Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Frankenstein in Person at the Palace – October 1957

Here's an eye-catching ad that appeared in the October 29, 1957 Lorain Journal – for a live (or undead?) appearance by the Frankenstein monster at Lorain's Palace Theater.

It was all part of the campy Dr. Silkini & Company touring stage show, which was headed by the namesake doctor character and featured various monsters, ghosts and horror scenes, along with some interaction with the audience. Sometimes the show featured a name monster like Frankenstein, other editions of the show apparently had different themes. But Dr. Silkini was the guy who held it all together with his various assistants.

It looks like it was a lot of good, clean fun.

Below is a vintage theater promotion for another edition of the Dr. Silkini show, this time featuring Garganta, the giant Gorilla of the Universe. Give it a click – it's hilarious.

Here's a link to a blog that has some promotional stills from the Asylum of Horrors edition of the show.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Brady's Restaurant Ad – October 1957

Here's a cute ad for Brady's Restaurant (one of my favorite topics for this blog, natch) that ran in the Lorain Journal on October 30, 1957 – 55 years ago today.

I love the stylized black cat clip art.

The ad hearkens back to an era where the Halloween parade was a pretty big deal in Lorain, along with the Downtown window-painting contest. Things like that really united the city back then.

As for Brady's, I'm constantly impressed by the creativity that went into the restaurant's promotions (such as the "Lucky Chair" mentioned in the ad). The owners ran a lot of ads and the restaurant must have really achieved top-of-mind awareness for so many people to remember it fondly.

Monday, October 29, 2012

October 1957 - O'Neil Halloween Ad

Here's a full-page ad that ran in October 1957 in the pages of the Lorain Journal. It was a pretty unique promotion for the well-remembered O'Neil Sheffield Center, featuring a series of weekly square dances in the parking lot leading up to a Halloween-themed dance on the 26th.

The music for the square dancing was provided by "Pappy" Miller and his Buckeroos.

The other night, the spouse and I had reason to go out to Crocker Park in Westlake. We fought our way into the complex to the parking garage, and then walked through a drizzling rain to get to the particular store we were interested in. When our shopping was done, we hurried back through the rain to get to the parking garage.

I kept thinking – this is what's popular today shopping-wise?

And yet 1950s "open air" shopping centers like Sheffield Center were eventually done in by enclosed malls (like Midway Mall) because people didn't like to deal with the elements.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Remember Kreskin's ESP Game?

I was driving downtown over the weekend and noticed that Kreskin is appearing at the Palace on October 27. That's kind of cool that the Palace booked the famed magician and mentalist for an event right around Halloween.

Image courtesy of The Strong website
Right away it brought back memories of a childhood game we had: Kreskin's ESP. For some reason, my siblings and I had a lot of creepy games such as Ka-Bala, Green Ghost, and, of course, our Ouija board (shudder) – so the Kreskin game fit right in.

The Kreskin's ESP game was supposed to help you determine if you had E.S.P. But after looking at the various components of the game on this website, I remembered why we didn't play it too much. It was too confusing!

But we did enjoy swinging the pendulum back and forth while saying, "You are getting sleeeeeepy...." Then we probably lost interest and reached for the Monopoly board.

Anyway, here is the link to Kreskin's official website. And here's the link to the Lorain Palace Theater's site as well in case you're interested in information about the event.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Kresge's Halloween Ad – October 25, 1956

Here's yet another one of my annual vintage ads showing what Lorain kids were wearing for Halloween in the 1950s. This Kresge's ad appeared in the Lorain Journal on October 25, 1956.

You can tell that the ad dates from the early TV era, because there aren't any licensed TV cartoon characters except for the Disney menagerie, featured on the Mickey Mouse Club by then. It looks like the indifferent artist on this ad drew Mickey and Donald from memory!

There's plenty of generic costumes, though, such as Happy Clown, Devil, Bunny, Lion, Skeleton, and Gay Gypsy (no comment).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

P.O.C. Hockey Ad – October 12, 1949

Here's a great ad featuring two iconic things that aren't around any more – the Cleveland Barons and P.O.C. beer. (WEWS is still around.) The ad was pretty big, taking up the better part of a page in the October 12, 1949 Lorain Journal – sixty-three years ago this month.

