Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Kratt Family of Lorain

Remember my post back in March with the "then and now" photos of the house on Ninth Street in Lorain? For me, it was pretty much a 'filler' post – something hastily prepared and barely researched (I'm embarrassed to admit).

Imagine my surprise when I received an email from someone who knew all about the house and its inhabitants – because she was related to them!

Diane Fort (who also provided me the vintage photo of the Lakeview Park War Memorial from yesterday's post) emailed me to let me know that she was related to the family that lived in that house and even provided a great family portrait (below).

As Diane explained, "Here is a picture of the residents of that 9th Street home that you blogged about recently. George & Katie Kratt; their children: Elsie (10), Oscar (8), George (5), Carl (3), and William – the infant. Their last child, Arthur, my grandfather, is not pictured."

Little William is the grown-up gentleman posing in front of the Lakeview Park in yesterday's photo.

Diane provided some sad news about Oscar, who was standing on the porch of the house in the vintage photo featured in the "then and now" pairing. "Oscar died only 2 1/2 years after that postcard you pictured was sent."

Here's another view of the stately Kratt Family residence on Ninth Street.

Diane also provided some other information about the Kratt family. "My great-grandparents settled here at the turn of the century," she pointed out. Her great-grandfather George Kratt bought land and opened a lumber yard.

A circa 1904 clipping Diane provided told about George Kratt's lumber company. "The George Kratt lumber yard is an institution which, although as yet but little known to the general public, is now about to take its place with other enterprises of a like nature in the city. Today an entirely new branch of the lumber trade, as far as this company is concerned, will be launched in the opening of an up-to-date planing and wood working mill, which when in full operation will give employment to thirty men.

1912 City Directory Listing
"Mr. Kratt, who is sole owner of the concern, came here entirely unknown less than a year ago. He purchased seven lots at the corner of Washington Street and the Nickel Plate tracks and began the erection of a large lumber shed. Business increased until he found it necessary to erect a planing mill, and this was completed yesterday. Today the machinery will be operated on actual work for the first time. At the start about ten hands will be employed but the proprietor has plans which, if they develop, will within a few weeks require the mill to run steadily to its full capacity."

The article went on to state that the new planing mill building was forty by seventy feet in dimensions with fourteen large windows to provide light, and that the warehouse at the plant was sixty by ninety-six feet. It also revealed that Mr. Kratt was a contractor who had "seen experience in nearly every state in the Union."

Here's where the Kratt Lumber & Manufacturing Company was located (at the blue dot).

Lastly, thanks to some clippings that Diane provided me, it turns out that the Kratt Family had some excellent athletes. Two of the Kratt sons depicted in the vintage family photo – George and William – are in the Lorain Sports Hall of Fame.

It's interesting that both of them played for Coach George Daniel at Lorain High School, for whom Lorain's stadium on Oberlin Avenue is named.

George Kratt was inducted posthumously in the Lorain Sports Hall of Fame in March 1975.

William Kratt's nickname was "The Krupp Gun." His bio even features a nice Frank Katrick drawing. 

William Kratt passed away on November 26, 1971.


Special thanks to Diane Fort for sharing her family photos and memories.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Lakeview Park War Memorial

William Kratt posing in front of the memorial at Lakeview Park circa 1942
The monument today
On Memorial Day, I featured a photo of the Lakeview Park War Memorial, which was dedicated to the men and women of Lorain who served in World Wars I and II.

Well, yesterday I received a terrific photo (above) in my email from Diane Fort. As Diane explained, "That's William Kratt who worked on the masonry when it was first made."

Diane is related to the Kratts; George Kratt, who owned a lumber yard in Lorain in the early 1900s, is her great-grandfather.

It's interesting to compare the view of Lakeview Park behind the not-quite-finished monument with the same view today that I posted on Monday.

And here's the Lorain Journal front page of the laying of the cornerstone by none other than Admiral Ernest J. King on August 30, 1942.

Tomorrow: More on the Kratt Family of Lorain

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Vermilion Veterans Monument

I don't do very much on Vermilion on my "Lorain County" blog. So when I saw this rendering of that city's Veterans Monument in a May 9, 1951 Lorain Journal, I thought it would be a good topic. The accompanying article about the then-proposed monument is below. (Note Lorain bandleader Jimmy Dulio is mentioned.)

