Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Hallmark Cleaners Grand Opening – Jan. 9, 1961

Here’s an ad that should bring back some memories for you Lorain westsiders. It’s for the Grand Opening of Hallmark Cleaners in the Lorain Plaza Shopping Center. The half-page ad ran in the Lorain Journal on January 9, 1961.

The store had a pretty prime location at the western end of the shopping center at 3319 Oberlin Avenue. The ad mentions a drive-in window, although we always went in.

Who can forget the unique smell of a dry cleaning operation and the sound of the garments on hangers moving around on their track? (The last few dry cleaners that I’ve used didn’t have the ability to rotate their stock; the employee had to scurry around looking for the item being picked up.)

Here’s a photo of the Hallmark Cleaners location today, courtesy of Google Maps.

It’s strange to think that right next door to Hallmark in the 1960s was a branch of the Lorain Public Library (where Hunan King is in the photo). It was very convenient for us and was my introduction to the library.

And next door to the library to the east was Town House Barber Shop. (I wrote about all of the businesses in that strip back here).

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Dog ’N Suds Ad – Jan. 9, 1971

It’s always kind of sad when the local drive-in restaurants and soft serve ice cream businesses close for the season. Not only because their shuttering is a harbinger of cold weather, but also because in these challenging times, there’s always the possibility that the business might not reopen.

Ilene’s Dog ’N Suds is one of those seasonal businesses. Covid-19 (as well as the passing of co-owner Thomas Hampton last May) contributed to the early closing of the beloved drive-in in July. 

The drive-in been a longtime favorite topic on this blog, especially as I tried to determine how long it had been around. (I finally concluded that it opened under its original ownership in 1963, closed, and re-opened in 1966 under the present ownership.)

Anyway, back in January 1971, Ilene’s Dog ’N Suds surprisingly was open in the winter. Here’s an ad that ran in the Journal on January 9, 1971.

Gee, there’s no Rover in that ad – just a kid with the same hairdo my brothers and I had.

Here’s looking forward to the planned reopening of the restaurant in April. I can just taste that Texas Burger (and see its sauce dripping in my lap) right now.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Avon Train Station Moved – Jan. 21, 1971

It’s always wonderful when a historic building can be saved from demolition. After all, when it’s gone, it's gone forever – with only some photos or a dot on a vintage map to prove it ever existed.

While, ideally, it’s nice when the threatened structure can stay put right where it is, sometimes this is impossible due to the area being redeveloped. Or perhaps the building wasn’t in great shape to begin with and needs to be restored.

That’s why over the years the solution by many preservation societies is often to move the building to a brand new location that is shared by other ‘saved’ structures to create a new historic village. 

One of the most famous of these collections of old buildings is Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. Here in Ohio, we have Historic Lyme Village in Bellevue, and Sandstone Village in Amherst.

Out in Avon, The Shoppes of Olde Avon Village is a unique place that illustrates another creative solution: using the restored buildings to house eclectic stores and businesses. One of the historic structures – the old train station – is the subject of today’s post.

This article from the January 21, 1971 Lorain Journal tells the story of how Avon’s 1882 railway station was saved, and moved from its original trackside location to the city recreation area.

Here’s a photo of the station from the Avon, Ohio Images of America book by Michelle Budzinski-Braunscheidel (click here to buy a copy on the Arcadia Publishing website).

And here a few recent views of the restored station in its current location (since the late 1990s) at The Shoppes of Olde Avon Village. It’s now the home of Avon Nutrition, a smoothie and juice bar that offers a variety of nutritional products. (Click here to visit its Facebook page.)
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UPDATE (Jan. 26, 2021)
Our old F.O.B. (Friend of Blog) Doug sent me these two photos of the Avon train station when it was still in its original trackside location where the Nickel Plate Railroad crossed Center Road (today’s Route 83). Note that it’s ‘branded’ Avon Lake.
Doug noted that his wife grew up in Avon Lake, and that her father enjoying making home movies. The nice color photo is a screen shot from one of them. The black and white photo is courtesy of eBay.

And here’s another vintage photo of the station, from the book The Avon Lake Story by Milburn Walker.