According to this Wiki entry, the Cleveland Barons were the most successful team in American Hockey League history, winning ten division titles. For many years they were owned by Al Sutphin, who was an owner of the Braden-Sutphin Ink Co. (The printing company that I work for still buys ink from Braden-Sutphin.)

P.O.C. beer is still well-remembered. Of course, everyone is aware of the mystery as to what the P.O.C. name stood for ("Pride Of Cleveland," "Pilsner On Call," etc. ) Apparently, even the beer's owners weren't sure as time went by.

P.O.C. went out of production in 1986. I didn't feel too bad, since I was too busy drinking Old Dutch to notice.

I remember when some entrepreneur briefly revived P.O.C. in the late 1990s. (Here's the story.) It was only available locally at a beverage store on Clague Road. I drove out there and bought a few six packs, thinking they would be collector's items.

I guess I lost interest in them as collectibles because I ended up drinking them. I did save one bottle, though, and displayed it on my desk at work for a while (which probably didn't look particularly professional).

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall Color 2012 – Round 2

Elyria Avenue north of State Route 254
I brought my camera along this past Sunday while I was out and about, in case I saw some nice autumn color. In some areas (such as Lorain) the colors have more or less peaked, but here and there there was still much to see. Above is the view from Elyria Avenue looking west near the water tower, just north of Route 254.

For about the fourth weekend in a row, I headed out to Brownhelm Township. Cooper Foster Park Road had some nice color, as well as Brownhelm Cemetery and old favorite Mill Hollow.

Cooper Foster Park Road looking east towards Baumhart Road
Looking north on Sunnyside Road next to Brownhelm Cemetery
Mill Hollow House (looks different than my photo from last week!)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Demo Update

Well, the demolition teams were busy in Lorain late last week – so the Brady Blog Camera Team (me) was out and about, capturing it all on film, er, uh.. on whatever it is you want to call that inside my camera.

Whittier has slowly begun to come down. Friday was appropriately grey and depressing.

The house on Ninth that I first mentioned back here is now a pile of rubble, an ignominious end to what was formerly a nice house decades ago. Too bad.

And the house at 904 Oberlin Avenue was knocked down as well (below).

Next up – 770 Broadway (below)!

I'll never understand why this building has to come down. Downtown Lorain already looks like a crooked smile with a bunch of teeth missing. Why get rid of a building that actually has some character?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Brownhelm Tombstones: What's in a name?

For those of you with children – did you choose to name them after someone famous?

Abraham Wellman, Brownhelm pioneer, did – and his choices are on display in the Brownhelm Cemetery.

This article explains it all. It ran in the Lorain Journal on January 2, 1958 and is an interesting account of how one early settler of Brownhelm named his sons.

Here's the article, written by Lee Berton, as well as the accompanying photo, appearing here courtesy of the Morning Journal.

Brownhelm Tombstones Disclose Segments of State's Political Past

BROWNHELM TOWNSHIP – The past often comes alive in cemeteries.

It springs to life through the eye of a passerby.

In the southeast corner of Brownhelm Cemetery on North Ridge Rd. just past Sunnyside Rd., lies a tombstone of the Wellman family.

Abraham Welllman, one of the early settlers of the township who came from Maine, had eight sons and daughters.

Five of their names are listed on this stone. Wellman, a carpenter, named his sons after authors, poets and politicians. Two of the names on the stone are Shakesper 1857-1878 and Voorhees 1865-1871.

Daniel Wolsey Voorhees was a Butler County political leader and great orator. Elected to the House of Representatives and the Senate from Ohio, he was known as "the Tall Sycamore of the Wabash" because of his high stature.

In a plot to the west is another stone. It reads Byron M. Wellman. Abraham Wellman named this son after Lord Byron, the late English romantic poet.

Still another stone was an enigma at first. It read Valdingham. These are the four sons, Shakesper, Vorhees, Byron and Valdingham.

