Friday, July 31, 2015

It’s 103rd O.V.I. Camp Week, Campers!

Although the above vintage postcards – from the book Lorain: The Real Photo Postcards of Willis Leiter – provide a tranquil look at the grounds of the 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, in actuality the property will be teeming with life beginning this weekend.

Campweek 2015, the organization’s annual weeklong celebration for its members starts Saturday, August 1. This wonderful tradition dates back to 1866, when the Union soldiers of the 103rd decided to hold a yearly reunion to renew their friendships forged during the Civil War.
I’ve written about the 103rd O.V.I.’s reunion several times, including this post that provides a brief history of the organization, as well as offering a look back at the reunion held in 1933. 
This post featured a few vintage postcards. But if you would like to see an excellent selection of postcards related to the 103rd O.V.I., then be sure to get a copy of the book Lorain: The Real Photo Postcards of Willis Leiter that I mentioned above. It has a whole chapter of rarely-seen real photo postcards of the veterans themselves and the O.V.I. property on East Lake Road in Sheffield Lake.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The History of U.S. Route 6

By now you’re well aware that U.S. Route 6 is the Grand Army of the Republic Highway. But did you know it has another historical designation and is named for a famous president?

You can find out all about it in this article I wrote for the July 2009 issue of the Black Swamp Trader & Firelands Gazette. It appears here courtesy of that publication.

U.S. 6: A Historical Highway by Any Name
By Dan Brady
Many famous American highways have their fans and enthusiasts. There are associations, clubs and websites devoted to the Lincoln Highway, the National Road and the much-celebrated U.S. 66. But here in northern Ohio, we have an often-overlooked transcontinental U.S. highway that enjoys not one but two historical designations. We know the road as U.S. 6, but it also goes by two other names: the Roosevelt Highway and the Grand Army of the Republic Highway. Let’s look back at how U.S. 6 started out on the road to fame.
In the early days of motoring, various private trail associations developed the nation’s first interstate highways by erecting signs to promote their sponsored routes, such as the Dixie Highway and the National Old Trails Road. Eventually, there were hundreds of these named trails and, with many of the routes overlapping, it began to get confusing for the motorists.
Finally, in 1925 the federal government devised a standardized numbering system that would replace the named roads. Major east-west routes would be assigned numbers ending in zero, from U.S. 10 in the north to U.S. 90 in the south. North-south routes would be numbered odd from east to west, and minor east-west roads would be numbered even from north to south.
With this system in mind, it’s obvious that U.S. 6 was not planned as a major east-west road. It was conceived originally as a short route between Providence, Massachusetts and Brewster, New York. But as roads were improved, highway officials began to extend U.S. 6 on the map until by 1927 it stretched across Pennsylvania.
Vintage Brochure
(Dan Brady Collection)
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania had already designated the road that would become U.S. 6 as the Roosevelt Highway back in 1923, to honor President Theodore Roosevelt. Through the promotional efforts of the Roosevelt Highway Association, U.S. 6 would retain its Roosevelt Highway name after the new numbering system was in place. In fact, the Roosevelt Highway Association envisioned a coast-to-coast highway to rival the Lincoln Highway, and lobbied for additional extensions across Ohio and to the West.
By 1931, U.S. 6 was extended to Denver, Colorado. In January 1937, with the extension of the highway from Denver to Los Angeles, U.S. 6 became a transcontinental route and the longest U.S. highway at that time. The coast-to-coast Roosevelt Highway was consequently promoted as “the scenic way from the Atlantic to the Pacific” in brochures that included attractions such as Yosemite National Park and Ohio’s own Cedar Point.
Even before U.S. 6 had achieved its status as a coast-to-coast highway, it had attracted the attention of two Civil War organizations, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), comprised of veterans of the Union forces, and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW). The SUVCW had hoped to name a memorial highway to honor the fallen Union soldiers, and U.S. 6 was an appealing choice as it extended across the country.
And so, in 1934 Major William L. Anderson of the U.S. Army proposed designating U.S. 6 as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway. Each of the fourteen U.S. 6 states was asked to act on the proposal, and over time all of the states passed legislation to officially adopt the name. Uniquely shaped highway signs with the star-shaped GAR insignia were erected in all of the states.
On May 3, 1953, a formal dedication of the Grand Army of the Republic Highway took place in Long Beach, California with service organizations including the SUVCW in attendance. A monument was placed in front of the Municipal Auditorium “in memory of the heroic services and unselfish devotion of the Union Soldiers, sailors and marines who laid down their lives on the altar of sacrifice during the Civil War.”
Today, the Grand Army of the Republic Highway designation appears to be making a comeback, with old and new signs found in all fourteen states. In Ohio, Sheffield Lake has one sign in the original design and Andover has two signs at the village square identifying the route.
Although its Roosevelt Highway designation is not well known except in Pennsylvania, U.S. 6 remains the Grand Army of the Republic Highway officially in Ohio and across the country, keeping alive the memory of those who fought to preserve the Union.

