Thursday, February 28, 2013

First Federal Savings of Lorain – Avon Branch

I made it a point to go out and snap a few shots of the Avon office of First Federal Savings of Lorain recently. As the Morning Journal reported back here, a new branch office is being built right behind this building. As soon as the new one is completed, the old one will come down.

1957 Lorain City Directory ad
I've always liked this 1950s building. To me, it had sort of a Frank Lloyd Wright flavor to it with its heavy horizontal lines. I'm sorry to see it go, although I'm sure the bank's employees aren't.

I've tried to research the building a little bit. Like the Morning Journal reported, the building started out as a branch office of the Central Bank Company. The first appearance of the 36690 Detroit Road address in the Lorain City Directory was in the 1957 edition. (See ad at left.)

Looking at the Central Trust ad, you have to feel sorry for one of the directors, Frank J. Nardini, whose name was misspelled.

Anyway, I've been in this branch many times. Branch Manager and Loan Officer Michelle Nowlin has cheerfully handled our loan application each time we've (unsuccessfully) put our house up for sale in the last few years.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

James Dean – "Live" – I mean, "Dead" – at the Palace!

Here's another one of those Lorain Palace Theater ads promoting the pairing of a live stage show with some scary movies to create a memorable evening of entertainment for teenagers in the late 1950s.

This ad appeared in the Lorain Journal on Feb. 8, 1957 – fifty-six years ago this month.

It's kind of similar to the Dr. Silkini show that I wrote about in October last year, but this one has an unusual twist: instead of the Frankenstein monster being revived "in person," this show advertised "the materialization of James Dean." The iconic American film actor had died about a year and a half earlier in an automobile accident.

A few other websites and blogs (here and here) mention similar scary shows with the James Dean gimmick. Apparently, the materialization consisted of an illuminated photograph of the actor's face during a blackout!

Note that perennial Lorain favorites The Bowery Boys were also on the bill, featured in the film Ghost Chasers. (Hey! That was playing at the Palace back here too!)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Feb. 26, 1959 Lorain Journal Front Page

Here's the front page of the Lorain Journal from February 26, 1959 – fifty-four years ago today. Why am I posting this particular edition? Because it's the day I was born – and a few other Admiral King High School Class of 77 classmates as well. (Click on it for a larger, readable view.)

Unfortunately, it wasn't a particularly interesting day for local news. Sorry about that. There's one article about Cromwell Park that's kinda interesting, but only because you don't hear it mentioned very much these days. But there seems to be an abundance of international news.

Actually the most interesting thing to me was that Today's Chuckle was buried in with the columns of text, instead of appearing at the top of the masthead like it did later for many years.

Maybe the current Morning Journal's circulation problems would improve with a triumphant return of the Today's Chuckle feature! We sure could use a chuckle these days.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Pat's West Side Lorain Memories

I received an email last month from a fellow Class of 1977 Admiral King Marching Band buddy, Pat Derrer Resor. (That's her at left holding her marching french horn. I'm the guy with a trombone sitting behind her on the left side of the photo.)

After seeing some of the early morning timestamps on my posts, Pat was concerned that I was staying up all hours of the night trying to come up with blog content. So, she volunteered some of her reminisces about growing up on W. 20th Street just west of Oberlin Avenue in the 60s and 70s to fill some space.

"I grew up on the west side of Lorain, close to the neighborhood where the author Toni Morrison writes about," said Pat. "I attended Barrett kindergarten near Central Park. The child that sat next to me in the Halloween group photo there was also my prom date thirteen plus years later."

(Incidentally, her prom date – my high school pal Jerry – is the guy holding a trombone sitting next to me. I guess Jerry was destined to forever be photographed sitting near Pat.)

Former Houff Pharmacy building –
currently for sale
Pat continued. "I was often sent to Houff Pharmacy (at 18th and Oberlin) to get a prescription. I did not have to cross many busy streets."

Sadly, the pharmacy is long closed and the building is currently for sale.

Businesses seemed to dominate Pat's memories. "Lawson’s and Lorain Creamery were close to home, " she said. "There also was a Texaco station on the corner of 21st and Oberlin Ave. at one time."

