Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas at O'Neil Sheffield Center – 1955

Here's a photo of one of the entrances to the O'Neil - Sheffield Center all decked out for Christmas 1955. (Sorry the photo is of such poor quality, but it was from newspaper microfilm – and it looked even more miserable before I cleaned it up.) I believe the entrance shown was at the western end of the shopping center off Route 254 at Lake Avenue, because you can see the silhouette of the O'Neil's store in the center of the photo.

The photo ran in The Lorain Journal on November 24, 1955. The caption read, "AND SANTA, TOO – Santa and his reindeer welcome the children – and their parents – to the shopping center for the Christmas season."

When I saw the familiar shape and typography of the small O'Neil sign in the photo, a flood of memories came back – especially of the larger O'Neil sign in front of the shopping center.

And lo and behold, while digging around the photo files yesterday at the Black River Historical Society – oops, I mean the Lorain Historical Society – I found an aerial view of the shopping center shortly after it opened. And there at the bottom of the photo was the large O'Neil sign that fronted on Route 254 (below).

The sign sure left an impression on me, because in my mind that shopping center – long since renamed and redeveloped – is still "O'Neil's."
And as a graphic designer, I still like the sign's contrast of an all-capital word centered above a word in a script font. I've probably used that motif subliminally in many designs over the years, due to the imprint the O'Neil sign made in my brain!


Anonymous said...

Love these old photos of O'Neil's, thanks for digging them up.

Mark Herman said...

Do you remember the animated Christmas window displays of that era? Photos of those would be neat.