Monday, February 18, 2019

City Bank Building Demolished – Feb. 18, 1964

I’ve posted many ads for the City Bank Company over the years, so it’s only fitting that I post this. It’s a photo of City Bank’s stately main headquarters at the southwest corner of E. 28th Street and Pearl Avenue being demolished after the building was damaged during an October 1963 fire.

The photo ran on the front page of the Journal on Feb. 18, 1964 – 55 years ago today.

As I noted back on this post, City Bank had an impressive Lorain pedigree. "Among those responsible for organizing the City Bank were A. J. Moxham, president of the Johnson Steel Company which later became the National Tube Co., Lorain Division; Pierre S. DuPont, president of the Sheffield Land Co. and later head of the great E. I. DuPont De Nemours’ extensive interests; F. A. Smythe, who was associated with the Sheffield Land Co. and later was for many years head of the Thew Shovel Co.; Judge Elbert H. Gary, chairman of the board of U. S. Steel Corporation; H. C. Ryding, superintendent  of the rolling mills here who later became head of the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railway Co.; Col. J. J. Sullivan, prominent banker and businessman in Cleveland; Tom L. Johnson, founder of the Johnson Steel Company, one of the nation’s leading steel railway men and famous mayor of Cleveland.

The demolished building was replaced at the 2800 Pearl Avenue location with this structure (seen below in a recent Google Maps view).


City Bank merged with the Central Trust Company (another favorite topic on this blog) in July 1984. Central Trust was then acquired by Bank One in the early 1990s; Bank One merged with JPMorgan Chase & Company in 2004.

It’s sad (but somewhat impressive) that only First Federal Savings of Lorain continues to maintain its original identity and presence in its hometown city.

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Passing Scene – February 1969

Well, February is half over – so I think I'll slip this month's serving of Gene Patrick's The Passing Scene cartoons a little early. They're all from the pages of the Lorain Journal of February 1969.

First up is this one from Saturday, February 1, 1969. It includes one of Gene's funny caricatures of Mayor "Woody" Mathna.
I really like that THINK gag in the third panel. Good advice!
Next is the strip from February 8, 1969. I'm always impressed that so many of Gene's cartoons featured women. They are tough to draw but his simple style enhanced the humor without detracting from it.
Here is the panel from February 15, 1969.
To learn more about the Worthington Ball Company of Elyria, click here to visit the Elyria Country Club website. And this link features an article that includes a history of the company circa 1954, as well as a photo of the company building.
Lastly, here is the strip from February 22, 1969.
The protest at Oberlin College resulting in the Marines being unable to hold a recruitment event was big news back then, but Gene still managed to find a humorous angle to the controversy. And to get the gag in the final panel, you have to be aware that the movie Candy was a psychedelic sex farce. The movie (which was written by Buck Henry) spent several weeks on the screen at Midway Cinema at that time.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Guide to Dinner and Dancing – Feb. 1969

Today is Valentine's Day – and many of you may have plans to celebrate by enjoying a fine dinner at a local restaurant. But where to go?

Well, fifty years ago, the Journal made it easy for you to decide where to dine by publishing a regular advertising feature called the Golden Crescent Guide to Dining and Dancing. It usually included a pretty good review of a restaurant, followed by a series of small boxed ads for other establishments.

(I posted one of these Golden Crescent Guides before, which featured this 1973 review for Amber Oaks.)

Anyway, here are two Guides from February 1969. The first one (below) ran on Feb. 7, 1969 and features a review of the late, great Elberta Inn. There's also a nice photo of the well-remembered Vermilion landmark.

This guide includes ads for McGarvey's, Philbo House, Popi's Colony Restaurant & Lounge, Americana Inn, Sherwood Inn, Presti's of Oberlin, Dover Chalet, Mr. Larry's Beef & Tails, and Avon Lake's Saddle Inn.
(I've featured the Elberta Inn on this blog a few times, including this aerial photo, some vintage ads, the time when Duke Ellington performed there, and this post when the place burned down in Feb. 2011.)
The second Golden Crescent Guide ran right on Valentine's Day 1969 – fifty years ago today. This one highlighted the aforementioned Presti's of Oberlin.
Presti's closed its doors in March of 2014.
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We ate at Presti's a few times in the 1990s, although the restaurant has the somewhat dubious honor of starring in one of my more infamous restaurant recollections.
Although the food and service at Presti's was usually good, on one of my visits there I encountered an off night. Waaaaaaaaay off.
Although I never did find out what was going on in the kitchen that night – whether someone quit or the place just ran out of everything – I endured the longest wait of my entire life for my dinner to be served in a restaurant.
More than two hours after we arrived, we were still waiting for our entrĂ©es, with no explanation from our waitress (who eventually skedaddled and was probably home in bed before our food was served). 
At one point I went looking for a manager – or anyone – so I could ask about our missing dinner, and found nobody. I half expected to see the whole staff hogtied with gags in their mouths, lined up on the floor next to an empty cash register. 
I was determined to wait it out, however, and remember eating dinner well after nine o'clock that night in an almost-empty dining room. 
We skipped dessert.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Demolition for Golden Age Housing – Feb. 12, 1964

Lorain’s been in the demolition business for a long time. But in the old days, things were demolished because something else was going to be built there.

