Monday, November 30, 2015

Lorain’s Tucker Automobile Dealership

Last week I did a post about 939 Broadway, currently the home of Dabu Restaurant & Cocktail Bar, and for many years the headquarters of radio station WLRO. I’d mentioned in my post that there was a used car business at that location run by Arlington J. Popp in the early 1940s.

This triggered the memory of local historian and author Al Doane, who contacted me to point out something very interesting: that Arlington Popp had briefly operated a Tucker Automobile dealership at that same location.

It was pretty brief. An ad for the Tucker dealership only appeared in the October 1947 and October 1948 Lorain Telephone Company directories.


A 1948 Tucker Sedan at the Blackhawk Auto Museum
(Courtesy of Wikipedia)
Now, in case you’ve never heard of it, the Tucker Automobile was a revolutionary car conceived by Preston Tucker and known for its innovative design. 

Despite this, the car had only a brief life due to many controversial factors, and only 51 were produced before the company closed. (Preston Tucker and his cars were the subject of Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988) starring Jeff Bridges and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.)

Al remembered one of the unique features of the car. “As the front wheels turned,” he noted, "the head lights also turned with the wheels.”

This is explained further in the Wiki entry on the Tucker 48 automobile. It states, “The most recognizable feature of the Tucker ’48, a directional third headlight (known as the “Cyclops Eye”), would activate at steering angles of greater than 10 degrees to light the car’s path around corners.” 

Not surprisingly – since so few cars were manufactured – Al remembered that the dealership “was never able to get one of the Tucker autos in their new showroom.”

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Al Doane was also able to tell me a little bit about J. Arlington Popp. Al reminisced, “Arlington was very much like a midget, very short in stature.

“He was so short that he would place a 2 x 4 to the car pedals so he could touch them and be able to control the car. He lived on Hamilton Avenue just to the west of Lorain High School.”

My mother remembered J. Arlington Popp as well, although she thought he might have been a dwarf. Nevertheless, Mr. Popp sounds like he was very well known character in Lorain, and successful at what he did.

J. Arlington Popp passed away on March 17, 1989 at the age of 75. He lived in Lorain all his life, and there were no survivors.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Santa Claus Arrives in Lorain – 1946

I used to think that the immediate shift in seasons from Thanksgiving to Christmas was a modern invention, something that slowly gained in popularity in the 1970s. But then, after I began looking at vintage newspaper microfilm at the library, I realized that this has been going on for a long time.

Here’s some proof of that. Above is the full-page ad that ran in the Lorain Journal on Tuesday, November 26, 1946 – 69 years ago – announcing the kickoff to the city’s Christmas celebration.

The ad charmingly provides a window to the Downtown Lorain of the mid-1940s.

Happily, the Lorain Growth Corporation has been working hard trying to make new holiday memories that people will reminisce about someday, with the 2015 Light Up Lorain Waterfront Winterfest. The agenda is pretty impressive.

The fun begins on Saturday, November 28, 2015 with the big parade at 4:30. Both Saturday and Sunday are crammed with a lot of fun – fireworks, skating, ice sculpture, horse drawn carriage rides, the annual lights at Lakeview Park, a Singing Angels concert, a big brass swing band, and much more.

Here’s the link to the official website that has the schedule and all the details.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving at the Deutschof – 1937

Many people enjoy Thanksgiving dinner out at a restaurant, and thus avoid the unpleasant task of washing dishes.

The older I get, this seems to make more sense to me. Maybe next year.

Back on Thanksgiving Day 1937, one of the choices for a fine meal for Lorainites was the Deutschof . It had a nice menu for the day, with expected items (turkey with chestnut dressing, fluffy mashed potatoes) as well as a few surprises (marinated herring, french fried potatoes and fruit cake). Assorted nuts and mints rounded out the feast.

Here’s hoping that you are able to celebrate the holiday with a fine meal, in the company of your loved ones and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What was playing at the Palace on Thanksgiving 1937?

Many people enjoy going to the movies as part of a holiday celebration.

This is nothing new, as shown in the above ad which ran on Thanksgiving eve in the Lorain Journal on Wednesday, November 24, 1937. It promotes the Palace’s Gala Holiday Show.

But as you can see from the foreboding graphic in the ad, warm and fuzzy holiday fare was not exactly in store for movie patrons.