Vintage Brochure
(Dan Brady Collection)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sheffield Lake’s Original G.A.R. Highway Sign

Sheffield Lake’s current G.A.R. Highway sign,
located near the entrance to the boat launch
Seeing Lorain’s brand new replica Grand Army of the Republic highway signs reminded me that as recently as the early 1990s, Sheffield Lake still had one of the originals.

A 1980s article in the Chronicle-Telegram by Frank Aleksandrowicz provided a capsule history of the signs and even mentioned the one in Sheffield Lake that had somehow survived. The article, entitled "Grand Army Highway Has Its Own Story to Tell" stated, “In 1942 the G.A.R. National Convention adopted a design for the uniform highway sign and the sons continued to carry out their fathers' plan.

“They urged State Highway authorities to place and maintain the approved signs on both sides of the highway at not more than five-mile intervals. A white background with blue lettering and G.A.R. insignia and a red numeral were proposed.

“Original signs were made with baked enamel on metal and later replaced with aluminum markers as theft and vandalism occurred. The markers now are few.

“Ohio has one visible sign in the original pattern in Sheffield Lake, with the G.A.R. insignia missing.”

I first remember seeing that G.A.R. sign on E. Lake Road back in the mid-1970s. It became sort of a landmark to me whenever I drove through Sheffield Lake.

And then suddenly, it was gone.

I made a few calls to Sheffield Lake City Hall to find out what happened to it. I was told that the sign had been loaned to Vermilion so that the city could make some copies.

About a year or so later, I noticed that Vermilion did indeed have brand new G.A.R. highway signs installed near its park on Route 6. But Sheffield Lake's sign was not back up in its familiar spot.

So I called Sheffield Lake City Hall again and asked about the original G.A.R. sign. “I don’t know anything about that,” the person on the phone admitted to me.

Later that year, several of those newly-minted G.A.R. Highway signs sprouted along Route 6 in Sheffield Lake. One sign was posted by the park (now the boat launch) where Lake Breeze meets Lake Road, and the other was installed by Erie Shores Park at Abbe Road and Lake Road.

I eventually found out through someone at City Hall that the original sign had been vandalized (it was missing its insignia), and that’s why it wasn’t put back up.

It has been many years since all this happened in the early 1990s. The replica sign at Abbe Road has since been removed. The sign by Lake Breeze eventually became faded, so a replacement sign was installed.

But that original G.A.R. Highway sign that somehow managed to survive for decades along U.S. Route 6 in Sheffield Lake is long-gone.

Despite the loss of that vintage sign, Sheffield Lake’s legacy as a Grand Army of the Republic Highway city endures, and complements Lorain’s recent participation.

In addition to the sign near the boat launch seen at the top of this post, another G.A. R. sign is appropriately posted in Sheffield Lake on the private grounds of the 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry at the east end of town, not far from where that original sign was posted.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Lorain’s G.A.R. Signs

Lorain’s beautiful new G.A.R. Highway
sign on E. Erie near Century Park
I was pretty happy when I read in the Morning Journal that a Grand Army of the Republic Highway sign has been installed on E. Erie near Century Park by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War James A. Garfield Camp No. 142 and the Ohio Naval Brigade.

There's also a second sign in Lorain out on West Erie Avenue, just east of the former Ford plant on the south side of the road.

In case you missed the story, here is the link to the article by Ron Vidika that ran in the Journal back on June 17 before the sign was dedicated. It explains the history behind the signs and features some quotes by Peter Hritsko, Lorain, Camp Commander of the James A. Garfield Camp No. 142. (I know Peter from both Masson Junior High and Admiral King High School, where we both graduated in 1977.)

Peter was appointed Grand Army of the Republic highway officer in 2009, and obviously is doing a great job.

I don’t recall Lorain ever having a G.A.R. sign before, so the new signs are pretty exciting. It’s also quite appropriate for the hometown of General Quincy A. Gillmore.

Lorain’s other G.A.R. Highway sign,
on W. Erie Avenue just east of Baumhart Road

Monday, July 27, 2015

Palace Cartoon Show – July 12, 1957

Today is Bugs Bunny's 75th Birthday, so it's a good time to post this ad featuring great artwork of "that Oscar-winning rabbit." The ad is for an upcoming special children's matinee at the Palace theater in Lorain, and ran in the Lorain Journal on July 12, 1957 – 58 years ago this month.