Back in October 1963, Lorain was making preparations to demolish the Broadway block between 17th and 18th Streets to make way for the Lorain Metropolitan Housing Authority’s new Golden Age Housing Center. The demolition would force many businesses to move, including Bob’s Donuts and Scutt Auto Parts.

(I posted an article about it here, in which the area had been designated a slum.)

As one astute reader noted in a comment left on a post last week, at least one house was moved from Lexington to make way for the new construction.

Anyway, here is a Journal article from February 12, 1964 (below) serving as a progress report on the project. As you can see, the demolition phase was just about wrapped up.

The building in the “Before and After" photo was the home of B&H Furniture at 1704 Broadway.
And here’s a look at the area today.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Beatle Mania Comes to Lorain – Feb. 1964

Three days after the Beatles made their first live television appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9, 1964, the ad above was printed in the Lorain Journal.

The Feb. 12, 1964 ad – featuring our old pal Ed (currently appearing in Ed Tomko Chrysler Jeep Dodge ads) – advertises Beatle wigs and records for sale in the Patio Room adjacent to the Colony bar, located at the intersection of Kansas Avenue and Colorado Ave.

(I’ve written about the Colony a few times, including how the bar was the successor to Gus Atthanasoff’s Showboat restaurant, which had been destroyed in a fire. I also posted a 1963 St. Paddy’s Day ad, and another ad noting that you could purchase Cleveland Indians tickets there.)

Anyway, you have to admit that it’s pretty impressive to be selling Beatles stuff only a couple days after the Fab Four exploded into the nation’s consciousness. I’d sure like to see what one of those wigs looked like.

But what I can’t figure out is why the artist who designed the ad didn’t retouch the art so that Ed was wearing one!

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I wrote about how the Beatles affected the Brady family back here, including how each of my siblings and I each had a favorite member of the group.

Somehow, “my” Beatle ended up being Ringo – the goofy one (at least in those TV cartoons we watched).

Monday, February 11, 2019

1959 Thomas Edison Birthday Article

Well, it’s February 11th – the birthday of Thomas Alva Edison – so it’s a good time to post the article below. It ran in the Lorain Journal back on January 15, 1959 in advance of Edison’s 112th birthday anniversary that year.

(Edison has been a favorite topic on this blog over the years. I posted a two-part series on the 1947 Edison Centennial here and here, and late last year featured an article about a barber who cut Edison’s hair. I even wrote about my family’s 1962 visit to Edison’s birthplace in Milan, Ohio here.)

Anyway, here is the article. It makes a few interesting points, including the observation that by 1947 it was estimated that his inventions had provided employment for 4,000,000 people.

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In preparation for this post, I made a pilgrimage on Sunday to Milan (not that far a jaunt from Vermilion, where I live) for a quick photo.

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On the way out to Milan on State Route 113, I passed Miller’s Ice Cream, which recently closed for good after 69 years. Here is the link to the now-shuttered business’ Facebook page.

Friday, February 8, 2019

McDonald’s Filet o’ Fish Ad – Feb. 10, 1964

If you’ve been a fan of McDonald’s classic Filet-O-Fish sandwich for a long time, you’re probably familiar with how it first got onto the menu of the fast food giant.

According to this Wiki entry (and this great Smithsonian article), it was back in 1962 that a McDonalds’s franchise owner in Cincinnati noticed the drop in hamburger sales on Friday in his store, which was located in a largely Roman Catholic neighborhood. Looking for something that his Roman Catholic patrons (who abstained from eating meat on Fridays) could enjoy, he invented the Filet-O-Fish sandwich.

However, McDonald’s owner Ray Kroc has his own idea for meatless Friday fare: a grilled pineapple and cheese sandwich. As a result, the two sandwiches competed for a permanent spot on the national menu with sales to determine the winner. The Filet-O-Fish won, and was slowly added to McDonald’s menus beginning in 1963.

As the ad above (which appeared in the Lorain Journal on Feb. 10, 1964), the sandwich had reached Lorain the following year. By 1965, it had reached nationwide status.

Today the sandwich remains popular, especially with people whose diet requires them to avoid meat.

