Friday, May 29, 2015

Vintage Travelodge Guest Pak

I bought this nifty Travelodge Guest Pak on Ebay a few years ago. Guest Pak Corp. in New York produced these boxes of toiletry samples for hotels and motels to give to their guests.

This Travelodge Guest Pak is nicely designed, with Sleepy Bear on the lid, along with an area where the motel could imprint their name. In this case, the motel is the Ontario Travelodge at 755 N. Euclid in Ontario, California.

Here's what the motel looked like (below).

The motel is still there today, but it's no longer part of the Travelodge chain.

So what's in the Travelodge Guest Pak? Let's open it up and find out. My medicine cabinet is short a few things, maybe I can save a trip to the drug store!
Hmmmm. Lots of forgotten brands and partially used samples.
• a two-ounce bottle of Lavoris (that is almost empty)
• a bottle of shampoo with no brand label – just directions on how to use it
• a bottle of Helene Curtis Conditioning Creme Rinse
• a little jar of Helene Curtis Suave Creme Hairdressing with Lanolin
• a bottle of Famel Syrup (for the relief of Coughs and Throat Irritations)
• a small tin of Stanback Analgesic Tablets
• a small plastic jar of Mum Deodorant with M-3
• an almost empty tube of Pacquins Hand Cream
• a tube of Ipana Toothpaste (with the marking NEW DESIGNS ADOPTED 1955)

On second thought, it's probably not a good idea to brush your teeth with 60-year-old toothpaste.

I'm fairly intrigued by some of the products. I wonder if the deodorant would still keep you dry? I guess Mum's the word on that.

Anyway, for more Guest Pak fun, another blogger (here) has some other samples.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Cleveland's Travelodge – Then & Now

I've blogged about the long-gone Elyria Travelodge on Route 57 (here), as well as Sleepy Bear, the Travelodge teddy bear mascot (here). So I'm a big fan of the motel chain, and have stayed at many of its outlets in the U. S. and Canada over the years.
I was surprised to discover that the chain once had a motel on W. 25th Street in Cleveland, just south of Detroit Road near Franklin. It's hard to imagine one there, since that area is not particularly tourist-friendly today. I guess in the 1950s it was a different story.

Anyway, here's a vintage Plain Dealer ad from August 26, 1958 announcing its opening.

And here's its matching matchbook.
Today the former motel is home to Cleveland's Transitional Housing, Inc. It provides homeless women with a safe environment, as well as programs and services that promote independence and self-sufficiency.
Here's my "now" shot of the converted Travelodge today (below). It looks pretty nice, and is a welcome change from how many old motel buildings look once they drop their affiliation with a major chain.
May 2015

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sheffield Middle School 1923-2015

The school year winds down this week for the students that attend the Sheffield-Sheffield Lake City School system. That also means that school's out forever for many of the aging buildings that will close when the new combined middle and high school open this fall.

With construction of the beautiful new school campus completed, it's an exciting time for the two communities that make up the school system. But it's also a time for melancholy feelings, as many of the old school buildings are to be demolished.

One of these structures that is slated to be torn down is the building that has housed the middle school for decades (after the new high school was built in the 1960s). The building was constructed in 1923 and began its scholastic life as Brookside School. It served as a K-12 school building until an elementary school was constructed about a decade later.

Appropriately, a simple, nostalgic message commemorating the school building's years of service appeared recently on the school's sign that faces eastbound traffic on Colorado Avenue.

I'm not sure if the newer addition to the building (below) is also scheduled to be demolished. 
Nevertheless, the middle school building has served the community well for almost a century. Hats off to the Sheffield-Sheffield Lake Board of Education for its wisdom and prudence in its efforts to ensure that our fine students continue to receive an excellent education in a modern environment for years to come.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Big Boy Revisited

The Big Boy outside the Port Clinton restaurant
Over the weekend, I found myself in Port Clinton around mealtime. Since that city is one of the few in Northern Ohio with a Big Boy restaurant, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to have one of their iconic double-decker sandwiches.

You might remember that back here, I explained how there are actually two competing Big Boy chains: Big Boy, which has a direct lineage to the original restaurant, and Frisch's Big Boy.

