Sunday, July 16, 2017

On Vacation!

Howdy, folks – just a reminder that I’m on vacation all week, so no new (or mildly recycled) content on the blog. But please stop back again next week, when I’ll be back (with some no doubt hastily prepared tripe)!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Oberlin Estates Ad – July 20, 1957

To close out the week, here's yet another vintage ad that's part of my apparent effort to document as many Lorain housing developments of the 1950s and 60s as possible. This one is for Oberlin Estates, which was located east of Oberlin Avenue at W. 37th Street.

The ad ran on Saturday, July 20, 1957 in the Lorain Journal. So did this full-page ad below.

As you can see, Kucirek Construction was behind the development. I’ve written about Emil and Emily Kucirek a few times on this blog, including this 2010 post about the Oberlin Avenue farmhouse they rehab’d, as well as this extensive 1969 interview with them.
As for the ‘Capri’ model home featured prominently in the ads, it’s still there on W. 37th – and looking great.
And with that, I’m on vacation! The last time I took a week off from my job in Cleveland was in 2014 – so I’m long overdue for a break. And although I usually take time off from the blog during Christmas week, my last summer vacation here was that same week in August 2014!
So please stop back in a week or so when I’ll return to my regularly scheduled blog programming. Have a great summer until then!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Central Bank Drive-Through Ad – July 1952

Although being able to do your banking while remaining in your car is something we all take for granted now, it was still a new concept back in 1952.

The above ad, which ran in the Lorain Journal on July 4, 1952, promotes the fact that the Central Bank Company, located at Broadway and 20th Street in Lorain, was the only local bank to offer a “Drive-In Teller” service at that time. It was in the rear of the building with access from 20th Street.

The “Drive-In Teller” window was even featured in the film LORAIN – An Industrial Empire in Ohio’s Vacation Land.

Of course the Central Bank building is long-gone (except for the pillars), but here’s roughly the same view today as seen in the film.
Courtesy Google Maps
Ironically, it now seems that most banks seem to have done away with direct customer contact in their drive-throughs, favoring the clunky pneumatic tubes.
It’s been a long times since I put my savings book in a drawer at the drive-through. In fact, most banks (except for First Federal Savings of Lorain) have done away with the books!
I know you’re probably wondering – what about “Miss Vacationland” of 1952 mentioned in the ad?
Well, the pageant was held at Lorain’s Lakeview Park on July 4, 1952. The winner was Sandusky’s Darlene Nancy Miller, 18, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Warren J. Miller. First alternate was Gloria Jean Lehnert, 19, of Amherst, and Second alternate was Dolores Lohrer, 19, of Sheffield Lake.
A crowd of 40,000 watched the pageant.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cities Service Luxury Driving Ad – July 1, 1958

Here’s an unusual approach to marketing gasoline: position it as a luxury item for women. That’s the gimmick at work in this ad for Cities Service, which ran in the Lorain Journal on July 1, 1958.

The ad was part of a series with the same luxury theme. Here they are in color – beginning with the same ad above – courtesy of the good folks at

I like the way the gas pump subliminally serves as a TV.
But what about the men? Cities Service didn’t forget about them. Here’s a nice manly ad from 1963 with mountains and a crystal clear lake that’s no doubt teeming with bass. Plus the ad agency threw in a cute cartoon beaver gas attendant to appeal to that part of the public that is a sucker for advertising mascots (like me).
Speaking of Cities Service, I drove by Benny’s Carriage Shoppe on Reid Avenue last weekend and took the shot below. I really like that retro gas station look.

I also featured Benny’s on this blog back in 2015 (here).

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Probst Ad – July 12, 1947

Summertime makes me think of ice cream, so it’s fitting to post this ad for Probst Corner. The ad ran in the Lorain Journal on July 12, 1947 – 70 years ago this month – and celebrates the First Anniversary of the business.

The ad provides a nice photo of the owners, Herman and Violet Probst, as well as the distinctive storefront. The ad reveals that the firm also sold baked goods, candy, snacks and even frozen Birdseye brand products.