Anyway, I still enjoy a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish now and then, although I am pretty nostalgic for the price that I remember from the 1970s: forty cents.

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McDonald’s has been a regular topic on this blog since the beginning, including this early post from 2009.

I also wrote about the 1960 Grand Opening of the West Erie Avenue store here; a 1962 Christmas ad for the West Erie store here; the 1963 Grand Opening of the Colorado Avenue store here; an article about the new store coming to Elyria Township here; a 1968 ad for the new Big Mac sandwich here; and a few posts about the system which McDonald’s uses to assign a number to its restaurants here and here.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Trippin' the Light at Middle Ridge – Feb. 1964

Here’s another article about a Middle Ridge Road traffic concern from February long ago.

As the article below (which appears in the Lorain Journal on Feb. 13, 1964) explains, the problem concerned a trip lever installed at Middle Ridge and State Route 58 to make it easier to pull out onto the busy highway.

Although motorists in 2019 are quite familiar with the need to pull their car up far enough to trip a lever to activate the light timer at an intersection equipped with such a device, it was a newfangled technological concept in 1964.

As the article notes, the problem was that drivers were simply not pulling up far enough. Thus, the light would not change, resulting in some motorists taking matters into their own hands and simply driving through the red light.

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It’s funny – and entirely serendipitous – that this is the third Middle Ridge Road-related them on this blog in two weeks. Last week, I posted an article about the opening of the Sparkle Market at the very intersection mentioned in this post today.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Middle Ridge Road Exit – Feb. 1969

Longtime residents of this area (at least those age 60 and over) remember when Lake Road (or West Erie/East Erie in Lorain) was commonly referred to as 6 & 2 – that is, U.S. Highway 6 and State Route 2. It was the main route through town, and Lorain and the other lakefront cities enjoyed the economic benefits of being located on the main highway.

The construction of the new limited access east-west highway south of the city changed all that.

The State Route 2 designation was reassigned to the new highway, and Lorain eventually ending up losing what little through traffic it still had after the opening of the Ohio Turnpike in the 50s.

Thus it’s not too surprising that the Lorain Journal – back then still in its role as journalistic watchdog for the well-being for the city – had a concern about signage on the new highway.

In the Feb. 5, 1969 edition of the paper, an article (below) appeared which expressed concern about the signage and lighting at the Middle Ridge Road exit.

It makes a good point. 
Fifty years later, there is signage in both directions well before the highway ramp letting motorists know that the exit (now labeled Middle Ridge Rd/Broadway Ave.) provides access to Lorain. There are also signs at the end of the ramp as well.

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I tried to figure out whether the above photo shows the eastbound or westbound exit off State Route 2. It looks like a gentle ascent to Middle Ridge Road, so I'm guessing it's the westbound view. Here's today's westbound view for comparison.

Here's the eastbound view (below).

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

House Move – Feb. 5, 1964

The idea of jacking up a house and moving it to a new location has fascinated me for a long time. Consequently, I've featured quite a few stories with that theme on this blog over the years.

These posts included this one that was moved to make way for the Ohio Turnpike (1953), this one in Elyria (1956), this one in Amherst (1960), this one in Oberlin (1960), this one in Lorain (1960), and this house in Avon (1964).

Well, here's another one for the collection. Its photo and accompanying caption ran on the front page of the Lorain Journal on Feb. 5, 1964.

Of course, the fun is trying to find the house in its new location to grab a picture. (Or, if you're a particularly lazy blogger, you just 'drive' over there via Google Maps.)

In this case, although the new location – Long Avenue between 10th and 11th Streets – was spelled out pretty clearly, it still wasn't easy finding it using the 'street view' function. I had to 'fly by' several times and examine the aerial views from different vantage points before I finally made a positive I.D.

And the house is still there at 1044 Long Avenue.

I wonder if the current owners know of their home's wanderlust?

Monday, February 4, 2019

Biederwolf Parade Postcard – 1911

Last week I did a post featuring some vintage photos of the intersection of Abbe Road and Colorado Avenue, contributed by a newer reader named Doug.

Doug has also sent me the image of the vintage Leiter postcard above, of formally dressed people parading down Broadway in Lorain. (As in another vintage parade postcard, the Anton Pathe - Merchant Tailor sign for his business at 675 Broadway provides a nice reference point for the location of the shot.)

As you can see, the front of the postcard contains the caption, “Beiderwolf Parade, 5-30-11, Lorain, O.” The back of the card contains the handwritten inscription, “I was in it a short distance.”

So what was all this about?

Well, it was a big event in Lorain: the arrival of W. E. Biederwolf, a famous evangelist for a special meeting and revival. He had just come from a similar event held in Piqua, Ohio (near Dayton). Four hundred and fifty people from that city travelled to Lorain to take part in the revival in the lakefront city.

