Thursday, February 28, 2019

Vermilion’s Steamboat Inn Article – March 1969

Yesterday’s blog post dealt with the Vermilion restaurant called L’Auberge Du Port, which was located in a building on Main Street called the Sail Loft that today is the home of Chez Francois. The Sail Loft is said to date back to 1840.

Not too far from the Sail Loft building on the corner of Main and Huron Street is a historic home that might be even older. According to the article below, the house had a colorful history as Steamboat Inn in the late 1830s before eventually becoming a residence.

Read all about it in the article by Hermaine Speigle below, which appeared in the Lorain Journal on March 16, 1969. By then, Richard and Luella Gehl were the owners. The article details Luella Gehl’s restoration efforts.

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And here’s a recent view of the former Steamboat Inn.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Vermilion’s L’Auberge Du Port

A 1970 Lorain Phone Book Ad
Vermilion’s Chez Francois has enjoyed a reputation as one of Ohio’s finest restaurants for thirty years, known for its amazing gourmet menu, the exceptional service provided by its courteous and attentive staff, and the elegant, romantic atmosphere.

But did you know that Chez Francois was preceded at that same location in the 1960s by another French restaurant: L’Auberge Du Port?

L’Auberge Du Port (the name means “Inn of the Harbor”) opened in the spring of 1968 in a rustic building on Main Street converted from an old sail loft dating back to 1840. Didier Moritz and Erwin Mayer were the two young men who were the owners and operators of the restaurant; Vermilion’s Ted Wakefield had an integral role in establishing the restaurant as their mentor and chief supporter.

Here’s the article that appeared in the Lorain Journal on March 22, 1968 as the restaurant was about to stage its trial opening.

And here is the Journal’s coverage on March 27, 1968 of the restaurant’s opening to the public. It provides the story behind the restaurant: how Ted Wakefield met Didier Moritz on a cruise and a friendship was kindled; how Didier Moritz met Erwin Mayer; and how Wakefield’s suggestion that “someone ought to start a restaurant downstairs in the Sail Loft” directly led to the opening of L’Auberge Du Port.

And on April 19, 1968 the Journal featured L’Auberge Du Port in its Golden Crescent Guide to Dining. It also provides some background information about Didier Moritz and Erwin Mayer.
The opening of a fine French restaurant in Vermilion was big enough news to even make it into the March 30, 1968 edition of the Passing Scene.
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In January 2018, the Toledo Blade published an article by Mary Alice Powell, its retired Food Editor, that caught up with Didier and Moritz in Fort Lauderdale. As the article notes, the two men stayed with L’Auberge Du Port until 1975, when they moved to Key West to operate the Southernmost Resort and La Mer, a guest house.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Sheffield Lake Cleans Up – 1969

Here’s an interesting article about Sheffield Lake from late January 1969. (I was unable to squeeze it in on the blog last month and this month is almost over too – so here it is.)
The article above – which appeared in the Lorain Journal on January 19, 1969 –  provides a nice snapshot of Sheffield Lake at that time, and its problem of trying to clean up the automobile junkyards scattered around the city.

As the article noted, “A former resort area, Sheffield Lake’s problem is inherited from the years when many of the homes built were actually no more than cottages designed to house families during the summer vacation months.

“In the 1950s, hundreds of new middle-income homes were built. A small “Gold Coast” started to develop along the sought-after lakefront area, but many of the cottages remain.

“Scores of these have been remodeled into attractive permanent homes but there is no denying that some of them – jerry-built to begin with – provide substandard conditions for the families who live in them.

“The city has begun a campaign to vacate those which are considered unsafe and to level them if the owners are unable to restore them to a livable condition.”

Incredibly, the article notes that Sheffield Lake still had several outdoor privies (otherwise known as outhouses) standing in the city.

As you can see, I’ve also posted the article which profiles Ed DeChant, who served in the state legislature in Columbus for 18 years. He was also an Avon Lake councilman and a Lorain County Commissioner.


Monday, February 25, 2019

Lorain’s Puerto Rican Community – Feb. 1969

Here’s a great article profiling Lorain’s Puerto Rican population that appeared in the Lorain Journal on Sunday, February 23, 1969. Written by Staff Writer Jay Maeder, it provides a short history of how U. S. Steel recruited Puerto Ricans in 1947, as well as a look at how the Puerto Rican community was faring in the city in 1969.

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Puerto Ricans: How Is Their Life in Lorain
By JAY MAEDER
Staff Writer

During a recent session of the Lorain Chamber of Commerce’s Town Talk Forum, someone observed that there wasn’t a minority group member present.

Louis Sanchez got to his feet. “Excuse me,” he said politely. “I’m here.”

Sanchez, a longtime U. S. Steel executive who holds a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, may not be fully representative of Lorain’s Puerto Rican community, but he shares a common heritage with 10,000 other men and women who have made Lorain their home.

HE WAS HERE long before United States Steel began to import Puerto Rican labor en masse in 1947. That decision handily resolved National Tube’s pressing work-force turnover problem, and the Puerto Rican government was happy to cooperate.

