by P.A. Rissman). It was the only odd-numbered (lakeside) address in the immediate area.

The 1405 E. Erie address disappeared in the next available book in the library, which was the 1919 edition. In that book, 1407 E. Erie Avenue appeared, owned by Anton Cooper, a general contractor. He continued to live at this address (sometimes listed as Anthony M. Cooper) into the early 1930s, when his 1407 E. Erie Avenue address became 1403 E. Erie Avenue.

Anthony M. Cooper lived at 1403 E. Erie all the way into the 1950s. The house was still in the Cooper family in the 1960s (owned by Mrs. Thomasina Cooper) before going vacant around 1967. It remained that way for a few years before being listed in the directory as the Meeting House for St. Anthony of Padua.

With the demolition of the house, as well as that of the commercial building across the street at 1368 E. Erie earlier this year, that intersection of E. Erie and Kansas Avenue sure has changed!