Friday, November 30, 2012

Atlas and Fredericks Cycle Shops

1961 Lorain Phone Book ads
The comments left on my blog post about Bicycle Bill Schetter back in October made me realize that I'd better go back and revisit the city directories to establish some sort of timeline for the earliest bicycle stores that predated the Schwinn store on Oberlin Avenue.

From what I could see, it was just Atlas Cycle & Supplies on E. 28th Street in the late 1950s (it was the only company listed in the 1957 book.) It was briefly joined by Fredricks Cycle Supply Company at 916 Broadway for a few while, but by 1963 it was just Atlas all by itself again.

Bicycle Bill's involvement with Atlas seemed to start around 1965, and he even lived at that same address for a while. When he opened the Lorain Schwinn Center on Oberlin Avenue in the early 1970s, Atlas was a sister store. (See ad below.) 

1972 Lorain Phone Book ad
Here's what the Atlas Cycle Shop building on E. 28th Street looks like today (below).

I'm not sure why the sign is upside-down. But the recently redone sidewalk on that side of E. 28th Street looks real nice.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Tale of Two Buildings

During the long holiday weekend last week, I grabbed a few photos around town to take advantage of the nice weather. There's a lot going on.
The conversion of the former Gel-Pak Building to the new home of Lorain County Health & Dentistry is moving along nicely (below).

Quite a difference from what it looked like last February (below).

Now if someone can only come up with a brick coating that repels graffiti. (I think I did see that product – in an early 1980s Al Jaffee cartoon feature in MAD magazine. A long-haired hippie type unknowingly sprays some graffiti on a wall that has a teflon-like coating, only to see his handiwork disappear. The panel ends with him pulling out his hair in frustration.)

Conversely, the conversion of the former Admiral King High School to a pile of rubble is also moving along well, not so nicely – mainly because it is an unhappy sight for an AK alumnus to behold. The whole property has been surrounded by a fence for some time now, and very slowly the building is being gutted (below).

It's sad to look over and see this in progress.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

1950s Citizens Home and Savings Christmas Club Ads

I just opened my 2013 Christmas Club account recently (I'm running a bit late as usual), and remembered that I had these old ads. Both are for The Citizens Home and Savings Association and its Christmas Club program.

The above ad ran in the Lorain Journal on November 24, 1955 and includes some nice typography, some great illustrations and a photo of the bank.

The below ad is from two years later and ran in the Lorain Journal on November 28, 1957. It includes an interesting bushy-haired, stylized Santa. Actually that's his 'bed head' look since he just got up.

Strangely enough, one of the banks that I do business with – Fifth Third – is in the former Citizens building (below). I like going in there and chatting with Val, Krystal and the rest of the gang.

The bank did a nice job of branding the building as their own. To me, it looks like a bank should!

My Christmas Club account, though, is still over at good old First Federal Savings of Lorain (as I pointed out here).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cedar Point's The Hermitage

Cedar Point is always a popular topic on this blog. In fact, one of the posts on the amusement park is the most visited since I started the blog in 2009.

And since it's Cedar Point's off-season now, here's an off-season story about an old house that was located on the park grounds. It's gone now. The story ran in The Journal on November 30, 1969.

Cedar Point's The Hermitage Now Is History

HISTORY OF CEDAR POINT was recalled this week as
The Hermitage, a 16-room house where many of the Funway's
operators lived, was torn down.
The Hermitage, 65-year-old two-story frame dwelling that housed much of Cedar Point's history in its 16 spacious rooms, fell before the wreckers' onslaught this week.

THE KNOLL on which the gloomy grayhouse stood, flanked on one side by Sandusky Bay and on the other by Cedar Point lagoons, will be the new site of a gaily-colored station for the Cedar Point & Lake Erie railroad, being moved to make room for an 800-ft. extension of the main Funway.

What used to be the dismal backyard of the Hermitage will become part of the gaiety of the Funway new rides and attractions.

According to Sandusky historian Charles E. Frohman, the house was completed in 1905 and for a time housed a crew of men who policed the Lake Erie recreation center during the winter.

With no transportation available and no roads to use anyway, the small band of hardy souls claimed they hibernated like hermits during the winter. They dubbed their house, naturally, The Hermitage.

Gus Boeckling, brother of early Cedar Point impresario G. A. Boeckling, lived at The Hermitage for many years as head "hermit."

The demolition is in progress
Daniel M. Schneider, one-time operator of Cedar Point, who lived in the house for eight of the nine years he ran the resort. Schneider and his wife now live on Bank Street in Milan.

Mr. and Mrs. Edward S. Starr, now of 2201 Cedar Point Roadway. Starr, former rides manager of the resort, lived at The Hermitage in 1950.

George A. Roose, president of Cedar Point, inc. Roose and his wife occupied part of the huge house from 1959 through 1963.

A 24-room employes' dormitory that had been added to the original house was torn down in 1958.

