Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Fisher Foods Ad Featuring Nellybelle Promo – July 22, 1954

That's Pat Brady to the left of Roy and Dale
Are you old enough to remember watching The Roy Rogers Show on TV? 

The Western TV series featuring the clean cut cowboy ran on NBC (according to this Wiki entry) from December 1951 to June 1957. CBS aired reruns of the show on Saturday morning from January 1961 to September 1964 (which is where my siblings and first I saw it).

Besides Roy Rogers and his real wife Dale Evans, the show also starred Pat Brady (no relation) as comedy relief. But while Roy rode his horse Trigger, Pat Brady drove a jeep called Nellybelle.

Here's Pat Brady explaining in a comical song why he drove Nellybelle instead of riding a horse.

Nellybelle apparently had a mind of her own, sometimes speeding off – driverless – without Pat. As a result, the jeep became very popular with the kids.
Which is a roundabout way of explaining why this Fisher Foods ad that ran in the Lorain Journal on July 22, 1954 included a special promotion in which kids could win their very own Nelly Belle Jeep [sic].
The ad notes that the Nellybelle jeep was a pedal-pusher model. Here's a section of a page from a 1954 Sears catalogue with what is likely the type of car that the kids could win.
The catalogue describes Nellybelle as blue-gray with a baked-on enamel finish, with white and red trim. Would you believe that there are several of them for sale online? This one (from classicautomall.com) appears to have its original paint job.
Somewhere in the dark, cobweb-filled recesses of (what's left of) my mind, is probably a dim, forgotten memory of seeing Nellybelle on The Roy Rogers Show. How else can I explain why I always wanted a jeep?
Maybe I wanted to be just like Cousin Pat.
Roy, Dale and Pat were the subject of several other blog posts – when they appeared at the Lorain County Fair in 1968.

Monday, July 22, 2024

McDonalds Anniversary Ad – July 22, 1964

Sixty years ago today, McDonald's ran the above ad in the Journal on July 22, 1964, announcing an Anniversary Festival at its two locations in Lorain: 2500 West Erie Avenue, and 1342 Colorado Avenue.

Some of the enticements to attend the gala event included free balloons for the kiddies, more than 100 free prizes (dolls, bicycles, games, toys, guest cards), free coffee (that would've worked to lure me in) and cup cakes.

I'm not exactly sure what anniversary was being celebrated. It might have been the one year anniversary of the outlet on Colorado Avenue, which opened on July 30, 1963 (which I wrote about here). The one on West Erie was having its four year anniversary, having opened in June 1960. (The one across from Sheffield Center followed in June 1968).

The ad is kind of nice in that it depicts the old style walk-up design of the beloved fast food giant. The sit-down version of the restaurant was unveiled locally in July 1973.

What's kind of lousy is that all three of the locations above are long-gone. Meanwhile both of Burger King's original locations (on Leavitt Road and Fairless Drive) are still going strong more than 50 years later.

I don't eat at McDonald's (or any fast food outlet) very much any more. This summer I've been trying to support local businesses like Dog N'Suds when I'm too lazy to cook. But I did have a hankering for a vanilla milk shake last week and visited my Vermilion McDonald's. It was great, but the price (almost five bucks) not so much.

Friday, July 19, 2024

Beach Fun at Lakeview Park – July 1964

The Lakeview Park beach that I remember from the 1960s
For those of us that grew up in the area, Lakeview Park is a special place. I can't say that I remember swimming (or wading) there too much when I was a kid, because there wasn't much of a beach there in the 1960s. But we went to the park anyways, mainly to see the fountain light up or see the Easter Basket, or have the odd picnic.  

Later, Lakeview Park became a less desirable place for families, due to a lot of hippies and riff-raff, so Mom & Dad didn't take us there too much. 

But by the time I was driving in the mid-1970s, cruising through Lakeview was still the cool thing to do. I remember driving through there with my high school buddies (many of whom were a year younger than me), keeping our cans of 3.2 beers low. (I wonder if the statute of limitations ran out on that particular crime?) 

Anyways, to close out the week here on the blog, here's a nice page of photographs by the great Norm Bergsma that ran in the Journal on July 24, 1964. The collection of photos captures an innocent time, showing teenagers and families enjoying a carefree day of fun at Lakeview beach.

Thursday, July 18, 2024

Historic Mill Hollow Bridge to Come Down – July 1964

Mill Hollow is one of my favorite places on this planet. Besides its nostalgic appeal to me as the place where my family first learned to tent camp in the 1960s, I also visit it frequently as it's less than ten minutes from where I live in Vermilion. Thus it's no surprise Mill Hollow has been a favorite topic on this blog, with 15 posts featuring the beloved Lorain Country Metro Park.