From Lorain Daily News,
May 31, 1911
As the article at right, which appeared in the Lorain Daily News on May 31, 1911 noted, “One of the greatest religious demonstrations Lorain has ever seen was enacted here yesterday when Piqua sent a delegation of 450 people by special train to participate in the Biederwolf meetings.

“The Piquans after a 170 mile ride arrived in the city at 12:30 o’clock and were met at the depot by hundreds of church people and a large demonstration of small school children. The boys and girls with at least 200 in line and carrying flags made a pretty and inspiring sight as they escorted the visitors to the big tabernacle, after marching to the loop and back. The local delegation was headed by a band as was the Piqua people. The two bands played “Onward Christian Soldiers” during the entire parade.

“The trip made by the Piquans was probably the longest religious pilgrimage ever made in Ohio. It took about six hours  for the special train to make the 170 miles. Returning the visitors left Lorain at midnight and reached home about 6 o’clock this morning. The Piqua people were royally entertained while in Lorain and were loud in their praise of the treatment received while in Lorain. Persons of all ages were among the visitors, the oldest to make the trip being a lady 82 years of age.

“The Piquans brought their own lunches and held a picnic dinner at the tabernacle. In the evening they were entertained at dinner by Lorain people. Many of the visitors spent a portion of the afternoon in sightseeing, but in the evening were at the tabernacle in full force.

“The service at the pine temple last evening was the greatest that has yet been held during the revival. Enthusiasm was at a high pitch, the big choir sang better than it ever did before and the many orators diffused the eloquence in a manner that stirred the audience of [illegible],000 people as they have not been stirred since the pine temple was dedicated.

“There was a lengthy musical program and an excellent one. Following the music Mayor King was introduced by Biederwolf and proceeded to deliver an address of welcome to the Piqua people. The mayor always a heavyweight on the welcoming stunt delivered the goods last evening and became real enthusiastic. “I didn’t get a chance to publically [sic] welcome Mr. Biederwolf,” said the mayor, “but I welcomed him in my heart and mind. His is a great work and Lorain certainly needs such a revival. The big delegation of Piqua people is a testimonial of the good accomplished by the revival in Piqua and my sincere wish is that Mr. Biederwolf will be able to accomplish a like amount of good in Lorain.”

“Piqua also had a number of orators in their crowd who told of the revival held in Piqua. Rev. Davis, president of the Piqua Ministerial association was the first speaker of the visiting delegation. Rev. Davis declared Biederwolf to be American’s greatest evangelist. “If you don’t believe in Biederwolf now you will before he leaves,” said the speaker. He told how the revival had made 1100 new church members in Piqua and had diminished the sale of Sunday newspapers and had caused one theater to change hands.

Speaking of Sunday newspapers, the Daily News article also contained an amusing reference to the Elyria newspaper. The article noted, “J.R. Bennett, a Piqua manufacturer, spoke on the work of the evangelist in the factories. He also branded the writer of the story in Monday’s Elyria Chronicle in which Biederwolf was attacked as a “coward, liar and a shister [sic], not worthy of the name of a newspaper man.”

The Daily News article concluded with, ”After the amateur orators had runt out of ammunition, Mr. Biederwolf preached a powerful sermon using for his text, “How Shall We Escape if We Neglect So Great a Salvation.” The sermon was a masterful one.”

You can read the full text of Dr. Biederwolf’s sermon in the article. It’s a pretty good one.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Happy Groundhog Day!

Postmarked August 1943 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Well, it’s Groundhog Day tomorrow – that whimsical holiday break in the dead of winter celebrating the weather forecasting ability of Punxsutawney Phil and giving us all hope for an early Spring.

Seeing how I like to blog about things from a fifty-years-ago perspective, I reviewed Journal microfilm from February 1969 to see what went down in Gobbler’s Knob that year.

But the newspaper completely ignored Groundhog Day 1969 in its news reports! There was neither hide nor hair (or fur) of Phil in the news before, during or after the holiday. Oh well.

(I already posted a story from Groundhog Day 1959 here.)

Anyway, here are some vintage postcards featuring Phil and other groundhogs to help put you in the holiday spirit (all courtesy of Ebay).

From 1948
This guy is on a lot of postcards, including one for Shenandoah National Park
1940s
Here’s one from 1962.
And lastly, here is the most bizarre rendering of a groundhog I’ve ever seen, on a 1907 Easter postcard. It’s as if the artist had no idea what one looked like, so he combined a camel, a chimpanzee and the tail of a sheepdog to create his unappealing illustration. Yecchh!
For more Groundhog Day fun, check out some of my old posts!