In 1965, The Hermitage was home for about two dozen young men who worked at the Silver Dollar restaurant on the main Funway.

In its final years, The Hermitage was home to Mr. and Mrs. William Hackett, who operate the huge Cedar Point laundry. Mrs. Hackett has worked at Cedar Point for 42 years.

Less than an hour after the Hacketts moved out of The Hermitage, the wreckers moved in.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Welcome to Lorain Sign – 1950

Here's an interesting little article that ran on the front page of the November 5, 1950 Lorain Sunday News. It's about a welcome sign erected by the Lorain Chamber of Commerce that caused a little friction within Sheffield Lake.

Here's the article as it originally appeared (below).

Village Board Seeks Removal of Lorain Promotional Sign

Two letters from the Sheffield Lake board of affairs have been approved by the Lorain Chamber of Commerce demanding removal of a promotional sign erected by the Chamber recently in the village, about 1000 feet east of the city limits.

The Sheffield Lake board of affairs claims that the sign violates a lease arrangement with a nearby resident, D. A. Hamilton, who is a member of the board seeking the removal of the sign.

"I am familiar with the board's action," Village Mayor Sidney W. Jordan said, "and it was done without my approval."

Jordan said the Lorain Chamber had unanimous permission from the village council to erect the sign on a site owned by the village, which is the location of the community's pumping station.

The mayor promised at Tuesday's council meeting "to stop the embarrassment caused by the board of public affairs."

"Erection of the sign is the only favor asked of the village by our neighbor, Lorain, which furnishes water and other services to our community," Jordan stated.

"Seems the board is unfavorable to my administration," the mayor quipped.

I happen to live right in that area on Lake Road. I'm about 500 feet from the Lorain border putting the sign mentioned in the article about 500 feet (or five houses) down from me to the east.

Despite the then-Mayor's anemic quip protesting the board's action, I think I would have agreed with the board: it sure seems like a strange place to put a 'Welcome to Lorain' sign. It's a nice sign, though. If you squint at the picture, you can make out that it includes a mention of National Tube and American Ship Building.

Here's the site today (below). If you look at the vintage photo of the sign at the top of this post, you can just make out the chimney of the pumping station at the far left of the photo.

Anyway, today Lorain's less-grand sign is well inside its border.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Welch's Sports Christmas Ad – Nov. 27, 1958

To put you in the Christmas spirit on this busiest shopping day of the year, here's a vintage ad for Welch's Sports from the pages of the November 27, 1958 Lorain Journal. (Here's the 1959 version of the ad.)

I love the look on Santa's face. Is that the face of unbridled glee? Or the look of a "deer in the headlights" as he surprises an armed citizen in his home?

As I mentioned before, I've been a member of the NRA since the 1990s – so I don't have a problem with this ad. And hunting is actually growing in popularity, so maybe this kind of ad will make a comeback.

My dentist is an avid hunter, and he even gave us some venison this year, which we cooked up a few weeks ago. We stuck it in the crock pot with some soy sauce and man, was that good.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from the Lake Erie Oil Co.

From the pages of the November 22, 1956 Lorain Journal, here's a Thanksgiving-themed ad for the Lake Erie Oil Company, local manufacturers of Sinclair gasoline back then for the Lorain area market.

Besides the fact that the pilgrim bears a strong resemblance to musician Huey Lewis, the ad is interesting because you don't see this kind of ad today too often. The politically correct police now frown upon the Pilgrims. (Here's a Washington Times article explaining that particularly nauseating point of view.) Too bad.

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving at the Airport Tavern - 1957

Here's an ad that ran in the Lorain Journal on November 27, 1957, suggesting celebrating Thanksgiving at the Airport Tavern instead of cooking at home. (I don't know if Mutt & Jeff's – current occupant of the Tavern's former digs – offers that same option tomorrow. I'll have to ask our favorite server Brenda.)

I've never really eaten out on Thanksgiving, although the day may come someday. The closest I ever came was one Thanksgiving when I was single. I bought a rotisserie chicken at a Convenient Food Mart (the folks were out of town).

Today, rotisserie chickens (from Apples on Lake Road) are one of the spouse's and my favorite meals when we don't feel like cooking. For a truly Canadian meal (the spouse is a Canuck you know), we mix up some Swiss Chalet sauce to dip the chicken in.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving at Howard Johnson's - 1957

Typical Howard Johnson's from that time period
Here's an ad letting us know what Howard Johnson's down on West Erie was serving up on Thanksgiving Day 1957. It looks like quite a menu.

For appetizers, diners enjoyed chilled fruit cups, celery and olives, and cream of celery soup. The roast turkey with giblet gravy came with a lot of side dishes, including Cape Cod cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, hubbard squash, boiled buttered onions, sweet mixed pickles, hot baked rolls and butter and a Waldorf Salad.