A little research disclosed that another Ohio politician of the 19th Century associated with Daniel Vorhees in a Civil War organization known as the Knights of the Golden Circle was Clement Laird Vallandigham.

Vallandigham sided with the South and was a leader of the "copperheads" or peace Democats. He was at one time exiled to Canada but returned to Ohio to write part of the national Democratic program in 1864.

The spelling of Shakesper suggests that Abraham Wellman most probably named his son after the fiery radical who denounced the Republican's Reconstruction policies.

There is only one relative of the Wellmans remaining in Lorain County. He is the son of Excene, daughter of Abraham Wellman. His name is Jesse Smith and he owns an 86-acre farm in South Amherst.

Smith, 79, is a bachelor and is the son of Loren Smith, the first settler of Russia Township. At his farm on Quarry Rd. near Russia Rd. Smith spoke of his aunts and uncles in happy reminiscence. He remembered that Valdingham, or Val, as he was called, worked at the quarry. Byron and Shakesper worked for farmers.

"Yes, they're all gone now, except myself and Irene, another niece," said Smith. "They were quite a happy lot and an independent lot."

Other residents of Brownhelm remember the Wellmans as self-reliant, mildly rambunctious, but with a rambunctiousness bred of the land.

FROM THE PAST – Warren Brill, Brownhelm Township cemetery superintendent, stands between two tombstones of the Wellman family. The cemetery is at North Ridge Rd. and Sunnyside Rd. Abraham named his sons after writers and Ohio political figures. Another son, Shakesper, is buried at the southeast corner of the cemetery. Valdingham is probably a misspelling of the last name of Clement Laird Vallandigham, a states-rights Democrat in Ohio during the Civil War.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mill Hollow House Then & Now

Here's an undated vintage postcard of the Mill Hollow House that was recently on Ebay.

I'm not sure why I decided that it would make a good "then and now" subject, seeing as how it probably wouldn't look very different being a historical subject. But it gave me a good excuse to drive over to Mill Hollow on three successive weekends, trying to get a nice shot.

Unfortunately, several trees and a large, overgrown bush made it impossible to recreate the original photo's composition. But here's the best I can do (below).

If you wonder what the exact same view as the postcard would look like, well, here it is (below).

The Park District should really consider getting rid of that bush and some of the trees; they just detract from the scene as far as I'm concerned.

Here's the view from the back.

Anyway, according to a Lorain Journal article published on Saturday, June 13, 1964, the restored Mill Hollow House was to open to the public on July 4, 1964 – the 147th anniversary of the first people arriving in Brownhelm.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Towering Mystery

It's still driving me crazy wondering where that photo said to be of the Neuman Dairy Farm was taken.

The fact that there's a transmission tower in the photo – and one very close to the road at that – really convinces me that the farm in the photo is not located at Oberlin Avenue and Meister. There just aren't any towers in that area.

Besides, those towers tend to stay in the same place once they're constructed. They just don't disappear or suddenly get relocated.

What do I think? I think the tower in the vintage photo is still around – and either at the intersection of Oberlin and Tower Boulevard or Leavitt Road and Tower Boulevard.

Here's a look at each. Below is the intersection of Oberlin and Tower.

And here is the one at Leavitt Road and Tower (below).

Now, if the vintage photo really is of Leavitt Road, you might ask, "Okay, where's the tower off in the distance?" I already thought of that – and my answer is: it's hidden perfectly by that shade-providing tree!

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Reminder Bicycle Bill and his Schwinn Store?

Last month when I was blogging about Oberlin Avenue businesses in the old days, I forgot to mention one that was pretty important to kids: the Lorain Schwinn Cyclery run by "Bicycle Bill" Schetter. It was originally in the strip of stores between Whalen Drugs and Willow Hardware.

Here's one of those vintage ads (above) that resembled an article that ran in the Lorain Journal on June 7, 1971 that features Bicycle Bill himself before he starting wearing his trademark black cap. It gives a nice little background about the store. (Give it a click for a larger, more readable view.)