"When I walked to Harrison Elementary School (at 20th and Hamilton), I would often stop to pet the dog that lived behind the Bristow Myers Travel Bureau. I also had to regularly walk near the Dombrowski Funeral Home."

Former Bristow Myers Travel Bureau
"Hupp Heating and Air was on the northeast corner of 19th and Oberlin Ave. There was also a Nazarene church on the same corner before the congregation moved to Amherst."

Pat was able to witness one well-remembered Lorain historical event. "My grandfather took us to the river to watch the Roger Blough burn (in June 1971)," she said. "He said it was history being made."

Pat has memories of good Lorain food too. As she noted, "Sometimes, we would even get to eat at the Roman Room Restaurant." She added, "A major treat was donuts from Bob’s."

Pat did venture out of her neighborhood a little farther south down Oberlin Avenue once in a while. "The Meister Rd. shopping center had a Grant’s department store that gave out Green Stamps when purchases were made," she remembered.

Dombrowski-Riddle Funeral Home
(one of the few businesses in Pat's
old neighborhood that's still in operation)
It sounds like Pat has some nice memories of her old neighborhood, as well as the stores and businesses that played such a big part of Lorain's personality back then.

She summed it up very simply. "All of this in my very narrow view of the world growing up. We could even sit on the back steps and watch the fireworks from George Daniel Stadium without even leaving home."

Thanks for sharing your memories, Pat!

Friday, February 22, 2013

1957 Downtown Lorain – Washington's Birthday Sale

Feb. 21, 1957 full-page Lorain Journal ad
Yesterday I mentioned how George Washington's Feb. 22 birthday used to be a holiday. Well, it was also a good excuse for a sale – just like today.

The above full-page ad appeared in the Lorain Journal on Feb. 21, 1957, announcing a big Downtown Lorain sale. The ad seems to be made up entirely of disparate clip art elements.

The "shocking truth about prices" mentioned in the ad was merely a gimmick in that, like George Washington, the stores weren't lying about their great, low prices.

What's amusing is that each store had its own cartoon clip art version of our first president. Here's an ample sample (below), including Sam Klein, Ted Jacob's, Kresge's and Smith and Gerhart. (Click on each for a larger version.)

One thing's for sure. These little cartoons are downright quaint compared to seeing actors portraying George Washington and Abraham Lincoln dancing and singing in current furniture and car commercials! 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Whose birthday is Feb. 22nd, anyway?

Feb. 22nd is tomorrow, and all this time I thought it was George Washington's birthday. But according to the above theater ad for the Palace, which ran in the Lorain Journal on Feb. 20, 1957, it's really Porky Pig's birthday.

The ad promoted the upcoming birthday party on Feb. 22nd for the beloved Warner Brothers cartoon pig. (Hey, look! "Leghorn Foghorn" is going to be at the party!)
On Feb. 21, 1957 the below ad ran to "drum up" even more enthusiasm for the festivities.
What's interesting to me is that George Washington's actual birthday was a real holiday back then, and consequently there was no school. I think that was a better way to honor our first president, instead of a Monday off in honor of all the presidents, whether they were great – or bums.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lucky Strike Ad – Feb. 4, 1930

Feb. 4, 1930 Lorain Journal ad
Lately, the spouse and I have been doing some binge watching of the popular AMC TV series "Mad Men" on weekends, working our way through library DVDs of each season, starting from the beginning.

As devoted fans of the show know, Lucky Strike cigarettes was the biggest account of the both the Cooper Sterling agency and its successor, Cooper Sterling Draper Pryce. Thus, when I ran across the above ad on microfilm, which ran in the Feb. 4, 1930 Lorain Journal, I just had to post it here on the blog. (Click on it for a readable view.)

(I guess Don Draper didn't really come up with that "It's toasted" tagline in the 1960s as shown on the TV show after all, if it was already appearing in ads in the 1930s.)

Anyway, the ad is fairly hilarious, because it basically says that women should "reach for a Lucky" instead of over-indulging – as a way of staying trim. Uh-huh.