Diners also had their choice of old fashioned squash, mince or apple pie with cheese, sherbet, frozen pudding ice cream, New England Plum Pudding with hard sauce, tea, coffee, ginger ale, Tokay Grapes, sweet apple cider, mixed nuts and mints.

Whew! And I thought we put out too much grub on Thanksgiving!

Incidentally, if you want to experience a real slice of nostalgia for lunch sometime, stop in at Chris' Restaurant at the former Howard Johnson's on W. Erie. The food is great and pretty reasonably priced – and the menu is almost as extensive as that Thanksgiving feast from 1957. I stop in with my Mom every month or two on a Saturday afternoon for a perch sandwich just like, uh, mother used to make (if Dad had a good day out on the lake).

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Reddy" for Thanksgiving?

Here's an ad featuring our old pal Reddy Kilowatt riding shotgun on an electric range. The ad, which appeared in the Lorain Sunday News around Thanksgiving 1945, suggests making an electric range part of your "post-war kitchen plans," since they weren't quite available yet.

And as long as I'm featuring Reddy on this post, in the interest of equal time I might as well include our other utility company mascot buddy: the nameless little gas flame guy who appeared in all those Ohio Fuel Gas Company ads (featured on this blog here and here).

In this Thanksgiving-themed ad (below) that appeared in the November 5, 1950 Lorain Sunday News, he's peddling those newfangled gas refrigerators.

I'm still not crazy about the idea of having to light the pilot light of a refrigerator – or wondering if it might explode.

I guess the first Thanksgiving wasn't as harmonious as we thought, seeing that arrow through the Pilgrim's hat!

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Salute to Sgt. Edward J. Brady

Today, I salute a particular Army veteran for the first time on this blog – my late father, Sgt. Edward Brady – on what would have been his 91st birthday.

Knowing Dad, he probably wouldn't be too thrilled about me doing this. Like many World War II veterans, he didn't talk about his wartime experience at all. He just wanted to forget it.

After all, World War II changed his whole life.

He was majoring in chemistry at Bowling Green State University when he was drafted. He never went back.

In November 1942, he was inducted into the Army in Cleveland. From there he went to Camp Perry near Port Clinton, and then went through Basic Training at Ft. Riley in Kansas. From there he went to Ft. Custer near Battle Creek, Michigan for Military Police Training.

It's hard for me to imagine Dad – so low-key and good-humored – as an MP.

One aspect of Dad's home life in Lorain would ultimately have an effect on his Army assignment. His parents had lost their home during the Depression, and consequently his family moved in with his grandparents on W. 28th Street. His grandparents spoke a lot of German around the house, which Dad got used to and picked up on. He ended up taking some German language classes in school as well. As a result of all this, Dad could speak some German – so the Army assigned him to the 443rd Military Police Prisoner of War Processing Company as an interpreter.

Basic Training at Ft. Riley; Dad's front and center on the steps
A big German POW camp was located at Aliceville, Alabama, and that's where Dad spent part of his Army career. (Here's the story of that camp.) But in January 1944, it was time to be sent overseas. After a short stay at Camp Myles Standish in Massachusetts, Dad left Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard the SS Pasteur. He arrived in Liverpool, England at the end of January 1944.

For the next year and a half, Dad did a lot of traveling around Europe in England, France, Belgium and Germany. According to his service record, he seemed to constantly be on the move. I guess wherever there were going to be Axis prisoners to process, that's where Dad ended up. He was involved in the Battles of Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes and the Rhineland.

Late in the war, Dad's unit was shipped back to Camp Atterbury in Indiana. Strangely enough, when the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan, Dad was on a 30-day leave in Lorain – preparing to be sent to Japan with his military police unit. So he had to be happy about the bomb being dropped.

When his leave was over, though, it was back to the Army. When the war finally ended, he was discharged on October 23, 1945 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. (At least he got to see the Alamo.)

He dumped his uniform in the trash, and then apparently took a vow of silence about his wartime experiences.

Getting Dad to talk about the war through the years was just about impossible. He was relatively indifferent about his WWII service medals, and didn't even send away for them until the 1980s. He never joined any Veterans groups, either (although he had a few Army buddies that he kept in touch with somewhat).

Thank goodness in the 1990s, my mother forced him to label all of his old Army photos and explain where they were taken, and who were in them.

When he did talk about the war to me, it was usually about seeing the Glenn Miller Orchestra or some other Big Band that was there in Europe to entertain the troops. That brought a smile to his face.

So why was Dad so tight-lipped about his Army experiences?

I believe the war changed his whole perspective on life – and him as well. I think he was so happy to get out of the Army alive and come home that all he wanted to do was find a job, get married and start a family of his own. He didn't want to dwell on the unhappiness of being in the war for three years and away from his family in Lorain.

I guess that after all that he had experienced in the war, Dad just didn't want to think of himself in terms of the Army ever again.

He mellowed somewhat on that stance late in life when Tom Brokaw's book The Greatest Generation was published. He enjoyed it very much, as well as the two follow-up books, and I think he finally accepted that he had played a role in something very important.