And so they left sunny Puerto Rico and came to Lorain: handsome, dark men; petite, delicately-featured women; mothers and fathers, and children. They came to find opportunity in Lorain, in a city where sometimes the sun was unable to pierce the orange clouds from the Open Hearth.

Now, a new generation of Puerto Ricans live in Lorain. Many of them have never seen the land of their fathers. Many of the original contingent are still here. They will remain the rest of their lives.

WHAT KIND of life has it been for them? What kind of life will it be for their children?

They are a proud and happy people. They have a desire to succeed. United States Steel knows they are hard workers and have made the company’s decision of 1947 a good one.

Some of the older people still speak primarily in Spanish. Many adults try to learn English and try to get further schooling.

In Lorain schools, for instance, 100 of the 165 persons enrolled in the Adult Basic Education courses are Puerto Ricans. The dropout rate is low among Puerto Rican high school students. Last fall Puerto Rican students made up one percent of the enrollment of Lorain County Community College.

TIMOTHY PARRILLA of 1562 E. 32nd Court, Lorain, was one of those who flew to Lorain in 1947 to work in the mill. Like many of the men, he left his family behind. By 1950 he was able to send for them. By 1952 they were able to buy the home in which they now live.

Mrs. Parrilla recalls the sadness of leaving Puerto Rico. But she says a good wife must follow her husband.

“To me,” she says, “It was more important to be with my husband. He had found work here and he was doing his best to provide for us.”

ROBERT CARRERO, who operates Robert’s Dry Goods at 2934 Vine Ave., came to Lorain in 1948 after a year working on a New Jersey farm. He came to American “expecting to kick up $20 bills with my shoe.”

It wasn’t quite that way. Robert, bolstered by a smattering of English he’d picked up working at a hotel in Puerto Rico, first worked as a bartender here, then for Fruehauf in Avon Lake. He saved his money and for six years has has his own store.

“It was pretty hard for a while,” he admits.

MRS. FELIX BERMUDEZ, 28, of 520 W. 26th St., Lorain, operates a beauty shop that was hit in the recent fire on Pearl Avenue. She came to Lorain when she was seven years old with her parents. Her father has worked in the steel mill for 22 years. She’s proud of her accomplishments and those of her people.

“Pride,” she says. “I have lots of it. Especially if you come from another place and make a better life here. That makes you proud.”

Among some of the older Puerto Ricans, the urge to go back to the island is strong. Some return, others speak of it, but stay in Lorain.

ELADIO TORRES, 46, a grocer at 3064 Vine Ave., was drawn to Lorain by a friend’s enthusiastic letter. He got a job at Fruehauf and eventually opened his store.

“I guess it’s easier to make a living here,” he says. “But I love my country. I’d like very much to go back.”

“It is the way of the older ones,” says Isabel Parrilla, daughter of Timothy.

LOIS BIELFELT, executive director of Neighborhood House in Lorain, sums it up this way:

“The older ones, when they speak of Americans, they don’t mean themselves. The younger ones don’t have this confusion.”

For Julio and Felicita Gonzales of 1044 W. 9th St., life has not been easy in Lorain. He has been ill and had to stop working for a while. Welfare checks made it hard for a family of 12 to get along. But Felicita, a proud, hardworking woman, feels that Lorain is best for the family and the children. She is undaunted by their setbacks.

“I tell you the truth, I like it here,” she says. “We don’t have no money, but we’re better off here. I got good friends and neighbors. I’m satisfied.”

EVA SANCHEZ, for 12 years a medical research clerk at St. Joseph Hospital, had been back to Puerto Rico for a visit.

“I feel like a stranger, Puerto Rico has changed so,” she says.

Her husband, Angel, came to Lorain in 1948 and sent for Mrs. Sanchez a year later. He now works as an inspector for the Lorain Ford Assembly Plant.

“It was hard before for the Puerto Ricans to come here,” she says. “But it’s easy now. People have a whole life waiting for them here.”

And they are making their mark in the community, the older early arrivals and their children. They still cling to some of their old customs and culture. You can find Latin gaiety at places like El Hit de Oro at 3014 Vine Ave. There also you’ll find a wall-sized mural depicting Puerto Rico in all its many rural and urban faces.

But on the opposite wall, hung with loving care, is a portrait of John F. Kennedy and the American flag.

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It would be interesting for the Morning Journal to do an update of the above article, 50 years later. With the lack of opportunity to make a living work at the steel mill, and the closing of Lorain’s Ford plant, how have the succeeding generations of Puerto Ricans fared?

Have many returned to the island home of their fathers?

Even Vine Avenue’s once vibrant business district is gone, with the most of the street vacated with no evidence of the cultural importance it once had.

Friday, February 22, 2019

The Journal's Favorite Teacher Contest – Feb. 1969 – Part 2

The Journal’s “My Favorite Teacher” contest ran for about two weeks, with Feb. 8, 1969, as the deadline for entries.

