Friday, May 29, 2009

AKHS Art Class Sketchbook 1974

Keeping with this week's drawing theme...
   I took Art classes all four years at Admiral King High School with Mr. Frank Hicks as the instructor, and one of his regular assignments for us was to keep a sketchbook. He would give us a list of Lorain landmarks and locations that we could draw, or we were free to choose some of our own.
   Initially, I tried to sit and sketch on-site (like a real artist). Quickly I learned it was better (and less dangerous) to go out and snap a quick photo and work from that at home.
    Looking at some of the sketches today reveals Lorain circa 1974. The original 1904 Carnegie Public Library building on 10th Street (that had been replaced by the new Lorain Public Library in 1957) was then being used as the headquarters for the Lorain Civil Defense.
   The Broadway railroad crossing is probably the most interesting. The sketch (looking east) shows the old crossing gate tower as well as the long-gone Lorain train station. Looking at the Frank Nardini railroad underpass today, it's hard to believe that the scene actually looked like this at one time.
   The other sketches show the railroad bridge over the Black River, as well as the infamous house off of Oberlin Avenue that was the home of a local rock band for a little while. 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Summer Art Class 1968 Part 3

Here are the last of the sketches from the summer art class.
   For the first sketch, the view is of the bascule bridge and the back of the Broadway Building from Riverside Park. (Remember the Broadway Building's old neon sign, with the animated bowler?) 
   The other sketch is of the old Harbor House building at Century Park at East Erie and Massachusetts. I must have had difficulty drawing trees, because I can see Mr. Henschke's pencil lines all over them.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Summer Art Class 1968 Part 2

Here are a few more sketches from the Lorain summer drawing class that my siblings and I took in the late 1960s. All three of these subjects were in close proximity to each other, since all of them faced Washington Park.
   Lesson 4 was the old City Hall. It's fascinating (to me, at least) because of the civil defense tower rising next to it.
   Lesson 5 was the First Congregational Church. I like the bird walking right above the name.
   Lesson 6 was Fire Station Number One, right next door to the church. I wonder; was there really was a potato-nosed fireman sitting on the porch that day?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Summer Art Class 1968

Around 1968 or so, my parents enrolled my siblings and me in a summer drawing class that ran about 8 weeks. (I don't remember why we signed up; I do remember being upset that the class was going to cause me to miss Wacky Races.)

   The instructor was a local artist named Paul Henschke. The class would meet each week at various parks and sketch Lorain landmarks. A few classes were held indoors at St. Mary's Academy in downtown Lorain, which was interesting and mysterious for Protestants like us.
   I still have my sketches and, despite the fact that they are a kid's doodles, they provide a unique look at Lorain at that time. Lessons 1 and 2 were at Lakeview Park, with the fountain and bathhouse as subjects.
   One of the few things I remember about the class is that my brothers and I had a hard time understanding Mr. Henschke because of his accent. When he asked to borrow your eraser, it sounded like he was asking you for a razor.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Remember the meaning of Memorial Day?

Monday is Memorial Day, a Federal holiday that commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. The holiday was originally intended to commemorate Union soldiers of the Civil War, but later came to be known as a day to honor all Americans who died in a war. 
   Many Americans also use the day to pay a visit to the cemetery to remember loved ones. 

Lakeview Park Part 5

I almost forgot to mention the fountain down at Lakeview Park, which is certainly one of the more well-known landmarks in Lorain, along with the Easter Basket and the Lorain Lighthouse. Here's a few photos; one is courtesy of the book Images of Lorain, and the other is of my mother in front of the fountain back in 1946 (note bathhouse in the background.)
   In my well-thumbed copy of the 1940 Ohio Guide, written as part of the Writers Program of the Works Projects Administration, it refers to the fountain as the Lorain Memorial Fountain. The book adds that it gives 60 lighting effects every 6 minutes.
   I remember that my parents brought my siblings and I down to the park in our pajamas (at least once) to watch the fountain change colors. I wonder if parents still do that? 