When Dad passed away, he was buried with full military honors. After years of not thinking of him as a soldier, I now find it hard to think of him as anything else.

I'm very proud of him.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sheffield Lake's World War II Monument

Did you know that Sheffield Lake (my current home) has a war memorial?

I didn't either, until I saw a tiny mention of it in an April 1958 Lorain Journal "Our Town" photo spread featuring Sheffield Lake. A small photo (at left) was accompanied by a short caption that read, "Hidden from the main thoroughfare of the village stands a memorial to those of Sheffield Lake who served their country in World War II. It was erected at Hawthorne and Howell streets through contributions from villagers."

The monument was dedicated in 1945 and is located just west of the Shoreway Shopping Center in a small plot of land just south of the old right-of-way of the Lake Shore Electric Railway. The monument is surrounded by a small fence.

It's actually a nice little park.

The monument itself is in pretty good shape despite 67 years worth of exposure to the brutal winds off nearby Lake Erie.

Kudos to the City of Sheffield Lake for making sure the monument grounds are always well-maintained. Here's hoping that the Sheffield - Sheffield Lake Schools include an annual short field trip to this monument to show appreciation for the local veterans and instill a sense of community pride.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Men of Company H – Part 2

Ex-Lorainite and history buff Paula Shorf has a wonderful collection of RPPC's (Real Photo Post Cards) pertaining to Lorain that she has assembled over the years, and many of them feature the men of Company H, both at work and at play.

Paula has generously made these photos available to me to help tell the story of these men. The photos are both fascinating and poignant, in view of the fact that a majority of the soldiers lost their lives in World War I.

Below are some of the photos – uncropped, not color corrected, and with most of the original scratches and specks intact.

Here's Company H doing some marching drills near the lake (below). I couldn't quite figure out where the photo was taken. Lorain acquired Lakeview Park in 1917, but I couldn't positively identify the park as being Lakeview.

Here's a photo (below) of Company H's camp on West Erie Avenue.

In the photo below, Company H is shown in front of the Kresge Company 5 and 10¢ Store at 356 - 358 Broadway. The building housing the store was apparently used as an enlistment center for Company H recruits judging by the sign. To the north of the Kresge Co. is the Bretz Book and Music Store at 353 Broadway, and at 348 Broadway is Hurst's Dry Goods.

John Robinson's Circus was coming to Lorain on Friday, May 25, 1917 according to the poster in the background of this shot (below) of some of the men in front of the Lorain Block.

And here's John Robinson's Circus parading down Broadway (below). (If you're interested in knowing more about this particular circus, click here.)

And here's the men of Company H (below) in their own parade down Broadway.

Special thanks to Paula Shorf for the great story suggestion, as well as her help with the text of the newspaper articles and use of some of the vintage photos from her collection. As World War I rapidly recedes in our nation's history, it's nice to bring to light the story of some of the local heroes who fought in the "war to end all wars."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Men of Company H – Part 1

Some of the men of Company H posing on Broadway in front of the Kresge Co. 
On July 4, 1919, Lorain honored the young men of the community who wore the uniforms of their country during World War I. "Up to this time the people of the community have had no opportunity to show their appreciation of the service rendered by the soldiers," stated a front page article in The Lorain Times-Herald on the eve of the celebration. "Now that chance has come, and Lorain will once more do its full duty."

Fifteen hundred Lorain servicemen fought in the war against Germany. Thirty-five of them gave their lives.

The highlight of the welcome home – victory celebration was a huge parade with 500 expected service men in a place of honor in the procession, followed by presentations of medals to the soldiers. There were also baseball games, aeroplane flights, a city championship bowling contest, boxing matches, a band concert, a marathon, an athletic carnival, and a special supper for the men in uniform. Fireworks concluded the day's events.

The Lorain Times-Herald published a special Victory edition that day, and it included the very special story of Company H, an infantry unit that was stationed in Lorain before being sent overseas. While they were here, the men of Company H became a beloved part of the community. Sadly, of the 150 men of the Company that left Lorain to fight the Germans, only 40 survived. Four of the soldiers killed were from Lorain.

Ex-Lorainite and history buff Paula Shorf (who now lives in California) suggested that the little-known tale of Company H be told in this blog, and she graciously provided me with a transcribed copy of the Lorain Times-Herald article about Company H. Below is the text of the article.

