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

Monday, June 10, 2024

General Giles W. Shurtleff Article – June 1954

A recent view of the statue 
Working in Oberlin has made me more interested in the city's history, as well as that of Oberlin College. Thus the article below about a statue of General Giles W. Shurtleff in that city was of great interest to me, especially as I am somewhat of a Civil War enthusiast. The article appeared in the Lorain Journal on June 4, 1954.

As the article notes, "Despite the fact that it has been a most tempting object for the paint brushes of rollicking Oberlin "undergrads" for many years, the stature of Gen. Giles W. Shurtleff, which stands on the sloping lawn of Shurtleff Cottage on South Professor Street, commemorates the life and deeds of a man who played a very prominent role in Oberlin's military activities during the Civil War.
"The inscription on the base of the life size likeness of this famous Oberlin student, teacher, and soldier reveals only a part of his contribution to his country and the cause of freedom, but it was a most significant  endeavor.
"Inscribed immediately beneath the statue "Freedom cannot be given – it must be achieved," and on the base, "Believing in the ability of the Negro to aid in the fight for Freedom, he organized the first regiment of colored troops raised in Ohio. Inspired by his leadership they offered their lives for the freedom of their race."
The story of General Shurtleff as told in various accounts of Oberlin history reveals that prior to his association with the Fifth Regiment of U. S. Colored Troops, he was captain of Company C, the first unit mobilized in Oberlin early in April in 1861. He left Oberlin in charge of this all-Oberlin company on April 25, 1861 and on August 26 of that same year was captured when Company C was surrounded in a woods in the western part of Virginia. Thirty-four of his men were taken with him and he remained a prisoner until September, 1863, when he was freed through a prisoner exchange.
"After a brief furlough which he spent in Oberlin, Shurtleff, with the aid of John Mercer Langston, a Negro lawyer and an Oberlin graduate, organized the Fifth Ohio regiment of colored troops. There was much opposition to this movement, particularly from Ohio's Governor Tod, who denounced any recognition of the colored man.
"Shurtleff was commissioned as colonel for the newly organized unit. In the summer of 1864 when this outfit was under continuous enemy fire he was severely wounded. He lost nearly half of his regiment. For his courageous leadership in this battle, which occurred at Petersburg and New Market Va., Colonel Shurtleff was honorably discharged at the end of the war as a brevet brigadier general.
"In September, 1865 he joined the Oberlin College faculty as adjunct professor of Latin and Greek languages and remained a member of the teaching staff until 1887 when he was appointed secretary - treasurer of the college, a position he held until his retirement in 1893."
If you are interested in visiting the statue, it is located at the intersection of South Professor Street and Morgan Street (just down the road from the Don Hilton Hacienda).

For more information about General Giles W. Shurtleff and the Fifth United States Colored Troops (USCT), visit this page on the Oberlin Heritage Center website. The Art in the Archives of Oberlin College website has a great page about the statue. The Architecture of Oberlin College website includes a page about Shurtleff Cottage.

Friday, June 7, 2024

Reddi-wip Ad – June 1954

Fresh from Baumhart Berry Farm
It's strawberry season!

I missed it last year, so I've been keeping a close eye on the roadside stands in the Vermilion area. The farms where you pick them yourself have been open for a week or two, but I've been having trouble finding a stand where you could just stop and buy a pint. Fortunately, while Baumhart Berry Farm is a U-Pick farm, they also have some that you can just buy. (They put a special sign out by the road to let you know when they have some.) So I made my second stop of the season there last night and the dee-lishus photo above is the result.

Freshly-picked strawberries taste so much better than their grocery store counterparts (which are harder, flavorless and have a white core  – ugh). Plus some of the squashed strawberries at the bottom of the container are often quite hair-raising.

So what do you do with strawberries? Besides just eating them and putting them on my cereal, I took a hint from the ad below, which ran in the Lorain Journal on June 3, 1954 and had some strawberry shortcake.

It's a pretty good ad, advertising the product to make the shortcake (Bisquick) as well as the topping (Reddi-wip). I like the look of anticipation on the kid's face as he greedily squirts Reddi-wip on his mountainous dessert.

I didn't make Bisquick biscuits to have with my strawberries, but they were just as good with my store-bought dessert cups and obscure brand dairy topping.
UPDATE (June 8, 2024)
Apparently the kid with the striped shirt and crewcut was featured in magazine ads as well.

Thursday, June 6, 2024

D-Day Front Pages – 1944 & 1964

Today is the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the Invasion of Normandy. Above is the front page of the Lorain Journal from that day. (Back in 2019 here, I posted the front pages and many inside pages from the newspaper beginning on December 5, 1944 the eve of the invasion, to December 12, 1944. They make fascinating reading.)

As summed up on the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library website, "The D-Day operation of June 6, 1944, brought together the land, air, and sea forces of the allied armies in what became known as the largest amphibious invasion in military history. The operation, given the codename OVERLORD, delivered five naval assault divisions to the beaches of Normandy, France. The beaches were given the code names UTAH, OMAHA, GOLD, JUNO, and SWORD. 
"The invasion force included 7,000 ships and landing craft manned by over 195,000 naval personnel from eight allied countries. Almost 133,000 troops from the United States, the British Commonwealth, and their allies, landed on D-Day. Casualties from these countries during the landing numbered 10,300. By June 30, over 850,000 men, 148,000 vehicles, and 570,000 tons of supplies had landed on the Normandy shores. Fighting by the brave soldiers, sailors, and airmen of the allied forces western front, and Russian forces on the eastern front, led to the defeat of German Nazi forces."
It's interesting see how the Lorain Journal (back then an evening paper) was able to provide such up-to-the-minute details of the invasion. There's even some reassuring comments about the success of the operations from Lorain's No. 1 son, Admiral Ernest J. King.
Twenty years later, this was the front page of the Journal on June 6, 1964.
Coverage of the 20th anniversary of D-Day is given a prominent spot on the page, but seems relatively low-key. I suppose it reflects the attitudes of the times, and the fact that many of the members of the Greatest Generation who fought in World War II didn't define themselves by their considerable wartime achievements. A lot of the veterans (like my father) really didn't want to talk about their war experience at all; it was an unhappy time they would rather forget. And those families that lost loved ones in the war grieved in relative anonymity.