Friday, January 22, 2021

1918 Pandemic Hits Lorain – Part 4

The front page of the October 25, 1918 Lorain Times-Herald pays tribute to Dr. Henry E. Koch of the United States health department and his assistance to the city in fighting the influenza epidemic. It notes, “The hygienist came here Monday night and at once assumed charge of the situation. As a result of his efficiency the emergency hospital was organized in 48 hours, quarantine restrictions were established, and all of the forces needed to combat the disease were put into working order in a few hours.

“Dr. Koch’s personality, his remarkable diplomacy and his skill as a scientist have procured the co-operation of the entire community.

“The result of the measures which have been employed by Dr. Koch, physicians say, have placed the epidemic under control and a decrease in the number of deaths and in the number of new cases is expected within a few days.”

Indeed, Lorain seems to have been fortunate to have someone overseeing its effort to control the disease. An interesting 2013 paper written by Haakon Bjoershol of Cleveland State University entitled, “Fighting the Germans. Fighting the Germs: Cleveland’s Response to the 1918-1919 Spanish Flu Epidemic notes, "Lorain, Ohio differed widely from Cleveland in two particular ways. In Cleveland, the Spanish Flu fight was led by their own health commissioner. 

"In Lorain, the fight was led by an outsider; Dr. Henry E. Koch of the United States Health Department. Arriving on October 22nd, Dr. Koch, although working closely with the local health department, still had the final say in Lorain's flu time actions. Although many of the measures were similar to Cleveland's, such as closing stores, prohibiting public assemblies, working with the Red Cross, and establishing emergency hospitals, one of the measures was very different. 

"One of the medical field's great quests throughout the epidemic was to find a working vaccine or serum to help combat the scourge. Cleveland's acting chief bacteriologist, Dr. G. E. Harmon was one of many who actively sought an effective serum for curing the "grippe". However, in Cleveland, Dr. Rockwood clearly stated that no flu serums would be used "until their worth have been proven. 

"Dr. Koch was not as cautious. On October 26th, some six thousand steel workers at the National Tube Company in Lorain were inoculated with an influenza antitoxin. On October 28, encouraged by the low flu rates among the vaccinated steel workers, the doctor opened a free public inoculation center that offered the same serum that was being used at Camp Sherman to prevent pneumonia. On November 1, Koch and Lorain health officials began the process of vaccinating every single Lorain resident at the rate of 3,000 per day. Inoculations remained a primary tactic in Lorain even after the flu bans were lifted on November 18. Although some private institutions in Cleveland, such as St. Luke's hospital, decided to vaccinate their workers, inoculations and vaccinations never became a primary weapon against flu in Cleveland.

The October 18, 1918 Times-Herald published this article on the front page announcing free vaccinations at the Y.M.C. A. building, courtesy of National Tube.

The October 30, 1918 Times-Herald included this ad for Borden’s Malted Milk with a Spanish Influenza theme.

The influenza continued on into November, with daily articles in the Times-Herald summarizing the deaths and providing updates. This one from November 1, 1918 noted that two inoculation stations were open, but that the “residents of the city were responding slowly and an appeal was made today that every one in the city go to one of the stations for free inoculations at once.”

This article from November 3, 1918 notes that, “The board of health last night modified its closing regulations. Under the new rule saloons must keep closed but they may receive phone orders and deliver bottled goods to their customers.”
The push to inoculate was stressed again in this Times-Herald article from November 5, 1918.

Even with six new deaths, this November 6, 1918 Times-Herald front page article expressed some optimism.
One sign of encouragement was the lifting of the ban on church services, as noted in this article from the News-Herald of November 9, 1918.
And on November 11, 1918, the Times-Herald’s front page focused only on the Armistice.
On November 13, 1918, the front page of the Times-Herald included this announcement that “the ban closing business places, schools and preventing all forms of meetings will be lifted in the three day period beginning Saturday and continuing to Monday.”
But the influenza was not quite finished with Lorain.

