Thursday, June 30, 2011

Admiral Ernest J. King Bust 1975

From the pages of my 1975 Trident, here's a photo of most of the Senior Class Officers posing in front of the bust of Admiral Ernest J. King. From left to right, there is President Vic Rosen, Treasurer Elaine Baron, and Vice President Guy Richards.

I sure hope that bust of Admiral King was 'anchored' to that shelf! It seemed to be used as a photo backdrop in the Trident many times during the early 1970's.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Admiral Ernest J. King Bust Unveiling

Here's a neat photo from the archives of the Black River Historical Society. The photo had no caption, but depicts some Navy officials at the apparent unveiling of a bust of Admiral Ernest J. King. The BRHS file also had photos from the dedication of the high school.

The bust shown above was on display at Admiral King High School and I'm sure is well-remembered by school alumni.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Remember This Admiral Ernest J. King Portrait?

This great portrait of Admiral Ernest J. King should look familiar to anyone who attended Admiral King High School (like me). I believe it hung on the wall near the entrance to the auditorium, if my memory is correct. Either that or it was in that same hallway.

For me, this painting WAS Admiral Ernest J. King. Seeing it everyday (along with the sculptured bust of him) created an awareness of the man, and his importance, that was impossible to forget.

Well, over at the Buster's House website, Lisa is asking for help in identifying the mystery artist. The painting is apparently headed over to the new Admiral King elementary school, which opens later this year.

The painting appears to be based on this photo.

While the painting is very well done, I suspect that it was done by a student because of its simple, unpretentious style – plus it would have been the ideal opportunity for an Admiral King High School art student.

My only other guess is that it might have been done by the late local artist and big band saxophonist Frank Katrick, who did countless portraits for local sports figures for the Lorain Sports Hall of Fame as well as other civic figures. Frank's style was similar to this, although I'm not sure if he worked much in paint.

Whoever the artist is, he or she should be very proud for creating something that students could be (and will be) inspired by everyday. Plus I like the painting much more than the reference photo!

Hopefully we'll have the artist's name sooner or later!

1967 Castle on the Lake Ad

Check out this April 7, 1967 newspaper ad for Lorain's iconic Castle on the Lake restaurant! I saw it recently while spooling through rolls of microfilm at the Lorain Public Library, in search of something else as usual.

The ad is interesting to me because of its 60's flair. Gone is the formal 1950's 'supper club' theme (that you saw on this blog back here.)

Instead, you have kind of a mod look, with a stylish, uniformed 'castle wench' dominating the ad.

It looks like it was a cool place back then... kind of like Lorain's version of the Playboy Club! I wonder what kind of act Eddie and Frankie did – anybody remember?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Admiral King Tribute Site Flag Raising

On Saturday morning, I stopped down at the new Admiral King Tribute site to watch the flag being raised on the 55th anniversary of Admiral Ernest J. King's passing.

It was a little overcast and windy, but thankfully it didn't rain. My shot (above) of the flagpole and Admiral King's birthplace is from a little later in the day, when the sun came out.

It was a nice flag-raising ceremony, and you couldn't help being choked up a little bit seeing Lorain once again honor its number-one son (especially after the school board stripped his name from the high school last year).

The Morning Journal website has video from the ceremony here.

Here's a few of my shots from the actual flag-raising.

Be sure to read Loraine Ritchey's blog for the story behind the Tribute site, with profiles of the people involved in the creation of it (including Loraine, who I finally got to meet on Saturday!)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Kipton's Civil War Monument

Kipton's Civil War Statue
Since I've spent the whole week featuring news stories about the big G.A.R. encampment held in Lorain back in 1911, it seems fitting to close out the week with another item related to local Civil War veterans.

I've been doing research for months now about the old Civil War statue that used to be in the park across from Lorain City Hall. (I've featured it on this blog before many times, but I've been working on a detailed history of it.)

During my research, I found a great book, Zinc Sculpture in America: 1850-1950 by Carol A. Grissom, and it provides a great history of the use of zinc in statues – including Civil War statues. It turns out that Lorain's long-gone statue was made of zinc, as well as the statue on State Route 511 in Kipton.

