|The bus shelter looks out onto Colorado Avenue (Route 611)|
Sandy from Sheffield Lake had a hunch that AAA (formerly the American Automobile Association) might have had something to do with its installation originally, and helpfully contacted them. The Safety Advisor for AAA East Central responded by suggesting that perhaps the shelters were built by schools or volunteers.
Since I remember seeing a lot of shelters that looked just like this in Central Ohio, however, I knew there had to be a reason they all looked alike. Perhaps there were standard construction plans for them (not unlike the bomb shelter plans that the U.S. government made available to its citizens)?
I didn't find any plans. But I did find the company who designed and built these shelters – and gives them away FREE to whoever wants one.
Moore Signs/Ohio Shelterall Inc. explained the whole story to me in an email. He recognized the shelter as probably being one that his company built and installed. "Our company was founded in Ohio in 1961 as a franchise out of Philadelphia, Pa," he noted. "There were other franchises that were started in the 60's – mostly eastern states. I think there were 17 franchises at one point and 4 or 5 still operate in PA, NJ, NY, CT, VT and MD."
"My father was the first employee hired to lease, sell advertising and install the shelters in Ohio. My parents later purchased the company in 1980. My brother Steve started in 1978 and I started in 1981. We bought the company in 1995."
Tom explained why I saw these types of shelters all over the countryside outside of Columbus in the late 1970s. "The reason you saw them when you were in Central Ohio was that our office is located in the Columbus area," he noted. "We currently have over 425 shelters in Ohio and parts of KY and WV. We also run a full service sign business that produces the signage for the sides in addition to retail sales."
Amazingly, Tom's company makes these shelters available free of charge.
"We still put them in for free to whoever uses them, there is no charge to the parents or schools."