Friday, March 21, 2014

Hialeah Tourist Court

Aerial view of the former Hialeah Tourist Court today, located at the east end of Pueblo Drive;
the red-roofed buildings at the top are what's left of the Hialeah property. It's not hard to imagine
that there were probably other buildings along the drive circling the Hialeah property.

Just a little to the east of Lorain Diner was Hialeah Tourist Court.

What's a tourist court? It was an early form of roadside lodging (also known as a tourist camp) that consisted of a few cabins that were for rent by tourists. Tourist courts were the predecessor to today's motels, which didn't really come into existence until after World War II.

There were several tourist courts and camps along U.S. 6 west of Lorain back in the 30s and 40s.

Anyway, the earliest listing I could find for Hialeah Tourist Court was in the 1939-40 Lorain City Directory, when it was known as Hialeah Cabins. The name associated with the business at that time was M. B. Glockle.

Slowly, the name of the business began to evolve. It appeared in the 1947 Lorain Phone book as Hialeah Tourist Camp. A few years later it became known as Hialeah Tourist Court.

1952 Lorain Phone Book listing
The Hialeah Tourist Court's owners in the 1950s and 60s were Ludwig "Tiny" Pincura and his wife Margaret.

It's easy to see that in the post-war era – when Americans and ex-GIs decided to hit the road and see the country – there were many business opportunities along busy "6 & 2," the main east-west highway in Lorain. During the late 40s and early 50s, several roadside lodgings and eateries popped up in that area.

The Hialeah Tourist Court seems to have been one of the first, predating its immediate neighbor, Beth-Shan Motel and Trailer Court.

Unfortunately, the widening of West Erie Avenue in the late 1950s resulted in several businesses – including the Hialeah – being stranded on Pueblo Drive, the short, bypassed stretch of the highway.

The Hialeah Tourist Court hung on until the mid-1960s. It even changed its name in the directories to Hialeah Court Motel in some of its last listings, before finally disappearing from the phone book and the city directory around 1966.

Today, the former Hialeah Tourist Court at 4015 Pueblo Drive remains largely hidden from view from U.S. Route 6 motorists. The house that the owners lived in is still there (at left), but it looks like any other residence.

Only a lone cabin (below) – sitting back from the road and peeking out from the trees – provides a hint of the property's roadside heritage as a refuge for weary travelers.

Incidentally, Mr. Pincura was a star football player at Lorain High and an athlete with many accomplishments; here's a link to his page on the Lorain Sports Hall of Fame website. He also served as a Lorain County Commissioner, retiring in 1976.

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