Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Hamms Beer Retro Look

The famous Hamm's Bear, star of many TV commercials

Since the mention of Duquesne Beer in yesterday's post seemed to generate some interest, let's belly up to the bar again today for some more brew talk.

My current favorite beer – Hamm's – has a fun promotion going on this summer. The beer is being sold in special 1960s-inspired retro design cans, and longtime fans of the brew are pretty excited. The box containing 30 cans is quite beautiful.

As reported on the Beer & Beyond website, "For its new paperboard packaging on 12-, 24- and 30-packs, the brand is resurrecting aspects of its look from the 1950s and 1960s, when Minnesota-born Hamm’s was one of the nation’s largest beer brands. The new Throwback Pack features the iconic Hamm’s crown superimposed atop of a lakeside scene – a forest overlooking sky-blue waters. 

"Inside, royal-blue limited-edition cans also boast the Hamm’s crown and the brand’s twin slogans: “The beer…refreshing!” and “From the land of sky blue waters.” The retro-inspired packaging is aimed at making a splash at retail and connecting with drinkers in the 25-35 age group, says Marissa Meliker, associate marketing manager for Hamm’s.

“We know that nostalgia beers are having a moment right now, and this packaging is a throwback to the glory years of Hamm’s,” she says. 

"The goal, she says, is to breathe new life into one of America’s great beer brands by leaning into its 157-year heritage. “It makes you want to crack open a Hamm’s at the lake,” Meliker says.

Regular readers of this blog know that I'm a sucker for retro packaging, whether its cereal, potato chips, fried chicken, or beer. When I saw the six-pack of Hamm's with the special design at Vermilion Farm Market, I couldn't jam it into my shopping basket fast enough. It just has the desired nostalgic effect on me, as I love that North Woods feeling.

Hamm's is really good beer too! However, I don't think it had a big following in Lorain County in its heyday. I couldn't find any ads that ran in the Journal over the years.

It's interesting that for many years, Hamm's employed animated TV commercials featuring its beloved bear, as well as other woodland creatures. Here's an ample sample.

I first wrote about Hamm's back here in 2020.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Routes 6 & 2 to be Limited Access Highway – June 1954

Didi you know that back in the early 1950s, the State of Ohio planned to make U. S. Route 6 between Lorain and Vermilion a limited access highway?

That was the plan in the story that ran in the June 21, 1954 Lorain Journal shown above. As it notes, "The four lane highway which the State of Ohio plans to build between Lorain and Vermilion next year on Routes 6 and 2 will be a limited access road, it was learned today."

It was unclear in the article whether existing businesses on the highway would have to be served by service roads. The state highway officials seemed to be noncommittal about how it was going to work.

"Route 6 is dotted with drive-in, motels, restaurants and private homes along the 11 miles between here and Vermilion," the article points out. "There is also Crystal Beach amusement Park, a drive in movie and a golf driving range."

In the end, the City of Lorain managed to get the State of Ohio to change its plans, since Routes 6 & 2 did not become a true limited access highway (like today's relocated Ohio Route 2).

But the widening did wreak havoc with many highway businesses, causing them to close all together, move their buildings back or move to an entirely new location.

This post highlights some of the concerns voiced by Routes 6 & 2 businesses in January 1955 to the widening of the highway. And this post shows some construction photos of the Routes 6 & 2 cloverleaf constructed near the railroad underpass at W. 21st Street.


Elsewhere on the Lorain Journal page above is a great suggestion for angel food cake and lemonade as a summertime treat; a Clevelander arrested for shoplifting at Neisner's; and an ad for a beer I never tried, Duquesne Beer. Maybe it's because I wasn't sure how to pronounce it?

But how to say it is right there on the can – "DUKANE" – under its name.

Maybe if they had put the REAL Duke on it – John Wayne – instead of this foppish blue blood, I would have ambled up to the bar and ordered one.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Esmond Dairy Day at Cedar Point Ad – June 18, 1954

Well, school's finally out – and families can start planning their summer fun, which might include a day at Cedar Point.

Seventy years ago this month, Esmond Dairy was celebrating its own day at Cedar Point on Saturday, June 19, 1954. Above is the ad that ran in the Lorain Journal the day before.

First, a little about Esmond Dairy. According to the Sandusky History blog, "Esmond Dairy was begun by Elmer Otto in 1907, and was incorporated in 1920. After starting on Washington Street, the company moved to the 1600 block of Campbell Street by 1919. Delivery trucks operated by the Esmond Dairy improved greatly as technology advanced. Esmond Dairy continued operating in Sandusky into the 1970's."
There's a lot going on in the ad and something for everyone. Apparently Esmond Dairy was sponsoring an appearance by the Corona Family High Wire Act. Here's some vintage footage of the fearless family to give you a great idea of what the crowd saw that day.
Cedar Point was also introducing a brand new Kiddieland area with 55 rides.