Seeing as the theater was the Warner Brothers Palace, perhaps it’s probably not a surprise that the main feature was a crime drama: Alcatraz Island (1937). It’s the story of a man railroaded into Alcatraz prison who ends up framed for the murder of another inmate. John Litel stars as “Gat” Brady (no relation).

Courtesy gcaptain.com
The second half of the double feature was a little bit lighter: Swing It, Sailor (1938). I’m not sure how it could be playing in Lorain in 1937 when all the online movie websites say it was released in 1938.

This movie featured a whole list of actors that I’ve never heard of: Wallace Ford, Ray Mayer, Isabel Jewell and Mary Treen.

The only cast member that I’ve ever heard of is Tom Kennedy, who played a lot of policemen in comedy shorts, with comedians such as Laurel & Hardy. In fact, he was even in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World – in which he played a whistle-blowing traffic cop near the end of the movie.

Anyway, the whole movie is on YouTube, so if want to find out if it is indeed a “comedy riot,” here’s your chance. Give it a click below.


I wonder what nameless “cartoon” was shown with the double feature?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Polansky’s Thanksgiving Ad – November 22, 1947

November 22, 1937 Lorain Journal ad
By now, you’ve no doubt finalized your plans for Thanksgiving dinner, and bought your bird.

The last two years, I ordered a fresh turkey from Polansky’s Meat Market on S. Dewey Road in Amherst. It's not cheap, but I think you can taste the difference. It seems a little bit better, at least to me.

Getting your poultry from Polansky's has no doubt been a longstanding tradition for many people. But back in 1937, Polansky’s hadn’t expanded to Amherst yet. There was only the original location at 14th and Long Avenue in Lorain.

The ad shows what was available in the store for Thanksgiving, and ran in the Lorain Journal on November 22, 1937. It's interesting that you could go and check out the live turkeys – sort of like picking out a lobster.

The store also had ducks, geese and pork roasts. (My mother used to fix a duck and a capon for Thanksgiving when I was a kid – never a turkey.)

But a pork roast for Thanksgiving? It would seem un-American!

Monday, November 23, 2015

939 Broadway in Lorain

When Dabu Restaurant & Cocktail Bar opened its doors in July, the Morning Journal gave it a nice writeup. The article mentioned that the Asian fusion restaurant had evolved from the Club Copa, which had formerly occupied the same space at 939 Broadway. I wonder how many people remember some of the other businesses at that location?

The first appearance of the 939 Broadway address in an available city directory at the Lorain Public Library was in the 1940 edition. Arlington J. Popp ran a used car business with that address. Within a few years however, the address was listed as vacant. It continued to be vacant in the 1945 and 1947 books.

By the time of the 1950 edition, C. G. Captain & Sons were operating their company there, which specialized in paint, wallpaper and decorating. Their business continued to be listed at that address until the 1955-56 book. That’s when Sun Finance first appeared at 939 Broadway.

Sun Finance (later listed as Sun Finance & Loan) seems to have been the longest tenant of the building. It was listed from the 1955 book right up through the 1968 edition. But by the 1969 directory, the address was once again listed as vacant.

Next was the company that I still associate with the building when I drive by it: radio station WLRO, run by Lorain Community Broadcasting. (The WDLW Wiki page explains how WLRO rose from the ashes of WWIZ.) WLRO appeared in the city directory through the 1984-85 edition.

But around the middle of 1984, WLRO was sold. The call letters changed to WRKG, and the station moved to the Antlers Hotel at 300 Washington Avenue beginning in the 1986 directory.

That was pretty much the end of glamorous businesses at 939 Broadway until now. The building was vacant for a few years, until Great Lakes Offset (a printing company) appeared in the directory in the 1988 book.

The building appeared to be vacant during much of the 1990s. Lighthouse Laser (a computer repair company) eventually called the location home either in the late 1990s or early 2000s. Then the 939 Broadway listing seemingly disappeared from the directories, including the 2005 - 2010 era. As mentioned, Club Copa was the most recent tenant.

Anyway, here’s hoping Dabu becomes the next longtime tenant of 939 Broadway in Lorain.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Grand Opening of the Hollywood Bar – November 25, 1947

A view of 3001 Elyria Avenue this week
I’m sure many people pass this building (currently home to Carter Funeral Homes) without knowing much about its past.

In May of 1954, it had just become the Lorain Youth Center, (which I wrote about back here). But before that, it was the Hollywood Bar.

