Monday, April 30, 2012

Norfolk & Western Railroad Bridge

Photo showing new N & W bridge and old swing bridge ( Courtesy Morning Journal)
In early April, I posted an article about the Colonial Hotel that was sent to me from former Lorainite Jim Mihalek. Jim also sent me some great 1974 newspaper clippings about the then-new Norfolk & Western railroad bridge across the Lorain harbor. I had no memory that the bridge was so new when we sketched it in art class in fall of 1974 (back here).

The bridge replaced a 1907 swing bridge, which was cut up for scrap afterwards.

The caption for the photo above which ran in the Lorain Journal read, "RISING TO SEAWAY specified heights are these twin towers of the new $6.5 million Norfolk & Western Railroad Company bridge over the Black River. Soon the mid-section (a tip is visible in the bottom right of the photo) will be floated downstream and tied in. Then the old swing bridge (shown) and its concrete-bases will be removed. The new bridge will provide clearance of nearly double the present channel. This is the last major leg of a $22 million harbor and river improvement project begun under a federal financial commitment in 1960. Only a cut in the river bank opposite the American Ship's yards remains to complete the entire task.Engineers for the new bridge are Hardesty & Hanover and the superstructure is being handled by Allied Construction, Hammond, Ind. (Journal Photo by Scott Bruce)."

The photo below showing both bridges ran in the Chronicle-Telegram on June 16, 1974.

This photo (below) ran as part of the same C-T article. Its caption read, "SMALL BUT POWERFUL, a tug works to bring the center span into place."

Sunday was a beautiful day for photography, so I decided to get a few shots of the bridge as it looks today. (Click on each for that you-are-there experience!)

The view from the River Walk at Black River Landing
The view from Colorado Avenue looking west 
The view from the bypassed alignment of Broadway looking east
Thanks again to Jim for sharing his clippings!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Skyline Park

I may have grown up on East Skyline Drive in Lorain, but I never knew there was a development called Skyline Park on the west side of Leavitt Road. Here's an ad for it from the Lorain Journal of September 7, 1963. (Click on it so you can read it.)

The 'Lorain Incorporated' logo in the ad is kind of cool – a nice little bit of graphic design.

Anyway, the ad makes Skyline Park seem like a pretty swanky area. It notes that it is "located in Lorain's newest and most desirable location, with beautiful Skyline Drive bordering on the north." It lists many development attributes that were probably new ideas back then, but are generally accepted as the norm now.

Here's another Journal ad from May 1964 featuring just one model. I suspect the ad has a typo, since Maine is on the east side of Lorain! (It's supposed to be Miami.)

Like I've mentioned before in past posts, I'm pretty sure the homeowners on Skyline Drive resented the rabble living on the east side of Leavitt (such as us) appropriating the name of their street.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed growing up on East Skyline Drive, even though the occasional plane might drop out of the sky near our house.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

1949 Baetz Dairy Ad

This 1949 ad for the Baetz Dairy Bar caught my eye, because it shows the building in its earliest form, before it was modified, and before the Lorain Arena was built behind it. I still think it's a handsome building.

I like the combination of photography and illustration in the ad. Is that Pippi Longstocking with her back to us?

Realtor and blog chum Bill Latrany is still working hard to find a new owner for the building above and the whole former Kerr Beverage complex. It's come down in price a bit since it was first listed. With the economy improving somewhat, hopefully some business will realize its great location and snap it up soon.

The building as it looks today
As long as I'm on the subject, I might as well post this article by Tom McPheeters from the September 3, 1968 Lorain Journal. (Click on it if you are interested in reading it.) It's another piece of the puzzle about the good fight that some local roller skaters put up to try and keep the Lorain Arena from closing and being rezoned for light industry.

Of course, as this article explained, the zone change did occur, bringing a temporary end to roller skating in Lorain until Skate World opened.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

1971 Plane Crash on Skyline Drive

Bob Kovach sent me this newspaper clipping last year of something I remember very well from my childhood days on Skyline Drive: the day a plane unexpectedly nosedived in the field right next to our home. It appears below just as it ran in the Lorain Journal on Monday, August 30, 1971.

Plane Misses Homes, Nosedives into Lorain Field
Staff Writer

A SINGLE-ENGINED Cessna 150 dipped out of the sky over Lorain yesterday narrowly missing several homes on heavily-populated Skyline Drive east before nosediving into a vacant lot.