On the front page of the November 26, 1918 Times-Herald under the heading "TWO MORE FLU DEATHS TODAY," it was noted, "Scattered cases of influenza continue to be reported. Most of the new cases are light and few of them confine the sufferers to bed more than a day or so.


An influenza tally was published on the front page of the Nov 27th edition. "3,054 FLU CASES DURING EPIDEMIC was the heading of an article that reported, "Since official records of the influenza were kept in the middle of October, to November 23, 3,054 cases of influenza were reported to the city health officer, Dr. C. R. Meek.


"FEAR NEW OUTBREAK INFLUENZA was the headline of an article on December 3rd. The article noted, "Lorain physicians today issued a warning against the return of the influenza epidemic. Physicians are reporting a number of new cases.


A rare national perspective appeared in the Dec 5th edition. “Between 300,000 and 350,000 deaths from influenza and pneumonia have occurred among the civilian population of the United States since Sept. 15, according to estimates of the public health service, was reported. “About 20,000 deaths occurred in the camps in the United States war department records show."


But optimism returned a few days later in the December 10, 1918 Times-Herald under the heading, "IMPROVEMENT IS SHOWN IN FLU EPIDEMIC. The article noted, "Steady improvement in the influenza situation is revealed by reports of physicians on record in the office of the city health officer. During October, November and to the present date in December 3790 cases of influenza were reported. There were 2,017 new cases reported in November and 1,227 in October. Deaths in October and November totaled 231. Of these 88 were in October and 143 in November. The records show the disease is slowly diminishing.


"WARNS U. S. AGAINST NEW FLU OUTBREAK was the heading of an article in the Times-Herald on December 12, 1918.  "Warning to the country that the influenza epidemic is by no means ended and that all possible precautions should be taken, was issued today by Surgeon General Blue, of the public health service, it was reported. "Reports show a recrudescence of the disease practically from one end of the country to another.


****


Well, that concludes my look at how the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic unfolded in Lorain. 


It was shocking how the influenza seemed to strike out of nowhere and quickly spread throughout the city. It was equally surprising how fast it seemed to subside.


I think that having a respected government expert supervise the city’s efforts to control the disease was a brilliant move. Since Dr. Koch became a well-known member of the community that he was helping, his ‘local’ directives avoided the resentment that can occur when decisions are made and imposed by government officials from afar. Consequently, Lorain’s officials, the medical community and the citizens rose to the occasion in a great spirit of cooperation. And this was all more than a hundred years ago without benefit of social media or TV/radio commercials.


The newspaper coverage by the Times-Herald also struck a good balance of reporting just the facts without sensationalizing it. And being able to profile the victims of the disease in short but well-written biographies helped the paper to convey the reality of the influenza’s very real threat. There was also no attempt to compare how Lorain was doing in its efforts to combat the disease with other communities, or Ohio versus other states. The only focus was on the progress being made and communicating the necessary preventive recommendations on a daily basis.


Thus, the Times-Herald offered its readers what is needed most in the time of crisis and tragedy: hope.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

1918 Pandemic Hits Lorain – Part 3

October 1918 was said to be the deadliest month of the Spanish Flu pandemic in America. According to an article on www.history.com, 195,000 Americans lost their lives that month due to the flu.

In the October 15, 1918 Times-Herald, the retiring health officer, Dr. Valloyd Adair, noted that the situation was ‘grave.’

“The situation is more serious than people realize,” he stated. “We must do something to check the spread of the disease. It will be better to act than to permit this thing to go on and to lose the lives of a number of our citizens.”

In a small capsule summary of statistics related to “The Influenza Situation,” the paper noted that there were five deaths to date, with two deaths reported on Monday, and three that day.

The October 16, 1919 Times-Herald noted that the city had to modify its order regarding restaurants. Instead of ordering them closed along with other businesses, the city allowed them to be open until 7:30 in the evening to feed the working men “who cannot get there before that hour.”

By the time of the October 17, 1918 edition of the paper, many of the actions taken by the city to contain the flu resembled what we have been experiencing with the Coronavirus. 