Sixty years ago, the big news was that the historic (but outdated) bridge in the park over the Vermilion River was going to be replaced, as noted in the article above from the Journal of Thursday, July 16, 1964. Accompanying the article is a map showing the various ways of accessing the park with the bridge closed.

"The birds and the animals at Bacon Woods, Brownhelm, are as lively as ever this week, but it may take a bit of driving to see them," begins the article.

"As of Wednesday, the historic Mill Hollow bridge was closed to traffic. A new bridge is being built.

"A sign at the top of the Mill Hollow switchback hill states: "Road Closed at Bridge."

"Alternate routes have been announced by Lorain County Metropolitan Park officials for driving to the Bacon Woods Reservation from Lorain and Elyria.

"The Mill Hollow hill is still open as far as the bridge. The steep grade can be handled easily by the new brakes, but was a real challenge to jalopies of the 1920's. 

"Mill Hollow was a traditional testing ground. If you could negotiate a Model-T Ford around the hairpin curve and up the rough climb you had passed some sort of driving test without benefit of police supervision.

"Parker Miller, ranger superintendent, said the bridge will be closed for about two months. It will require at least 10 days to take the old bridge down.

"Two new concrete pillars are already in position. Others will be erected as soon as the old bridge is removed.

"The new concrete bridge with iron super-structure will be a full two lanes wide as compared with the present lane-and-a-half bridge."

A day after the above article was featured in the Journal, the photo and caption below appeared in the paper on July 17, 1964. It depicts the construction of the supports for the new bridge.

A preview of the unfinished new bridge appeared in the Journal on August 14, 1964.


I first wrote about the bridge replacement back in May 2019, posting a photo of the historic structure here

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Reddy for the Political Conventions

Seventy-two years ago this month, both the Republican and Democratic political parties held their nominating conventions at the International Ampitheatre in Chicago, Illinois – just a few weeks apart.

And our old pal Reddy Kilowatt was there, circling high above the convention center on his patented flying carpet equipped with a TV set and apparently the world's longest extension cord.
The ad above, which ran in the Lorain Journal on July 18, 1952 puts Reddy in position to catch the action at the Democratic convention, which ran from July 21 to 26.
Unlike Reddy, I don't watch either party's convention. 
As you probably remember, in 1952 the Republicans nominated Dwight D. Eisenhower. One of the tactics used to promote his candidacy was this animated "I Like Ike" commercial. (Here's the story behind its creation, which involved some Walt Disney staffers.)
As for Reddy, he had his own promotional commercial too.

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Frostop Root Beer Revisited

Courtesy Frostop Root Beer

And you thought I was done writing about root beer, having devoted recent posts to Frostie Root Beer and A&W Root Beer.

Well, I happened to be in Ace Hardware in Vermilion yesterday when I noticed a nice, cold bottle of Frostop Root Beer in their refrigerated cooler along with a few other unusual brands. I couldn't resist.

Why? Because it brought back memories of seeing the huge Frostop Root Beer mug atop its drive-in building on U. S. Route 6 in Huron, just east of the railroad overpass. I don't remember Mom and Dad ever taking us there; it was just one of those roadside landmarks that you watched for from the backseat of the car on the way to Cedar Point or the Wileswood Country Store.

U. S. Route 6 should have been nicknamed the Root Beer Route, with all of the various stands situated on it from Lorain to Huron, serving up the foamy beverage in frosted mugs.

I've written about the Frostop Drive-in in Huron before back here, posting some vintage ads.

May 26, 1961 ad from Sandusky Register

I also posted a rare photo of the iconic sign after the location became the home of Berardi's (of Cedar Point fame).

I wasn't aware that the chain was founded in Springfield, Ohio in 1926. Today the company maintains its headquarters in Bexley, Ohio and offers a wide variety of soda pops in addition to its beloved root beer. Here is the link to its colorful, well-done website.

And visit the great Roadside Architecture website to see a great photo collection of existing and repurposed Frostop giant mugs.


Many of us remember the Frostop Drive-in located in Huron. But were there other local locations?

Apparently there was one at Route 57 and Butternut Road. I found a mention of a theft there in the September 12, 1960 Lorain Journal.

And believe it or not, Lorain had one too – sort of.