Instead of a tragedy, it turned out with a "believe-it-or-not" twist. Pilot Isom Elrod, 49, of North Ridgeville wasn't hurt. His only ailment, compressed air sickness – commonly known as "the bends."

He is listed in fair condition at Elyria Memorial Hospital.

Last week a similar plane malfunction ended in tragedy. Two people were killed when a twin-engined plane crashed into a house in Fairview Park, shortly after takeoff from Cleveland Hopkins airport.

POLICE SAID Elrod, who lives at 7420 Root Road in North Ridgeville, told them the plane developed engine trouble while he was on a practice flight from Lorain City Airport. When he tried to make a landing in the field the aircraft hit a boulder, causing the nose to burrow into the ground. Elrod said he was following his son, Jack, 16, who had just landed at the airport in another Cessna.

James Smith, 4002 Marshall Ave., Lorain, said he heard the engine fail when the plane was over his house.

Carl Travee, 47, 2110 Skyline Drive, Lorain was sitting on his porch when the accident occurred.

"I noticed it was coming in awful low and then I saw its propeller wasn't even turning," he said. "I ran over to the field (at the corner of Temple Court and Skyline Drive) and propped the man (Elrod) up and asked him if he was hurt. He said no, he didn't think so."

"Some kid came by and sped down to the fire station (at the corner of Meister and Leavitt roads) to get an ambulance," Travee added.

The owner of the vacant lot, Leo Dembek, 63, of 3507 Leavitt Road, Lorain, said gas was leaking from the plane's wing when he arrived.

Dembek also said that this was the fourth crash in the area since he bought the land in 1945.

Elrod was taken to St. Joseph Hospital, Lorain immediately after the crash, checked out for injuries, then moved to the Elyria Hospital, nearer to his North Ridgeville home.

Officials at St. Joseph said Elrod's illness was caused by coming down from a high altitude too rapidly. Usually "bends" sufferers are associated with underwater or tunnel accidents.

Elrod is employed at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Lewis Research Center in Brook Park, a Cleveland suburb.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it is planning an investigation of the crash.

The article brings back a lot of memories for me. We were eating dinner in the basement on that Sunday in August to keep cool if I remember correctly, because when we heard the crash we had to go upstairs to see what happened. I remember running over there along with everyone else to see the plane. It was surprising, but not so much considering that planes flew over our house all the time since it was on the approach to the Lorain City Airport.
The gentleman that my family referred to as "the farmer" – Leo Dembek – is mentioned in the article, and it's probably the first time we ever knew his name. As I mentioned back here, we could see his farm house from our dining room window.
The area shown in the photo bordered by Skyline Drive and Temple Avenue is lined with homes today. 
Thanks again to Bob Kovach for saving that article and sending me a scan of it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Memories of Mowing

It's been a rainy spring up here by the lake. It's only April 24 and I've already mowed my lawn seven times. If this keeps up, I will probably break my record of mowing my lawn 41 times last year.

Mowing is the eternal pastime of the male species; something that has to be done whether you feel like it or not. And it all starts when you're a kid.

For me, that meant mowing the lawn while growing up on Skyline Drive in the 1960s.

Since our property had been farmland only a few years before, there weren't any trees except for the two puny birch trees my parents planted in front. Our lot was one of the widest on our block – and it was all grass.

To earn our allowance, my older brother Ken and I did the lawn mowing. That freed up Dad to do something else, like maintaining the cars. He was always around while we mowed and it was kind of fun hanging out with him.

Ken and I split the work into two halves – one of us would do the front, and the other would do the back. The front was a better deal, since it was smaller and well, maybe that cute girl I was interested in might ride by on her bike.

Mowing the back, however, was so boring that one time Ken mowed his name into the lawn just to amuse himself. I wonder if a plane heading over to Long's Airport saw that huge KEN in our lawn?

The funny thing is that I only remember mowing on either Friday night (which was also Mom's grocery night) or Saturday afternoon. Doing it any other day – especially Sunday – was out of the question.

Bagging and or mulching was also a foreign concept back then at our house. I remember watching the grass shoot out of the side of the mower forming one long, continuous unsightly clump.

Nowadays, even one small clump of grass on my yard is intolerable, and it must be removed and disposed of immediately. But back in the 1960s, the piles of grass on my parents' lawn could be several inches thick and there they would sit after I was allegedly 'done.'