Zinc was popular for these kind of statues, according to the book, because it was inexpensive, and it was easy to work with. The various parts of a statue were cast separately and then soldered together. Thus, zinc statues are hollow.

I drove out to Kipton a couple of Sundays ago to see how Kipton's statue was doing. I'm sorry that I don't have any historical information as to how long the monument has been there, but nevertheless it appears to be in great shape (although the statue is leaning back quite a bit).

I was actually pretty impressed that Kipton's monument looked so good, and that the park was so well maintained.

Kipton's monument is mentioned on a great website created by the Cincinnati Historical Society Library that features information on Ohio Civil War monuments. In the section entitled 'Monument Builders' it says:

Two firms built many of the soldier monuments in Ohio. The Monumental Bronze Co. of Bridgeport, CT. specialized in a zinc or white bronze monument. Because the material could be stamped, bases could contain elaborate decorations and inscriptions. The monument at Kipton in Lorain County is a good example. The front of the monument includes the Grand Army of the Republic emblem, a profile of Abraham Lincoln, a list of soldiers, "Lincoln" in large letters and a verse from the poem, "Coat of Blue." The other three sides are similarly embellished. The same zinc soldier can be found in Cardington, Defiance, Grafton, New California, Wauseon, and Windsor.

Here are a few shots of the base of the monument. Click on each so you can see the craftsmanship that went into its construction.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

June 19, 1911 Headlines

To close out this look at the goings-on in Lorain one hundred years ago this week, here's one last full page of The Lorain Times Herald, from June 19, 1911.  Originally, I was only going to clip and post the G.A.R. article (about the number of surviving Ohio Civil War veterans) from this page, but some of the other stuff was so interesting that I decided to include the whole page here. (Give it a click so you can read it.)

Mixed in with the genteel wedding announcements and social events are a bizarre mixture of murder, suicide, attempted suicide, a runaway and several buggy accidents. Just another day in 1911 Lorain, I guess.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

1911 G.A.R. Parade Postcard – Where Was It Taken?

I posted this 1911 postcard of the G.A.R. parade yesterday, but neglected to mention that I had researched where this photo was taken.

As the newspaper article stated, the parade formed at the Loop and marched south on Broadway to Ninth Street, then over to Washington Avenue, north to West Erie and disbanding at Washington Park – so this view was along Broadway. But where?

The clue to the answer is the sign for Anton Pathe - Merchant Tailor seen at the top of the photo. His business was located at 675 Broadway in several City Directories from that time period (1912 and 1915).

So the photo was taken between 6th and 7th Street, with the marchers heading south on Broadway. Here's the today view, courtesy of the bing search engine website. The orange pushpin is where Anton Pathe's tailor shop was located.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lorain's Big G.A.R. Parade - June 21, 1911

The highlight of the Encampment Week was the big parade on June 21, 1911 - one hundred years ago today. (A vintage postcard of the parade from Ebay is shown above.) 

And here's the front page of The Lorain Times-Herald on the following day describing the big event. (Give it a click so you can read it.) Apparently almost 80,000 people watched the parade – making it postcard-worthy I guess.

And here's the continuation of the parade article.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lorain's 1911 G.A.R. Encampment Preparations

A series of small articles popped up in The Lorain Times-Herald leading up to the big Encampment Week June 19-24, 1911. (Click on each of them for a version that you can read; sorry about the quality on some of them, the quality on microfilm varies significantly.)

The first one that I found on microfilm was on May 26, 1911.

A few weeks later on June 6, an ad popped up promoting the availability of storefront decorations for the big event.

A day later, this article appeared in the paper and it appeared that Lorain was already in high gear preparing for the big event.

It's funny seeing the circus-like atmosphere associated with the event. I wonder what the "Diving Venus" show was like?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

100th Anniversary of When Lorain Hosted the Ohio G.A.R.

Did you know that today was a very big day for Lorain 100 years ago today, June 19, 1911?