Incidentally, while I was at Ohio State majoring in Industrial Design in the late 1970s, one of the famous designers we studied was Raymond Loewy – who, as opposed to Don Draper, really did have some involvement with the Lucky Strike brand. In 1940 Loewy accepted a $50,000 challenge from American Tobacco Company president George Washington Hill to improve the Lucky Strike's green package.

If I remember the story from design school correctly, Loewy tossed a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes on a table, and it landed with the logo side facedown. He reasoned, "Why not put the logo on both sides of the pack to increase visibility? Then he changed the background color from green to white, and an iconic design was born. Sales picked up and Loewy won the bet.

Click here to visit a blog that has a great photo gallery of Lucky Strike packaging old and new.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

From the E-Mail Bag #11

I'm still getting lots of comments and emails on old posts from years past. I really appreciate it when someone takes the time to post a comment on an old post, but I feel bad that readers may never see it unless they poke around in the archives. Thus, from time to time I like to feature a few of them in a new post. Keep those comments coming – and thanks!

A reader named Ted left some great comments on my post from last April about Kutza's Pharmacy. He wrote, "Here is some history of that building that may add a bit to your efforts.  A doctor had his offices upstairs of the Kutza Pharmacy. His name was Doctor A. J. Novello, at 1236 Broadway. He was the father of Don Novello, "Father Guido Sarducci" of Saturday Night Live notoriety.
 I also used to buy comics there in the very late fifties and early sixties. I wish I still had them, some of them were the original Spider Man and other Marvel Comics.
Ted had some other interesting tidbits about the area. He noted, "Here is another bit of local history of that vicinity: just to the north across the street and a bit to the west was a small business called Popa's Poultry. This place had live chickens they would slaughter and pluck for you, as well as fresh eggs. I last walked there in the eighties (I live in Cleveland now) and there was only the foundation of Popa's Poultry left. Just to the south on the other side of the alley behind Kutza's behind where the fire station is now (it used to be Joe's Barber Shop; we lived upstairs) there used to be a barn with a horse. This was as recent as 1960-62."

Thanks for sharing, Ted!

My February 2012 posts (here and here) about the Forest City Auto Parts long-necked advertising mascot continues to generate comments. I guess he must have been a memorable guy to a lot of people.

Two former managers of Forest City Auto Parts left comments revealing the name and origin of the bespectacled mascot.

One wrote, "As a former Manager of FCAP in Toledo area, I know exactly how the long neck fellow you refer to came to be. His name is Max, and the idea was pitched to the two original brothers that owned the company– Stan & Arn – from a yellow page add with the caption "stop looking we have what you need."

He added, "The rest is pretty much history.  The ad was very successful, just like the chain of auto parts store were."
Another former manager confirmed his story. "As a former manager of FCAP on Culver Road in Rochester, NY., I also know the story behind "MAX." He pointed out that the other manager was "correct about Stan and Arn and the yellow pages ad."
As Paul Harvey used to say: "Now you know the rest of the story." Thanks, gentlemen!

One post that seems to just keep on going is the one from Feb. 2011 on Ontario department store. It's up to 19 comments and I'm sure if I wait long enough they'll be more. The comments are about stores in other cities in Ohio, but they're interesting just the same.

A gentleman named Howard worked in management at the Ontario stores in Columbus, Ohio from 1971 to 1973. He wrote, "The original ONTARIO store was on the Alum Creek Drive in Columbus, and started by a Jewish gentleman named Fred Silverstein who purchased a trailer load of Sherwin-Williams paint, and sold it at a discounted price. Ontario was one of the first true discount stores in the country. The rest is history! For the most part, I enjoyed working for Ontario, which was a division of Cook United, Inc. located in Cleveland, Ohio. At some point in time, Cook United owned in excess of 100 stores. It could have (and should have) become what Wal*Mart is today. Cook United didn't keep up with its competition. Such a shame!"

Another gentleman worked at the Ontario in Springfield, Ohio. He commented, "My dad was the store manager for the Ontario in Springfield in the late 60's until his death in 1971. I was pretty young then but what I remember most was that they used to have live advertisements in the store. My brother was actually Mr. Peanut (Planters Peanuts) and my sister dressed up as the Little Dutch Boy for Dutch Boy Paints, and they would have to stand at the displays for those products in the store."