After a few years, Dad put in a garden, which made the lawn a little smaller. And later, my parents did some major landscaping and shaved even more square footage from the lawn, which was fine with me.

When I got married, and the spouse and I bought a 1940s colonial on Lorain's east side, I finally got to mow my own yard. Back then, I worked a lot of overtime, and it wasn't uncommon for me to have to mow the lawn late in the evening, under the street lights.  My neighbor Kirk used to yell, "You need a light for that thing!"

Like I said, mowing is the male's eternal pastime – that is, until the body begins to fail.

A few years before Dad passed away, I began to mow his yard for him again. With his weak heart, he was just too pooped, and I didn't mind. Mowing the yard again reminded me of the days when I was a kid – except the yard seemed a lot smaller. Best of all, it gave Dad and me a chance to hang out a bit.

He's been gone now for almost seven years, and I still mow the lawn for Mom, once a week. Hopefully I do a better job now than when I was a kid. At least now I bag the front – and I don't leave any clumps in the back either.

Monday, April 23, 2012

"Auntie" Ferguson's Final Resting Place

"Auntie" is a few feet to the right of the white stone in the foreground  

At the end of one of my blog entries about "Auntie" Ferguson, Jack posted a comment wondering where she was buried – which was a great question. Even though I had two obituaries for "Auntie," neither mentioned a cemetery, so I assumed that it would be impossible to find out where her final resting place was.

I was wrong. It was as easy as picking up the phone and calling Elmwood Cemetery – because that's where she is!

The pen points to "Auntie's" spot in Elmwood Cemetery
The man in charge out there – Don Fronek – was extremely helpful. First he confirmed that he did indeed have a record of Catherine Ferguson – "Auntie's" real name – being buried there, with the date of her death matching that of "Auntie." It turns out she is in a row with several other Fergusons.

In the photo at the top of this post, she is in the same row (from left to right) as the white stone at the bottom of the photo. Her burial spot lines up with the small, square window in the mausoleum in the background.

Besides showing me where "Auntie" was buried, Mr. Fronek also spent time with me going through the files for all of the Fergusons buried in the cemetery. I have a lot of names, and the research into "Auntie's" family is only beginning.

Special thanks to Mr. Fronek for his help. He and his crew do an excellent job maintaining Elmwood Cemetery, and anyone that has loved ones buried there (like I do) should be grateful.


By the way, the latest issue of The Black Swamp Trader & Firelands Gazette features my article on "Auntie" Ferguson and is now on the newsstands. I basically took all my research to date and turned it into one narrative that tells her story with a little more detail and historical perspective than what I was able to provide on this blog.

As always, The Black Swamp Trader & Firelands Gazette is FREE and available locally at the Vermilion Farm Market. You can also usually pick it up at the Oberlin Public Library.

Friday, April 20, 2012

From the E-mail Bag #9

Courtesy of Jack Tiller
I recently heard once again from my favorite collector of Lorain memorabilia, Jack Tiller. He had seen my recent blog about Dog 'n Suds on North Ridge Road being open for business, so naturally he went to his great collection of Lorain glassware and created another nifty photo for me to post (at left).

His two Dog 'n Suds mugs are from two different eras of the business. The older of the two mugs (on the right) features the original Rover as he looks on the vintage sign. The other mug is from a later era. Thanks for sharing, Jack! And everybody be sure to head out to Ilene's Dog 'n Suds on North Ridge Road soon.

Fellow lover of local history Drew Penfield – whose Lake Shore Rail Maps website tells the comprehensive story of the Lake Shore Electric interurban line – checks Ebay regularly for cool Lorain artifacts. Drew forwards the links to many of his finds to me if he thinks I might be interested.

One of the Ebay links Drew recently forwarded to me were these unused Arvay's Potato Chips wax paper bags. They're still listed on Ebay right now.

I feel kinda bad that I never tasted Arvay's Potato Chips. I'll bet they tasted terrific, manufactured right in South Lorain and distributed fresh in these bags.

What's interesting about the bags on Ebay is that they have recipes on the backs for an avocado dip, a shrimp dip, a cucumber dip, a crab meat dip, yellow cheese dip and company cheese dip.

Company cheese dip?

Well, if you're like me and are wondering what company cheese dip tastes like – here's the recipe, straight from the back of the Arvay's bag. It sounds pretty good!

