Friday, August 19, 2016

John’s Motel & Cabins – Part 1

Here’s a Lake Road tourist camp that I’d never heard of before: John’s Motel and Cabins. The above real photo postcard postcard recently appeared on Ebay and was postmarked August 12, 1951.

The location of John’s Motel and Cabins is inscribed on the front of the postcard – East Lake Road, Route 2 & 6, Vermilion, Ohio – with a phone number of 2204. (The back of the card was blank.)
It was fairly easy to find it and its matching phone number in this 1950 Lorain Telephone Company directory listing of Tourist & Trailer Camps (below), which was the earliest book that included it.
The telephone directory listing provided a better description of where it was located: Stop 124 1/2, which would on Lake Road east of Vermilion, near Sunnyside Road.
The location was further pinpointed by the motel’s listing in the 1954 Lorain County Farm & Rural Directory as being on the south side of the highway. The listing also mentions an inn.
Best of all, the listing also revealed the name of the man behind the business: John Kovanic.
Here’s a later listing from the Lorain phone book. This one appeared in 1959. Note the many motels and tourist camps that have been featured on this blog during the past seven years : Anchor Lodge Motel, Beachcomber Motor Lodge, Beth-Shan Motel, Foster House Motel, Grandview Motel, Hialeah, Holiday Inn, Kayann’s, Lakeland Lodges, Peck’s Cottages, and Vians.)
John’s Motel continued to appear in the Lorain phone book until it disappeared as of the 1962 edition.
John J. Kovanic passed away on October 11, 1972. His obituary that appeared in the Journal the next day revealed that he was born in Czechoslovakia in October 1887 and came to New York at the age of 23. He had been a resident of Vermilion for 52 years.

As for his career in tourist lodging, his obituary stated that he had “owned and operated the Home Restaurant on Main St., Vermilion, from 1920 to 1930 and then later operated the John’s Motel, East Liberty Ave., Vermilion, from 1930 to 1962, when he retired.”


Anonymous said...

Dan, I posted this on Facebook [ You know you're from Vermilion ] page. I think those folks will have a lot of answers. thanks Bill N

Dan Brady said...

Thanks, Bill! I appreciate it!

Dan Brady said...

Wow! Looks like several fine citizens have already provided the exact location on the "You Know You're From Vermilion" Facebook page. My thanks to Bill and everyone who has helped! I will update my post accordingly!

Rick Kurish said...

You seem to be able to turn up an unending list of Tourist camps/cabins/cottages on Route 6. An interesting bit of history of a bygone era, when the road was a major coast to coast highway. I had no idea there were so many options for tourists and vacationeers along Route 6. It seems as though every farmer with land along the lake shore wanted to get a cut of the tourist pie.

Unfortunately the advent of the Ohio Turnpike in the 1950s, and Interstate 90 later, effectively ended the majority of tourist traffic on Route 6. I'm sure it also affected the vacation cottages on the lake by providing quick access to other, more distant, vacation destinations. Hopefully, a few of the Lake cottage rentals you have spotlighted will remain active to keep the history alive.

Over the years I have run into a few people doing the Lake Erie Circle Tour, including a Canadian father and teenage son at Old Prague Restaurant in Vermilion who were doing the tour on bicycles!