Of 150 Men of Co. H Who Left Lorain, Only 40 Are Living
Soldiers Chase Hun Until Armistice Halted Fighting
City’s “Adopted” Military Unit, Suffers Terrible Losses in Valiant
Fighting in The Argonne Forest – Four Local Boys Die in Battle

Took 150 men when it left Lorain August 1, 1917.
Only 40 survived.
Remainder were killed and wounded.
Sailed for France, June 21, 1918.
Landed at Brest, July 5.
Took part in battles Argonne, St. Mihiel, and on Belgian front.
Took part in King Albert’s review when he returned to Brussels.
The following members of the company were killed at Argonne:
John Cedzo, Joseph Marconis, A. Nuszkilwicz, Adam Petrykowski.
One of the most heart-rending stories of sacrifice in the world war is revealed in the history of company H, 147th infantry, 37th division. This company which was formerly company H of the 6th regiment, Ohio National Guard, spent four months on duty in this city and was “adopted” by the community as its own. No other complete military organization left this city and the soldiers of company H while here became friends of thousands of residents of this city who looked upon them as their own boys. When they left they were guests of honor at a big farewell dinner in the high school dining room.
Of the 150 members of the company while it was in Lorain only 40 have returned from France. All the rest were either slain in battle, died of wounds or are in French hospitals suffering from wounds from which they may never recover.  A number will be maimed for life.
Boys Have Friends Here
Only a few short months ago these sturdy men in khaki camped on West Erie avenue.  The young and old of the city admired them as they went through their daily drills.  Scores of persons in the city had become their intimate friends.  Now a majority of those boys lie cold in death, buried beneath little mounds over in France, their names written on the roll of honor.
Few in this city who have not heard Sergeant Raymond Guertin’s brusk commands: “Fours right!” “Hep, Hep.” “For the love of Mike show some pep!” He was the champion pep-instiller in the company and to him fell a large share of the training that was given the soldiers here. Now Sergeant Guertin lies with his comrades over in France.
Four Lorain Men Killed
Corporal Gossard, Sergeant Hamlin, Corporal Coleman, John Gezida, Sergeant McFadden are among those who did not return. Four Lorain boys lost their lives while serving with company H. They are John Cedzo, Joseph Marconis, A. Nuszkilwicz and Adam Petrykowski. All were killed in the Argonne forest battle.
Shortly after the war was declared on Germany Company H was ordered from the Mexican border to Lorain.  It left Fort Riley, Texas, March 13, 1917, and came to Lorain shortly after April 1. For awhile it had quarters in the G. A. R. hall.  Later a camp was established on West Erie avenue. The members of the company guarded the Nickel Plate railway bridge, the Baltimore & Ohio railway docks, the Erie avenue viaduct, the water works and other plants which were in danger of molestation at the hands of German sympathizers.
Leave for Cleveland
In the last day of July the company went to Cleveland where it encamped at Edgewater park. On August 15 it left for Camp Sheridan, Alabama, where it completed its training. With the 74th brigade of the 37th division it went to Camp Lee, Virginia, on May 20, 1918. Here the company was augmented to a strength of 250 men.  Captain E. O. Powell, who had charge here was in command when the unit sailed from Newport News on June 21. The soldiers debarked at Brest on July 5. They were removed to Bourmont six weeks later.  Captain Powell was transferred to the service of supply. Lieutenant French assumed command and continued during the remainder of the war.
On July 12 the company joined the 73rd brigade at Bourmont. August 4 the company, with its brigade, took over trenches at Baccarat.  Company H was active in the Luneville sector and took a prominent part in the Meuse-Argonne battles.
In the Argonne it helped to start the great American offensive which played the most important part in ending the world war. It began the push along the left bank of the Meuse to Sedan, which resulted in victory for the allied arms.
Heavy Losses at Argonne
Company H sustained enormous losses in the Argonne. Of the 250 men who went into battle only 150 came out. The boys from Lorain pushed forward over shell holes, through a rain of machine gun bullets and bursting shells.  They spent six days in that hell of death and suffering. They were then relieved by the 32nd division but not until they had gained their objectives.
The company had been unable to get supplies regularly and the men subsisted on hard tack and bully beef. They were worn and nerve racked by their experience. Many came out of the Argonne with their hair turned gray.
After a rest of two weeks the remnants of Company H were sent to St. Mihiel. Here the little band of 150 went into the thickest of the fighting. Only 40 came out. They suffered heavily from gas attacks. It was here that Sergeant Geurtin was gassed. He died two days later.
Company Goes to Belgium
From St. Mihiel the company went to Belgium.  They were attached to the Belgian army and established headquarters at Hooglede. On October 29 and 30 they drove the Germans back three kilometers. At 5:30 a.m. they went over the top and crossed the Escaut or Scheldt river. On November 11, the troops were pushing ahead as rapidly as possible to gain as much as they could before the reported armistice was signed. They kept fighting up to 11 o’clock when the armistice became effective.
The war was over. Dinner was eaten. Then from some secret place someone produced a bat and baseball and a game was begun in celebration of the victory.
In King Albert’s Review
Company H was one of the American units which went into Brussels and was reviewed by King Albert on his return to his capital. The remnants of the company reached home on March 23 and spent two weeks at Camp Mills. They paraded at Toledo and other points and were mustered out in Toledo on April 19.
Sergeant Awarded Honors
Sgt. John Swadrak
Sergeant John N. Swadrak, who is widely known in Lorain, is one of the men who faced death a score of times in the battle fields. 
He received the French Croix de Guerre for bravery. One night he fell into a shell crater and nearly drowned.
Beryl Hutchins and Orrin Pero are Lorain men who served with Company H.  Both have returned here and are well.
The roster of the company when it came to Lorain from Mexico included the following names:
Captain E. O. Powell; First Lieutenant Leo C. Lemle; Second Lieutenant H. H. Hull.
First Sergeant Harry Duvall; Supply Sergeant John N. Swadrak; Mess Sergeant Yulbert Lakeland; Sergeants A. A. Bartlett, Charles Neff, W. P. Bryant, N. Altman, Raymond Guertain.
Corporals George M. Pershing, Charles Spencer, Hodhane Blekley, John White.
Mechanic L. J. Byers.
Musicians Charles Green, Francis Guilette.
Cooks Fred Gardner, John Caldwell.
Privates Alfred Beiter, Albert Blasi, Anthony Bonet, Stanley Bortles, John Burger, Harry Clark, Charles Coleman, Clarence Decant, Milo Downs, Edgar Faleer, William Fritz, Boyd Gossard, Hubert Hawlin, John Hawthorn, Robert Krieger, Charles M. Lewis, Daniel McCarthy, Paul McDowell, Harold Minnix, Frank Mohr, S. P. Morris, Bryant Nance, John Rumbaugh, William Rupert, Forest Semark, Robert Sheats, Donald Simmonds, Frank Smith, Orlando Truitt, George Wernert, Virgin Wirich.
Many Promoted
Nearly all the corporals who were here became sergeants and a number of the privates became corporals.  Many of these promotions occurred shortly after the company reached Lorain.
The Times-Herald is indebted to Sergeant John Swadrak for much of the information concerning Company H which is contained in this article.  Sergeant Swadrak is now in Toledo where he has taken a position.
While in Lorain a number of recruits were obtained by the company.  Shortly after the boys went to Cleveland a boxing match was conducted at stop 48. The boxers gave their services and no expense was charged to the fund. From this event about $1700 was raised for the soldiers.  It was given to them with the understanding that they use it for whatever they wished when they reached France.