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Lakeview Park Part 4

Here's a photo from February 1999 of the old King house that was located on what is now the west end of Lakeview Park.
   According to the book Images of Lorain, the King family had moved into the house (which was actually the remodeled carriage house) after a 1902 fire destroyed their home. Elizabeth King was the last family member to live there; after she passed away in the late 1990s, the city bought the property, demolished the house and added its acres to Lakeview Park.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lakeview Park Part 3

Here are a few shots of the original Lakeview Park bathhouse after the tornado struck Lorain on June 28, 1924. (These are photocopies of postcards that were laminated and assembled into a scrapbook and donated to the Lorain Public Library.)
   I remember as a kid always worrying about tornadoes. I guess growing up in Lorain will do that. 
   Here's a link to the Ohio History website with some more Lorain Tornado photos.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lakeview Park Part 2

Here's a look at the old Lakeview Park bathhouse before it was torn down in 2006 (photo courtesy of the Chronicle and the Lorain County Metro Parks) and a vintage photograph of it from the Black River Historical Society's website. (Click here to visit their website to see this and other great photos.)
   Looking at the BRHS photo, it's kind of neat to see the original brick building before it was 'renovated' with the fake facade.
   My family thinks I'm nuts, but I'm not real crazy about the new bathhouse built by the Lorain County Metro Parks. It's nice – and a great homage to the original bathhouse destroyed in the tornado – but it's... well, too nice. I miss the old one, where you could go in there with your wet swimsuit on and get an ice cream cone.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lakeview Park of Yesteryear

As it gets warmer outside and Memorial Day approaches, thoughts naturally turn to going down to Lakeview Park.
   According to the book Images of Lorain, published by the Black River Historical Society, Lakeview Park was the idea of Mayor Leonard Moore. He became mayor in 1916 and is credited with persuading City Council to purchase land west of town for a park.
   The postcards above show the park through the years. The postcard with the view from the water was postmarked 1943. The other two provide views that should be familiar to local baby boomers. It's interesting to see the long-gone B&O coal-loading docks in the background of the beach shot.
   It's funny to think how the park was in the 1960s, with its skimpy, rocky beach. No wonder my family used to drive all the way to Findley State Park in Wellington or East Harbor State Park out in Marblehead just to go swimming!
   And who can forget how, for a long time, it wasn't safe to go down to the park and watch the fountain lights change unless the doors were locked and the windows were rolled up!
   Times have certainly changed. Since 2006, Lakeview Park has been leased to the Lorain County Metro Parks, who have done a terrific job of improving and maintaining it. Although it was painful to watch the old bathhouse get demolished, at least it is great to see the park looking so good.

Friday, May 15, 2009

It's Yala's in a landslide!

Thanks to everyone (both of you?) who participated in my "Favorite Lorain Pizza Parlor Poll"! The winner: Yala's Pizza! I'm going to congratulate the winner by ordering one of their pizzas tonight! (It is Friday night, after all!)

Don't cook tonight, call... Pizza Delight?

I'm such a dumb cluck. I've been blogging about pizza for the last two weeks and forgot to mention a company that had a unique role in Lorain fast food/pizza history.
   Although the idea of offering both chicken and pizza might seem like an idea that's strictly for the birds, it seemed to work for Chicken Delight. Chicken Delight showed up in Lorain around 1965, delivering their complete chicken, shrimp, fish and rib dinners in their unique chicken-mobile. A year later the store added pizza to their menu, and by 1969 the product was named Pizza Delight®.
   By the late 1960s, a group of Chicken Delight franchisees were battling the parent company in court over the issue of having to buy equipment and packaging from the home office. That may be why around 1973, the Chicken Delight store on W. 21st Street switched their affiliation to a different franchise, Chicken Galore.
   The Chicken Galore store in Lorain eventually morphed into Chicken n' Ribs Galore, and finally closed. And what about Chicken Delight? Believe it or not, the company is still around, having flown the coop to Canada. Here is a link to their website.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Please participate in my Pizza Poll!