Frisch's originally was one of the largest franchisees of the Big Boy chain, and introduced the sandwich in Ohio. Manners Big Boy (in the Cleveland area) was a licensee of Frisch's.

Interestingly, in those early days, Frisch's had been granted permission to develop its own version of the Big Boy mascot. Frisch's version wasn't as, uh, fat as the original Big Boy character used in the rest of the country. He also wore a hat with the name of the franchisee. Consequently, Frisch's version was used by Manners and that's the Big Boy (at left) we grew up in Northern Ohio.

Over the years there were many other franchisees of the Big Boy name, including Shoney's and Eat'n Park. You might remember (if you ever visited Detroit or listened to CKLW in the 60s and 70s) that Elias Brothers was the franchisee in Michigan.
Today, Frisch's is a co-registrant of the Big Boy name and trademark along with the other chain. Frisch's has restaurants in Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Ohio – including the one in Port Clinton.

The sign outside the Port Clinton restaurant
It's interesting to me from a marketing perspective that the Port Clinton restaurant is a sort of hybrid between the two competing Big Boy brands. It's independently owned and operated by Bennett Enterprises as a Frisch's, and as a result uses Frisch's tasty tartar sauce on its Big Boys. It uses the Frisch's version of the mascot on its sign (at right). But the statue in front of its store, as well as the souvenir items sold inside are all of the chubbier version.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed my sandwich at the Port Clinton location. I just have to make sure that with all these Big Boys, Oh Boys and Texas Burgers that I've been inhaling lately that I don't end up looking like a burger mascot myself.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Chippewa Lake Park Ad – May 1964

Here's another vintage ad announcing the Memorial Day opening of a now long-gone Northern Ohio amusement park: Chippewa Lake Park. It ran in the Lorain Journal on May 22, 1964.

According to this Wiki entry, Chippewa Lake Park was in operation from 1878 to 1978.

It began as a simple picnic grounds adjacent to a beautiful lake, and with the addition of a roller coaster and boat ride, became an amusement park. It thrived during the 1920s and was still a popular choice for families right into the 60s and 70s. It finally closed without fanfare in 1978, due to competition from Cedar Point and Geauga Lake.

Unlike other amusement parks that closed, however, its rides were not sold and the land immediately redeveloped. Chippewa Lake Park apparently was just left to deteriorate for more than 30 years. It became a favorite documentary subject of filmmakers who contrasted the decaying park rides and structures with photos and footage of the park in its heyday.

Here's one of those short documentaries that are fairly common on YouTube. This one is pretty creative, with some great clips and now-and-then photo dissolves.

I don't remember my family ever going to Chippewa Lake Park. It was one of those things I remember hearing Captain Penny mention on his TV show, but we were strictly a Cedar Point family.
I remember driving out to Chippewa Lake Park in the 1980s and taking some pictures of the sign and the roller coaster. But that was in the pre-digital camera days, so it's gonna take some digging for me to find those shots.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Crystal Beach Park 40th Anniversary Ad – May 28, 1947

Crystal Beach Park in Vermilion first opened on Decoration Day (later renamed Memorial Day) 1907. Thus, the 40th Anniversary of the park was a big event, and was heralded in this ad, which appeared in the Lorain Journal on May 28, 1947.

The ad is a nice snapshot of all the rides and attractions that Crystal Beach offered at that time: Crystal Thriller, Tumblebug, Dodgem, Rocket Ship, Merry Go Round, Loop A Plane, Caterpillar, Miniature Railway, Kiddie Rides, Ponies and Miniature Golf.

Amusements listed in the ad included a Fun House, a Shooting Gallery, Bingo, Dart Game, Balloon Bust, and a Fish Pond.

Crystal Beach Park was well known for the popular Big Bands that performed there. Upcoming bands listed in the 1947 ad include Frankie Masters, Stan Kenton (one of my father's favorites), Carmen Cavallaro and Vaughn Monroe.

For a really terrific history of Crystal Beach Park that includes many wonderful photos and postcards, be sure to visit this link on Rich Tarrant's Vermilion Views website. Crystal Beach Park has been a regular topic on the Vermilion Views website over the years, so if you type in "Crystal Beach" in the search box at the bottom of the page, it will bring up the links of additional posts that mention it.