Tomorrow: A selection of photos featuring the men of Company H

Monday, November 12, 2012

Eric Barnes' Heroes Walk Dedication

Rev. Doug Horner delivers the prayer at the dedication of the Eric Barnes' Heroes Walk
This was the scene (above) down at Settler's Watch on Veterans Day yesterday for the dedication of the Eric Barnes' Heroes Walk. The warm weather made for a great turnout.

Here's the link to the Morning Journal's story.

My old Admiral King High School Band pal Rev. Doug Horner of St. Paul's Community Church in Cleveland delivered a thoughtful opening prayer, followed by a moment of silence in honor of the local soldiers killed in the line of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Each of the fallen soldiers has a small landscaped garden spot along the Walk, as well as a bench, so visitors can rest and reflect.

The memorial garden for Rev. Doug Horner's brother, Army 1st Sgt. Bruce Horner is directly across from Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King's birthplace on Hamilton.

The Eric Barnes' Heroes Walk, Settler's Watch and the Admiral Ernest J. King Tribute Site all combine to make a wonderful park that is a fine addition to Lorain County's many memorials dedicated to its veterans.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Corporal Charles J. Berry Remembered

Charles Berry
I had a special request from Kennel V. Hillyer, a Lorain native who is currently serving in the United States Marine Corps to do a post on Lorain native Corporal Charles J. Berry, for whom the Charles Berry Bascule Bridge is named. Since Veterans Day is this Sunday, this seems like a good time to do it.

The story of Corporal Berry's heroism at Iwo Jima is well known in Lorain. Here is the account, straight from the Medal of Honor certificate presented posthumously by President Harry Truman.

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Member of a Machine-gun Crew, serving with the First Battalion, Twenty-sixth Marines, Fifth Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, on 3 March 1945. Stationed in the front lines, Corporal Berry manned his weapon with alert readiness as he maintained a constant vigil with other members of his gun crew during the hazardous night hours. When infiltrating Japanese soldiers launched a surprised attack shortly after midnight in an attempt to overrun his position, he engaged in a pitched hand grenade duel, returning the dangerous weapons with prompt and deadly accuracy until an enemy grenade landed in the foxhole. Determined to save his comrades, he unhesitatingly chose to sacrifice himself and immediately dived on the deadly missile, absorbing the shattering violence of the exploding charge in his own body and protecting the others from serious injury. Stouthearted and indomitable, Corporal Berry fearlessly yielded his own life that his fellow Marines might carry on the relentless battle against a ruthless enemy and his superb valor and unfaltering devotion to duty in the face of certain death reflect the highest credit upon himself and upon the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country."

Charles J. Berry is re-interred at Elmwood Cemetery – April 12, 1948
(Photo by William Ashbolt)
Here is a link to Charles J. Berry's Wiki entry.

