Friday, January 22, 2016

Tonopah Tavern in Sheffield Lake

Yesterday I mentioned Ernie’s Place in Sheffield Lake; today, here’s another business that was located in that city (my city) long ago.

Recently, I saw this vintage matchbook for Tonopah Tavern on Ebay recently, and wondered, "What was a Western bar doing in Sheffield Lake?” But then I remembered that the old Saddle Inn in Avon Lake was entirely decorated with a Western theme, so perhaps it wasn’t that unusual a choice of motif.
The tavern's location on the matchbook is given as Stop 72 1/2 on Route 2 and 6 – which puts it on Lake Road in between Cove Beach Avenue and Abbe Road. The names of Ann and Ed Morley are listed, with Fred Morley as manager.

I suspected that the Tonopah Tavern was some incarnation of the restaurant known in the late 1950s as Raptis Sheffield Inn, and later, Bill & Don’s. Sure enough, my blog entry for Raptis Sheffield Inn indicated that Edward Morley was the name associated with a restaurant at the 5348 East Lake Road location in the 1947 city directory.

I did find this ad for the Tonopah in the December 31, 1946 Lorain Journal. It sounds like it was new at that time.
The Ebay listing said the matchbook was acquired as part of a collection that dates back from the 1930s and 40s. But I couldn’t find a listing for Tonopah Tavern in any of the available city directories, and the only telephone book that listed it was the November 1955 edition (below).

A Google search revealed that an ad for the tavern did appear in the Brookside High School Leader yearbook for the Class of 1956.

I’m not sure exactly how long the Tonopah Tavern was in existence before it rode off into the sunset.

It would be interesting to know if the Tonopah Tavern was named after Tonopah, Nevada or Tonopah, Arizona. (The one in Nevada looks more exciting because of its history as a mining town.)

If anyone had any knowledge or memories of the Tonopah or the people involved in its operation, be sure to leave a comment!

1 comment:

Rick Kurish said...

No knowledge of Tonopah Restaurant, but the mention of western motif and the matchbook featuring the bronco rider, reminded me of a conversation with a guy who told me there was a Riding Academy on Lake Breeze Road in the 1940s. Anyone have any recollection of this?