Courtesy Ebay
Drew Penfield has a nice history of Crystal Beach Park on the first page of the Vermilion section of his Lake Shore Rail Maps website, including some great photos.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Rigbee's Bargain Town Ad – May 21, 1964

Here's a vintage ad for Rigbee's Bargain Town that ran in the Lorain Journal on May 21, 1964 – 51 years ago today.

The ad caught my eye because of the 99 cent Beatle dolls. But more on that later in this post.

Rigbee's Bargain Town at 852 Broadway (across from the post office) was the successor  to Rigbee's Kiddieland at the same address. Both companies have their roots in the Rigbee Company, which was based in Elyria and run by the Evenchik family.

The company seemed to evolve over the years. In the 1925-26 Elyria City Directory, it was called Rig-Bee Supply Company and specialized in auto accessories. J. A. Evenchik was the manager. Through the years, the popular store at its longtime home in the 500 block on Broad Street eventually added electrical supplies, hardware and toys to its product selection.

By the early 1950s, the business had expanded into Lorain with Rigbee's Kiddieland, run by Harvey Evenchik. The store specialized in baby toys and furniture.

By 1964, the Lorain store had taken the Rigbee's Bargain Town name, and Harvey Evenchik was joined at the store by Isadore Baer, who was co-manager. Strangely enough, the store reverted back to its Kiddieland name around 1968. It also moved to 663 Broadway.

Rigbee's Kiddieland in Lorain made it into the 1970s with a new manager (Shirley A. Frey) before the company disappeared from the city directory in the 1971 edition. The Elyria store (which by that time was managed by Marvin Evenchik) had already closed in 1969.

Courtesy iGavel Auctions
Now back to those Beatle dolls in the ad.

The popular dolls were manufactured by Remco. Each Beatle was about 4 3/4 inches tall, and came with a plastic instrument with his name on it (which the doll's owner would usually lose).

My sister and two brothers and I each had one of those Beatle dolls. I had good old Ringo – whose cartoon likeness provided so much of the comic relief on those Beatles TV cartoons that we watched regularly on Saturday mornings.

Anyway, since my siblings and I each had a favorite Beatle, we were doomed to be associated with that particular Beatle in perpetuity. This resulted in lots of ribbing later in the 1960s, as the Beatles lost their clean cut image in favor of the hippie look, and certain members of the Fab Four began getting into trouble with the law for drug possession.
As time went on, my brothers and I eventually turned our fairly beat-up Beatle dolls over to our older sister so that she would have a complete set. She'd been the big Beatle fan anyway, owning and playing the albums that provided a sort of soundtrack for my early childhood years.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Lorain County Speedway Vintage Ads

Here are a few vintage ads for Lorain County Speedway. The above ad ran in the July 3, 1958 Lorain Journal.

The ad below is from the May 14, 1964 Lorain Journal – 51 years ago this month.
According to various online sources, the auto racing track opened in 1949 as a 1/3 of a mile dirt oval, and was paved between the 1960 and 1961 racing seasons.

The Morning Journal has a nice article online by Jon Wysochanski (here) that provides a history of Lorain County Speedway, as well as Summit Motorsports in Norwalk. The article includes interviews with the people currently involved with the operation of both area tracks.

Here's an aerial view of Lorain County Speedway, courtesy of Bing Maps.

Be sure to visit the Lorain County Speedway website to learn about upcoming promotional events.

I haven't been out to the Speedway since the 1980s; maybe it's time for a visit!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Workshop Players Part 2

While doing a little research on Workshop Players, I found a few early clippings and articles that might be of interest to fans of the acting troupe. (Click on each for a larger, readable version.)

As you remember from yesterday's post, the origin of the Workshop Players was a group of Clearview High School students who wished to continue to present plays even after their high school graduation. The Lorain Journal had a small article in its August 19, 1947 edition about their very first play.

By 1951, Workshop Players had not yet moved to their current home in the former one room schoolhouse on Middle Ridge Road. Here's an article from the Amherst News-Times (below) from that era highlighting Jean Schaeffer's role in The Valiant.