By the 1970s, roadside root beer stands had become a thing of the past. In view of this, the corporate owners decided to bundle the Frostop root beer business with two other restaurant brands. Thus was born the 3 in One: Frostop Root Beer, Dairy Isle and Chick'N-Out, all under one roof.

Here's a September 26, 1975 ad for the then-recently-opened Lorain restaurant, located at W. 30th and Broadway (where Little Caesars Pizza is today).

3 in One seemed like a pretty good idea. A 1974 ad promoting the purchase of a franchise noted that Dairy Isle had been around for 25 years. And a Journal newspaper article noted that the 3 in One Lorain store was owned by John Wargo, and was part of the Commissary Corp of Utica, Michigan's chain of 125 stores.

Dairy Isle probably had the best name recognition of the three brands (after all, who doesn't like ice cream?), and references to it in the Journal would always say "the Dairy Isle 3 in One."

The Roadside Architecture website has a page devoted to Dairy Isle as well. It points out that the chain was founded in Wooster, Ohio in 1951.

Here's the former location of the 3 in One today.

As for Chick'N-Out, I'm not sure what happened to the brand despite its plucky logo. It seems to have laid an egg as a chicken franchise, because today there are a lot of Mom and Pop restaurants with that name, but with no link to the one that shared space with Frostop and Dairy Isle.

Monday, July 15, 2024

Wellington Trailer Park – July 1954

A recent view of the trailer park
Whenever I pay a visit to Wellington (including when I'm heading to the Lorain County Fair), I'm still a little curious about that trailer park on Route 58 on the northern outskirts of town. While it looks nice and is in a cozy location, within walking distance of the village's amenities, it's still odd to see it there – and I wonder how it happened to be there.

That's why I was happy to see the article below about the place, which appeared in the Lorain Journal on July 7, 1954. It provides a favorable look at the park, as well as an explanation as to why it is there.

It notes, "A tiny village, population 41, has sprung up within three short months north of the town's limits along Route 58. It is the Wellington Trailer Park.

"Last fall when the village passed an emergency measure prohibiting establishing a trailer park within the corporation limits, Mr. and Mrs. Dellen Brouse abandoned their plans to open one within the village and started their project at the present site.

"The land, three acres in all, was leased from Clyde Ray. Gravel streets were laid, light poles erected, lots laid out for trailer parking and a utility building constructed. On April 15 they were ready for the business and the first trailer made its appearance.

"Capacity of the park is 24 trailers which is expected to be enlarged to 30 by next spring.

"Each lot is grass covered and the trailer-owner is permitted to plant flowers at this discretion. Awnings are allowed and nice cabanas.

"Those with children are parked at the rear of the property away from the busy road and where their play hours will not annoy the older residents who are parked nearer the front. A playground for the youngster's convenience is in the making and now boasts of a sand-box, teeters and slide.

"The utility building is equipped with shower and toilet facilities, a furnace room, telephone pay station, mail boxes and laundry room.

"At the present time most of the trailer-owners are employed out-of-town. Three of them are employed on the turnpike and one on Rt. 224."


It's kind of interesting how Dellen Brouse made his dream come true to open his trailer park, even as the village was doing its best to scuttle his plans. I went back and retrieved this article from the November 12, 1953 Lorain Journal to get a little more information about how it all went down.

It notes, "Denied permission to construct a trailer camp within the village limits, Dellen Brouse Wednesday launched construction of such a camp just a few yards outside the corporate limits.

"Brouse appeared before council several weeks ago to obtain permission, but the request was referred to the zoning commission and later died.
"Bypassing the village on the unit, Brouse proceeded to lease approximately three acres of land from Clyde Ray just north of the corporate limits and south of the U. S. Plug and Fitting Company.
"According to Brouse, the camp will operate on a semi-permanent rental basis and will be patterned after the Trailer Mart in Cleveland.
Trailer Mart consisted of several trailer parks located in the Cleveland area. Here's an ad that ran in the Plain Dealer in November 1963.
An article about the sale of the parks appeared in Crain's Cleveland Business on July 16, 2001. It notes, "A group of New York and Virginia investors has acquired the landmark Columbia Road Mobile Home Park in Olmsted Township and the Brook Park, a manufactured home community in Cleveland, for more than $26 million. Both mobile home parks were sold by Trailer Mart Inc. of Olmsted Township, a family-owned company led by Gary Brookins. Mr. Brookins is the son of the late Gerald Brookins, who developed the parks. 
"The Columbia Road park is particularly well-known because it's also home to Trolleyville USA, a nonprofit museum for trolleys with a demonstration trolley line through a portion of the park."