1/2 cup cream
1-8-Oz. pkg. Cream Cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1 teaspoon grated onion
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley
Dash of freshly ground pepper
Crisp Potato Chips

Gradually add the cream to the cream cheese, mixing until smooth and well-blended. Add the anchovy paste, onion, parsley and pepper and mix well. Serve with crisp Potato Chips.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The little bar on Lake Road in Avon Lake

Vintage photo of Ted's Place courtesy of Tony Tomanek
Every once in a while, this blog has to venture outside of Lorain city limits to be true to its name covering Lorain County Nostalgia. How about a little drive heading east on Lake Road into Avon Lake? There's plenty of nostalgia out there if you know where to look.

Shortly after you pass Lear Road, keep your eyes peeled for a small bar on the south side of the street called Close Quarters Pub. It used to be called Ted's Place, according to Tony Tomanek, the man whose parents owned and operated it. Tony sent me the photos above, which dates from the late 1960s or early 1970s, He also sent me some reminisces, which I'll share in a minute.
The history of the place dates back to the 1930s, when it was a stand called Mark's Place and was owned by Mark Horwedel, according to this Sun News article. As you can see from the signs in the vintage photo below, Horwedel advertised ice cream, sandwiches, hot dogs and coffee at his stand which was located at Stop 44.

Photo courtesy of Tony Tomanek
Here's a photograph of the place from 1933. The photo shows Mark Horwedel's truck in front of his stand. 
Photo courtesy of Tony Tomanek and the Sun News
Note the Crystal Rock beer sign leaning on the side of the building. According to this article from the Avon Lake Press by Bryan Wroten, the place also sold a lot of beer.
Apparently, the place grew several times over the years. Tony tells about the time that his grandfather "added on" to the building after a fire. "Since it resides in a non-business section of town, the town fathers wouldn't permit any additions," he said.  So his grandfather, all of his uncles and his dad, along with some buddies, built a larger building in Avon, and then lowered it onto the existing building with a crane under cover of darkness.
The Sun News article also has a story about how the building "grew" on another occasion.
Here's another great photo of the inside of the building, circa 1956.
Photo courtesy of Tony Tomanek
Looking around the photo, there's some interesting local brands visible, including Num Num pretzels and Cotton Club beverages.
I tried to do some research at the Avon Lake Library, although there aren't very many vintage city directories to thumb through. The business kept the name Ted's Place for a little while after the Tomanek family was no longer involved. Then for a few years from around 1980 to 1985 or so it was the Aftermath Pub. Then it became Close Quarters Pub.
I drive by Close Quarters whenever I feel like taking the scenic route home on US 6 from work. The owner of the company I work for used to hang out there when he lived in a nearby housing development. 
I've never actually been in the place; I always felt that any business that small must have their own loyal locals that call it home, so it wouldn't be right to muscle in on their fun.

My shot of Close Quarters Pub from earlier this week
Special thanks to Tony for sharing his photos and reminisces!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Before it was Meyer Goldberg's...

Here's something I didn't know.

I always thought that the Meyer Goldberg's on Oberlin Avenue was the original tenant of this distinctive building that so many of us spent so much time in through the years.

Not so, according to this April 29, 1962 photo and caption from the Lorain Journal. It was originally built as a Jay's Sparkle Market.

I don't have an exact date, but by late 1965 Meyer Goldberg had taken over the location.

Portion of 1965 showing store locations

And here's a photo of what the building looks like today as a Family Dollar store.

Thinking back, I think my mother shopped for food wherever she could save the most money. Through the years, she shopped for groceries at many different places, including A&P (remember Ann Page products?), Krogers, Meyer Goldberg's, various Sparkle Markets and Edward's Food Warehouse.

As a side note, when I lived in Columbus during my OSU years in the late 1970's, the only grocery store I remember shopping at occasionally was Big Bear – including the chain's original store near Ohio Stadium. Unfortunately that chain is now in permanent hibernation.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Broadway Underpass gets underway...

Several times last year I featured some photos on this blog that were listed on Ebay for a while by a gentleman named Andy from Lorain, whose Ebay moniker is sonnylake. Andy had acquired a collection of Lorain photos taken by someone who realized that it was important to document photographically the big changes going on around Lorain in the mid-to-late 1980's.

Here's a few more of those photos from Ebay that relate to my recent blog discussions. They both date from Spring 1988.