Vermilion Monument To GIs Gaining Momentum
By Staff Correspondent

VERMILION – Thru the generosity of the management of Crystal Beach Ballroom in donating the hall, a large benefit dance will be held May 26 to raise funds for the proposed memorial to Vermilion veterans of all wars.

Also contributing to this affair is Jimmie Dulio, who has offered his services to the committee. He has stated that due to union law members must be paid but they have offered to do so for the minimum. However Dulio is donating his time.

The committee, under the chairmanship of Mrs. Eugene Boyd is under the auspices of the Vermilion Junior Women's league. However its membership is composed of representatives of all the women's clubs in the community. They have been working diligently to obtain this memorial for more than a year.

All organizations of the community have been invited to help financially with this as it is the desire of the committee to make it a community - wide tribute to the men and women who have given their time and in some cases their lives to their country.

Cards have been sent out to the citizens giving them an opportunity to send in their personal pledges.

The monument is to be a clock mounted on a cenotaph, with a bench on each side of it.

The clock will be mounted in white Vermont marble, of the same type used in the Roosevelt memorial at Hyde Park, and in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington. It is nine feet high and three feet wide. It was designed by the Wolslagel Monument Co. especially for Vermilion.

The cost will approximate $2500 which will include the incidental expenses of mounting. The clock has been purchased and paid for and a good balance is still available toward the total cost, but a lot is still needed.

Permission has been obtained from the village council to place it in Exchange Park in a strategic location.

When outsiders have offered to help with this, it is the hope of the committee that Vermilion men and women will match that generosity with their own contributions and in support of the dance.

Today, the monument is still a beautiful and impressive piece of art fronting US 6. It was dedicated on Memorial Day, 1952.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

Lakeview Park War Memorial dedicated to the men and women of Lorain who served in World Wars I and II

Sunday, May 27, 2012

65th Anniversary of Lorain's WWII Memorial

You've driven past it a hundred times – and probably didn't even know it was there.

I'm talking about the World War II memorial on the west side of Henderson Drive on the eastern approach to the Lofton Henderson Memorial Bridge. This Memorial Day is the 65th anniversary of its dedication.

Strangely enough, the memorial sits in front of the building that was home to Lake Erie Upholstering at 1830 Henderson Drive. The memorial originally was on the east side of Henderson Drive. How it ended up on the west side – as well as its history – is an interesting story.

The memorial was originally dedicated as part of the climax of Lorain's Memorial Day celebration on May 31, 1947. The Lorain City Club dedicated the memorial as well as 103 sycamore trees lining the eastern approach to the bridge. The plaque on the memorial reads, "THIS AVENUE OF TREES IS DEDICATED AS A TRIBUTE TO THOSE FROM THE CITY OF LORAIN WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN WORLD WAR II."

Since World War II had only ended two years earlier, honoring Lorain's war dead was an especially emotional event. As the Lorain Journal stated in its coverage of the dedication, "A little Lorain mother flung herself to the ground before the plaque erected at Central High Level bridge in memory of Lorain's World War II dead and cried hysterically. She had lost two sons in the last war and the plaque, erected by the Lorain City club, was dedicated to her two boys, as well as to 217 other Lorainites killed in action."

Unfortunately, it didn't take long for the World War II memorial to be forgotten.

Photo and caption from May 20, 1951 Lorain Sunday News
By 1951, the area around the memorial was a mess. As the May 20, 1951 Lorain Sunday News described, "A visit to the memorial on Henderson Drive, on the east end of the Central High Level Bridge, reveals that it is being sadly neglected."

"There are weeds around the memorial, some more than a foot high, and the marker has been scarred by automobiles that have scraped it in several accidents in that area.

"It is thought that the marker not only needs attention, but that it could be moved, placed further from the street, but still in view of passing traffic and that a chain could be placed around it held by steel or concrete posts.

The memorial was indeed moved, although the exact date cannot be verified. But it remained neglected.