He was originally buried in the 5th Marine Division Cemetery on Iwo Jima. In 1948, he was re-interred in Elmwood Cemetery in Lorain.

On Veterans Day 1988 the Erie Avenue Bridge was renamed the Charles Berry Bridge.

Special thanks to Kennel V. Hillyer for suggesting a blog post on Corporal Berry, and for his current service to our country as a member of the United States Marine Corps.


Don't forget that the dedication of the Eric Barnes' Heroes Walk takes place this Sunday, Veterans Day, November 11 at 10:50 am down at Oberlin Avenue and First Street.

The memorial walkway connects Settlers Watch and the Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King Tribute Site.

Come on out and honor four servicemen born in Lorain who, like Charles J. Berry, gave their all for their country: Marine Lance Corporal David R. Hall, Marine Lance Corporal Joseph "Ryan" Giese, Army Sergeant Louis R. Torres and Army First Sergeant Bruce E. Horner.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

From 1960: "Tear it down and make it a park."

If you ever wondered why Lorain decided to stay in the ancient City Hall on West Erie Avenue into the 1970s, rather than occupy the more spacious former Carnegie Library, I think I found the answer.

It was 1960, and the old library building had been vacated for three years. Lorain was still trying to find a use for it, and was hoping that the Board of Education could use it.

Unfortunately, according to an article in the November 18, 1960 Lorain Journal, "High remodeling costs were cited by board members in turning down the possibility of purchasing the former library building. City officials in the past have stated that remodeling costs would be from $200,000 to $400,000."

In that very same edition of the newspaper, the article below appeared in which Lorain's Mayor John C. Jaworski very clearly opposed using the old library as Lorain's City Hall. I think it was probably the final word on the issue.


Not Suitable For City Hall Site
Mayor Repeats Stance On Old Library

Mayor John C. Jaworksi has again emphasized his position on the old library building now that the Lorain Board of Education has said definitely it doesn't want the building. He said again, "Tear it down and make it a park."

Jaworski feels that remodeling the old structure for a city hall would cost too much. He also doesn't think a city hall should be near railroad tracks and off a main street.

The mayor envisions a ranch style building on the site of the present city hall.

City Solicitor Adrian F. Betleski has ruled that the heirs to the owner of the Streator property would have to be consulted before the old library could be used for anything other than a park or a city hall, as provided in the will.

The land was named Streator Park after its owner, Worthy Streator.

Councilman Ed Novack, D-at-large, has been one of the strongest supporters for tearing the structure down.

The city is now storing emergency hospital equipment in the building, which has been purchased for Civil Defense use. Cost of keeping a janitor and heating the building is about $4,000 yearly.

City Council has been "hemming and hawing" over the structure for many months now, waiting for someone to say, "Yes, we want the building." No one has said it yet.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

From 1957: What to do with the old Lorain Public Library?

Late last month, Lorain's original library – the Carnegie Library located at Lorain's Streator Park – made the news. According to the article in the Morning Journal (here), "The city is in court trying to remove deed restrictions on the property in hopes of creating a plan to reuse the building."

Ah, some things never change.

Here's a couple of vintage articles showing that even back in the late 1950s, the city was trying to figure out what to do with the old building.

The first article (below) is from the November 22, 1957 edition of the Lorain Journal. At that point in time, the new Lorain Public Library at Sixth and Reid was about to open in a few days.


Council Must Decide What To Do With Old Library

Like an old mansion whose usefulness has given way to modern architecture the old library building at Streator Place has relinquished its place as Lorain's literary center to a new building at Sixth St. and Reid Ave.

The old building was dedicated May 20, 1904. There were 3,240 books. The money for the old building came largely from $30,000 donated to a fund by steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie, who gave money to build libraries all over the United States.

What happens now to the abandoned building is up to city council. When Streator Place was given to the city in 1895 by the will of Worthy S. Streator it was provided that the land should be used either for the construction of a city hall or as a park. Permission was granted from the heirs to build the library.

A committee has been assigned to study a proposal to make the building into a city hall. A request to provide $3,000 to finance a survey to study this possibility is being considered by council now.

If council decides that it would not be practical to move city hall to Streator Place, but would like to do something else with the building, permission of the heirs must be granted again.

There were attempts to establish a library in Lorain before the Streator Place building was built.

One of the earliest was in 1883 when library headquarters were set up in a downtown dentist's office. About 100 shares of stock were sold at a dollar apiece and shareholders were allowed to borrow as many books as they had shares.

In 1886 the circulation did not average a book a week so the books were turned over to the school board.

Through the years other attempts were made by church organizations and women's clubs but those libraries were also shortlived and ended by the books being donated to the school board.

The first library board was formed in April, 1900, when women from three library clubs and other interested persons in town elected officers. Mrs E. M. Pierce was elected chairman and Mrs. J. H. Hills was elected secretary-treasurer. Elected to the board as trustees were Mrs. W. R. Comings, Mrs. F. D. Ward, Mrs. F. M. McIlvaine, Mrs. A. E. Thompson, Mrs. F. P. Bins, Mrs. F. W. McIlvaine and George Wickens.