May 4, 1951 article
Here's a pair of articles from December 1952 from the Amherst News-Times. The first one is about the one-act Christmas plays that the group was presenting for the holidays, and the second mentions the upcoming move to the Middle Ridge location.
December 12, 1952 article
December 19, 1952 article
By 1953, Workshop Players were in their new home. Here is a small promotional article (below) about their upcoming play, Ladies in Retirement that appeared on the front page of the April 24, 1953 Amherst News-Times. The photo features Bunny Ross and Duane Hinds.
April 24, 1953 article
Here's a front page 1955 article (below) from the Amherst News-Times of January 28, 1955 about the upcoming production of Would-Be Gentleman. The photo features Bill Penton in his role as Mr. Jourdain, and Dan Strauss as the Son of a Grand Turk.
Bill Penton also enjoyed some publicity for his acting career in the April 1955 issue of American Motorcycling. The article below mentions that the 1954 National Jack Pine Champion probably was making his last stage appearance for a while because "Uncle Sammy slated him to play a role in the armed forces."

Monday, May 18, 2015

Workshop Players Part 1

Workshop Players Theater – May 2015
I've driven by and admired the theater home (above) of Workshop Players for a long time. So, I figured it was long overdue for me to find out something about the history of the acting group, as well as their theater building.

Hickory Tree Grange Hall today
Ernie Henes' Looking Back on Lorain County (1978) has a short article about Workshop Players. It reads, "A 1948 Clearview High School drama teacher, Valerie Jenkins, launched Lorain County's first community theater, The Workshop Players, Inc. Her students that year presented a one-act Christmas play for various groups. They became so interested they decided to continue stage work. They found a temporary home in Amherst's Hickory Tree Grange Hall in 1949 and in 1953 moved to the century old one-room schoolhouse on Middle Ridge Road. They presented plays of excellent quality and in the years following entertained several thousand persons."

Some information about the building can be found on the Workshop Players website. It states, "The current home of Workshop Players is the one-room school house on Middle Ridge Rd. in Amherst Township. The original school house was a wooden frame structure built in 1876. When the current sandstone building was erected in 1898, the wooden school house was dragged down the Ridge to its current location at the corner of Middle Ridge and Hidden Valley. Our stone building was used as a school until 1951. Surprisingly, some of our current patrons actually attended school in this building!! In the fall of 1952 Workshop began remodeling the interior of the building and the first show at this Middle Ridge location was FIVE TRAVELING MEN in February of 1953."

The Amherst News-Times ran a great article on April 4, 1988 to celebrate the Workshop Players' 40th anniversary. It included a comprehensive history of the theater group. Here it is as it appeared in the newspaper (below).