A short article in the November 23, 1954 Chronicle-Telegram stated, "Moved last March from its position on the east side of the roadway to the west side, the monument has become something of a "sore thumb" to area merchants who say its position blocks erection of more business establishments there. Two foot-high weeds around the monument were cleared away recently by a merchant who said the city is not caring for the monument dedicated to those who lost their lives in World War II. The monument is about six feet from the property line of the Hi-Level Nursery on Henderson Drive. "

A May 11, 1955 article in the Lorain Journal entitled "Memorial Neglected" wasn't very pretty, stating, "The Lorain Memorial Association will blast the city for failure to maintain properly the Henderson Dr. Memorial in honor of World War II dead at a meeting in American Legion home at 8 p.m. tomorrow.

"Officials of the association, which sponsors the annual Memorial Day services and parade, said the memorial marker, adjacent the High Level Nursery, was a "disgrace to the community."

"Although a plot of land with about 25 feet of frontage on Henderson Drive was donated to the city for a memorial, the land has the appearance of a trash yard. Large mounds of dirt from recent sewer excavations line the entire frontage. There are several utility poles on the ground to the right of the marker and bales of peat moss and large quantities of nursery stock occupy considerable space on the memorial plot. The ground has no grass and the extreme rear of the plot contains clippings from bushes, branches from trees, cans and other debris."

The article went on to explain that the marker was moved "more than two years ago" when the Memorial Association complained that too many motorists were running into it, and that the high weeds kept it from being seen.

"After" photo from June 1, 1955 Lorain Journal
Happily, the city cleaned up the area.

A simple "before and after" set of photos of the memorial appeared on the front page of the Lorain Journal on June 1, 1955. The photo at right shows the final result.

Today in 2012, the area around the memorial has been better maintained.

The immediate proximity includes a similarly designed monument to its left that is inscribed with names under a small sign that reads "In Remembrance." The Stars & Stripes fly from a flagpole with inscribed paver bricks surrounding its base.

Despite its unusual location in front of a commercial strip, the memorial's original purpose – honoring Lorain's World War II dead – is as important today as it was 65 years ago. Hopefully, the memorial's proximity to the bridge honoring one of Lorain's many war heroes will ensure that it is never neglected again.

The view today, looking towards the Lofton Henderson Memorial Bridge in background

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tiller's Treasures: Jeff & Flash Mugs

Three-color Jeff & Flash's Monoplies beer mugs

Just for fun, our buddy Jack Tiller emailed me these photos of some of his glass collection: two different versions of Jeff & Flash's Monoplies beer mugs. "Ah, yes... Jeff & Flash's. It was quite a place," he remembered. "I can still see the paddy wagon pull up and the people start flying into the back!"

The less-opulent two-color version
I'm sure most Lorain Baby Boomers remember Jeff & Flash's Monoplies at the old Westgate Shopping Center at W. 21st Street and Leavitt Road. The rock and roll club had its Grand Opening on May 1, 1981. (It replaced the old Stars Disco that had been there since Oct 9, 1978.)

WMMS Radio morning air personalities Jeff Kinzbach and Ed "Flash" Ferenc had played clubs in the area for about five years before deciding to open their own place in Lorain.

It was actually pretty impressive that two well-known, popular Cleveland radio personalities would think enough of the Lorain market to invest here. At the time, Kinzbach had explained in an interview that they appreciated the fact that the city of Lorain had been really receptive.

True to its name, Monoplies had a giant playing board with a Northern Ohio version of the classic board game centering around the dance floor. (Note the club's name is spelled slightly different than the board game – probably for legal reasons.) The logo even had Jeff & Flash's heads superimposed on the classic Monopoly"Go Directly to Jail" card.

Monoplies was fun while it lasted ( I remember going there a few times). It was succeeded at that location by Studio 93, a rock club which opened on January 14, 1983.

Westgate Shopping Center and former club location today
Thanks once again to Jack Tiller for sharing photos of his vast collection of memorabilia!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tiller's Treasures: Russell Stover Sign

Shortly after my posts last week about Rusine's, I received an email from Jack Tiller with yet another photographic goodie attached: the vintage Russell Stover Candies sign that hung in the store (above).

As Jack explained, "This was given to me by Mr. Rusine as the place was closing down. I was always buying the latest Hot Rod Magazine and my dad would buy the Sporting News."

Jack knew exactly what souvenir of the store to ask for from Mr. Rusine. "Hated to see the place go, so I asked him if I could have this sign which hung behind the counter," said Jack. "I can still remember where it was."