Thanks to both of these ex-Ontario employees for sharing their stories about the well-remembered, popular store chain.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Now You See Them...

I was driving around this past Saturday morning with my camera since it was sunny (for a little while at least.) I ended up over by my Alma Mater, the former Admiral King High School. Its date with the demolition crew is any day now, so these are probably the last photos I'll ever take of the place before it's just a steaming pile of rubble. (Click on each for a larger, "You Are There" view.)

Very sad seeing it all stripped and plundered.

Also on Saturday, I read in the Morning Journal (here) that, "Lorain City Council will consider hiring a consultant who would plan asbestos removal and tear down of the oldest section of the St. Joseph hospital, 205 W. 20th St., which has frontage along Broadway."

So I headed over to St. Joe's for a shot. I'm guessing that the article was talking about this part (below).

In that same Saturday paper, at the bottom of an article about the new high school, was a small blurb. It read, "As part of the district’s overall demolition plan, Masson School, 800 W. 40th St., is the district’s next target. Bidding on the demolition and asbestos abatement is expected by March or April."

Ah, in a few years there will be very little left of the Lorain that so many of us remember.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sheffield Lake City Hall 1957

NEW ADDITION – two new rooms have been added to the front section of the
Sheffield Lake Village municipal building by village officials, policemen, firemen 
and villagers. To the rear of the building is a new addition added to the garage used 
by the Board of Public Affairs. Many items for the building were donated.
I don't get a chance to do too much on this blog about my current town of Sheffield Lake. So – as usual – when I spot something on old newspaper microfilm of interest, I usually move it to the front of the line, post-wise.

The photo above, along with the accompanying article (below) appeared in the Lorain Journal on February 11, 1957. I thought it was interesting because it shows Sheffield Lake's original city hall, which was located where the Erie Shore Landing apartments are now. What I didn't know is that, according to the article, the city hall was formerly a little red schoolhouse.

Note also that Sheffield Lake was a village back then.

Here is the article. It's sort of a Who's Who in Sheffield Lake at that time.

Sheffield Lake Hall Getting New Addition

SHEFFIELD LAKE – Village officials and employees are busy improving the working facilities at the village municipal building by completing a two-room addition to the front of the building which was formerly one of the little red school houses in the district.

Work on the garage, used to house equipment for the Board of Public Affairs, is near completion.

Helping with the construction of the building were Mayor James C. Markley; councilmen Earl Barnhart, Elmer Meyers, Maurice Sturtevant, Carl Werner; village clerk, Mrs. Eleanor Piskura; police chief Clarence Hambly; policemen Myron Piggott, Al Fuhrman, Adam Elgart and Cleo McCreery; building inspector, William Holley; board of public affairs president, Otho Buckley; superintendents Norbert Diebold and Ernie Stump.

Others assisting were Gus Scarpelli, Tom Limpertz, Harm Little, Howard Pugh, Leo Viszculas, Carl Born and James Ferguson.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Vintage Faroh's Valentine's Day Ads

It's Valentine's Day, so here are a few vintage ads for Lorain's Faroh's Candies. The one below ran in the Lorain Journal on Feb. 13, 1957 – 56 years ago – and uses a clip-art layout with none of the usual photos of their candies.
1957 Faroh's ad
Roughly ten years later, the ad below appeared in the Journal a few days before Valentine's Day 1968. This ad didn't show photos of chocolate goodies, either. The ad takes a different approach – featuring two cute babies. One is Lisa Ann Bell, granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Faroh (who along with his brother George opened the first Faroh's Candies store in Lorain in 1947); the other is David Kramer, grandson of Dr. and Mrs. Joseph Cicerrella.

1968 Faroh's ad
Neither ad uses the well-remembered Faroh's candy cane logo that is so associated with the brand.

Even though it's been several years, it's still strange to drive by the Henderson Drive location and see a bar there. Hopefully the Broadway store is still doing well.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lincoln Park Night Club

January 10, 1958 newspaper ad
Since I've been talkin' Lincoln all week, I might as well post some vintage Lincoln Park Night Club ads and a little bit of history about the place.