This one (below) shows Broadway getting torn up for the underpass across the railroad tracks from the Golden Dragon's former location. The view is looking north.

And here's another one showing the road directly in front of the Golden Dragon.

I feel like I must have slept like Rip Van Winkle through this part of Lorain history. I was living in Sheffield Lake by then, and have no recollection of even watching this unfold.

By the way, Andy has a lot of vintage travel and photography memorabilia for sale on Ebay right now. Click here if you're interested!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Nickel Plate Restaurant

During the last few weeks, this blog has been hanging around the railroad tracks by the Golden Dragon just like Albert Rink and his buddies. Well before I get up and move on to other topics, here's yet another aspect to this story, kind of a 'then and then'.
Fellow history buff Drew Penfield recently sent me the photo below. It shows the former Golden Dragon building at 1120 Broadway in the early days, when it housed the Nickel Plate Restaurant. What a difference a coat of paint makes!

I dug a little bit at the library and believe that the time period of the photo is roughly 1924 or so. The 1924 directory was the only one that included the Nickel Plate Barber Shop (visible in the photo) next door at the 1122 Broadway address.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the Nickel Plate Restaurant (or Tavern) was succeeded at that location by the Golden Dragon in 1963.
Special thanks to Drew for providing the great picture.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Vintage Lorain Headlines: The Titanic Disaster

The RMS Titanic struck an iceberg one hundred years ago tomorrow, and I thought it would be interesting to see how the disaster played out in the pages of a Lorain newspaper. Below are the front pages of The Lorain Daily News from April 15, 16 and 17, 1912.

As you can see from the April 15 page, originally it was reported that the damaged ship was 'crawling' to Halifax, Nova Scotia but still afloat, and that the passengers had been rescued. By the time of the April 16 edition, however, the truth was finally being reported.

Click on each page for a readable version.

Also on these front pages, a variety of interesting Lorain topics can be found: legislation to pave Broadway, a brouhaha caused by mail carriers being assigned new routes, and April snow in the forecast!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Broadway Underpass

Here's a great article with photo that appeared in the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram on September 28, 1982. It's about the impending construction of the Broadway underpass, and the effects that it would have on the area and the people.

Underpass area spurs memories
C-T Staff Writer

Sitting at the site of a downtown underpass in Lorain are, from left,
Albert Rink, 96, Joe Bohach, 47, and Louis Kovach, 68. (C-T
LORAIN – William Carter peers in mild bewilderment at the steady stream of traffic clattering over the railroad tracks on a slight rise on Broadway at 11th Street.

"Tell me something," demands the 62-year-old Carter. "Why are all these cars going up Broadway? There ain't a damn thing downtown."

THE SAME conclusion has dawned on city fathers over the last 20 or so years.

Mostly they blamed suburban malls for siphoning off business.

But they also blamed the railroad, reasoning that waiting 10 or 15 minutes for a train on the edge of downtown is small time.

That's why the underpass is being built.

Sometime in 1984, the moldering, sagging strip of two and three-story buildings on the west side of Broadway between 10th and 13th street will be torn down and a concrete strip will be poured under the tracks.

Sixteen of 19 properties needed for the first phase of the $4.5 million project have been purchased by the state since appraisal and relocations began at the beginning of the year. Many businesses and most residents have left.

A dwindling fraternity of pensioners, loners and drifters lingers, assembling in decent weather on a rail next to the tracks to stare at the traffic and recall when the neighborhood was a commercial as well as a geographic high point on Broadway.

"USED TO be that they'd accost you on the street and ask you if you wanted a job," says Richard Callahan, 61.

But, adds Joe Bohach, 47, "Not much of nothing" happens anymore.

The slide began two decades ago with loss of rail passenger service at the Nickel Plate station across the street from the proposed underpass route.

It accelerated over the years as landlords held off on property repairs, figuring that sooner or later a bulldozer would confirm all of the rumors and plans about an underpass, according to Edward Zieba, who owned the prosperous Golden Dragon Chinese restaurant a few yards from the tracks.

"Businesses started falling apart from negligence," Zieba says.

After people stopped coming into his place to eat, Zieba turned it into a bar.

It was called the Overpass Lounge, because "my manager didn't know if it was going to be an underpass or an overpass," he says.

The confusing moniker was apt: For years it was anybody's guess when somebody would do something about the rail-clogged traffic and when it would happen.