Lorain was the host city for the Ohio Grand Army of the Republic encampment. During the event, six state conventions were held by patriotic organizations associated with the G.A.R.

The encampment attracted more than 15,000 visitors to Lorain.

Why was the event so special? In 1911, it had been 50 years since the the Civil War started, and the majority of the veterans were around 70 years of age.  That's why the city was determined to make sure the encampment was a success. As The Lorain Times-Herald pointed out, "Lorain will never entertain the old soldiers again and there will be few more encampments in the state or the country."

I'll have more on the G.A.R. encampment all this week in honor of this great event.

Friday, June 17, 2011

April 1951 Sears Craftsman Power Mower Ad

It's been a rough spring up here by the lake with all the rain.

As of last Sunday, I've already mowed my lawn FIFTEEN times this season – and almost every time I've had to bag it for at least part of my lawn, usually the front which grows pretty fast and easily gets too long to mulch. If it's been more than four days between mowings, I've had to bag both the front and the back – ugh. And when the mandated paper recyclable bags sit for more than a few days and get rained on, guess what? They tear open, spilling the wet, stinky, moldy contents all over the driveway while you're taking out the trash. (I know this from fact, having had to re-bag all eight bags of grass at ten o'clock at night in the dark!)

So, since the beginning of April, lawn mowing has been on my mind constantly. That's why when I saw this ad, I had to post it on this blog. It's from a Sears ad that ran in the pages of the Lorain Journal in April 1951. (Click on it for a larger view.)

It's pretty intriguing, this 1951 power mower with the belts on the outside. I think I saw one like this in a Tom and Jerry cartoon.

Both mowers in the ad are kind of cool to look at. My grandmother used to have one similar to the Dunlap model shown, with the grass catcher that hung off the back. At least it never ran out of gas.

Anyway, if antique lawn mowers interest you, here's a YouTube video of a guy starting up the 1953 version of this mower. Amazingly, it still runs!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Remember Jarts?

Keeping the warm weather fun theme going...

While mowing my lawn last month on a rare sunny day, I watched a neighbor and his family enjoy a game of cornhole in their backyard.

I couldn't help but chuckle. Times sure have changed, I thought to myself, as I watched this family take turns lobbing what was more-or-less bean bags (actually they're filled with corn) at a hole cut in a homemade wooden platform with an Ohio State logo painted on it.

Why did it strike me funny? Well, besides the fact that I can't decide which is sillier – the name 'cornhole' or the game itself – I was reminded of the fact that when I was a kid growing up on Skyline Drive in the 1960's, my siblings and I used to play a lawn game that was so dangerous that some children sadly got killed while playing it. Remember Jarts?

The game was simple and was a combination of darts and horseshoes. You assembled what looked like hula-hoops for a targets, placed them on the ground, and then tossed the large, heavy Jarts at them, competing to get inside or closest to the ring.

A game of Jarts looked like this (below) except that I don't think our shorts were that short.

Image courtesy of
Like other kids, we lobbed them around the yard, up in the air, etc. I don't remember any near misses or fearing for my life while playing them. As a kid, you never really thought that much about death.

I hadn't thought about Jarts for years until they were deemed dangerous and banned from manufacture and/or resale in the United States in 1988. There are quite a few articles and links online about the accidental deaths of a few children. This video story from Canadian TV (about one man's efforts to have the product banned due to his daughter's tragic death) is particularly heart-breaking.

Playing Jarts was just another one of those things – like riding our bikes without wearing helmets, or careening around on roller skates without wearing pads – that somehow we managed to do without seriously injuring ourselves.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

More Vacationland Postcards

Heading out to Vacationland is one of my favorite things to do, and vintage postcards from that area always make me smile. Here's a few more from the vintage postcard website, which I've come to rely on recently for vintage images. Click on each for a slightly larger image. (And remember, the postcards are for sale on the website!)

Here's one of the old Sandusky Bay Bridge. It's unusual because it shows the center section that could be raised if a ship was passing through. (Today that section is gone, and the abandoned bridge approaches are used for fishing. My wife and I use them for eating our Toft's ice cream!)