Russell Stover Candies were always in our Easter baskets while I was growing up – along with Faroh's candies, of course!

Thanks again to Jack for sharing yet another of his great Lorain collectibles!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

When Dagmar came to Lorain

Over the years, I've read several books about the early days of television. It seems I just can't find enough worthless trivia to fill my skull.

Consequently, when I saw this ad in the May 26, 1962 Lorain Journal real estate section, I actually knew who Dagmar was. She was one of the earliest big TV stars – sort of a dumb blonde-type – who was featured on a show hosted by Jerry Lester called Broadway Open House (1950-52).

But what was Dagmar doing at a real open house – in 1962 – in Lorain, Ohio?

I'm afraid we'll never know the specifics that led to her appearance. All that exists besides the ad above is a tiny article in the same paper that explained, "Dagmar, star of television, personal appearances and night clubs, will appear in person Sunday at Kimberly Oaks, Grove Avenue and Fairless Drive, according to officials of The G & S Building Co. of Ohio, during the grand opening celebration of their newest model home. Dagmar is the original star of the Jerry Lester "Broadway Open House" Show, appearing regularly on the television show "Masquerade Party," and has appeared on the Jack Paar and Mike Douglas shows."

I looked for a follow-up article in the Journal without success to see how the open house went.

In my opinion, it was a very clever promotion for its time. (I'll have to ask Realtors Bill Latrany and Jenae Pavlich for their opinions!) I'm sure a lot of people went to the open house and feigned interest, just to see Dagmar. I wonder if she showed up?

If anyone has any recollection of this momentous event in Lorain real estate history, be sure to leave a comment!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Dick Clark Caravan of Stars comes to Lorain

Just as Tom McCartney – who was there at the concert – confirmed in a comment on yesterday's post, The Dick Clark Caravan of Stars came to the Lorain Arena on Wednesday, October 7, 1959.

On the day before the big concert, the ad above appeared in The Lorain Journal. What a classic ad with terrific typography! Check out the ticket prices: too $2.00, $2.50 and $3.00!

A short promotional article also was included elsewhere in the same paper, with a small photo of Paul Anka and listing all 13 recording stars.

I checked the newspaper editions from several days following the concert to see if there was any sort of review or photos, but there were none to be found. Too bad – looking back, it was a big day in Lorain pop culture history!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lorain Arena Sold

I was happy to see this SOLD sign on the former Lorain Arena last week. It was way back in June 2010 (here) that realtor Bill Latrany gave me a tour of the place. Every time I've driven by it since then, I've looked to see if it had been sold yet.

I'm happy for Bill. He came oh-so-close to selling the property several times, but this one looks like the real deal at last. If you missed it, here is the link to the Morning Journal's story.

Speaking of that story, I was out of the town for the weekend and read the newspapers a few days late. I almost missed seeing my name in the article. (It sure is strange to see your name in the paper when you're not expecting it.)

Once again, congratulations to Bill Latrany for adding yet another Lorain icon to his list of 'sold' properties.

Ironically, I was working on an Arena story late last week. I had found an article in a Lima newspaper (of all places) that said that The Dick Clark Caravan of Stars was coming to Lorain on October 7, 1959. Scheduled to appear was Annette Funicello, Paul Anka, Lloyd Price, Duane Eddy, Jimmy Clanton, LaVern Baker, The Coasters, The Drifters, The Skyliners, Bobby Rydell, Phil Phillips, The Jordan Brothers and Arnold Dover as master of ceremonies.

Here's probably what the program looked like for that lineup.

I'll hit the microfilm later this week to confirm that the concert took place that day.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Rusine's Part 2

Did you know that, in addition to the bookstore, the Rusine family also operated a motel?

1950s phone book ad
As Robert Rusine explained, "Our motel was on Route 6 and 2. Motel Plaza, across the street from the Crystal Beach roller coaster. For ten years I mowed the lawn on our property, which was 11 acres.

"The sounds of the roller coaster which faced our property were enticing. Slowly the chain would pull the roller coaster to the top, and then it would make the curve before its long descent with people screaming at the top of their lungs.

"But I was mowing the lawn, which took all day."

Robert obviously inherited his father's strong work ethic.