“HEALTH ORDER BANS PARTIES” was the heading of an article in which Mayor A. J. Horn “sounded a warning to all persons who hold parties or social gatherings, that such affairs are in violation of the influenza regulations, established by the health authorities. The police have authority under the state law to arrest any persons participating in such events while the ban on meetings is in force.
“This order applies to meetings in homes as well as in lodge halls. The holding of parties or social affairs is unpatriotic." 
Three more deaths were reported in the October 18, 1918 Times-Herald, bringing the total to 12.
By the time of the October 19th edition (below), the total number of deaths had jumped to nineteen.
The influenza began to share headline space with the rapidly winding down war. “EPIDEMIC SITUATION BECOMES ALARMING – 3,000 CASES IN CITY, 10 DEATHS TODAY” screamed the Monday, October 21, 1918 edition of the Times-Herald
As reported in the October 22, 1918 edition of the paper (below), Lorain received some much-needed help from the federal government in the form of Dr. Henry E. Koch of Cincinnati, "expert hygienist connected with the United States health department.” 
As an article noted, “Dr. Koch will co-operate with the board of health. The city officials have placed themselves at his disposal and, commencing this morning, prompt, efficient methods will be used to battle the disease.
“As one of the first steps the high school was taken over to be used as a temporary hospital.
“All patients in the city who can be moved will be taken to the high school or to St. Joseph’s hospital. Suspects will be taken to the high school and placed in observation wards until it is determined whether they are afflicted with the disease.
Seven more deaths were reported in the October 23, 1918 Times-Herald, bringing the total to 41.
A note of optimism was reflected in the October 24th edition, with the hope that the influenza epidemic would reach its crest that week. Eight more deaths were reported.
Also on that front page was the mention of something near and dear to all of us living in the age of the Coronavirus: masks. Under the heading, “Here’s Way Of Making Flu Masks,” an article explained the process a housewife could follow “in the work of making masks for her family.
“Eight thicknesses of gauze about five inches wide, are soaked over night in a solution of bi-chloride of mercury, a quart of water to one tablet of bichloride. Loops of tape fasten the mask in place over the ears and strings sewed to the loops are tied behind the head so there is no danger of the mask slipping.
“The masks may be used until worn out. They should be boiled in water ten minutes or sterilized in a bi-chloride of mercury solution each night and as often as possible. They may then be dried and used again."

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

1918 Pandemic Hits Lorain – Part 2

The Spanish flu reared its ugly head on the front page of the October 5, 1918 Lorain Times-Herald (shown above), affecting a family on the East Side, as well as a pair of Lorain soldiers stationed at camps.   

The Lorain couple and their daughter, who lived on Georgia Avenue, were noted to be “suffering from an ailment which has been diagnosed as Spanish influenza.” The parents were doing better, but their daughter was still bedridden.

At Camp Sherman in Chillicothe, Ohio, a news bulletin hopefully stated, “The situation virtually is unchanged, but with encouraging reports from the base hospital because of the diminishing number of new cases reported, medical authorities today believed that the epidemic here of Spanish influenza, bronchitis and pneumonia has been broken.”

Sadly, Vincent Bonomonnio, a Lorain soldier at Camp Sherman, had passed away the previous day of pneumonia. “He was in Lorain on a visit last Sunday and at that time suffered with a severe cold,” the news article reported. 

M. Venatius Moriarty, another Lorain soldier, died of pneumonia the previous day as well. He had been stationed at Camp Taylor in Kentucky.

Another Lorain soldier perished at Camp Taylor as reported on the front page of the October 7, 1918 Times-Herald

Paris J. Plumb, aged 31, died of pneumonia, following the Spanish flu. His body was to be escorted back to Lorain by one of his brothers, Sergeant Harry Plumb, who was stationed at Camp Sherman.

On a positive note, four graduates of St. Joseph’s hospital volunteered for service at Camp Taylor to help with the influenza epidemic. Miss Marie Strohmeier of Elyria; Miss Stella Miller of Amherst; and Miss Clara Zimmerman and Miss Pauline Curran, both of South Lorain. Two other Lorain volunteers – Mrs. Effie Teemer and Mrs. Edward Kaufman – were already headed to Camp Taylor to help with the more than 8,200 cases of influenza.

