Monday, November 30, 2009

The return of Faroh's Candies... for a while, anyway

A few weeks ago I noticed a big Faroh's Candies sign in a storefront on Broadway. I wasn't sure if it was just plunked in the window or what. It looked like the sign that used to be in front of the Henderson Drive store.

Over the weekend, I got my answer. The Morning Journal had a nice article revealing that Faroh's Candies now has a store at 657 Broadway for the holidays. The store will be open from 10 am to 6 pm.
Click here to read the article in case you missed it.
The store is a great idea, and a great bit of Lorain nostalgia. I sure hope the public supports it!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's an ad for Thanksgiving dinner at Heilman's restaurant from November 1965. Heilman's was right at the intersection of Broadway and West Erie, or the Loop as it was known.

The photo at right is from the Black River Historical Society's website, which has a great collection of pictures that you can access here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Oberlin Avenue Mystery Business Revealed!

Last week I asked if anyone (besides me) remembered the business that in 1972 was in the spot right between Yala's Pizza and Dom & Luigi's Barber Shop. Since I know the suspense (or the boredom, as the case may be) is killing you, I'll tell you. It was Gene's Hobby Hub.
Gene's Hobby Hub was your basic old-time hobby shop. It was an interesting place for kids to poke around, full of toys, models, paint, etc. I remember going in there a few times, with a boyhood chum who was into rockets.
At right is the Lorain City Directory listing for the "Willow Shopping Center" area on the west side of the street. Remember all those other great Lorain businesses?
Despite being located between two popular businesses, Gene's Hobby Hub didn't last very long. In fact, nothing at that particular location at 3350 Oberlin Avenue lasted very long. In 1966 the spot was occupied by Judi's Wig Center. Then from 1967 - 1970: nothing. In 1971 the Lorain Dental Laboratory was in there, followed by Gene's Hobby Hub in 1972. Gene's Hobby Hub has the distinction of being the last business in there until Yala's Pizza took over the space around 1986.
A gentleman named Gene Patrick ran Gene's Hobby Hub. Next week I'll tell you a little more about Mr. Patrick and his other high-profile occupation, which provided him a weekly forum for his talents. How's that for a smooth transition of blog topics?

Monday, November 23, 2009

LHS Demolition Update 2

I did my weekly drive-by to see how the LHS demolition is coming along. What a difference a week makes... it's like the building is being erased little by little, like the picture of Marty McFly in Back to the Future!

Strangely enough, the Morning Journal has yet to run a photo of the demolition.
I think if the paper had its way, the demo team would head on over to Admiral King High School next. Last week in a controversial editorial, the paper suggested getting rid of the Admiral King name when the two current high schools combine sooner than expected.
I agree with this letter writer that it would be a disgrace if Lorain doesn't continue to honor Ernest J. King, its all-time most accomplished hometown hero.
What do you think?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Oberlin Avenue Shopping Strip Question!

I mentioned a few days ago that I was going to post a question here about the old Oberlin Avenue strip of businesses. As you can see by the photo above, I've zoomed in a little more on the specific building of interest! (I'll bet you thought I was going to ask something about old-time businesses Steve's Shoe Repair or Super's Tavern, since the first photo was a wide angle shot. Ooh, I'm such a sneak!)
No, the specific part of the building I'm interested in is the spot right between the two Lorain landmarks: Yala's Pizza and Dom & Luigi's Barber Shop! As you can see, there's nothing there now. But there was in 1972 – and only for about a year or so! It left an impression on me as a kid – and maybe you too! Can you name that business?
Be sure to post your guesses/thoughts/indifference by clicking on the 'comments' link and then going from there!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Trip Down Memory Lane... I mean, Oberlin Avenue!

Take a good look at the photo above. I'm sure all of you recognize it. It's the little strip of stores on the west side of Oberlin Avenue opposite Lorain Plaza. (Click on the photo for a jumbo version.)
If you haven't lived in Lorain for a long time, it certainly looks... um.. different from the old days, doesn't it?
Well anyways, take a look at the photo and mentally take a trip back to the early 1970's. I'm going to pose a question here in a day or so about one of the businesses that used to be in this strip and I'm curious as to how good everyone's memory is. Maybe no one will remember what I'm going to ask.
But we'll see!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More Thoughts on the LHS Demolition

On Sunday while I was snapping some shots of the ongoing demolition of the old Lorain High School, the guy who was wrangling a big brick-and-mortar souvenir chunk into his trunk stopped to talk to me.