Below is the Grand Opening announcement for the Hollywood Bar that ran in the Lorain Journal on November 25, 1947 – 68 years ago this month.
I was unsuccessful at finding out anything about the floor show acts that performed at the Hollywood Bar's Grand Opening, since there wasn't even a tiny internet footprint for any of them: singer Rosalyn Danna, dancer and singer Lorna Chester, Rudolf the Magician, and Charley Brown and His Orchestra.

I’m thinking that perhaps they were locals. Does anybody recognize any of the names?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Reichlin-Reid-Scanlan 1937 Thanksgiving Ad

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching, and so to put you in the mood, here's an ad for Reichlin - Reidy - Scanlan that ran in the Lorain Journal on November 18, 1937 – 78 years ago yesterday.

It’s a pretty effective and attractive ad. And so much furniture for $99.50!

The china cabinet reminds me of mine a little bit (below) although it’s not as ornate as the one shown in the ad.

Decades ago, a boyfriend of one of the spouse’s girlfriends had mentioned that his mother was getting rid of it, and that she’d be happy to give it away to someone who wants it. So we borrowed a truck and drove out to the eastern suburbs (either Willoughby or Willowick – can’t remember which) to get it, sight unseen.
It’s been a pretty nice piece all these years for something that was free.
My only problem is that recently, I’ve been wondering if my house is haunted, and if someone (or thing) came into the house many years ago, piggyback on one of the many, many antiques – including the china cabinet.

I hope not. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Reidy Scanlan Funeral Home – Then & Now

I saw this on Ebay the other day and thought it would make a timely post. It’s a vintage double postcard advertising the Reidy Scanlan Funeral Home. (By the way, the former Reidy Scanlan furniture building was still standing as of last weekend, waiting for its appointment with the wrecking ball.)

A funeral home is kind of an unusual subject for postcard. I guess that’s one postcard that you don’t send to a friend inscribed with “Wish you were here."

The building in the photo sports a different paint scheme than what is currently on the building, as seen in my shot (below) from this past weekend.

Hey, what happened to the light post? A casualty of the widening of Broadway, I guess. However, it looks like an earthquake struck in the “now” shot.
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To visit the website for the Reidy Scanlan Giovannazzo Funeral Home, click here.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

BF Goodrich 1970s Citizen Newsletters

I mentioned how the BF Goodrich General Chemical Plant in Avon Lake was a big part of our life, and that the company maintained a real family feeling. One of the ways the company did this was by regularly publishing an employee newsletter, called the Citizen.

Besides making the employees aware of what the company was up to, it also shared plenty of information about employees and their families, too.

It was neat to see ourselves featured in the newsletter when we graduated from high school, college, etc. And it was interesting to recognize other Admiral King High School classmates whose father or mother worked at BF Goodrich too. (There were at least two other BF Goodrich employees that lived on Skyline Drive in the same block as us.)

Here are a few pages from the November 1977 issue (below). Perhaps you will recognize a face or name.

And here are a few pages from the July 1978 issue (below). I saved it because my father and I are both in it.

It’s fitting that Dad was photographed with Al Gressler, one of his friends, as well as Ron Coleman, his foreman. They were just two of his many co-workers whose names became familiar to our family over the years, such as Jimmy Little and Paul Paghi.
And here’s a page featuring some of the summer employees, including me. (I’m not sure why I had such a glazed look on my face; it was probably apprehension.)


Monday, November 16, 2015

BF Goodrich Memories

When I drive by the former BF Goodrich operations in Avon Lake on Walker and Moore Roads, I occasionally feel a little sentimental.

You see, my father worked there for two stints, the last one for twenty years or so. I worked there myself for two summers in the late 1970s. My uncle worked there too.

That’s why this little news article (at left) caught my eye, announcing that the new experimental plant was now in operation. It ran in the Lorain Journal on November 21, 1946. I had no idea that  BF Goodrich had been out there so long.

As it notes, the ‘experimental station’ had a modern development laboratory and “semi-work plant where sufficient quantities of material can be produced to determine large scale cost, purity and elimination of difficulties encountered in production.”

It’s incredible to drive by there today and see how much the whole complex has grown. Sadly, the BF Goodrich name is nowhere to be found; after many years of brands being spun off, and various sales and acquisitions, the names on the signs are PolyOne, Lubrizol and Mexichem.