ZIEBA himself bought the restaurant 20 years ago anticipating a quick sale to the state.

"I bought it with the underpass in mind, never thinking I'd have a Chinese restaurant."

Jack Glick believes the construction will open the way for a Broadway comeback.

"It's something they need. All you need to do is look out the window and watch the traffic tie-up from the trains," says Glick, who is the third generation owner of Glick's Hardware, across from 11th Street from the tracks.

His store is an oddity for a retail outlet in the area: It's still busy, although not necessarily with hardware customers.

Business is "slow just like everywhere else," he says, but the license bureau Glick runs in the front of the store carries the hardware end of the operation.

But next door at the Lambda Tavern, a throbbing disco beat stops for no one and nothing, not even a train.

Manager Dan Daniels isn't pleased about having to move, mainly because Lambda has earned grudging acceptance in the area.

DANIELS says Lorain is "a very redneck area," but the Lambda has prospered in the five years the bar has been on Broadway and wants to stay close by.

Many residents are also reluctant to leave.

A highway department spokesman says most of the elderly occupants of the rooming houses and apartments above and behind Broadway businesses have asked to be relocated nearby.

"I don't like to have to move I been here all my life," says Albert Rink, 96, who lives above the Golden Dragon, but passes time on the perch by the tracks. "I like to sit here and watch the traffic go by."


I had mentioned in an earlier comment (on my Golden Dragon post) that I was haunted by the memory of a gentleman who always seemed to be outside by the tracks near the Golden Dragon, and that he looked like a scruffy Santa Claus. I remember that he seemed to be watching me as I drove by, and it gave me a mild case of the creeps. I now believe that it was Mr. Rink mentioned in the article above, merely enjoying himself by watching the world go by.

The Golden Dragon circa 1975 (photo courtesy the Chronicle-Telegram)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Italia Meat Market

Last week I posted a photo of the Golden Dragon restaurant looking south. Well, here's the view from the other end, from probably the same late 60s / early 70s time period. (The photo appears courtesy of the Black River Historical Society and appeared in its Images of America book on Lorain.)

At far left is the Italia Meat Market. It first appeared in the Lorain City Directory in 1966, sharing the 1162 Broadway address for that first year only with Allemeier Business Machines.

The men behind the meat market in the early listings were John A. Grego, Carmello Consolo and Jimmie Santaloucia. Near the end of the line only Consolo would be listed.

Italia Meat Market continued to appear in the city directory listings until 1983, when, like the Golden Dragon, it disappeared along with the rest of the block.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

House at 739 W. Ninth Street Update

Remember the house pictured on the far right side of the vintage postcard above? I had mentioned it back here as being a real bargain at $300 down and $300 a month.

How it looked in January 2012
Well, since that post in early January, three things have happened.

First, the house was intentionally set on fire on March 22 (which you can read about here).

Second, the house was featured on the front page of the April 1st Elyria Chronicle-Telegram in an article about the mortgage crisis in Lorain County.

In the article by Evan Goodenow (which you can read online here), the house was highlighted as an example of a house that was foreclosed on and now is being sold by an out-of-state interim investor who has probably never seen the house. It's also cited as being a particularly bad deal, as the mortgage was for twenty years, and thus whoever buys it will have paid $72,000 for a house with boarded-up windows and a trash-filled yard.

So much for my 'real bargain'!

Lastly, the property has suffered a bit of damage to the front porch, either during the fire or some other incident (below).

The house today
Could it be I jinxed this poor building by featuring it on this blog?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Yes, you-know-what is now open!

I received a short but hilarious email last week from Kendra over at Moen. She must have been reading my blog from the beginning, because after wishing me a good morning, she stated, "I count on you every year to tell me when Dog 'n Suds is opening. No info yet?"

I thought it was funny, because last weekend I had a gnawing feeling (for chili dogs?) that it might be open already, although Sunday was only the first day of April. Needless to say I didn't make it over there due to lack of time.

Not only did Kendra bust me for negligence, she then emailed back later to tell me that her girl friend had called the drive-in and Dog 'n Suds was indeed open. Thus I failed in my effort to provide my readers with timely and important information. Sorry!

As you can see from the photo above, I did make it over this this past Saturday and picked up a half-gallon of their creamy root beer. The drive-in has been spruced up with a snappy green color scheme, and my cute car-hop confirmed to me that Ilene is still the owner.