The photo brought back a lot of memories. I spent a lot of time in that store, since several of my boyhood chums really enjoyed working on their bikes – fixing them, painting them, etc. We were in there a lot buying parts or accessories. Mr. Schetter was always nice to us, even though we didn't always buy something; sometimes we were just there to check out the latest bikes.

Of course, my parents bought our Schwinn bikes there; our "bike" Christmas – when we received a new Schwinn 5 or 10 speed – was a big one in our house.

Our bikes were pretty important back then. We rode them all over Lorain and even out to places like Mill Hollow or James Day Park. It's probably why I was thin up until I went away to college!

Anyway, the Lorain Schwinn Cyclery first appeared in the city directory in 1971. In the early 1980s, it moved down the street next to Big Town.

Here's an ad from that era.

1981 Lorain Phone Book Ad

"Bicycle Bill" Schetter passed away in 1986. His sister took over the store and even opened another store in Vermilion.

1990 Lorain Phone Book Ad

Today the Vermilion store remains. You can visit the company website by clicking here. It has a nice history of the store and even mentions that Bill Schetter got his start by purchasing the old Atlas Cycle Shop in Lorain.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Goodbye, Whittier

The Morning Journal reported this week (here) that the demolition of the former Whittier Middle School building was going to take place soon. So, of course, I had to go over and check out the demolition site and take some pictures.

Photo courtesy of The History of Lorain City Schools
Although Masson, my junior high Alma Mater – back when Lorain had junior highs – played Whittier (along with Hawthorne, Irving and Longfellow) in sports, I had no idea where it was. I was surprised to find it tucked away where it was, so close to Oakwood Park.

According to my copy of The History of Lorain City Schools, Whittier was completed in 1922 and was constructed on the site of the former Moxham Mansion.

It's kind of sad seeing the building stripped down and ready to be torn down. Even in its current end-of-the-line state, you can see that the building had character, and a lot of craftsmanship went into its construction.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Murello Built Homes Ad - June 28, 1958

While  researching the Neuman farm house move on late 1950s newspaper microfilm at the library, I'm finding all sorts of things of interest. It was a time of big change in Lorain, and a lot of builders were doing their share to grow the west side.

This ad for Murello Built Homes caught my eye, because of the clip art featuring the typical American family back then, right out of Father Knows Best. (I would have said Leave it to Beaver, but the Cleavers didn't have a daughter.)

Anthony and Gisele Murello owned and operated Murello Construction, and were the builders and owners of the Almadien Village Apartments on Tower Boulevard in Lorain.

The company's headquarters on Oberlin Avenue appears to be active and still handling leasing for Almadien Village.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fire Prevention Week 1959

It's Fire Prevention Week, and I almost forgot I had this October 3, 1959 ad that ran in the Lorain Journal. It's one of those full-page ads that spotlighted a lot of local businesses (in this case a lot of insurance companies). Give it a click so you can read it.

If you look closely, it also features our old pal Sparky the Fire Dog in a small cameo. Remember those free comic books we used to get in elementary school in the 1960s featuring the fire-fighting Dalmatian?

He even starred in his own Elf book. Check out the kid with the Jughead-style hat!

There were even Sparky toys.

I guess it's only fitting to have Sparky make an appearance here on the blog, since fellow fire prevention mascot Smokey Bear appeared in a post back here.

Anyway, Sparky's fire prevention message is timeless, and I'm glad that he's still around in 2012. But I guess he's adopted Smokey's realistic, in-your-face style, though! (See recent ad below).

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

House Move – June 1960

During the last two weekends, I've been hitting the newspaper microfilm at the Lorain Public Library, hoping to find a photo of the Neuman farmhouse being moved. It takes forever to scroll through days and days of dark, blurry pages, hoping to catch a glimpse of a photo or part of a headline. Plus, it's just a shot in the dark.

After an hour of this tomfoolery, my eyeballs are ready to fall out and my neck is pretty stiff.

That's why when I saw this photo and caption from the June 28, 1960 edition, my heart started pounding – until I realized it wasn't the Neuman house.