The earliest listing I could find for a night club at that location was the 1947 Lorain phone book. Under "Night Clubs" was the listing "Joseph Yepko" with a Stop 48 Lincoln Avenue address.

It wasn't until the 1949 book that the Lincoln Park Night Club name appeared.

Former Lorain Mayor Joseph J. Zahorec and his wife Helen managed the night club from 1954 to 1964.

Courtesy Jack Tiller Collection

Here's an ad from Feb. 1957 (below). Looks like the Music Stylists were regulars there.

Here's one from April 1958 (below) promoting a big Easter Day dance.

Here's one ten years later, from Feb. 1968 (below). It's kinda funny seeing Honest Abe in an ad for his namesake bar.

Around 1975 or 76, the night club changed its name to Big Dick's. That's the name that I remember it as, although my friends and I still referred to it as Lincoln Park (maybe we couldn't bring ourselves to call it by its new name).

The city directories revealed a variety of names after that, including Whammer Jammer Lounge (1980), Yepko's Play Pen (1981-1985), Sneakers (1986-1991), GJ Macaws (1992-?), Chances Night Club and The Flying Machine (late 1990s-?).

The building is still there today, although to look at it you would never know that it was the scene of many good times and happy memories.

Bing Maps View

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

They Both Saw Lincoln

The 1959 Lorain Journal article yesterday about the Lorain woman who had seen the Great Emancipator mentioned a newspaper interview with her that took place in 1930. Naturally, I decided to hit the library microfilm to find it.

I guessed correctly that the article with the interview appeared in the newspaper around Lincoln's birthday that year. And – believe it or not – next to the article about the Lorain woman on the front page was an article about an Amherst man who also saw Lincoln.

Both articles (below) from the February 11, 1930 Lorain Times-Herald appeared under the heading "They Saw Lincoln, in Life and in Death."

Lorain Woman Helped Drape Funeral Train in Cleveland

MRS. MARGARET HARVEY, 78, 1152 6th-st. is one of the few remaining persons who has personal recollections of the Abraham Lincoln whose 131st birthday anniversary will be observed tomorrow.

Mrs. Harvey saw Lincoln twice in Cleveland, once when he was enroute to Washington to be inaugurated president, and then again after he had been killed, when they brought his body to Cleveland to rest in state in the Public Square before taking it to Springfield, Ill., for burial.

On the latter occasion her father, William Simmons, a railway engineer, drove the train that carried the martyred president's body from the Cleveland union depot to the Euclid-av station, and the Lorain woman, then a 13-year-old girl living in Cleveland, helped to drape the mourning on old engine No. 40, she recalls vividly.

"Mother and I spend much of the time the day before making rosettes," she said, "for father's engine."

She was a girl of nine when Lincoln stopped in Cleveland enroute to Washington late in February, 1861, to be inaugurated president.

"They let us out of school for the occasion. I thought I had never seen such a tall man," she said. "The thing that stands out in my mind is how he reached down, right after he had gotten in his carriage behind large white horses, picked up a small child, kissed her and then gave her back to her mother. He smiled as he did this, but his face seemed quite sad when he wasn't smiling."

When they brought the Great Emancipator's body to Cleveland April 28, 1865, and set it on a platform on the Public Square, she was one of the thousands who filed past his casket.

"It was raining quietly, just as tho the skies were weeping for him," she said.

Mrs. Harvey is the mother of Dr. W. S. Baldwin, Lorain physician, Mrs. Walter Mahia and Mrs. Nellie Albaugh. Her nephew, Bruce Baldwin, was born on Lincoln's birthday anniversary and will be 17 years old tomorrow. She has a sister, Mrs. George Horsley, in Lorain.

Mrs. Harvey was past 50 when she moved to Lorain. Lowell H. Eddy, Lorain, who once carried another president, William B. McKinley, was once fireman for Mrs. Harvey's father.