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And now for a few personal BF Goodrich memories.

Dad first started out in that ‘front plant’ or experimental plant, and enjoyed working there. Unfortunately, the particular product area or part of the business where he worked ended up being sold off, and he was laid off. Later, after a stint at Nelson Stud, Dad returned to BF Goodrich – this time at ‘the back plant.’ He ended up enjoying working there as well.

I was fortunate to be able to work in the back plant for two summers as part of a program in which the company hired employees' children who were attending college. I remember that we made $6 an hour, which seemed like a lot of money to me in 1978.

Estane (now part of Lubrizol) was a fascinating place to work for a kid in his late teens. One of my duties was operating a machine that discharged granulated Estane material into heavy paper bags, 50 pounds at a time. After filling a bag, I would place it on a skid in groups of five bags per layer, then slosh some glue on top of them, and then stack more layers until they were ten layers high. At that point, I would get the fork truck and move it out of there, and then start all over again.

Working shifts was a new world to me as well. The afternoon shift wasn’t too bad, but the overnight one was a challenge. I remember that on the first few days of that 11 to 7 shift – before I got used to it – I would start to hallucinate around 4:00 in the morning.

We did more than just bagging. Some of the material to be granulated was in thick sheets, wrapped and wound so that they looked like huge rolls of Scotch tape that were as tall as me. In this case, I had to use a special truck to go and get one of these rolls out of cold storage, transport it to the production area and load it onto the machine to be chopped up. It was tricky to maneuver it into position, and I still feel anxious when I think about it.

Sometimes we had to unclog the equipment that was mixing the granulated Estane material. It would get fused to what looked like a giant horizontal corkscrew inside a rectangular chamber.

Tragically, one of the other college students on a different shift was killed while he was helping to unclog one of these machines. The machine inexplicably started up while he was standing inside it. It was a horrible accident, and made me realize that everything in life can change in an instant, and that luck sometimes plays a role in survival.

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On a happier note, during my work breaks, it was nice to be able to go and visit Dad over where he and the other machinists worked. I remember thinking how strange it was to see him in a different light, away from home, joking and laughing with his co-workers.

BF Goodrich really had a family feeling. Even though Dad never talked about his work at the dinner table, somehow we knew the names of everyone he worked with.

As you can see, BF Goodrich was a big part of our life, just like the Ford Plant or US Steel were to other Lorainites.

Mom and Dad bowled in a company bowling league at Aqua Marine. He fished with his friends from work. We went to the BF Goodrich Christmas party for employees’ kids, where we sat through a musical program and afterwards, we got to pick out a gift.

The company rewarded employees who made great suggestions, and allowed them to choose gifts out of a catalog. Mom and Dad got their first garage door opener that way. And each time Dad won an award, he received a little “Thinker” statuette. They were all over the house.

In the mid-1980s, BF Goodrich was on the verge of making changes to their retiree benefit program. The plant manager made it a point to tell Dad that the benefit package that was currently available was as good as it was ever going to be, and that cuts were coming.

Consequently, Dad decided to take the retirement package. On his last day of work, he pulled into the parking lot of the Overlook Apartments on West Erie (where I lived) and drove once around the lot, tooting his horn the whole time. He wanted to make sure I looked out the window and saw him, before he exited and headed out to BF Goodrich in Avon Lake for the last time. He wanted to share his big day with me.

Next: some BFG house organs from the 1970s

Friday, November 13, 2015

Johnny Risko Part 2

Unlike the older editions, the Lorain City Directories of the late 1930s included Sheffield Lake, so it’s easy to locate Johnny Risko and his family in the listings.

The books reveal that John N. and Anna Risko’s restaurant was right where it is today – at 4219 Lake Road.

Apparently the property also included a gas station. A tragic accident occurred there in early October 1936. As reported in the Lorain Journal on October 5, 1936, an automobile crashed into a broken down freight truck at Stop 84, E. Lake Road. A Lorain grocer, A. W. Thomas and his wife Mae died when their car hit the rear end of the truck, which was parked partially off the road “at the Johnny Risko filling station.” The truck “was partially obscured from westbound traffic by a slight rise in the road grade."

A house built in 2000 sits at 4233 Lake Road today
(Photo courtesy of Lorain County Auditor website)
The listings in an early 1940s Lorain City Directory includes Risko entries at 4219 Lake Road (the restaurant) and also at 4233 Lake Road.