At least it demonstrates that the Journal found this sort of thing newsworthy – so hopefully I will find what I'm looking for eventually.

But getting back to the house in the photo. The caption didn't give an address of its eventual location, just that it was going to be moved to a lot on the south side of Seventh Street. Fortunately, Bing Maps made it easy to pick out in the lineup of houses on that side of the street.

From there, it was a matter of driving over there and grabbing a photo.

It's a nice looking duplex – much better looking now than it was when it was being moved.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Brownhelm Country Store

A well-known landmark in Brownhelm Township is the Brownhelm Country Store at the corner of Baumhart Road and North Ridge Road.

According to an article written by Gloria Noormaa in the Feb. 2. 1998 edition of The Chronicle-Telegram, a store has been at that corner since pioneer days, when it also housed a post office and barber shop. The article also noted that the current building is the third one at that site.

Bill and Bonnie Cutcher owned and operated the store for years as Cutcher's Brownhelm Store from 1969 to 1999.

Anyway, an article that I found in the Lorain Sunday News of April 6, 1952 (below) tells about a popular well that used to be an important part of the store complex. I'm sorry that the photo accompanying the story reproduced so poorly from microfilm.

Old, Hand-Dug Well in Brownhelm Draws Hundreds Armed With Jugs
By Inquiring Reporter

attracts thousands with jugs. At the pump handle
is 75-year-old Hayes B. Whittlesey while with him
is Ben F. Schaeffer, Brownhelm sportsman and
operator of Schaeffer's service station and grocery
at North Ridge and Baumhard Roads where the
popular well is located.
There are many interesting spots in Lorain-co, but one which aroused our curiosity is a well and one-time watering trough located in front of the Schaffer Fleetwing station and grocery store located at North Ridge and Baumhart in neighboring Brownhelm.

For years, thousands of people, young and old, have stopped at the well located near the highway on the southwest corner of the intersection to pump the clear, soft and cool water into all kinds of containers from small bottles and jugs to five gallon cans and even small barrels.

We asked the proprietor of Schaeffer's store, Ben W. Schaeffer, who is a widely known sportsman, about the history of the well and he referred us to Hayes B. Whittlesey, who is 75 years young and is a native of Brownhelm.

Whittlesey, who is still farming about 100 acres of land not too far from the popular well, said, "The well was there as long as I can remember and it seems that no one really knows when it was dug and put into use."

Whittlesey said that the stone watering trough in front of the well was from the South Amherst stone quarry.

Schaeffer, who believes there is no place like Brownhelm to live in, estimates that an average of 100 to 200 gallons is pumped daily from the well – the pump being given extra heavy usage during the summer months.

Not far from the well is the former home of Brownhelm's contribution to professional baseball – Burt Schotton – former manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Schotton was born in the village.

A number of people claim they feel better by using the water from the old well for drinking and cooking and that was the main reason why so many pump water to carry to their homes.

It is known that some of the people who obtain their drinking water at Schaeffer's well come from many miles away.

Whittlesey said the real story behind how the well came to be may never be fully explained.

Incidentally, Whittlesy lives in a farmhouse on Cooper-Foster Park Road in which he was born on July 29, 1876.

The house is said to be more than 100 years old. And there are houses even older in the Brownhelm – Brownhelm Station area which has an interesting historical background.

Schaeffer, who enjoys hearing stories about the old days in Brownhelm, has been the backer of the 1951-52 Lorain Recreation League Class B basketball champions for the past four seasons.

I stopped in at the Brownhelm Country Store this past Saturday to see if the pump was still in operation. (Don't ask me why I wonder about these things!)

The gentleman behind the counter had never heard of it, but after reading the article, he suggested that the pump was probably right out in front of the store in the grassy area near where their current sign is.

I looked around and saw where a few pipes had been capped. Whether they were related to the popular pump or were just some sign poles of years past, I'm not sure.

UPDATE (July 7, 2016)
Here's a photo of the nice new sign. I like it, it really fits in well with the store's heritage.