That's right – time is running out to vote in my first Favorite Pizza Parlor Poll! I limited it to Lorain pizzerias this time, but will cover some of the neighboring cities next time.
   If the chef mascot shown above could talk, he'd say "Selenti's Pizza is-a okay with-a me!" That's because he was used in Selenti's ads back in 1980. (I've spent a lot of time blogging about Yala's and Rosie's, but a co-worker from Lorain recently told me that Selenti's is still really good too!)
   And a guy who really knows Lorain – Lenny Camera – told me that Giovanni's on Grove Avenue is another great old time Lorain pizzeria.
   Man, I'm getting hungry just writing about all these different pizzas. Good thing it's lunch time!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Salad Days of Pizza Hut Pete

Here are a few ads featuring Pizza Hut Pete from the early days of Pizza Hut in Lorain County. The large square ad is from 1969 and the vertical ad (below) is from 1973.

Note how in the 1969 ad, Pizza Hut Pete figures prominently on the building itself, with large cutouts of him on the building's roof and sides. Now he's just the answer to a trivia question.
I remember going to the Oberlin Avenue location a lot in high school, with the occasional trip "all the way out to Sheffield Lake" for something different and exotic (perhaps to razzle-dazzle an easily-impressed date?)
Now, for ten years, I've been living a mile from the Sheffield Lake restaurant and really don't think of it too much when I'm in the mood for pizza (although I used to love the priazzo).
Maybe if they hadn't gotten rid of Pizza Hut Pete...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Meet Pizza Hut Pete

Remember this guy? This is Pizza Hut Pete. He used to be the advertising mascot for Pizza Hut back in the 1960s and 70s.

It's interesting that Pizza Hut fashioned their mascot to fit in with all the other mustachioed chefs that were out there promoting local pizzerias. Although I kinda like Pizza Hut Pete, I never really cared for Pizza Hut pizza too much.

To find out more about Pizza Hut Pete, here's a link to a blogger who has discovered a bunch of old Pizza Hut Pete items, including placemats, hand puppets and signage.

Pizza Hut first showed up in the Lorain phone books back in 1969, with restaurants in Lorain and in Sheffield Lake. Now, forty years later, the original Oberlin Avenue location in Lorain is long gone, as well as the replacement delivery-only store in the old Lawson's store further north on Oberlin Avenue. The Sheffield Lake location is still hanging in there, but I'm pretty sure it is a delivery-only store.

Pizza Hut Pete himself is long gone as well. He didn't stand a chance against Yala's, Rosie's, Stella's, etc.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A "Rosie" Outlook for Pizza

I've already mentioned in this space how I grew up on Yala's Pizza and how it is still the pizza I look forward to every Friday night. However, I have to mention my other favorite pizzeria: Rosie's Pizza Palace.
   I never even had a Rosie's pizza until I was well into my thirties. It was one of those nights when the wife left me to fend for myself for dinner on a Friday night, so I gave Rosie's a try – and I was hooked.
   It's a very different pizza from Yala's. Very brown and well-done; a spicier cheese, a different crust. I think it's great. My wife and I still prefer Yala's, but every so often I sneak over to Rosie's.
   The ad shown above is from 1961, when she moved her business back to Lorain. (She had started her own place in Avon at the corner of Lear Nagel and Detroit Road around 1958. Then it was back to Lorain, at the corner of Ninth and Broadway in 1961. For a while, her ads showed two locations: 3113 Broadway and 1032 Broadway. But she soon focused on just the 3113 Broadway spot and that is where the business is today.)
   I love the Rosie mascot. Her family still uses it in ads. (They later gave her a slight makeover (at right.)
   Lorain is lucky to have so many authentic pizzas to choose from. 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

What IS the secret of the Pizza Hut?