Also included in the listings are Mary Risko, who operated a beauty shop at 4233 Lake Road, and Paul Risko, who was serving in World War II.

(Paul Risko was killed in Northern France on July 29, 1944, and was believed to be the first casualty from the 86th and 6th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron during the war. He was honored in a ceremony in Lorain in July 2014, which you can read about here.)

Here are the Risko listings from the 1942 Lorain City Directory (below).

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Johnny Risko passed away on January 13, 1953. He collapsed while attending a meeting at the Elks lodge in Miami, Florida where he had just arrived for a winter break.

Here is Johnny Risko's obituary as it appeared in the January 14, 1953 edition of the London, Connecticut Day. It provides a nice capsule summary of his impressive career.
And here (below) is his obituary as it appeared in the Chicago Tribune on January 14, 1953.

When Johnny Risko’s wife passed away in 1956, a controversy resulted over some diamond rings. The whole story ended up on the front page of the Lorain Journal on August 23, 1957. Here is the text of the article (below).

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"Up To Court," Says Johnny Risko's Dad
Estate Problem Is Created By Two Rings Worth $2,000

Johnny Risko, Sr., 78 of 4233 E. Lake Rd., Sheffield Lake, shows no concern over whether he would inherit half of the $2,000 value set on two diamond rings which had belonged to the wife of his son, Johnny (Rubber Man) Risko, famed heavyweight boxer.

Briefs were to be filed today by attorneys in Cuyahoga County probate court to determine if Johnny Risko presented his wife, Mildred, with diamond-encrusted engagement and wedding rings while both were alive, or if Mrs. Risko bought them herself.

George A. Cain of Lakewood, attorney for Mrs. Risko's estate, said the rings are in question because "no one knows who bought the rings or where they came from."

The estates of Johnny Risko and his wife are under the scrutiny of Cuyahoga County Probate Judge Walter T. Kinder of Cleveland.

If Johnny Risko, who died on Jan. 13, 1953, made a gift of the rings to his late wife, when they were married in 1945, then half of the $2,000 value set on the jewelry passes to the elder Risko, according to Judge Kinder.

Asked what he thought about the case involving the rings, Risko puffed a big cigar, blew a cloud of smoke and said, "It is up to the court to figure out the ring business."

The mustached Risko contended, in effect, that the ownership of the rings didn't worry him at all.

Judge Kinder maintains that an Ohio law, known as the half-and-half statute, declares that when a wife follows her husband in death and she leaves no will, then half of all property which came to her from him "by deed of gift" passes by inheritance to next-of-kin.

Cain said that half of the value of the rings should not go to the elder Risko because "engagement and wedding rings, it seems to me, are not the ordinary kind of property that passes from a husband to a wife."

"They bind the marriage," Cain added.

Cain declared that he will attempt to show that Johnny Risko was in no position, financially, to purchase the rings when the couple was married and that Mrs. Risko was. Mrs. Risko was part-owner of a tavern in Lakewood prior to her marriage to the fighter.

The former boxer left his spacious lakefront home worth more than $30,000 to his wife. But half of it will go to the older Risko, who has lifetime occupancy of the home, under the requirements of the half-and-half statute.

Should Judge Kinder find that Johnny Risko did not buy the rings, or that Mildred Risko, who died on October 28, 1956, purchased them for herself, then the rings will go to her next-of-kin only.

Mrs. Risko's survivors include two brothers and three nieces and nephews.

Johnny Risko began a sensational professional boxing career in 1925, becoming a contender for the world's heavyweight crown the following year and emerged as one of the Cleveland area's boxing "greats."

From 1925 to 1934, Risko fought top fistic stars, including Max Baer, Gene Tunney, Max Schmeling, Mickey Walker and Jack Sharkey.

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For more information about Johnny Risko, here is the link to his page on the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame website.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Johnny Risko Part 1

Courtesy www.boxing.com
Many people undoubtedly pass Risko's on Lake Road in Sheffield Lake without realizing that the business has been there for decades, and has its roots in a restaurant and gas station there owned by Heavyweight Boxer Johnny Risko.

An interview with Jim Mahony conducted by librarian Sheila Ives in December 1987 that is available on the Lorain Public Library website includes a few reminices of Johnny Risko.