Amherst Man Recalls Columbus Speech of Martyred President

AMHERST, Feb. 11 – Not many Amherstites have had the distinction of having seen Abraham Lincoln personally but there remains one, John J. Gregory, 78, of 193 Lincoln-st. who, when a small lad of 12 years remembers the visit of the Great Emancipator to Columbus, O.

"This visit, if I recall correctly, was when he came to the capital city campaigning for the presidency for the second election," he said. At that time Gregory was living in Columbus.

"I was a small lad and when we boys heard that he was going to make a visit there we were on hand to see the man we had heard so much about. In those days, boys were seen and not heard, so we had to satisfy our curiosity by seeing him walking along the sidewalk on High-st between Broad and State-sts.

"There was no great fuss made over him, no big parade, no band – just two body guards walking along, one on each side of Lincoln. He wore a stove pipe hat and was so tall – sort of gangling looking man."

In later years Gregory says he has regretted many times that he did not take more interest in Lincoln that day.

He went on to say that he had seen President Grant and President Hayes and that they were both better looking than Lincoln – but – he was good, tho not good looking. All the folks in Columbus and the countryside around he remembers, mourned when they learned of the martyred president's death.

Gregory told me that he migrated with his parents when a child of three years to Columbus from New York state and spent nearly a quarter of a century there. He remembers many of the folks of Monroeville, O., for he lived there around a half century.

This Gregory who saw Lincoln lives with his only daughter Mrs. John Fritz. Their home is in Lincoln-st., incidentally. For about three years he has made his home in "The Sandstone Center of the World" going occasionally to visit his sister and son who reside in Detroit and also to Monroeville to chat with old friends.

It was Gregory's granddaughter Miss Algegert Fritz, who brought this story to light. She told me the other day "Grandpa saw Lincoln."

Thinking about all this, I remembered that while I was a student at Ohio State both President Carter and Governor Ronald Reagan were campaigning in Columbus on the same day in May 1980. I remember my buddies and I made it out to Port Columbus to see Air Force One land, but then went to the Reagan campaign rally in Downtown Columbus.
Gee, if I live long enough maybe I can be "The Guy That Saw a President and a Future President the Same Day!"

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Woman Who Saw Lincoln Twice

Here's an interesting article that appeared in the February 12, 1959 Lorain Journal on the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's birth. It was written by Jean Weaver and tells the story of a Lorain woman whose mother saw Lincoln twice during her lifetime.


Lorainite Recalls Stories Mother Told About Lincoln

Stories her mother used to tell her about having seen Abraham Lincoln were recalled by Mrs. Nellie Albaugh today as the nation observed the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Great Emancipator.

Mrs. Margaret Harvey, the mother of Mrs. Albaugh and grandmother of Mrs James C. Hageman, 305 Michigan Ave., saw Lincoln twice when he passed through Cleveland where she lived as a child.

Mrs. Harvey, who died Jan. 21, 1942, was a girl of nine the first time she saw the 16th president of the United States.

"That was when Lincoln stopped in Cleveland enroute to Washington for his inauguration in February 1861," Mrs. Albaugh said.

1915 postcard of President Lincoln lying in state in Cleveland in 1865
(Courtesy Cleveland Memory Project website)
The second time was four years later, after Lincoln's assassination. The body of the Civil War president was brought to Cleveland and lay in state on Public Square before it was taken on to Springfield, Ill. for burial.

Mrs. Albaugh's grandfather, William Simmons, was a railway engineer and ran the engine which pulled the train carrying Lincoln's body from the Cleveland Union Depot to the Euclid Ave. station.

"I remember mother telling about how she helped drape Engine 40 and how she spent most of the day before making rosettes which were put on the engine," Mrs. Albaugh recalled.

"At one time we had the oval framed picture of Lincoln which they put on the front of the engine over the headlight."

A newspaper account of an interview with Mrs. Harvey in 1930 relates Mrs. Harvey's recollection of the sadness of an entire community as the body of Lincoln rested in state in Cleveland Public Square April 28, 1865.

"It was raining quietly – as though the skies were weeping for him," Mrs. Harvey said at that time.