The newly-formed board soon established a Lorain Public Library Association of 50 members. The association persuaded the board of education to provide a tax levy. In 1903, $1,200 was allocated to the library association. And the same year the $30,000 was donated by Carnegie.

The first librarian was E.C. Loofbourrow. He served from 1905-1907. Since 1907 there have been six librarians.

Miss Margaret Deming, 1907-1910; Miss Francis Root, 1910-1924; Miss Elizabeth K. Steele, 1924-1928; Miss Evelyn Yeaton, 1928-1837; and Miss Marion M. King, 1937-to date.

A few years before the above article, Lorain had already explored the idea of converting the former library into a city hall. Here's an article (below) from the November 3, 1955 Lorain Journal.

May Be Future City Hall
City Officials Inspect Library

The city is moving ahead on its plan to use the old library building as a new location for city hall.

THREE CITY officials and two members of the library board made an inspection tour of the building yesterday afternoon with an eye toward adapting the building into a city hall.

Lyle Ziegler, president of the library board, and Atty. Dan K. Cook, vice president, both agreed the board will take definite action on a decision to give up the building at its next meeting Nov. 8. It is to be vacated early in 1957.

THE LIBRARY board is constructing a new building at Sixth and Reid. The old building, according to the terms of a will left by Worthy A. Streator, who donated the building to the library, will revert to the city for use as a city hall when and if it is vacated by the library.

City officials have been waiting for a decision from the library board before making plans to use the building.

OFFICIALS AGREED the building would require numerous changes to correct present faults and to remodel for city hall use. The building has twice as much floor space as the present city hall.

Large rooms in the building would have to be partitioned into smaller rooms for offices, officials agreed. Many of the large rooms would be suitable for use as council chambers.

If the building is vacated and not used as a city hall, or by the city, it will revert to Streator's heirs.

THE CITY HAS been holding up plans to remodel city hall since it was learned about the stipulation in Streator's will. Council approved a bond issue for $52,000 in 1952 for remodeling the hall, but the money was never borrowed.

Mayor Jaworski said the city's engineer's office will go ahead with studies of the library building after the board takes definite action at its next meeting.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

1960 Nixon-Lodge ad

1960 was a Presidential election year, and this political ad – put out by the Nixon-Lodge team – ran in the Lorain Journal in early November and really caught my eye. That's a great caricature of John F. Kennedy.

Anyway, it shows that times haven't changed – negative ads have been around forever – but at least this ad tries to make a logical point using facts and figures instead of mudslinging. It does have a few digs at the Kennedy wealth, however.

But the ad's pretty restrained, compared to the over-the-top ads we've seen in the current Presidential election, which mercifully ends today.

It'll be nice to be able to watch TV again.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Lorain School Levy Ad – November 3, 1958

Back in 1958, Lorain was trying to pass a school levy (as it is right now) and this ad, which ran in the November 3, 1958 edition of the Lorain Journal spelled it all out very simply for the voters.

What it didn't spell out so well was the word 'committee' in the small type at the bottom of the ad.

This ad reminded me that I much preferred the old voting booths with the levers as shown in the ad. They were private (you were behind a curtain) and you either flipped the levers down or left it up. What could be more simple?

Now when you vote, you are out in the open where everyone can see you (and your cheat sheets if you need them like me) – which I think is wrong. You can't help but feel a little pressure to hurry up and get out of there – which could lead to mistakes while casting your vote.

Friday, November 2, 2012

1960 Vote for #12 Ad

By 1960, Lorain's population was exploding. The city really needed another hospital besides St. Joe's, and it was put to the voters. The Vote for #12 ad (above) ran in the Lorain Journal on November 4, 1960.

I love the fact that the ad uses a cartoon character that looks like he came right out of a 1950s beer ad. The ad does do a nice job of presenting a capsule summary of the issue, though.

The issue did pass. I guess the moral is: use cartoon characters in your ads!

Who would have guessed that decades later, Lorain's two hospitals would merge, and even the combined institution would be fighting for its financial survival in 2012?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Little Guy in the 1950s Car Ads

When I saw this full-page Bob Beck Chevrolet ad (above) in the Lorain Journal of February 20, 1956, I thought, "That little cartoon guy looks vaguely familiar."

Then about a week later, I saw him again – this time in a Spitzer Motors ad that ran in the Lorain Journal on June 20, 1955 (below).

It turns out that 56 years later, the little guy is still appearing in car ads – but now he's working for Ed Tomko Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Avon Lake. The dealership regularly features the little advertising mascot in their ads in various guises (such as below). Actually, I think he is Ed, since the "Ed says..." appears next to him each time – but he seems to have lost his choppers.

Good to see him still working, though, in these challenging economic times!