While researching pizza places in Lorain County, I came across this interesting slice of pizza history: a place called the Pizza Hut (emphasis on the 'the') out in Avon. I could be wrong, but it seemed to show up in the mid-1960s, just before Pizza Hut came to Lorain County. 
   This ad from 1968 is intriguing for a few reasons. The presence of a top-hatted chicken carrying a bucket of his own kind is strange enough. But what really makes me wonder is the tagline: the pizza with the BIG SECRET! 
   What could the big secret be? Was soylent green one of the choices of pizza toppings?
  Maybe the big secret is how they managed to get away with calling themselves the Pizza Hut. Since the Pizza Hut disappeared soon after Pizza Hut opened several outlets in Lorain County in the late 1960s, I wonder what business the owners went into next.
   Maybe they opened a burger joint called the Burger King. Just kidding!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Many Faces of the Pizza House

Here's a real rogues gallery of pizza chef mascots from the early days of pizza in Lorain... and they all represented the same pizzeria: the Pizza House.
   The Pizza House has the honor of being the first pizzeria to run an ad in the Lorain Phone Book. The company was all alone in the book in 1955, with the chef mascot at the far left. For the next few years at least, they went with a different chef mascot. (From left to right, the chefs are from 1955, 1958, 1959 and 1961. 
   The Pizza House was located at 3113 Broadway. Rosie Brest of Rosie's Pizza Palace got her start at the Pizza House, working there from 1954-1958. She later moved her own business into the Pizza House's building and that's where her business is today. (She passed away in 2007.)
   There was also a Pizza House in Vermilion that opened when Rosie took over the 3113 Broadway location, so it might be the same business. And there was a Pizza House in Oberlin in the early 1960s as well.
   I guess there are only so many ways to describe a structure in which pizza is made -  and a 'house' sounds better than a 'hut'!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Yala's Pizza: I wonder if they still use Wonder-Dough?

Here's something you don't see every day. It's an ad for Yala's Pizza that ran in the Journal back in 1959 in one of those big Lorain anniversary editions.
   It's interesting (to me at least) because you actually get to see the names of the people behind the operation: Louis Fuervando, Jay Telloni and Yala Armelie. (I always thought that 'Yala' was a last name!) The ad is also great because of the chef mascot.
   It sure is great pizza – no doubt Lorain's favorite now and forever. To my taste buds, it tastes the same now as it did when I first tasted it back in the 1960s. 
   My family always had Yala's Pizza every Friday night when I was a kid, along with Pepsi (never Coke). Once in a while, we would have Selenti's for something different, but we always came back to Yala's.
   I remember when you could sit down in Yala's and eat your pizza there. 
   Once back in high school days, a couple of pals and I ordered a Yala's pizza during Christmas break and walked there with the intention of eating in. To our dismay, Yala's had gotten recently gotten rid of the booths, so we had to take it with us. After walking around in the snow with it for a while, we decided that we didn't want to walk all the way home with it – so we took it over to Hardees, sat down and started eating it there.
   The Hardees manager came out and asked us, "Is that a Hardees Pizza?" He must have had a sense of humor, because I don't remember being thrown out.

Donut Wars

Here's a 1960 ad for Dixie Cream Donuts at 2851 Broadway in Lorain. For a short while, this place was a competitor of Bob's Donuts.
   I like the globe-headed advertising mascot - he's great! Dixie Cream Donuts is a chain, founded in 1922 in Dallas, Texas. The company is still around and even has a website under construction.
   Cool mascot or not, they obviously were no match for Bob Smith, the donut king, because they weren't around very long.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Remember Oakie the Squirrel?

Sure you do! Especially if you ever drove down Route 254 by Pearl Avenue in the 1960s and 70s and saw Oakie's huge image on the side of the building.
Well, even though Oakwood Shopping Center in Lorain is being redeveloped, Oakie the Squirrel is still around! You can visit Oakie at Oakie's Treehouse!
Climb on up into the Treehouse and visit Oakie and a lot of other old pals who served as advertising mascots for great local companies around Lorain County.