According to the above article, Margaret Harvey, the woman who had seen Lincoln twice, passed away on Jan. 21, 1942. So it was easy to head back to the microfilm and see if her obituary was in the newspaper that week. I was curious; was her Lincoln connection important enough to mention in her obituary?

It was indeed. Here is her obituary (below) as it appeared on Jan. 23, 1942 in the Lorain Journal.


Mrs. Margaret Harvey 
Mother of Doctor

Mrs. Margaret Harvey, 90, who saw Abraham Lincoln as he passed thru Cleveland on his way to the inauguration at Washington, D.C., died yesterday at the home of her son, Dr. W. S. Baldwin, 1153 6th-st.

Mrs. Harvey, a resident of Lorain for 39 years, formerly lived in Cleveland. Her father, William Simmons, was engineer on the train that took Lincoln to Washington for the inauguration ceremony. After Lincoln's assassination, she viewed the body as it lay in state in Cleveland.

The Lorain woman was a member of the First Methodist church here.

Survivors besides the son, at whose home she died, include two daughters, Mrs. Nellie Albaugh, Lorain, and Mrs. Walter Mahla, McKeesport, Pa.: six grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. tomorrow at the Baldwin residence. Rev. A. I. Cox, pastor of the First Methodist church, will officiate and burial will be in Woodland cemetery, Cleveland, under the direction of Sidney B. Royce.

Friday, February 8, 2013

1956 Auto Show Motorama Queen and Runner-up Revealed

A few weeks ago I featured a full-page Lorain Journal ad for the Lorain City Automobile Dealers Association 1956 Auto Show. If you clicked on the ad and read some of the tiny type, you might have seen that one of the highlights of the event was the Coronation of the 1956 Auto Show Motorama Queen.

At the time of my post, I hoped no one would ask the name of the young lady who was crowned Queen, as I didn't know it. So naturally, someone (my brother) did.

So it was back to the dusty old microfilm at the library to find out.

As you can see from the caption for the photo above, the winner was a Lorain High School senior named Donna Marie Catalano of 313 W. 21st Street. Runner-up was Barbara Randolph of 334 Eight Street.

Now you know.

An article accompanying the photo described Miss Catalano as "an attractive brunette" and Miss Randolph as " a brown-haired beauty employed in the offices of the M. O'Neil Co."

Hopefully this post will extend the women's reign as 1956 Motorama Queen and Runner-up respectively a little longer in local memory.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ricci Tailors Ad – Jan. 12, 1956

Here's an ad for a landmark Downtown Lorain business: Ricci Tailors. It ran on January 12, 1956 in the Lorain Journal.

According to some information on a forum, the business dates back to around 1916 when D'Amico Ricci opened his tailor shop in Lorain. After his death in 1953, his son John "Al" Ricci took over the business.

The business closed after John Ricci passed away on January 11, 1996.

I had the privilege of owning a suit made by Ricci Tailors. When my senior year at Admiral King High School rolled around, my parents figured that there would be a lot of occasions for which I'd need a good suit. We bought a dark blue corduroy suit off the rack somewhere (Sears, think) for the colder months, but we went down to Ricci Tailors to have one made for the spring.

It was fun looking at the different fabrics. I'm not sure that I would pick the same material today: a lime green gabardine. But you have to remember, it was the era of the leisure suit (although I always wore a tie with that suit).

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Avon Pizza Hut Ad – Feb. 3, 1963

Here's an interesting ad from the Feb 3, 1963 edition of The Journal for Pizza Hut.

No, not that Pizza Hut – the one with more than 6,000 outlets in the U.S., and more than 5,000 in other countries. This is for an Avon pizzeria that just happened to have the same name.

(I blogged about this particular pizzeria before waaaay back here in 2009. I still don't know what their pizza's "big secret" is!)

A few years after the above ad appeared, the business was being called The Pizza Hut in its ads. Maybe the slight name change bought them a little time to coexist with the real Pizza Hut, which was invading Lorain County in the late 1960s. (You might remember that Sheffield Lake's Pizza Hut was the first in the area. Alas, it's gone now.)