Players celebrate 40 years
Players Workshop Players, Inc. counts its years from the 1948-49 season in which they adopted a constitution. However, the original incentive of this group really started when active dramatics students from Clearview High School approached their director, Valerie Jenkins, about forming a group to present plays. These students were very interested in all phases of theatre and disliked facing their forced inactivity after high school graduation.
It was their great enthusiasm at a meeting in the spring of 1947 that persuaded their dramatics director to consent to presenting a play the following summer. That first meeting was held at the home of Waite Staller's parents on North Ridge Road. 
The result of that meeting was a proscenium production of a comedy, "Western Union, Please" by Hackett and Goodrich in the Clearview High School Auditorium on August 19, 1947. Those involved in that first venture were Frances Gluvna, Jim Mason, Mary Hoch Rebman, Robert Lenhard, Rosemary Montagnese, Robert Amstutz, Waite Staller, Gerry Staller, Hazelle Perkins, Nola Jean Waters, Dorothy Yurovich, Alvira Grell, Steve Hodovan, Sam Marotta and Rosa Perkins. Only one performance was presented.
By November of 1948 a board of eight members was established. Rather substantial plans were make for the future. So much time and effort had gone into the establishment of the group that there was no time for a full-length production before the holidays. A one-act Christmas play, "The Small One," was prepared and performed twelve times at various organizations throughout the area. These performances took place mostly in private homes and church basements. 
One of the problems confronting the group was the construction and storage of scenery. The director's association with Gerald Marans of Karamu in Cleveland prompted the idea of an arena theatre. It occurred to her that this might solve the scenery problem along with being a unique style for local audiences.
A location for such a performance was the next hurdle to conquer. Before long the Hickory Tree Grange was rented for two performances of the play, "Smilin’ Through," by Allen Langdon Martin. On January 31, 1949 prior to the opening night, Dr. Roy Schaeffer of Amherst who had attended school with the director, and his wife Jean were invited to the preview performance. Shortly thereafter Jean Schaeffer joined the group and became an active member, trustee and promoter of the Workshop Players.
Of the early founding members and charter members only Yvonne Alford, Jean Schaeffer and Valerie Jenkins remain members. 
Honorary membership was established for distinguished persons in the theatre who had taken an interest in Workshop. Of these Gerald Marans was the first to be named followed by a succession of playwrights, performers and special friends. 
The first constitution stated that the name of the organization be called the County Workshop Players because players from all over the county were welcome to take part. 
The purpose of the organization as stated in the constitution "is to promote a larger measure of interest and appreciation for dramatic art through production of worthwhile entertainment and to make available to its members an outlet for artistic appreciation and effort. The aim shall be to serve the communities of Lorain county and the surrounding area in the field of drama and its related arts to the best of its ability by making available programs which are high in character as well as in entertainment value."
The usual problems of any new group were also a part of Workshop Players early years.
A problem unique to the early players was one of space. They rehearsed in private homes until the week of the performance and then moved all props and furniture on Sunday to the Grange Hall on Milan Avenue in Amherst.
In the second season three performances of each production were given instead of two. By 1953 there were four performances of each show and they kept increasing every few years until in 1976 there were twelve showings of each production. The number has now been reduced to seven.
In 1951 the second floor of The Party Shop, then known as Kline's Beverage on the corner of South Main Street and Tenney Avenue in Amherst, was offered to the players as a rehearsal and meeting hall. 
In 1952 the late Superintendent F. R. Powers suggested that the one-room school on Middle Ridge would be available. This sandstone structure, built in 1898 which was no longer going to be used by the board of education was found to be satisfactory for the needs of the group. It provided an opportunity to rehearse and perform in the same location and thus would improve the quality of their work.
The new location required much work.
Lighting seemed to be the first obstacle. General fluorescent lights were used in the school room and these are unacceptable for performance lighting. One small transformer and six spotlights had been purchased for the first production, but these were not sufficient for the effects desired. One more transformer was added and two more spotlights, a far cry from the twenty-six to thirty lights and light board now in operation.
The second improvement to be made was acquiring real theatre seats from the abandoned Globe Theatre on Madison Avenue in Cleveland. These replaced the folding chairs borrowed from a local funeral home. Bill Penton assisted by Roy Schaeffer and other men from the theatre built risers to which the new seats were bolted. The basement of the one-room school had one coal bin, two restrooms and a coal-burning furnace.
When overhead heating ducts were installed by Gene Ross, the single register in the middle of the acting area was converted to a trap door. This has provided many convenient and interesting stage effects.
Drinking water was taken to the theatre in jugs by the actors, a practice abandoned when a water line was installed.
The small theatre on Middle Ridge Road in Amherst Township is located between Oberlin Road that goes toward North Ridge and the section of Oberlin Road that goes to Route 113. Seating capacity is 100-107 depending on the demands of the production.
Workshop Players is the oldest arena theatre in the area and now that we are celebrating the fortieth season of continuous performing it can also claim to be the oldest community theatre in Lorain County. As part of this celebration beautiful new seats were installed in September, carpeting was added, and the acting area was widened. The project was financed through the generosity of friends' and members' generous contributions.
To complete a celebration year, the Workshop Players, Inc. is attempting to locate addresses for everyone who acted or did backstage work in these forty seasons. There will be a banquet on May 15 to culminate the year's activities.
It will be an evening for reminiscing and celebration.

Next: Clippings from the early years

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Ernst's Frozen Custards Ad – May 1948

Do you prefer real ice cream or frozen custard? For many years, anyone looking for an ice cold dairy treat on a hot day had to make that choice. (Actually, real frozen custard made with eggs is fairly hard to find these days.)

But back when the above ad ran in the Lorain Journal on May 27, 1948, it appears that frozen custard was the trendy choice. The ad was announcing the grand opening of Millie and Bob Ernst's Frozen Custards stand at Kiddieland.