It's nice to be reminded that there was a time when all it took to make children happy in the summer was Bugs Bunny cartoons, Three Stooges and Little Rascal movie shorts and an Abbott & Costello feature film.

While Baby Boomers grew up on a steady diet of the above, I'm sure today's children either have never heard of them, or know them only from crummy revivals (like the Three Stooges movie of a few years ago or the wretched, unfunny talkfest called The Looney Tunes Show.

And more's the pity.

Rice Krispies Marshmallow Treats

The current box of the prepackaged ones
I’m not quite done writing about Rice Krispies yet. I almost forgot to mention one of the main reasons I buy them.

Homemade Rice Krispies Treats are a big favorite in our house.

I make'em when I have the time, and buy'em when I'm lazy. Store-bought or homemade, they don't last very long. In fact, we usually polish off a whole batch of them in two days!

I still remember that when I was a kid in the 1960s, they were called Marshmallow Treats in the commercials – and that Snap, Crackle and Pop would bribe you to make them.

That's right. If you sent in the refund form off the box, and the requested label from the marshmallow package, the elfin trio would send you a quarter just for using up some of their cereal, and hastening the need for Mom to buy some more.

Here’s a 1965 magazine ad (below) with the 25 cents offer. It also features the original, less healthy (but tastier) Treats recipe that used more butter and less cereal.

As often as I make Treats now, I don’t remember ever making them as a kid. I guess something made with cereal and melted marshmallows just didn’t fit in with the more ambitious cookies and bars Mom regularly made.

(You might notice that at the bottom of the 1965 ad it says, “A Nancy Sasser Suggestion.” "Buy-Lines" by Nancy Sasser was a weekly syndicated newspaper column for homemakers. It was all about shopping and featured “new and interesting” products and suggestions.)

Here’s the same basic Treats ad from 1970.

Here's a later ad from December 1974 that ran in the Joplin Globe. Apparently Snap, Crackle and Pop were feeling the effects of the recession; now their bribe was in the form of a coupon and was worth one thin dime!

Just for comparison, here are a few more vintage ads featuring the Treats recipe. This one (below) appeared in a Canadian newspaper in 1941.

And here’s one from the days when Woody Woodpecker was the manic spokes-bird for Rice Krispies.

I don’t know how your Treats turn out when you make them, but I must be using the wrong pan or something. Mine end up very flat compared to the Treats shown in the ads, which would seem to make fine pavers.

Friday, July 24, 2015

His "Pop" Wrote the Rice Krispies Song

I received an email back in mid-May from Nels Winkless.

While that name may not ring a bell with you, as soon as I saw his name as the sender, I was excited. That's because one of my earlier blog posts had mentioned his father, N. B. Winkless, Jr. and his work at Leo Burnett Co., the advertising agency that's had the Kellogg breakfast cereals.

N. B. Winkless, Jr. joined the Leo Burnett agency in August 1957. As a creative director, he was responsible for much of what was seen in the Kellogg commercials on those early days of television.

One of his many accomplishments was composing the beloved "Rice Krispies Song." Here's the commercial that I believe introduced the jingle.

Here's another early one, one of the few where Snap, Crackle and Pop sing the whole thing straight without getting interrupted.

Here's another version – the one I remember from when I was a kid – in which Snap, Crackle and Pop get banged up a bit.

Lastly, here's the lovable elves doing their best "hotel lounge singer" version of their signature tune.

Anyway, Nels contacted me to offer a minor factual correction to my original post about Rice Krispies (back here). I was glad he did, because it gave me the opportunity to trade a few emails with him, and learn about how his father created the beloved jingle.

According to Nels, his father "painstakingly banged that out of an old upright piano at home in Kenilworth, Illinois."

Nels also revealed to me in his email that his father had a little help – and that it took time to get the song just right.

"He was handy with words, but needed some help from my brother, Jeff, in the trickier parts of the music," he wrote. "We heard that thing taking shape for months before it went on the air for thirty years or so."

Well, the time and effort that N. B. Winkless, Jr. put into the creation of the jingle certainly paid off. Decades after he composed it, the catchy melody lingers on in our subconscious, especially when we sit down to enjoy a bowl of Kellogg's Rice Krispies.

Nels Winkless is a consultant who writes "The ABQ Correspondent," an online newsletter that focuses on "the impact of new technology on society."

