Tuesday, November 15, 2016

More Arlington Traction Memories

Shortly after I posted my update last week on the Arlington Traction Company, I received a nice email from Mary Jane, the niece of Norman Muller, the man behind it.

(And to think that when I first planned to write about the Arlington Traction Company, all I had was a jpeg of one of its old tickets!)

Mary Jane wrote, "I just saw your blog on the Arlington Traction Company Revisited and also looked at your three-part series.

"Norman Muller was my uncle (my mother's brother) and my father (Irving Crooks) was the one that built the engine. I have so many memories of the time we spent at Norman's house."

Mary Jane was kind enough to share some great family photos. The first one (below) shows Norman's family at his Ferris Wheel, one of the other amusements that he built.

"The group photo shows Norman's mother (who had the wallpaper store on Reid Ave.) on the bottom left, and his wife Lois on the bottom right,” explained Mary Jane.

“Irving Crooks is standing behind Lois, and my brother David Crooks is to the right of Lois. I am on the Ferris Wheel between my two cousins, Karl and Robert - Norman's sons. The other two people are more distant cousins whose names I can’t remember.”

Another photo (below) shows family members proudly posing with the train Mary Jane’s father built.

"In the train engine picture is my mother, Pauline Crooks driving and Lois and the unnamed cousin in the back,” noted Mary Jane.

She also sent a great photo (below) of the miniature train in action.

As Mary Jane explained, "The last picture shows a group of neighbor children having a ride.”

Mary Jane was also able to explain to me the layout of Norman’s property relative to the church located at the corner now.
She wrote, "Norman's property was an L-shaped piece of land bordering Broadway on one side and North Ridge (or Cooper Foster)  road on the other side. He lived in a small two-bedroom cottage on the property. All of the amusements were on the side farthest from Broadway.
"The actual corner property was not included which is how the church came to be built there. 
Norman also had other amusements on his property besides the train that was all part of his desire to make people happy.
As Mary Jane explained, he had "a large frog with a speaker attached to a microphone in the house so that as people walked by the frog would talk to them. 
"He had other small rides from time to time and sometimes slides and swings." 
Courtesy Ashland Times-Gazette
Mary Jane was able to tell me a little bit about Norman Muller. 
"Norman was a quiet man who refused to have a television in his house,” she explained, "but preferred to spend his time working on amusements for others. He never built anything like this again after he moved to the Ashland area, but he loved the people he met there and was very content.”
Norman’s obituary noted that he had written letters for the National Shut-in Society for years. Mary Jane noted, "Norman did like to write letters to people, and corresponded with many people over the years."
Just like her uncle, who moved to the Ashland area, Mary Jane eventually moved away from Lorain. 
"I left Ohio in 1969 and my grandmother (Norman's mother) died in 1974, so I never saw much of him or his family after that. But those years that he lived in Lorain were great ones and I enjoyed the memories." 
Mary Jane thanked me, as well as Paula Shorf (who contributed photos and a company history) for the blog posts. 
"I'm glad that my uncle's Arlington Traction Company is still remembered."

1 comment:

Paula said...

This is such a wonderful family story. It is great to see a photo of Norman Muller...