What, you've never heard of Kiddieland? Neither had I. But it was located at the southeast corner of Colorado Avenue and Henderson Drive.

Kiddieland first appeared in the Lorain phone book in the 1947 edition. (In the back of the book it was listed under "Amusements.") It was also in the 1948 edition, as Kiddieland Park, but disappeared by the time of the 1949 book.

The ad also notes that the Mills Master Freezer used to manufacture the frozen custards was installed by the Chestnuts. R. L. and Charlotte Chestnut had a refrigeration sales and service company at 928 Broadway in Lorain.

Anyway, the ad is fairly amusing. Much like the 1952 ad for Sheffield Lake's Dutch Treat that I posted back here, this ad includes both a photo of a creepy little girl (actually, just her disembodied head with a puckered expression) and clip art of a little boy. Strangely enough, the Beaver Cleaver lookalike is shown eating a cone with real ice cream.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Rancho Pillow Motel

I had this postcard for Rancho Pillow Motel for years before I decided to drive out to Sandusky to see if it was still around. The motel is still there, with a new name, located one block east of the entrance to Cedar Point.
Rancho Pillow was apparently named for an old tune recorded by Gene Autry, as well as the Andrew Sisters. The lyrics quite naturally conjure up tranquil images:
Oh, how I love my rancho pillow
Ay-yaaaay I do.
I count my sheep on rancho pillow
While rounding up a dream or two.
Halfway between old Amarillo
And heavens blue
I lay me down on rancho pillow
While twinkling stars play peek-a-boo.
To match the western motif of the song, Rancho Pillow's sign had a great illustration of a cowboy riding a huge pillow like it was a bucking bronco. 
1955 ad from the Sandusky City Directory
The cowboy can also be seen on the motel's matchbook.
The Rancho Pillow Motel is quite different now. 
Besides being renamed the South Shore Inn, another floor has been added to the original motel structure, as well as a huge modern addition. The number of rooms has increased from 24 to 100, and the motel now features Jacuzzis, high-speed Internet data ports, meeting rooms and a full service restaurant and pub.
Here is the matching "now" shot (below) of the motel that corresponds to the vintage postcard.
2007 View
The pool area shown on the vintage postcard is now a picnic area. Here is the "now" shot (below).
2007 View
Back in 2007, I visited the South Shore Inn to find out about the history of the motel, and to show the owners the vintage postcard. (I was doing "then and nows" back then for my employer's company newsletter.) 
Before I even uttered a word, a member of the family let out an excited yell upon seeing the postcard in my hand. Soon I had several family members surrounding me, fascinated that I had driven all the way there just to see if the motel was still in business.
I was given a brief history. The current owners had purchased the motel from the original owners back in the 1960s. In the mid-1980s, they decided to modernize the motel and change the name. Interestingly, they said that they probably should have kept the original name, since “Rancho Pillow” was a much more memorable name. They also showed me a framed display in the lobby with several artifacts and photos from Rancho Pillow days.
Of course, I donated the postcard to their collection as I had scanned it already.
Are you wondering what the Rancho Pillow tune sounded like? Wonder no more! Here's the Andrews Sisters' version.
UPDATE (May 21, 2023)
Here's an even older vintage postcard of the Rancho Pillow Motel.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tom Mix Gallops Into Lorain – May 1934

Did you know that a big screen movie cowboy once paid a visit to Lorain?

It's true, pardner – but no, it wasn't John Wayne. As the article above (which appeared in the Lorain Journal and Times-Herald on Friday, May 18, 1934) notes, Tom Mix came to Lorain as part of Sam B. Dill's three-ring circus by way of Cleveland on May 23, 1934.

Tom Mix had been a real cowboy, working on ranches in the Oklahoma Territory (according to this Wiki entry). One of the ranches where he worked had its own Wild West show. Tom Mix appeared in it, demonstrating his skills as a horseman and expert shot.

He began his silent film career in 1909, and continued to make more than 160 cowboy films throughout the 1920s. His horse Tony became just as well-known.

Tom Mix appeared in a handful of talkies, but due to injuries decided to wrap up his movie career. That's when he decided to launch a new endeavor.