The old Sandusky Bay Bridge
Here's a few from the Cedar Point of my youth, showing the Space Spiral (still a favorite of mine) and the much-loved Jungle Larry's Safari Island.

Space Spiral

Jungle Larry's Safari Island
Here's a few more Cedar Point favorites: the Pirate Ride and the Games Building. (When it was almost time to go home, we would linger by the Games Building, getting one last snack and sitting for a while before the ride home, in which we sadly realized it would be another year before we got to Cedar Point again!)

Pirate Ride

Games Building
Tent camping at East Harbor State Park near Lakeside-Marblehead is one of my great childhood family memories – and here's a postcard showing just that. East Harbor was just far enough from Lorain, to be interesting without being a long drive, and the proximity to Lake Erie made it seem like you were in another state – truly on vacation! 
Lastly, 2010 was the last year for Prehistoric Forest near Marblehead (which I talked about back here) and here's a vintage postcard showing their triceratops. (This must be their original one, as the one I encountered during my farewell trip to the attraction didn't look like this.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lorain's Downtown Post Office Then and Now

Thinking about the impending closing of the Sheffield Lake branch of the Post Office reminded me of the similar sad fate that befell Lorain's historic downtown U. S. Post Office.

Two postcards from the vintage postcard website are shown above.

It was pretty shocking to me when the federal government closed this majestic main branch and transferred its carrier operations out to the Lorain Carrier Annex on Colorado Avenue. Today the downtown Lorain branch is located in the Meridian Plaza, next door to an internet cafe – quite a comedown compared to its former home on Broadway that dated back to 1914.

Speaking of that building, it is currently home to the Ohio Gold and Diamond Exchange. The Morning Journal covered the opening of this business back here in September 2010.

Here's how the building looks today. It still looks impressive, but it doesn't seem right to see those signs and banners in place, however low-key they may be.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Goodbye Sheffield Lake Post Office

Well, it looks like one of the small-town amenities of living in Sheffield Lake will be going away – and I'm pretty unhappy about it.

The United States Postal Service is planning on closing our branch located behind the Shoreway Shopping Center and moving its operations (P.O. Boxes, counter service, etc.) over to the cavernous Lorain Carrier Annex on Colorado Avenue (Route 611) in Lorain. I attended the public meeting held Friday night at Brookside High School in which the Post Office officials outlined the reasons for the closing.

You can read John Edwards' informative article about it in The Press online right here.

It was a pretty ugly forum, with a few Sheffield Village residents glad about the move, as they think it will be more convenient for them, and a few Sheffield Lake residents reminding them that it is the Sheffield Lake branch anyway and who cares what they think?

Sheffield Village's mayor didn't seem to have a problem with it either. He hijacked the meeting from the officials at the end to address the crowd, attempting to put a happy face on the proceedings by lamely explaining that we should all be glad that the Post Office was being more efficient and saving money.

Tell that to the Sheffield Lake residents – mostly seniors who don't drive – who were used to walking to the Sheffield Lake Post Office.

I've almost always gone to the Sheffield Lake Post Office to mail packages and buy stamps. Why? Because it's my post office in my town. And it's a mile from my home in the heart of the city.

For my part, at the meeting I gave my best Jimmy Stewart-like speech (although I didn't do my well-honed impression), imploring the officials to keep it open because a post office is one of the things that defines a town, along with its library and city hall. I pointed out that Sheffield Lake sits on U. S. Highway 6, a major cross-country thoroughfare, and that the city needs its Post Office to maintain its identity in the eyes of the federal government and avoid becoming seen as just a punk town.

My comments were met with a round of indifference. Oh well.

Another aspect of small-town life – the local post office – bites the dust.

Friday, June 10, 2011

1977 Admiral King Sheepskin

The article in the Morning Journal about the Lorain High School Class of 2011 being allowed to select which high school they wanted on their diploma (Admiral King, Southview or Lorain High) made me go and dig mine out of storage. It had been years since I had seen it.