I’ve written about Probst Corner before, including this post featuring an ad from 1954. Thomas Probst, the grandson of Herman and Violet, left a nice comment on that post about a vintage Probst Ice Cream scoop that he still uses.

Lorain was certainly fortunate to have so many family-owned ice cream shops to choose from over the years.

Although the oldest Lorain businesses are no more, it’s nice that Trish and Tom Harris have kept Lorain’s ice cream legacy alive with their K-Cream Korner and K-Cream Parlour.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Rainbow Golf Gardens Ad – July 4, 1930

During the summer, many people think of heading out to play a round of miniature golf – perhaps in Vermilion at Romp’s.

I had always thought that miniature golf (what we sometimes refer to as Putt-Putt) was something that first became big in the 1960s and 70s. Well, here’s an ad that shows that it was popular in Lorain much earlier than that.

The above ad for the Rainbow Golf Gardens ran in the Lorain Times-Herald on July 4, 1930.

According to this Wiki entry, miniature golf courses had become quite popular by the end of the 1920s, thanks to the development of suitable artificial greens. The sport became so popular that rooftop courses became very common.

In Lorain, the Rainbow Golf Gardens had two locations: 1520 West Erie (just east of Lakeview Park) and 710-14 Broadway.

The business was owned by Frederick A. Koegle and William Seher.

As the Wiki article indicated, the Depression wiped out most of the early miniature golf courses in the U. S. by the end of the 1930s. It looks like Lorain’s mini-golf courses were victims of bad economic times as well.

Available city directories at the Lorain Public Library indicate that the Rainbow Golf Gardens (at West Erie only) was still open in 1933, but had closed by the time of the 1937 edition.

Speaking of miniature golf, I happened to drive by the former Putt-Putt on Route 57 near Route 2 recently. The sign is still in great shape, but it looks like windmills would be the least of a golfer’s problems on that course today.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Avon Lake – “Our Town” – July 1957

To close out the week, here’s a full-page photo spread that should be of interest to my Avon Lake readers. It ran in the Saturday, July 27, 1957 edition of the Lorain Journal.

There’s plenty of charming shots of subjects found around 1957 Avon Lake: the freight agent at the train station; the new 400-foot smokestack of the CEI plant; the new municipal building on Avon-Belden Road; the city’s first church; the city’s fully-equipped fire truck in front of the fire station on Lake Road; the roller ramps at the Avon Lake Boat Club docks; and of most interest to me, B.F. Goodrich (where my father worked for more than twenty years).

Gerry Vogel’s Avon Lake book in the Arcadia Images of America series includes some great photographs for comparison with their 1957 counterparts here, including this shot of the “first church building in Avon Lake” in 1896.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Lorain Lighthouse Historical Marker

A nice view of the Lighthouse from the Spitzer Marina
(Courtesy Matt Weisman)
I didn’t make it down to the ceremonial unveiling of the Ohio Historical Marker honoring the Lorain Lighthouse last Friday, but local historian and author Matt Weisman did – and generously shared his photos of the event with me. Thanks, Matt!

Here’s a nice one of Frank & Carolyn Sipkovsky of the Lorain Lighthouse Foundation Board of Trustees. (Frank is the Chairman of the Board.)

And here are a few more of Matt’s great photos.

Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer
Dave Kramer, Local lighthouse historian and
Lorain Lighthouse Foundation Board of Trustees member
I finally got a chance to check out the marker on Monday morning. I was somewhat surprised by the marker’s location; I originally thought it would be further down on the pier – maybe even at the end of it, where you could photograph it with the lighthouse nice and big in the background.

I guess the intention was to make the marker easily accessible – which works for me, as I was too pooped to walk to the end of the pier anyway.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Aut-O-Rama Drive-In Ad – July 2, 1965

Lorain County was a real hotbed for drive-in movie theaters.

There was the very first one in the county, the Lorain Drive-in Theatre on Route 6, which opened in June 1946; the Carlisle Drive-in Theater on Route 20 (1949);  the Tower Drive-in (May 1950); and the Aut-O-Rama on Route 10 out in North Ridgeville (1965).

Today, only the Aut-O-Rama – the very last to open – remains. Here’s the link to its website.