Mahony was discussing professional fights that were held at the Hotel Antlers in the mid-1920s, and recalled, "They featured Johnny Risko, heavyweight from Cleveland who lived in Sheffield Lake. In fact, two of his sisters, two of Johnny Risko’s sisters, still live in Sheffield Lake. They have many scrapbooks of Johnny and his achievements in the boxing ring.

Courtesy boxrec.com
"One of Johnny’s main bouts was when he fought his first professional bout. Johnny Risko had 52 amateur bouts and, as I recall, his record was something like 52 wins and 2 losses. So at that time he was encouraged to step into the professional ring and get a little money, ­so he did. ­ He stepped into the professional ring. He fought his first professional fight at the Antler’s Hotel. He fought a man from Columbus, Ohio. It was unusual for an amateur boxer in his first tryout as a pro to go ten rounds. The normal procedure is that you warm-up in the pro-ranks. You go four rounds, six rounds… but Johnny said, "No, I’m going to go classy. I’m going to go ten rounds." And he went ten rounds. And he won the decision. He whipped the man from Columbus, Ohio six rounds to four. So, the final judging on the bout was Johnny Risko six rounds, and the Columbus man four.”

A sports column (at left) written by Ernie Braden that appeared in the Chronicle-Telegram on October 20, 1934 was very complimentary regarding the professional ethics of Johnny Risko and Danny Dunn, his manager.

Braden wrote, “When it comes to down-right honesty in the prize-fight game, one has to take his fedora off to Johnny Risko, Cleveland heavyweight, and his able little manager, Danny Dunn... Not once in his many years in the game has the Cleveland “Baker Boy’s” name been linked with any dealings not strictly on the up-and-up... The same goes for Mr. Dunn, who incidentally is the only manager Johnny has ever had, Danny picking up “Jawn” when the latter was a raw rookie and building him into a leading heavyweight contender...

"Unlike the average “pug,” Risko will not be broke when he decides to hang up the mitts – Daniel Dunn saw to that when he first took the “Big Fella” under his wing... He took out a trust fund for the “Risk,” so Johnny is set financially for the rest of his life... What the fisticuff sport needs is more Riskos and more Dunns...”

When Johnny Risko did “hang up his mitts,” Sheffield Lake ended up being his home.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Green Lantern Camp Update

I spent the last two days blogging about the Bohemian Tavern, which was located at Stop 110 1/2 on Lake Road. So, it seems like a good time to provide an update on my research regarding the other business located at one time at Stop 110 1/2: Green Lantern Camp.

As you might remember, the camp consisted of some cabins (above), the Green Lantern Restaurant and the Green Lantern Service Station.

Back when I wrote these two posts, I was really hoping that I had determined the location of the camp. I thought that it was located just west of modern-day Skate World, where a few vintage cabins are still located. I was basing this on the fact that the man who owned Green Lantern Camp (W. F. Brenner) also owned the land west of Skate World at one time – and even resided there.

But now I know I was wrong. Sorry about that.

First of all, the Skate World location is simply too far west to be Stop 110 1/2. As my post noted yesterday, the former Garwell’s is Stop 111 – so Green Lantern Camp had to be located east of it.

But some things I discovered recently make me think I’ve been on the wrong side of the highway the whole time.

The Green Lantern Service Station was operated by a gentleman named W. H. Twigger.

1939 City Directory Listing
What’s interesting is that when I looked him up in the same directory by his last name, the book listed him as residing at Stop 110 1/2 on Meister Road.
You might be surprised to know that Meister Road used to curve and come out right on Lake Road (see vintage map below from the late 20s/early 30s).
What really convinced me that I  was getting closer to the actual location of Green Lantern Camp was this 1936 Lorain phone book listing. It reveals that Green Lantern restaurant was indeed located at Meister and Lake Road. I just don’t know if it was on the north or south side of the highway.
I still have a lot of loose ends to tie up. Rick Kurish had discovered that Green Lantern Restaurant had been for sale in 1940, and that the restaurant included living quarters. Could it have become the Bohemian Tavern later in the 1940s?
I’ll keep digging and see if I can find a connection. The answer is usually out there, if I can look past my preconceived notions and come up with that elusive bit of information – a name, a phone number – that ties it all together.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Bohemian Tavern Part 2

The Bohemian Tavern changed hands around 1948.