Courtesy of Morning Journal website
The Admiral King version that the graduates could select is actually pretty nice, with the school crest on it. (See photo at left.) Mine has a large, nondescript school board logo on it instead.

I hate to say it, but I agree with the letter to the editor in which the letter writer didn't like the idea of giving the graduates the choice. The two former high schools simply don't exist any more – why is the school board pretending that they do now?

As someone who cares about history and accuracy, I just don't think it's right.

Anyway, one thing that I do like about my diploma is the nice rendering of the school building that is on the left hand side of the diploma.

While studying the rendering, I began to walk the hallways again in my mind. I guess you never forget the layout of your high school, since it was such a big part of your life.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

How We Used to Keep Cool

Here's a great reminder from the pages of the Lorain Journal in late May 1951 of how we used to keep cool before central air-conditioning. (Before air-conditioning? That's a er, uh... chilling thought!)

I'm sure all you Baby boomers recognize this style fan. (Click on the ad for a larger view.) We had several of them similar to this, and I remember they were distributed around the house.

There was something kind of magical about the way they rotated back and forth.

Anyway, when I was a kid, this is the kind of fan we had sitting on a chest of drawers in our bedroom, and the combination of this fan and the hallway exhaust fan did the job for many years. (I've written before about the hallway exhaust fan that my family used to run in the summer time, and how that nostalgic sound still haunts me on a hot summer night.) Then, in the late 1970's my parents got central air, and the fans like the one shown above were put away into storage.

Ironically, my wife hates air-conditioning, and we don't run ours very often. This is well known at my workplace, and my co-worker John will kid me during a heat spell. "Well, did you turn on your air-conditoning?" he'll ask. He's amazed when I grimly reply, "NO!"

Nevertheless, air-conditioning remains one of the world's greatest inventions. But I may just have to pick up one of these Livelyaires at a garage sale just in case.


Speaking of Livelyaires, here's a link to an Antique Fan Collectors Forum with some great photos of the vintage product.

And if you need to cool off a bit during this heat wave, here's a video that might help!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

LaGana Fish House Then and Now

Back here I had posted this image, which a helpful reader reminded me was LaGana's Fish House at 1464 Broadway. Well, this past weekend I finally got around to shooting a 'now' version of it, since it wasn't raining like it was every other weekend since the beginning of April!

Traffic was pretty light on Broadway on Sunday, and I had no trouble standing in the middle of the road to get my shot.

Today the building is home to Auto Color & Equipment. It looks like it has been well-taken care of, but the trees are sadly missed, along with the little nautical touches.

As a reminder of the building's earlier incarnation, here's a 1951 newspaper ad for the LaGana Fish Company. Back then, however, they were located on Broadway a little bit north of the building shown above.

It's both strange and sad thinking of the rich assortment of businesses, such as LaGana's, that used to line Broadway.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Elmwood Cemetery Then and Now

Another vintage postcard that I had copied down at the Black River Historical Society as a favor for a friend is the one shown above of the entrance to Elmwood Cemetery on North Ridge Road.

The sad, bleak postcard (click on it for a closer view) almost looks like an illustration. Note the name of the cemetery appears in the arched sign at the entrance.

The today view, shot on a sunny Sunday of this week, is quite a study in contrast.

The entrance arch and fence are gone, along with the trees lining the narrow lane. However, many of the headstones in the vintage photo can be easily found in the current view.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Church of the Redeemer Then and Now

We were fortunate to have a great weather weekend, so I was able to go out and grab a few 'then and now' photos. First up is the Church of the Redeemer at 647 Reid Avenue in Lorain.

The two vintage postcards are from the files of the Black River Historical Society, and I had made copies of them as a favor for some transplanted Lorainites in southern Ohio. I must confess that I didn't immediately recognize the little church in the photo.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the church is still there in 2011, and actually quite beautiful (see photo below). It is now know as the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer and it celebrated its centennial in 2004, according to this Morning Journal article.

It's great to see that the church has thrived for so long.