So all is still right with the world. Be sure to make it over to Dog 'n Suds, there were way too many empty parking spaces when I was there! (It had just opened, however!)


Speaking of Dog 'n Suds (as I usually am), I found this ad for an Oberlin Dog 'n Suds in an April 23, 1962 Lorain Journal. Does anyone remember exactly where it was?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter at Lakeview Park 2012

Here' a photo of the scene down at Lakeview Park today around 2:00. After a cloudy start, it turned out to be a beautiful day, and the Easter Bunny was doing a brisk business posing for photos.

Happy Easter 1963

Although my three siblings will probably kill me, I just had to post this classic 'all dressed up for Easter' photo, taken in front of my grandparents' house in Lorain on Easter 1963. (I guess we didn't make it down to Lakeview Park that year.)

I'm the second from right. The guy chomping down on the plastic pipe is my older brother Ken, who recently did a guest blogger stint here about some of his steel mill experiences. Sue and Ed round out the foursome.

I wonder if little kids' sports coats still have patches with insignia on them?

By the way, my grandparents' house on Sixth Street went up for sale a couple of years ago. Since it was sold after my grandmother died in the early 1970s, I hadn't been in there in forty years. The listing agent at the time (Andrea Neal) was nice enough to set up a viewing for my mother and me.

It brought back a lot of memories, especially of wandering around that Sixth Street neighborhood during visits. The old houses, especially the one fronting Oberlin Avenue and surrounded by an iron fence, used to seem somewhat creepy to me as a kid.

Friday, April 6, 2012

2012 Lakeview Easter Basket

For those of you who live out of town, here's this year's color scheme for the Lakeview Park Easter Basket, which I shot last evening.

Last weekend, I saw families taking advantage of the good weather and grabbing their annual portraits in front of the Lorain landmark early. It was probably a good idea, as it's supposed to rain on Easter Sunday – as is often the case around here!

Anyway, hope everyone has a Happy Easter!

Faroh's Ads – Easter 1962

Here's a pair of ads that appeared in the Journal in mid-April 1962, promoting Lorain's iconic candy store – Faroh's. (Click on each of them for a larger version.)

What can you say about Faroh's Candy that hasn't been said before? Like the Lakeview Park Easter Basket, it was an essential part of Easter for so many of us while growing up.

I haven't been to the new store on Broadway yet this year. I drove by there Wednesday night, and it seemed pretty busy – which is good.

I still think they should use the classic Faroh's graphics and logo as part of their packaging, though. To me, the candy loses the nostalgic appeal if it doesn't look the same as it always did.

Strangely enough, neither of these 1962 ads include the logo with the well-known candy cane "F."

This ad (below) includes a few cameos by none other than Bugs Bunny!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Golden Dragon Then & Now

Here's a photo that should bring back a lot of memories for longtime Lorainites. It's from the files of the Black River Historical Society and, of course, looks south at the Golden Dragon restaurant (and its next-door neighbor, the Corinthian Grill). The photo was undated, but appeared to be one of a series of shots from the late 1960s/early 1970s.

That particular trackside location had hosted a variety of businesses since the early 1920s.

The first business to show up at the 1120 Broadway address was the Nickel Plate Restaurant, in the 1924 city directory.

A billiards hall took over the address in the 1926 edition, followed by a tailor in the 1931 book.

Then, the Nickel Plate Restaurant made a comeback in 1933 with different proprietors, and it continued at that address (sometimes listed as the Nickel Plate Tavern) until the 1964 city directory. In that edition, a business with an inscrutable name – Oriental Restaurant – showed up as a harbinger of things to come.

Perhaps at the time of the city directory was getting ready to be printed, the restaurant didn't have a name yet, because on May 1, 1963, this ad appeared in the Lorain Journal announcing the opening of the Golden Dragon.

I had no idea that the Golden Dragon was Lorain County's only Chinese restaurant in 1963. It was really ahead of its time.

This ad followed in the paper on July 2, 1963.

The Golden Dragon continued to appear in the city directory until 1983, when the whole block's addresses were vacant, in preparation of the construction of the railroad underpass.

Today, sadly, there is no evidence that any of those businesses ever existed at that stretch of Broadway (below).

I never ate at the Golden Dragon, but I do remember getting terrific egg rolls at their annual booth at the Lorain International Festival during its glory days at the May Company location.