For Esmond Dairy Day attendees, there was a Huckleberry Pie Eating Contest. I guess it was anticipated to be a messy affair. (Follow this link to an NPR article about '8 Epic Eating Contests in American History.")
There was also a chance for three people to win Esmond Quality Chekd Ice Cream for one whole year, and an opportunity to win a cocker spaniel (a promotion that would be considered a dog of an idea today). 

Back in 1954, the Cedar Point Causeway hadn't opened yet. Thus the ad notes, "Fast, Frequent Ferries Leave Sandusky Every 20 Minutes."

Friday, June 14, 2024

Father's Day Ad – June 15, 1954

Father's Day is this weekend, so here's one of those almost full-page ads with a roll call of sponsors. Many of the iconic Lorain businesses (like Harry's Men's Wear, Sam Klein, Kline's Dept. Store, Rudy Moc) are there, but also a few I've never heard of: The Forecast, at 731 Broadway, which was a "Fine Men's Wear" store; Ostrov's, at 524 Broadway, which was a shoe store; and Pistell & Schneider, located at Broadway and 7th, who were jewelers and opticians.

The illustration in the ad of the typical father reflects the times – sort of a clean-shaven Cary Grant type. The equivalent rendering today would have to include a beard, and perhaps a shaven head.

I think that's too many presents floating around his head in the ad, though. (Fathers never seem to make out as well as mothers do on Mothers Day.) I can't even remember what sort of Father's Day gift we used to give Dad when my siblings and I were kids. I don't think there were many ties, because he didn't wear them that often.

I heard some sort of poll on the radio this week in which many modern fathers supposedly prefer to celebrate their day away from their family. Dad would never have done that. He was the most selfless person I ever knew. The amount of 'stuff' that he owned – mostly things that were given to him or that he saved for sentimental reasons (like this thing) – fit on a small shelf above his workbench.

Anyway, Father's Day is the one day a year that I'm jealous of my two brothers, both of whom along with their spouses raised some great kids. 

Happy Father's Day to all dads out there!

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Cinci Beer Ad – June 4, 1954

Regular readers of this blog know that I like to feature vintage ads from the Lorain Journal for alcoholic beverages (despite the fact I'm not much of a drinker). Ads for beer and whiskey appeared in the newspaper just about every day during the 1950s, probably because Lorain was a real working man's town.

Well, here's an ad for a beer I'd never heard of before: Cincinnati Cream, or "Cinci" Cream for short. At first glance, I thought it was brewed downstate and was a regional favorite. But it turns out that it was produced in Canada.

There's not a lot of information online about Cinci Cream Lager Beer. The label on the bottle below (courtesy of says, "Since 1882." 

I'm not sure if the beer's tagline – Who Wants The Handsome Waiter – is supposed to be funny or not. But the waiter is surely distinctive and adds a lot of personality to the proceedings.

Here's a vintage label courtesy of the Tavern Trove website, which reveals that Cinci Cream was brewed by the Carling Breweries Ltd.

And here's a more modern can, fresh from eBay. Alas, the 'handsome waiter' has been reduced to a silhouette.

Unfortunately, it appears from various online sources that Cinci Cream Lager Beer is no longer being produced.
You might have noticed in the Lorain Journal ad that the beer was distributed locally by the well-known Goodman Beverage. Well in 2008, Goodman Beverage was purchased by the Dayton Heidelberg Distributing Family of Companies, and moved shortly afterwards out to the former Ford Motor Company plant on Baumhart Road, which is being redeveloped by IRG Lorain LLC.
Here's a recent photo of the firm's facility at the old Ford plant. It looks pretty nice!

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

John Mercer Langston House – Oberlin

John Mercer Langston
My post on General Giles W. Shurtleff a few days ago mentioned that he had organized the Fifth Ohio regiment of colored troops with the aid of John Mercer Langston, a Negro lawyer and an Oberlin graduate. As author and longtime blog contributor Don Hilton noted in a blog comment, John Mercer Langston "went on to a life of renown." 

Langston's entry on Wikipedia notes, "John Mercer Langston was an American abolitionist, attorney, educator, activist, diplomat, and politician. He was the founding dean of the law school at Howard University and helped create the department. He was the first president of what is now Virginia State University, a historically black college. He was elected a U.S. Representative from Virginia and wrote From the Virginia Plantation to the National Capitol; Or, the First and Only Negro Representative in Congress From the Old Dominion.

"In 1888 Langston was elected to the U.S. Congress. He was the first Representative of color from Virginia.

"In the Jim Crow era of the later 19th century, Langston was one of five African Americans elected to Congress from the South before the former Confederate states passed constitutions and electoral rules from 1890 to 1908 that essentially disenfranchised blacks, excluding them from politics. 

"Langston's early career was based in Ohio where, with his older brother Charles Henry Langston, he began his lifelong work for African-American freedom, education, equal rights and suffrage. In 1855 he was one of the first African Americans in the United States elected to public office when elected as a town clerk in Ohio. 

"John Langston earned a bachelor's degree in 1849 and a master's degree in theology in 1852 from Oberlin College. He is the first known Black to apply to an American law school. 