"I graduated from here in 1970," he stated rather glumly. I could see the demolition really bothered him. "I live in Elyria now," he went on. "If this school was in Elyria, we would have saved it."
I think he's right.
Some communities value their heritage and try to hold on to the things that define them. Unfortunately, Lorain isn't one of them. I've written several letters to the Editor over the past decade to lament the fact that so many schools were being abandoned or slated for demolition that really weren't all that old. And the sterile, ugly 3-story boxes that replace them have none of the character of the old buildings.
The same thing that happened to LHS will eventually happen to Admiral King (my Alma Mater.) And I'm willing to bet the new school will not be called Admiral King either.

Monday, November 16, 2009

LHS Demolition Update

After a stop at the Lorain Public Library yesterday, I swung by the old Lorain High School to see how the demolition was coming along. I wasn't the only one there with a camera in hand, and one guy was even lugging away a pretty good size chunk of a brick wall – which was going to make a dandy doorstop.

Anyway, I dug out my old LHS postcard (top) as well as a photo of the same view from around 2007 (middle) and finally a shot from Sunday (bottom).
I like the surgical strike method of demolition that is being employed here. Anyone who hated the modern addition to the building (seen in the middle photo) got to see what the whole scene looked like without it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

November 1959 Trotter's Office Supply Ad

Well, it's about time to start thinking about Christmas. Actually, the decorations have been up at Midway Mall for a while now! But it's still a good time to think about buying some Christmas cards (that is unless you have a box stashed away from last year's bargain bin.)

Fifty years ago, this ad for Trotter's Office Supply in Lorain appeared in a November 1959 issue of the Lorain Journal. I love the artwork! The snowman looks kind of like a clean-shaven Oliver Hardy, and the surprisingly scrawny Santa Claus looks like he had been hitting the bottle! Maybe he was going to fatten up and sober up for Christmas!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Brady's Restaurant Part 3

Around 1970, catering was introduced as part of the business. This new enterprise took its name from the popular "chuckwagon" fried chicken that had been on the Brady's Restaurant menu since the early 1960's.
The catering business was called Brady's Chuckwagon Catering, and shortly after the restaurant became known as Brady's Chuckwagon Chicken House.
A 1973 ad is shown above.
Around the mid-1970's, things began to wind down. By 1975, only the catering business was still being advertised in the phone book. And by the time the 1978-79 phone book came out, neither the catering business or the restaurant was still listed.
For a little while in the early 80's, the restaurant made an apparent comeback as Brady's Coffee Shoppe. But that didn't last long.
Since then, John Brady has kept the spirit of Brady's Restaurant alive with his Brady's Good Food trailer, which in past years has been set up in different locations around Lorain as a seasonal enterprise. Painted bright orange and rimmed with lights, the trailer is a beacon for hungry Lorainites looking for – what else? – good food.
I didn't see Mr. Brady (who is a nice guy) out with his trailer this past summer, and I'm sure that I'm not the only person who missed his excellent corn dogs! But here's hoping he and his family are doing well and that we haven't seen the last of his restaurant on wheels. It's a real Lorain landmark!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Brady's Restaurant Part 2

By 1958, Chester L. Brady had passed away and John L. Brady was manager of Brady's Restaurant. A 1958 Lorain telephone book ad (above) listed several innovations, including outside drive-in electronic car service, as well as delivery anywhere in Lorain. (The ad also indicated that Brady's Restaurant was the Home of Pizza Puppies; I don't know what Pizza Puppies are, but if I ever find out, I'll let you know!)

Also seen in the 1958 ad is the restaurant's distinctive logo lettering.
Going into the 1960's, the business was still evolving. In 1965, it was listed in the City Directory as Brady's Restaurant & Dairyland, and in 1967 it was joined by Brady's Dairyland & Donut Shop on W. 21st Street nearby.
Whatever the restaurant was called in the mid-1960's, I remember that my family stopped there at least a few times, for ice cream or a snack. I'm sure we enjoyed the novelty of eating at a restaurant 'named after us'!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Brady's Restaurant Part 1

I mentioned the old Yeager's Acres restaurant in a blog last week, and decided that long-gone restaurants might make a good string of topics. So first up in this series is a well-known landmark Lorain restaurant with a great name that I actually remember eating at: Brady's Restaurant.