With the contest closed, the counting of ballots began. The photo and short article below appeared in the paper on Feb. 10, 1969.

As noted, it was estimated that at least 15,000 ballots had been cast.
The paper did a pretty good job of building suspense. Another update on the ballot counting progress ran in the Journal on Feb. 13, 1969.
Three days later, the winner was revealed: Dan Meredith, a seventh grade teacher at St. Joseph’s School in Amherst. His wife, Linda, was a teacher there as well.
Happily, the couple made arrangements for both to make the 21-day European trip, which would serve as their honeymoon, as explained in the article below which appeared in the paper on Feb. 23rd.
As a happy footnote, an online Morning Journal article on October 9, 2015 about a Lorain High School Homecoming bonfire at Lakeview Beach mentioned the couple. 
The article by Stephanie Phelps noted, “Sixty-nine-year-old Lorain High alumnae, Dan Meredith, Class of 1965 and wife Linda, said they dated in high school, although Linda graduated from Saint Mary.
“The couple, who now live in Elyria, said they came out supporting the community they grew up in, run into old friends and to hear the Titan High School Marching Band."

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Journal's Favorite Teacher Contest – Feb. 1969 – Part 1

Hey, what's that strange writing on
that black wall thing behind her?
(Photo Courtesy Pinterest)
Do you have a favorite teacher, one that you remember fondly from your school days?
I'm guessing most people probably do. If you're a Baby Boomer and grew up in Lorain (like me), you were fortunate to have terrific teachers all the way from kindergarten to senior year. I liked all my teachers.

Of course, I had a few favorites – all of which I've mentioned on this blog before.

Although I only had Miss Reiber for half of my first grade at Charleston Elementary in 1965 (until my family moved to a new school district), I enjoyed a friendly Christmas Card correspondence with her up right until she passed away in 2005.

There were others too. Mrs. Pierce helped make my transition from Charleston to Masson Elementary go very smoothly and for that I am grateful. Later at Masson I had a crush on my French teacher, Miss Nelson. She did her job well, because thanks to her and Mr. Smith at Admiral King, I still know a lot of French. And speaking of Admiral King High School, I'd have to say that Miss Dietlin was my favorite.

Anyway, the Lorain Journal must have realized that many students had a favorite teacher. So the paper launched a great promotional contest with that theme, with the prize being a trip to Europe for the winner. (Of course you had to buy the paper to get your hands on a ballot.)

Here's the full-page ad that appeared in the paper on January 26, 1969. The contest was open to students of the entire 'Golden Crescent' so it wasn't just a Lorain thing. The winner could be a teacher in Monroeville.

So who won? A crusty old veteran who toiled for decades without any recognition? A young, hip teacher that appealed to the teenagers? Mr. Wolf? Mr. Radke? Mrs. Gleason? Mr. Ksenich?
Stop back here tomorrow when the ballots will have been counted, and the winner is revealed! 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Crusty Admiral Ernest J. King

Admiral King doesn’t look crusty in this photo of him at his Class Reunion in April 1944
(Courtesy www.history.navy.mil)
What kind of man was Admiral Ernest J. King, the greatest and most accomplished person ever born in Lorain, Ohio?

The answer: apparently he was a pretty crusty guy – who snarled at his aides and didn’t like to be awakened from a sound slumber.

Read all about it in the hilarious article by Jack Walsh of the Washington Post below, which appeared in the Lorain Journal on February 22, 1969. In it, Walsh writes about the much-decorated Lt. Commander Robert E. “Dusty” Dornin, who served as an aide to Lorain’s Number One Son – and lived to tell about it.

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I still find it ridiculous that Admiral Ernest J. King didn’t make the cut in 2018 for Lorain Schools’ Alumni Association’s inaugural class of distinguished alumni. Have any of the honorees done more to make the city famous than Admiral King? Or is more about the honoree having living relatives in the area, or being a young role model that kids can relate to?
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Admiral Ernest J. King has been a regular topic on this blog since the beginning. Click here to visit some of those old posts, which include his 1942 visit back to Lorain for the big Homefront Celebration, and this post (and this post) about his birthplace on Hamilton.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Push for a New Lorain City Hall - Feb. 1969

Fifty years ago in February 1969, Lorain was trying to decide whether to build a new City Hall. And if so – where?

The aging yellow house that served as Lorain City Hall was literally falling apart.

So WUAB-TV Channel 43 – which was based in Lorain back then – took the lead in promoting the need for a new building. It sponsored a special Open House at City Hall in which citizens were invited to tour the structure and voice their opinions before the WUAB-TV cameras and microphones.

Above is the full-page ad announcing the event that ran in the Journal on Feb. 21, 1969, a few days before the Sunday event.

To no one’s surprise, citizens were appalled at the condition of the building. The article below, which ran in the paper on Feb. 24, 1969 pretty much confirmed what everyone knew: the building needed to be replaced.

The old City Hall would finally meet with the wrecking ball in March 1974, which I wrote about here.
You can read about the building’s early history here, and see what it was like in the mid-1950s here.

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!