Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Edna’s Restaurant Revisited

One of the handicaps of trying to research old businesses located on the western outskirts of Lorain on US Route 6 in the 1930s, 40s and 50s is that you usually don’t have a street address to go by. These businesses were located in Black River Township and thus not officially in Lorain.

For decades – lasting right into the late 1960s – the only addresses available for many of these businesses were their designated “Stop" on the old Lake Shore Electric Railway (such as Stop 108).

Making it even trickier is the fact that in the old City Directories, US Route 6 west of Lorain seemed to go by a different name in every edition: Lake Road, West Lake Road, West Erie, etc. It got even more confusing when the cloverleaf near the undercut was built in the 1950s, creating small bypassed chunks of road.

It wasn’t until the mid-1960s books that the highway’s name and numerical addresses became standardized from Leavitt Road to the Vermilion border. The small bypassed segments were given new names (such as Pueblo Drive).

Which is a very roundabout way of leading me to today’s topic – Edna’s Restaurant again – and how I goofed when I did a post on it back in May 2013.

Remember this great 1957 map showing the various Lake Road businesses?

Edna’s Restaurant (run by Edna Mitchell) was listed as being at Stop 111. Here’s a closeup of its map listing, which reveals that the restaurant was brand new at that time.

Stop 111 was used in the restaurant's ads for the first few years. Here’s its 1958 phone book listing (below).
In the city directory from the 1961, I finally found an address for Edna’s: 4875 W. Erie – which is located on the south side of the road. So naturally I assumed that Edna’s was always located there.
But while watching the old 8mm footage posted on yesterday’s blog, I thought, “What the heck is Edna’s doing on the north side of the road?”
So I went back to the city directories to try and figure out how I goofed.
In its first listing in the city directories, Edna’s was indeed lumped in with Ed’s Place Motel and the truck stop. Here’s the 1959 listing below (same year as the 8mm footage).
Edna’s phone number is even numerically close to the motel. So that makes sense.
But in the 1962 city directory, Edna’s Restaurant had a new phone number and was now located next to a Texaco gas station on the south side of the highway, opposite Garwell’s. So the business had moved – and I had missed that fact.
In this July 4, 1963 Journal ad, Edna's even had a new name and promoted the fact that it was “newly remodeled.”
I wouldn’t have known except that I saw the sign for Edna’s in that old footage.
So you can see what a challenge it is to do research sometimes. Businesses (like Edna’s) often pick up and move nearby or even across the road, creating confusion 50 years later for hapless researchers.


Wireless.Phil said...

The undercut, you mean on West Eire and 21st street?
I remember going down the roads before the undercut, what a dangerous mess.
I wasn't driving then, but my dad was.

Rick Kurish said...

Edna's Restaurant didn't kindle any memory -- although I passed that location many times as a kid in the 1950s. However, your posting of the Advertisement for Edna's Hitching Post on the south side of West Erie Ave. triggered my memory. I remember passing the place many times in late 1960s. If memory serves it was called simply "The Hitching Post", and had signage in the shape of a large hitching post. I never patronized the place --- for some reason I had the impression that at that time it was a bar.