The October 8, 1918 Times-Herald included information from Dr. Valloyd Adair, Lorain’s city health officer, as to how to prevent an epidemic in Lorain. “Those who wish to avoid contracting the disease should stay away from public gatherings and especially avoid contact with persons showing evidence of catarrhal symptoms,” he suggested.

Elsewhere on the front page, Lorain went about the unhappy task of conducting funeral services for the young men struck down by the disease; the Surgeon General offered a free pamphlet about the Spanish Influenza that was available to anyone who wrote and requested a copy; and Camp Sherman reported that the total number of deaths since the beginning of the influenza epidemic had grown to about 530.

The news was getting significantly worse on the front page of the October 9, 1918 Lorain Times-Herald.  The number of cases in Lorain was increasing, with five in one family alone. School officials awaited instructions from the state authorities as to how to control the influenza in schools.
(On the same page, a small article noted that former Lorain photographer W. A. Leiter had enlisted in the ordinance department of the army.
The situation on the front page of the October 10, 1918 Times-Herald wasn’t much better. A story with the heading, “ESTIMATE 200 HAVE INFLUENZA” noted, “City and health officials are watching the situation and are prepared to carry out any measures which may be recommended by the government or state to check the spread of the disease.”
It was becoming apparent that drastic action was needed, and the front page of the Friday, October 11, 1918 edition of the Times-Herald revealed the plan. 
“CLOSE UP CITY TO FIGHT FLU” was the headline. “All moving picture shows, theaters, churches and Sunday schools, public, private and parochial schools and dance halls are closed until further notice, and all public or private gatherings of groups of people are prohibited,” noted the article. “All loafing and congregating in pool and billiard halls, soda and soft drink parlors and saloons in Lorain is prohibited by a proclamation issued by Mayor A. J. Horn this morning.
“Every person in Lorain is directed to comply with the necessary order reached at a decision of the health board.
“Police and other city officials will enforce the order."
The October 12, 1918 Times-Herald acknowledged the grim truth. 
“The first great national epidemic is sweeping the country," noted an article on the front page. "The Spanish influenza is taking a heavy toll of lives in army camps and in cities. Thousands of persons are ill with the disease and still more deaths are expected.”
“For the first time in the city’s history, Lorain will be an entirely closed town Sunday,” the article stated. “For the first time on record every church in the community will have its doors closed and theaters will be closed for the first time since they were permitted to operate."
Lodges suspended meetings, clubs and societies abandoned their sessions, and funerals were banned.
Sprinkled among the other items on the front page were articles about the impact of the influenza in other states, more local cases, and reports of what were probably the last funerals to be held for a while.
Sadly, the October 14, 1918 edition of the Times-Herald included the first deaths in Lorain caused by the flu. Both of the deceased were from St. Louis, Missouri.


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

1918 Pandemic Hits Lorain – Part 1

The 1918 flu pandemic took a great toll on the City of Lorain.

How bad was it? According to an article that appeared in the Journal on July 18, 1959, more than 200 deaths resulted out of the 2,500 reported Lorain flu cases. (For comparison, there have been between 185 and 200 Coronavirus deaths in all of Lorain County since the pandemic began in 2020.)

Watching the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic unfold in the pages of the Lorain Times-Herald is fascinating, especially in comparison to what we have been living through since March of last year with Covid-19. 

It is generally accepted that the first wave of the Spanish flu occurred in Europe in the spring of 1918. However, while quickly scanning front pages of the Times-Herald on microfilm, I could find no mention of it through the spring and summer. This could be due to the fact that World War I was still raging and news of it was occupying most of the front pages, or perhaps because of the limited news reports as to what was going on in Europe.

It wasn’t until the September 21, 1918 edition that I noticed a small article, about halfway down on page four. 

“Reports from some European countries indicated that 20 percent of the population has been affected this summer by Spanish influenza,” it noted.

“Sur. Gen. Blue said today in reminding the public that it was well not to underrate the disease. While the epidemic is some places has been mild, it was attended in others, he said, by considerable mortality. A fatal outcome is not uncommon, the surgeon general said, when the infection takes the form of pneumonia.

