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Sixty years ago, the big news was that the historic (but outdated) bridge in the park over the Vermilion River was going to be replaced, as noted in the article above from the Journal of Thursday, July 16, 1964.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.

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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.

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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."

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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.
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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."

Friday, July 12, 2024

The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show – July 12, 1964

It was back on February 9, 1964 that the Beatles made their first of three appearances that month on The Ed Sullivan Show. For many TV viewers, it was their first exposure to the mop-topped quartet, and the event is seen as the official start of Beatlemania, as well as the British Invasion of American popular music. And music has never been the same since.

The three appearances of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show were rebroadcast during the summer, and that's what being promoted above on the Journal TV page of July 11, 1964.

There was certainly a lot of Beatles music played in our house while I was growing up. My older sister was a big fan, and had all the albums. Consequently the Beatles provided a sort of soundtrack for memories of those days. 

My three siblings and I each had a favorite Beatle (mine was goofy Ringo) and we each had one of the Beatle dolls. In later years, we turned over our dolls to my sister so she had a complete set.

We watched the TV cartoons on Saturday morning and had the Beatles "Flip Your Wig" game by Milton Bradley.

My parents played along with our Skyline Drive version of Beatlemania, taking us to see Help! (1965) when it came out in the theaters. I think we saw it at the Lorain Drive-in. I can almost play that album in my mind, sixty years later.

I kind of lost interest in the Beatles when they got into drugs and the hippie look, and started getting arrested frequently. I remember going to see Yellow Submarine (1968) and not liking it as much as the TV cartoons because of the psychedelic art.

For me the last straw – decades later – was a series of rude and insulting comments that Paul McCartney made about President George W. Bush, both during his presidency and afterwards. The remarks were classless and it changed my personal opinion of the Beatle.

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The pop quartet have popped up on this blog before. This post dealt with Beatle wigs on sale at the Patio Room adjacent to the Colony; and this post announced the availability of those Beatles dolls at Rigbee's Bargain Town.

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The TV listings on that July 11, 1964 page has some goodies. There's a Bowery Boys movie (In Fast Company) on Channel 8 at 6:00 PM and later that night, one of my favorite movies – Niagara.

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Lorain Yacht Club Regatta Ad – July 10, 1954

Hey, our pal Reddy Kilowatt has an ad on this page!

Seventy years ago, Lorain was getting ready for the 25th Annual Lorain Yacht Club Regatta, which was taking place July 10th and 11th off Lakeview Park.

Above is the full-page ad for the Regatta that ran in the Lorain Journal on July 10, 1954. There was a pretty full schedule.

As the paper noted on the front page, "Lorain Yacht club's silver anniversary Regatta is under full power and sail today after getting underway with three sail class races run off this morning and 10 more scheduled for tomorrow morning.

"Thousands of spectators are expected to line the shore at Lakeview Park tomorrow. Special police will be on hand to direct the crowds and traffic.

"Favorite weather with temperatures in the near 90s has been forecast, and is expected to help swell the crowds.

"Between 8 and 8:30 p.m. today the Universal and Lighting races from Rocky River will cross the finish line. Captains and crews will be treated to a Regatta Ball at the Yacht Club's new building, behind the Coast Guard Station.

"The Walker Rubber Band of Detroit will be on hand, touring the waterfront and playing when the spirit moves them.

"A buffet dinner will end Saturday's scheduled festivities at midnight in the club house.

"Tomorrow doughnuts and coffee will be served at 7 a.m. at the club, with the sailboats again taking to the water all morning. In the afternoon the powerboats will start circling the buoys.

"The trophy awards luncheon for the sailing vessels will be at 1 p.m. Sunday with the power winners being named at 4 p.m."

Today, the Lorain Harbor Boat Club (LHBC) carries on the tradition of the Lorain Yacht Club, with a season-long program of sailboat races, regattas, a cruise week and various social events at its club located near the US Coast Guard station.