"Langston would study law (or "read the law", as was the common practice then) as an apprentice under abolitionist attorney and Republican US congressman Philemon Bliss, in nearby Elyria; he was admitted to the Ohio bar—the first Black— in 1854. 


"In 1863, when the federal government approved founding of the United States Colored Troops, John Langston was appointed to recruit African Americans to fight for the Union Army. He enlisted hundreds of men for duty in the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth regiments, in addition to 800 for Ohio's first black regiment.

"After the war, Langston was appointed inspector general for the Freedmen's Bureau, a Federal organization that assisted freed slaves and tried to oversee labor contracts in the former Confederate states during the Reconstruction era." 


That's quite a list of impressive, one-of-a-kind accomplishments, with Oberlin College and Ohio figuring prominently in his life.

The house where John Mercer Langston lived in Oberlin still stands at 207 E. College Avenue. It was built in 1855, and according to this Wiki article, was home to Langston from 1856 to 1867. The article also notes that he was elected to the position of town clerk in Brownhelm Township,  "the first known electoral victory of its kind by an African American in the United States."
Here's a 1968 photo of the house on  E. College Avenue. In 1975, it was designated a National Historic Landmark.
Believe it or not, I've been driving by this house every day on the way to work for the past two months because of road construction detours! Here are two views from yesterday, one on the way to work and one on the way home.

It appears to still be owned by a private party. I am fairly surprised that Oberlin College hasn't purchased this home and made it into a museum and learning center for kids, as it is located directly across from a school.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

What to do with Admiral King's Birthplace? – June 1964

Sixty years ago, the City of Lorain was trying to figure out what to do about the birthplace of its most famous and accomplished son: Admiral Ernest J. King, Commander-in-chief of the U. S. Fleet during World War II.

The home in which he was born, located at 113 Hamilton Ave. in Lorain, was in danger of being torn down, as its then owner had other uses in mind for the property. 

The article above on the front page of the June 9, 1964 Lorain Journal explains. It notes, "A Lorain memorial to the city's favorite son, or kindling wood. This was the apparent alternative for a modest but historic frame home on Hamilton Ave., marked only with the street number "113."

"The house, now vacant for some time, was the birthplace of the late Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King, World War II hero.

"Councilman - at - Large Jerry Keron said he was told the site is being cleared for another purpose, and that the residence will either be moved or demolished.

"The question raised, according to Keron, was whether the city would be interested in buying the house and moving it to another location, perhaps on park property.

"Efforts have been made on a number of occasions to have the Admiral King birthplace set aside as a memorial, either at the present or some other site."

The next day in the June 10, 1964 Journal, an editorial appeared, acknowledging the dilemma.

The editorial ponders whether the old King home was suitable for a museum. But it correctly notes that King rated "more recognition than he has been given. History will show that he was a great man – one of the greatest in the time of crisis when world dictatorship was threatened." However, the Journal editor was in favor of leaving it up to the civic leaders as to what to do about the home.

An article in the June 13, 1964 Journal floated the idea of moving the home to "a strip of park property across from Century Park on E. Erie." Consequently the house would be located near the U. S. Naval Reserve Armory on Cleveland Blvd., "whose personnel would have a special interest in the Admiral King memorial."

Another article on June 26, 1964 suggested making the house part of the Admiral King High School site.
Despite the discussions and suggestions, no action was taken to save the house. It did not make the news during the rest of 1964 or even 1965.
In September 1966, the house was still standing – and talk about making it a museum or memorial began anew. Here's an article that appeared in the Journal on September 10, 1966.
About that time, Mayor Leonard P. Reichlin of Elyria suggested moving the house to Elyria, where it would receive the respect it deserved at the county seat as a museum. But Lorain Mayor Woodrow Mathna shrugged off the suggestion in this article from the Sept. 14, 1966 Journal.
A small editorial in the September 15, 1966 Journal thanked the Elyria Mayor for reminding everyone "that nothing has been done about creating a display of Admiral King memorabilia." The paper suggested that the high school named after him would be the logical place, unless a special building was erected for that specific purpose.
But the Journal apparently had the last word about the house. "As for saving the house in which the Admiral was born," it noted, "that would be a useless gesture. It is an insignificant little frame building. Preserving the structure would not serve to honor the memory of Admiral King. But to display his mementoes and to preserve in films, photos, voice tape, drawings and words the outline of his life and military career would properly honor him."
Today, the "insignificant little frame building" is slowly vanishing. Here's a view (so to speak) from last weekend.
I would not be surprised if it is eventually condemned and replaced by the Admiral Ernest J. King Memorial Grassy Spot®.
Admiral Ernest J. King's birthplace has shown up on this blog many times. This 2011 blog post includes some "Then & Nows" over the years. And this 2010 post includes some more Journal coverage from Sept. 1966 when the Elyria Mayor offered to take the house off of Lorain's hands. And this post included a nice shot of the house at the time of the Sept. 2011 dedication of both the Admiral Ernest J. King Tribute Space and the new Admiral Ernest J. King Elementary School.
A June 2011 view