"Coming from an ethnic Russian background," he explained, "my dad was born poor, did not speak English when he started school, but worked tirelessly all his life, and when he died all his properties were fully paid as was our custom."

Motel Plaza is still there out on Route 6 in Vermilion. As Robert notes, "Still in business. Same name and same rooms after fifty years."

"My dad worked both of those businesses each day, every day of the year for almost his entire adult life," said Robert. "Never a vacation."

Michael Rusine passed away on June 20, 1989. He had owned and operated his bookstore for more than 6o years. He was also a former Lorain Jaycees Man of the Year, and was a state award winner for selling bonds during World War II.

Robert Rusine sums up his father simply and lovingly.

"My dad was a good guy."

Special thanks to Robert Rusine for sharing his memories.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Rusine's Part 1

Rusine's sign still above 822 Broadway
I've said it many times: the best part of doing this blog is getting emails from people who want to share some of their Lorain memories.

Robert Rusine recently emailed me with some great reminisces about his father, and the business that his father ran for many years that should be familiar to many Lorainites: Rusine's. 

"My father, Mike Rusine, operated our bookstore on Broadway," said Robert. "Our store sold cigarettes at the cheapest price in town, along with books, cards, Russell Stover's candy, Buxton wallets, and even Dunhill smoking accessories.

"We had the largest collection of books, tobacco pipes, comic books and candy bars of any store in the county. The Cleveland Press delivered their evening addition, the last edition, on the Cleveland Lorain Highway Coach."

Why was that edition so popular?

As Robert explained, "Customers would line up to buy it because it contained the numbers, the winning numbers for those who played the numbers."

The bookstore at 822 Broadway as it looks today
Robert also told me about a little game his father used to play with some of his customers. "He would have the customer roll the dice, double or nothing, to get the hardbound book for free or pay two times the cover price."

It was a colorful time in Lorain's past, and the customers at Rusine's would fit in perfectly in a Damon Runyon short story.

"We knew all the customers at our bookstore," explained Robert, "by their first names or nicknames. There was Carter Hall, Peachy John, Bull Durham, IBX, Burnt Toast and Speedy. Many of them were retired pensioners from United States Steel plant, or habitual gamblers. Others were pimps or prostitutes, and alcoholics who frequented the bars in the area."

There was also a particular clientele who favored the girlie-type magazine: the men who sailed the cargo ships on the Great Lakes who found themselves in Lorain.

"It was interesting for us, as the six kids of Mike, who waited on the customers in my dad's store as we grew up," noted Robert.

Christmas time was a good time to promote the store, and Robert and his siblings did their part, although some of their marketing tactics would be frowned upon today.

"Each year just before Christmas, my brother and I would distribute ads for candy and greeting cards from our store, by placing them in the mailboxes in the entire area," he recalled, "and also in the cars parked throughout downtown Lorain, by opening car doors and placing the ad on the front seat!

"One time we couldn't get the door of the car closed. It would not budge. So we took the advertisement off the seat of the car. Try doing some of these kinds of things today!"

According to Robert, his father was a real visionary. "My dad foresaw that people did not like to pay at the meters on Broadway. He had an architect design a plan for downtown renewal. It contained a parking garage for free parking, and anchor stores such as the Hudson store which was popular at the time. It would have been built, of course, before the Midway Mall and preserved downtown as an ongoing business district. However, no one took notice even though he placed the architect's design in our store window."

It sounds like Mike Rusine's idea was ahead of its time.

Next: Rusine's other business

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Garfield Annex

Walking around the former Admiral King High School with my camera on Sunday reminded me that I was photographing soon-to-be-demolished schools way before I started this nostalgia blog.

Here's a few that I shot with a regular 35mm camera (remember those things?) of Garfield Elementary back in March 2003 According to the book The History of Lorain City Schools recently published by Titan Enterprise, the building shown below is actually the Garfield Annex; it opened in 1910.

I like that fallout shelter sign. I wonder if it was salvaged?

Here's another view shot the same day.


And here's a vintage photo showing the annex along with the original building; it appeared in the aforementioned The History of Lorain City Schools.