Here's the former Avon Pizza Hut's former 37399 French Creek Road address today (below). It was a bar the last time I drove by there.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Feb. 5, 1963 Lorain Telephone Co. Ad

Listen up, husbands!

Although it's a little bit early for Valentine's Day, this vintage ad has a unique gift suggestion for the wife: a kitchen telephone.

The ad, which ran in the Lorain Journal on Feb. 5, 1963 – fifty years ago today – points out that with a kitchen phone, your wife can "visit, shop, take calls, and still tend to cooking and kids."

Ah, those were the days.

Thinking back, I remember that the main phone in the house on E. Skyline Drive my parents built in 1965 was in the kitchen more or less (and still is). But it was on the telephone desk – too far away for my Mom to be able to stir a big bowl of something and yak at the same time, though. There was also a phone in the basement on a table next to the dryer, which became the phone my brothers and I preferred to use when we were calling up girls.

However, there was nothing worse than finally getting up enough nerve to call a girl and then have Mom come down to throw in a load of laundry or something. Suddenly, what was already an awkward conversation would get even worse.

Kids – with their cell phones - will never know how good they have it.

Nowadays, I have phones all over my house – the kitchen, library, bedroom and basement – not to mention my cell phone, which I still think of as a car phone.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Meister Road Telephone Exchange Building Then & Now

This photo and caption from the January 3, 1956 Lorain Journal caught my eye recently while I was scrolling through microfilm at the library. (Click on it for a larger version.) Ever since I was a kid, I'd been curious about that small brick building at the southwest corner of Meister Road and Leavitt Road.

The 1956 article that accompanied the photo explained that the building was part of the company's expansion program due to the increasing number of customers in Lorain and around the county. The company anticipated adding about 2,250 new customers that year.

At the time of the photo, Lorain Telephone was laying conduits on Meister Road to house trunk lines from the new building to the main exchange.

When I went to shoot the "now" shot, I was fairly surprised to see how much the building itself had been expanded in the last 57 years. It just goes to show how you can drive by something for decades and not notice a change.

Anyway, here's the view that you would see today as you pulled out of the 7-11 convenience store onto Meister Road (below).

December 2012 view

Friday, February 1, 2013

1959 - Lorain's Weather Forecasting Groundhog

You've heard of Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog. But did you know that Lorain had its own groundhog prognosticator back in 1959?

The article below from the Feb. 2, 1959 Lorain Journal explains it all.

Groundhog Emulates Scrooge
Porky Prognosticator Proves Too Fearful for Forecasting

It looks as if Lorain just never will out-groundhog Punxsutawney, Pa.

Groundhog's Day dawned bright and clear here (a great day for shadows and all that), but for all Lorain's entry in the groundhog stakes seemed to care it might as well have been the Chinese New Year.

Each year Punxsutawney's porky prognosticator pokes his prying proboscis into the Great Outdoors, takes a quick glance over his shoulder and decides whether we'll have six more weeks of winter.

If he sees his shadow, winter is here to stay awhile. If he doesn't – Nellie fling wide the doors, for spring is here again.

Well, sir, this works fine in Punxsutawney.

So bright and early this find Groundhog's Day, The Journal looked up Lorain's own bonafide resident groundhog who happened to be owned by Tommy Zurnisky of 1522 W. 22nd St.

Would Tommy's groundhog join his fellow forecaster from Punxsutawney and give Lorainites a hint as to whether they should unplug their electric blankets?

He would not.

Would he stick his little snout out of his warm-as-toast cage just long enough for a fast picture – with or without shadow?

He would not.

Would he even answer a couple of questions on his opinion of Groundhog's Day?

He would not.

So that's the way it goes.

Christmas had its Scrooge.

Groundhog's Day has Lorain's own grumpy groundhog.

Bah! Humbug.

But maybe it's just as well. If he had deigned to saunter outside today he most certainly would have seen his shadow – and winter probably would have lasted until July.

As for Punxsutawney Phil that year, according to the official report in the Journal that same day, he "darn near froze to death." It was 10 below zero at Gobbler's Knob that day and the groundhog "poked his nose out and, as promptly, scurried back into his hole." Meaning six more weeks of winter.

Vintage postcard