Although Bradys in Lorain County are now a dime-a-dozen (or a dime-a-Bunch), back in the 1960's there were only two Brady families on the west side of Lorain: the Bradys who owned the restaurant and us. And we aren't related. But it was incredible how many times I was asked over the years if we were the ones who owned the restaurant.
Brady's Restaurant was located at 2210 Leavitt Road, at the intersection with 21st Street. (The small white building is no longer there, having been finally torn down a year or two ago.)
The 1955 newspaper ad shown above provides a nice early history of the business. (Click on it for a larger version.) The ad reveals that the restaurant opened its doors in November of 1946 and was originally owned by Chester L. Brady and his wife Esther. The business appeared in the Lorain City Directory as Brady's Drive In. The restaurant's advertising mascot was a whimsical cook on a unicycle, most appropriately since the restaurant was in a fast-paced period of growth and innovation.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The voters have spoken! (About Yala's Pizza, that is!)

I almost forgot to mention the results of my blog poll concerning the possible relocation of Yala's Pizza. The (unscientific) poll revealed that moving would probably not adversely affect their pizza business. Three out of five people who voted were upset, but would still patronize the place.

I still have mixed feelings about the whole thing. Parking in front of Yala's is a hassle, and a drive-through would certainly solve that problem. And I really hate the idea of that little brick strip of businesses losing a Lorain landmark. But I guess as long as the pizza tastes the same, I'll drive the extra mile.
Maybe I'll mention my humble blog poll to the friendly Yala's counter person who hands me my 1/2 plain, 1/2 mushroom pizza each week!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

First Federal Savings of Lorain "Bails Out"

I received a nice letter the other day from First Federal Savings of Lorain explaining that the Broadway office would be closing as of the New Year. I'm not too surprised, but I feel a little responsible.

You see, for years – all through the late 80's, the 90's and well into the 2000's – I did all my banking at that branch. I'm the type of person who likes the ritual of going to the bank. I know it's old-fashioned, but it keeps the tellers employed and it's a habit that I just don't plan on abandoning.
Well, in the last few years I got tired of parking in the street in a bunch of broken glass, and then having to walk quickly to avoid various colorful street types who loitered outside the bank. The bank was never too busy either. So although Michele and the rest of the tellers at the Broadway office were a great bunch, I reluctantly started going to the Oberlin Avenue office, which is the one I grew up with anyway.
The closing of the Broadway office brings an end to the bank's presence in central Lorain, which is where it all started. It's too bad, but understandable.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Remember Yeager's Acres?

I turned 50 this year, so naturally I'm starting to fall apart – necessitating a visit to the doctor for a physical. Since I hadn't been to a doctor in years, I had to find a new one. I was lucky enough to find a terrific one at the Tri City Family Medicine in Amherst. What was interesting to me about this is that Tri City Family Medicine is right where a restaurant called Yeager's Acres used to be.

Yeager's Acres was one of those things that I associated with Amherst, along with the Old Spring. The restaurant was located at the intersection of N. Main (or Kolbe Road if you prefer) and Cooper Foster Park Road. Two of its phone book ads – one from the late 1950's (top) and late 1960's (below) are shown.
I can't say I actually remember eating there, although I think my grandparents did. (The 'No Liquor Served' line in the ad makes me doubtful though!) Maybe I just liked the name of it. (Several other people do too, because a quick Google search reveals that there are several other Yeager's Acres around the country, including Ohio.)
The restaurant first showed up in the Lorain phone book as Yeager's Acres Drive Inn in 1949. Its listing disappeared after the 1971-72 phone book.
After the restaurant closed, a Lawsons was later located on the site. It, too, closed at some point, because my doctor's office is in the unmistakable old Lawsons building. (I thought I smelled chipped chopped ham during my exam.)
Anyway, if anyone has any memories of Yeager's Acres, please post them so I know I'm not the only old coot that remembers the place!

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Falling Leaves....

It's funny how leaves used to be so much fun when you were a kid. They were something to play in, or kick up in the air as you walked to school. Remember how the Peanuts gang was always jumping into a big pile of leaves in the comic strips?

Now that we're adults, leaves are the enemy! They're a problem to be dealt with – either raked, bagged and trucked away, or simply ground up by the lawn mower.
Growing up on the west side of Lorain, leaves weren't much of a problem in our yard. The amount of leaves that collected in our front yard would have fit in a lunch bag. (Not that we would have raked them anyway. Just getting my brothers and me to mow the lawn was hard enough for my parents.)
For those of you who live in the warmer climates of the country, the reason I'm mentioning leaves today is because it seems that all of the leaves dropped in the area in the last week or so. Which means I spent a large part of my weekend grinding them up with the mower (and have the aches and pains to show for it.)
To see how pretty the leaves were just a few weeks ago, click here to visit the Chronicle Telegram's autumn color photo collection. (By the way, the photo at the top of this blog entry is of good ol' Mill Hollow.)