It's a nice little book with capsule histories of Lorain school buildings and notable graduates. Here's the information about how to order it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Penny Morgan's Place on Elyria Avenue

I find the whole Penny Morgan story – about her brothels outside the Lorain city limits on Oberlin Avenue (the current Mutt & Jeff location) and on Elyria Avenue during 1937 and 1938 – very interesting, in a old-time, wild-west sort of way. It's a tragic story too; for a series of $50 bribes that she made to Lorain County Sheriff William F. Grall to look the other way, he was sent to prison and she ended up taking it on the lam to avoid prosecution. I don't think the authorities ever found her.

I don't mean to judge her, or ignore her crimes either here on the blog. She may still be alive for all I know. I simply find this affair to be a fascinating chapter in Lorain County history.

Anyway, last week fellow blogger Alan Hopewell made a comment on my post, asking if I knew where the Elyria Avenue brothel had been located. So I decided to do a little research and see if I could find out.

The same 1939 city directory that listed 3700 Oberlin Avenue as being the location of Penny Morgan's tourist rooms also had a listing (at left) for Penny Morgan's real name: Maxine Barbour. ("Penny Morgan" was just her alias.) There she was, listed as being on the east side of Elyria Avenue, between Harriet and N. Ridge Road.

Unfortunately, since that area was outside Lorain city limits, there were no addresses listed. So where along that stretch of Elyria Avenue was Penny's place?

I cross-referenced the list of east side residents against a newer book (1960) that included numerical addresses for the same area. I found a few residents that were still on Elyria Avenue since 1939, including one that was a few doors south of Penny.

So now I had a few actual addresses to work with.

According to the newspaper accounts of the Sheriff's trial, many of Penny's neighbors were called to testify, including the resident whose exact address I had. That resident is indicated on the map below with the blue dot (in the lower right hand corner).

So it looks like Penny had to live close enough to that blue dot to be a 'neighbor' – meaning she must have lived somewhere nearby, likely somewhere between the House of Praise church and the blue dot. A location farther away would hardly qualify her as a 'neighbor' to the blue dot house.

According to the Lorain County Auditor website, there are a lot of homes along that stretch of Elyria Avenue that were built before 1900, and a few from the 1920s. So it kind of makes sense.

Anyway, it really doesn't matter where the brothel was; it might have been torn down by now anyway. But as anyone who reads this blog knows, I love a good mystery.

Perhaps Penny is still alive out there – somewhere – and can help me fill in the blanks in her story.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Admiral King High School Open House

It was a strange experience walking around the former Admiral King High School on Sunday afternoon after being away for thirty-five years.

Some of it seemed very familiar, other parts of the tour were kind of foreign.

While I could overhear other alumni dragging their unfortunate families around and saying things like "Here's where I had Spanish class, here's my old locker, etc.," I could barely locate my old homeroom. But I did (below).

I also found the row of lockers that contained mine, but I couldn't tell you my old locker number if my life depended upon it. On the other hand, I still remember my combination: 12-44-6!

I walked all around the school, surprised that I had forgotten how big it was. There were wings of the school offering views that I barely remember at all.

I know I don't remember pic-a-nic tables – I mean – picnic tables out in this courtyard. Going out there used to be strictly verboten.

The cafeteria was as I remembered it, though, although a little more colorful now perhaps.

Being in the cafeteria reminded me that I probably brought peanut butter sandwiches every day for four years. And strangely enough, I still eat peanut butter for lunch at work almost every day.

And I certainly remembered the auditorium – the scene of so many concerts in which I participated  – as well as that memorable musty smell.

I roamed around the building for about an hour, snapping away for no particular reason.

I guess I'd been gone so long that little of the tour had much of an emotional impact on me.

It was only when I made a beeline to the place where I had the most fun in high school – the band room – that a wave of nostalgia washed over me.

Walking down that familiar narrow hall...

Past the practice rooms...

Finally arriving at the band room.

I took my familiar seat in the trombone section and surveyed the view (below).

I also had to check out the view outside the band room. Standing in front of this door probably had more emotional impact on me than anything I saw all afternoon. This was the door I remember going in more than any other, especially if it was Friday night and the band was getting ready to march over to George Daniel Stadium.

I was tempted to bang on the door for entry like in the good old days, but I was afraid I might open some sort of Twilight Zone-like portal and find myself face-to-face with my younger self in 1976. 

Anyway, it was a satisfying visit to the old Alma Mater.