According to the book The Amazing Tom Mix: The Most Famous Cowboy of the Movies by Richard D. Jensen, Tom formed a circus act called the Tom Mix Roundup and signed up with the Sam B. Dill Circus in January 1934. His troupe (consisting of Tom and his wild west cowboys and rodeo clowns) gave its first performance on April 20, 1934. Consequently, the show was still pretty new when it appeared in Lorain in May 1934.

Tom Mix later purchased Sam Dill's circus and operated it himself for a few years.

My father was a big Tom Mix fan, which makes sense to me now since he was born in 1921. Plus, his father operated the Dreamland Theater for several years in the 1920s, so Dad spent many Saturday afternoons watching movies.

Dad told me once that he had seen Tom Mix and his horse Tony when he appeared in Lorain. Perhaps he caught this May 1934 show.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Log Cabin Inn in Bay View

While researching old Ohio cabin camps recently, I came across this vintage postcard (above) of Log Cabin Inn, which according to the postcard was located on Route 2, 7 miles west of Sandusky. (I recognized it immediately as the forerunner to Angry Trout Restaurant in Bay View, which the spouse and I had visited once in the 1990s.)

Here's a vintage ad from the 1958 Sandusky City Directory (below).

I also found a later postcard of Log Cabin Inn, which supposedly dates from the 1960s (below).

Since it'd been a while since I was out in Bay View, I wasn't sure if the Angry Trout was still in business or if some other restaurant had taken over.
Apparently the property had been for sale at some point, since still has a photo (below) of the restaurant from its days as Angry Trout Restaurant. It lists the building as being built in 1929.
Anyway, the main reason for my visit to Bay View on Friday was to grab a photo of it for an easy "then and now" post. Imagine my surprise when, after driving back and forth along the main drag a few times, I finally realized the building was gone (below).
My photo roughly approximates the view on the 1960s postcard. You can recognize some of the same trees and houses.
So what happened? I'm guessing that the building didn't sell, and it was easier to demolish it than continue to maintain it. There were some online mentions of the place getting a little weedy in 2012, and another blog mentions that it was already an empty lot by October 2014.
If you'd like to know a little bit more about Log Cabin Inn and the people who ran it, be sure to visit this link on the Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay blog. Dorene (who writes the blog) has a personal connection with Log Cabin Inn: her Aunt Bertie was a co-owner and operator of the restaurant for twenty-four years.
The always interesting Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay blog uses the genealogical and historical information gleaned from grave markers and tombstones to shed light on unsung individuals and local history.

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Visit to Bay View

Over the weekend, I took a drive out to Bay View, a small community located just west of Sandusky on what used to be Ohio State Route 2 in the old days. It's a cool little place with throwback charm that seems frozen in time – my kind of destination.

Lake Erie Vacationland in Ohio (1941), one of the travel guides compiled by the Ohio Writers' Program of the Works Projects Administration, described it like this:
BAY VIEW, 7.4 m. (about 200 pop.) is a resort community at the southern approach to the Bay Bridge. It has cottages, restaurants, boat liveries, bait and camping facilities. Fishing is good near the bridge.
State 2 crosses Sandusky Bay over the BAY BRIDGE (toll 25c), a State-owned span that links the Ottawa peninsula to the southern mainland, and eliminates a 30-mile detour. Including the approaches, the bridge has an over-all length of 10, 411 feet. It was put up in 1929 and operated as a private toll bridge until 1936. From its center the traveler can see Sandusky, Cedar Point, the Marblehead promontory, Johnson's Island and much of the 18-mile-long bay.
In the mid-1960s, the Bay Bridge was replaced by the Thomas A. Edison Memorial Bridge, which siphoned off the Route 2 tourist traffic from Bay View. Nevertheless, the community survives, probably because of its wonderful location overlooking Sandusky Bay.

You can still find seasonal lodging for the night at several motels in town. You can also rent a cottage at Driftwood Cottages and enjoy its private beach.

There's several places to enjoy a good meal as well, including Terry's Tavern, and the Bay Bell Restaurant.
Tomorrow, I'll talk about the reason why I visited Bay View: a quest for a then-and-now photo that wasn't meant to be.