The Surgeon General even offered a little poem instructing how to combat the influenza. “Cover up each cough and sneeze for if you don’t, you’ll spread disease.”

A few days later, the flu made the front page near the bottom of the September 25, 1918 edition. Unfortunately, the almost comical assertions made in the article belied the threat that would soon be all too real.

Although the article observed that Spain was unfairly being blamed for the flu, a few kooky theories were offered as to how to deal with it. 

One opinion offered was that it was something conceived by the Germans as a sort of psychological distraction, and the point was made to “Just abandon any thought of the influenza and it will do more good than doctor’s pills.”
In closing, the article noted, “So far no cases of the malady have been reported to health officials here.”
Even the September 30, 1918 Times-Herald seemed to think that Lorain had dodged the flu bullet.
It did note, however, that “Scattered cases of the ‘flu’ have appeared in Ohio, although the threatened widespread epidemic has not yet reached this state.
A list of don’ts was included to help avoid an outbreak of influenza in Lorain, including: "Don’t cough or sneeze in crowed places if possible to prevent it. If you must do so, smooth or cover your cough or sneeze with a handkerchief.
“Don’t use common towels.
“Don’t visit any person who is suffering from or who is suspected to be suffering from the grip.
“Don’t visit places of crowded assemblage.
“Don’t sleep in overcrowded or poorly ventilated rooms.
“Live up to these rules and, health authorities say, there will be no danger of the ‘flu’ gaining any ground in Lorain.”
The October 2, 1918 edition offered a list of symptoms, as well as even more detailed instructions for avoiding the flu.
It also provided some tongue-in-cheek advice. “If Spanish influenza reaches your neighborhood,” it noted, "don’t give way to alarm and start trying all the remedies suggested by the neighbors.

“Unless, of course, you want to prosper the undertaker."

Monday, January 18, 2021

Cavalier China Ad – January 8, 1971


I’ve mentioned Cavalier China Co. at least once on this blog over the years. 

I don’t remember that we ever shopped at the store, which was located at 4340 Liberty Avenue (U.S. Route 6) in Vermilion. It was one of those things in Vermilion – like the A&W Root Beer stand – that we only saw once in a while. So why do I remember it at all?

The former home of
Cavalier China in Vermilion
Because of the huge sign on the building, which a 1950s stock illustration of a smiling woman’s face, with her hand making a pointing gesture.

I’d sure like to see a photo of that sign just so I can be sure that I didn’t imagine it.

Anyway, above is a store ad, which ran in the Journal on January 8, 1971. It has a stock illustration, but the drawing of the woman operating a cash register doesn’t seem to be the same one that I remember from the sign.

Cavalier China had moved to Vermilion in April 1965 from its location in Lorain at 1431 Colorado Avenue.

Click here to revisit my post about the 1970 Vermilion streetscape, with vintage photos of the historic building that would become the home of Cavalier China.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Name that Brownie

Do you recognize this guy? 

If you were a regular reader of the Plain Dealer back in the 1960s, you probably do.

Why, the little elf is none other than Andy, whose syndicated "Ask Andy” column for kids appeared in newspapers across the country. Children were invited to submit questions to Andy about nature, science, astronomy, etc. If their query was selected for the column, they received a prize (usually a set of encyclopedias). The column dates back to the early 1950s and was similar to “Tell Me Why,” which appeared in the Lorain Journal.

(To read a great article about the history of the long-running “Ask Andy” column and Ellen Wales Walpole, the woman behind the column, click here.)

Here’s a promotional piece for “Ask Andy" from the August 5, 1958 Des Moines Tribune about the column’s impending appearance in that paper.

And here’s a sample column from the Los Angeles Times of April 5, 1964 with the more familiar rendering of the helpful elf.

When I was a kid, I used to see (and sometimes read) the "Ask Andy" column in the Plain Dealer. I remember thinking that Andy was just another version of the Cleveland Browns brownie mascot! 

And speaking of the Browns, here’s wishing them good luck on Sunday in their game against the Kansas City Chiefs!

December 5, 1960 newspaper ad