The 1948 Lorain Telephone Directory ad listings (below) indicated that Dominc Gigliotti and John Nowacki were the new proprietors of the business previously owned by Joseph and Bela Hering. The restaurant also received a new phone number of 9865.

In the 1952 city directory, Dominic Gigliotti and Jane Nowacki Tishel were the names associated with the restaurant, along with yet another new phone number of 56-065.

Finally, by the time of the November 1953 Lorain Telephone Company directory, Bohemian Tavern was owned by Dominic and Angeline Gigliotti. The Gigliottis also resided at Stop 110 1/2.

The Bohemian Tavern name continued to appear in the Lorain Telephone Company directory through the November 1955 listing. Then it disappeared from the directories, a casualty of the widening of Lake Road, which began in March 1956.

Ad from the Lorain Journal - March 17, 1956
Beginning in the 1956 phone book, Dominic and Angeline Gigliotti had a new restaurant: Roman Villa.

The former home of Roman Villa
It was located at Stop 111, which was just a little to the west of their old restaurant’s location.  Stop 111 also became the new residence of the Gigliottis.

Bohemian Tavern's phone number of 56-065 also moved over to the new location and became that of Roman Villa’s, bringing a little continuity to the Gigliottis’ culinary enterprises.

Ironically, while I was researching the Bohemian Tavern in late August, I noticed that the building that was home to Roman Villa was being demolished (below).

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UPDATE (November 13, 2015)
Rick Kurish kindly sent me this ad (below) that appeared in the Amherst newspaper on March 17, 1949. It answers the question, "What happened to Joseph and Bela Hering after they sold the Bohemian Tavern?"
The answer: they opened up a new business, Hering's Tavern – still on Lake Road – but much further west, being located 7 miles west of Vermilion. 
As Rick noted in his email, "Some time ago I helped someone who was researching a restaurant on Lake Road in Huron. That restaurant was named Comers' Oasis, now the Angry Bull. In between it went through iterations as Hering's Tavern and Philbo House."
Thanks to Rick for tying up this loose end.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Bohemian Tavern Part 1

While I was researching the Pueblo for all those years, I kept coming across the name of a business that was its neighbor to the west on the same side of Lake Road: Bohemian Tavern.

Bohemian Tavern is somewhat of a mystery to me. Its Lake Road location was commonly given as Stop 110 1/2. That would mean that it was west of the railroad undercut, somewhere between Franke Drive and the former Garwell’s.

The earliest listing for Bohemian Tavern that I could find was in the 1945 Lorain Telephone Company Directory. It was listed as Hering’s Bohemian Tavern.

Here’s the ad for Hering’s Bohemian Tavern that ran in the Buyer’s Guide of the 1947 Lorain City Directory (below).
Joseph Hering and his wife Bela are the names associated with the restaurant in that same directory’s listing (below). 
As you can see they also resided at Stop 110 1/2. Interestingly, the phone number for Hering’s Bohemian Tavern was 63-496, while the phone number of the Pueblo (just to the east on the other side of the undercut) was 63-596.

The 1948 Lorain County Directory had a unique numerical address for Bohemian Tavern: 4101. That puts the business on the south side of the street, roughly opposite (or at least near) the Blahay truck stop which was listed as 4040.

Unfortunately those address numbers are no longer valid in that area of West Erie.

Strangely enough, another Lake Road business also had a Stop 110 1/2 location: Green Lantern Camp, which I wrote about back here

Friday, November 6, 2015

Elyria Motel Then & Now

I've had this postcard of the Elyria Motel (a scan of it, actually) for a while, and have never gotten around to using it for a 'then and now' shot.

It’s probably because I never really read the directions on the back of the postcard as to where it was located, so I never bothered to make an effort to photograph it.

However, a few weeks ago I was heading out to Rural King via Old Route 20, and looked up and realized I was staring at the motel on the vintage postcard. After a quick turnaround, and a couple of drive-bys, I had my shot.

How long has Elyria Motel been out there? It first appeared in the Elyria City Directory in the 1959 edition, making it roughly as old as me. But it looks to be in pretty good shape.

Here’s my drive-by shot.

I’m fairly impressed that a vintage Mom-and-Pop motel on the outskirts of Elyria has survived so long, looking so neat and tidy, especially when you consider that Lorain’s entire lineup of 1950s Lake Road motels are soon to be demolished.
Early 1960s Elyria Phone Book Ad