The ad shown above in from that inaugural 1965 season and ran in the Lorain Journal on July 2, 1965. The double feature was a good one with lots of star power: Mister Moses (with Robert Mitchum and Carroll Baker) and The Rounders (featuring Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda).

I love the great caricatures in the ad of Baker and Mitchum by Al Hirschfeld, although they didn't make it onto the official movie poster.

The Ford-Fonda flick looks like a lot of fun, and more like typical drive-in fare than the Mitchum movie.

After all, any movie with Doodles Weaver, Chill Wills and Edgar Buchanan can’t be all bad!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Fourth of July!

Well, it’s July 4th – and it’s hard to believe the year is half over already.

If you were preparing for a holiday feast in Lorain 60 years ago, you might have consulted this Kroger ad that ran in the Lorain Journal on July 1, 1957.

Note the appearance of our old pal Toppiethe Top Value Stamp elephant, at the top of the ad, appropriately enough.

Some of the food brands listed in the ad are kind of interesting.

‘Clover Valley Pork & Beans’ are featured. I recognize the Clover Valley brand from shopping trips to Dollar General; sure enough, after checking online, I see that while Kroger was the original registrant of the brand, Dollar General is now the trademark owner.

Note Swift’s Premium “wafer-sliced’ meats – exclusive to Kroger – including hard salami, bologna, cooked ham, cooked specialty, hot-o-collo and spiced luncheon meat (sounds like it might be Dutch Loaf). Swift’s history goes back to 1855; the company is still around, although it was purchased by a Brazilian company in 2007.

I like the brand name of the margarine listed in the ad: Eatmore Margarine. (It kind of reminds me of the character in the classic Monty Python Travel Agent sketch, with the name: Mr. Smoke-too-much.)

Monday, July 3, 2017

Planning Lakeview Park – July 1916

In case you might be heading down to Lakeview Park for the holiday, this might be of interest.

Back when Lakeview Park was being developed, there were a lot of decisions to be made about what it was going to look like. The article above, which ran in the Lorain Daily News on July 25, 1916, sheds some light on the planning process.

Municipal Bathhouse as Proposed by Server Horn 
Would Be of “Double Deck” Type Similar to 
Structure at Edgewater Park, Cleveland.
Drainage work preliminary to the general improvement of the site of what is to be Lakeview park on W. Erie avenue, recently optioned by the city from the heirs of the W. S. Chamberlain estate at a purchase of about $53,000, is soon to be begun, Service Director A. J. Horn announced today.
With the drainage work under way, City Engineer C. M. Osborne is to begin the preparation of an estimate of the cost of carrying out plans prepared by H. M. Horvath, Cleveland landscape architect for the improvement of the park site.
Horvath’s plans include the routes of drives, footpaths, the location of a proposed big municipal bathhouse and of recreational fields.
The lake-front included in the park, according to tentative plans of city officials, would be protected by the construction of four jetties, extending into the lake and providing landing places for small boats.
The municipal bathhouse, as proposed by Director Horn, would be of the “double-deck” type, similar to the structure recently completed in Edgewater park in Cleveland, with the lower floor occupied by dressing rooms, lockers and other bathing facilities and the upper floor given over to an “observation” deck.
Recreation fields, which would include baseball diamonds, tennis courts and possibly a soccer field, would be located in the section of the park lying south of West Erie avenue, according to Horvath’s plans.
Improve Other Parks
While the preparation of plans for the improvement of Lakeview park are in progress, city officials are improving other parks. Service Director A. J. Horn today ordered 76 new park benches to be divided between Oakwood park in the steel plant district and the parks in the central and northern districts of the city.
Service department workmen are engaged in grading work on Riverside park on the lower East Side. Director Horn says this park, the improvement of which had never been completed, will be sown with grass seed next fall.
Horn today was considering plans for the erection of a diving platform in the lake at the city bathing beach on the lakefront at Water Works park.
Bids are to be received in Horn’s office tomorrow for the refreshment concession at Oakwood park for the season. The concession will carry with it the exclusive right to sell refreshments in the park.