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Rebman's Ad Featuring Mr. Pinspotter – July 3, 1958

Back in May, I posted an April 1956 Broadway Recreation ad announcing that the bowling alley had switched to Brunswick automatic pinsetters. Well, here's an ad for Rebman's that mentions their AMF Automatic Pinspotters.

The ad ran in the Lorain Journal on July 3, 1958 – 57 years ago this month.
So why are they called pinspotters and how did the machine work?
Here's an explanation that ran in the Arlington Times of February 20, 1958 when the same product was installed in a local bowling alley. "The workings of the machine are almost impossible to describe. Three motors drive the mechanism. One drives a huge wheel, which feeds the pins into the spotting machine, with one set of pins always ready to be set while another is on the deck.
"When the first ball is thrown, the machine picks up all those pins which are still standing and holds them up while a sweep cleans the deck of those knocked down. Then the machine re-spots the remaining pins. In the meantime, the ball is pushed through a small gate and lifted to the return gutter.
"Should a bowler get a strike, the sweep cleans the deck and the new pints are set into position ready for the next ball.
"The entire operation is uncanny to watch."
AMF even created an advertising mascot (seen in the Rebman ad) to promote their futuristic pinspotting machine. His name? Mr. Pinspotter of course!
The genial robot was featured in ads and promotional brochures.


Mr. Pinspotter decals were also affixed to part of the pinspotting machine.
I was trying to remember why Mr. Pinspotter seemed familiar to me. Then I remembered that he bears a clunky resemblance to the mischievous robots who made life miserable for Gumby in Robot Rumpus.

Come to think of it, the ever-grinning, bright-eyed Mr. Pinspotter looks a little like Gumby's longtime nemeses, the Blockheads, too (below)!
So what is “rhythm bowling” as mentioned in the various promotional pieces?
As explained in the November 23, 1956 Freeport Journal – where the local bowling alley Star Bowl had just installed their AMF Automatic Pinspotters, "Providing a consistently accurate spotting of pins, AMF's machines have generally been credited with improving not only bowling scores but bowler form. For it seems that the rhythmic regularity of the Pinspotter in setting the pins and returning the ball has invariably induced a clockwork-like bowling action that has resulted in improving bowler performance. With the machines no chance is allowed for any erratic activity in the pits. Thus the bowler reacts to the Pinspotter as automatically as the machine does to him.”
I guess you had to have been a bowler in the pre-pinspotter days to see any improvement. I’ve always been a lousy bowler, even with Mr. Pinspotter’s help.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tradewinds Supper Club Mystery: Solved

1986 Elyria Phone Book ad
You might remember my post from back in January about the Tradewinds Restaurant, which was described in ads as "Lorain County's Complete Restaurant Center" and "Beautiful Polynesian Supper Club." It had a 41274 Griswold Road address, and its ad appeared in both the 1985 and 1986 Elyria and Lorain phone books.

My problem was that I couldn’t figure out where the Tradewinds had been located on Griswold – and if the building was still there.

My second post revealed that the restaurant had been in the planning stages since May 1980.

However, the Tradewinds remained a mystery – until today.

It turns out there's a very good reason why I couldn't pin down its location, why it had so many different phone numbers, and why it wasn't listed in the city directories.

It was never built.

That's the answer I got today when I spoke on the phone with someone employed at the Griswold Road family business of one of the investors. "It was supposed to be over by where Bob Evans is," she revealed. But that was all I could find out. I never even got through to the family member I called.

Perhaps the unbuilt restaurant is still a sore point with the investors’ families. Since January, my various phone calls, messages, emailed inquiries and reaching out on Facebook had all been met with stony silence worthy of a Polynesian Tiki idol.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Kewtie Sandwich Shop

If you drive down Seventh Street from Broadway nowadays, in the middle of the first block you might notice two parking lots opposite each other on both sides of the street.

The parking lot on the south side of the street is where the Lorain Journal used to be located before it moved to its present location on Broadway. But the parking lot on the north side of the street is where the Kewtie Sandwich Shop was located at 204 Seventh Street.

The 204 Seventh Street location first showed up in the Lorain City Directory in the 1924 edition, as the home of the cabinet business of Frederick J. Hicks. Subsequent directories continued to list the Hicks cabinet business right into the early 1930s.

Finally, around 1933, the address became the home of the Kewtie Sandwich Shop, run by Arthur and Alf Damm.

1936 Lorain Phone Book Restaurant Listing
Alf Damm continued to be associated with the Kewtie right into the early 1940s.

It appears that a change in ownership occurred sometime around 1941. That's when a gentleman named Dave Adler became the proprieter.

Here's the ad announcing the change, which ran in the Lorain Journal on July 22, 1941 – 74 years ago this month.
It appears that the new owner really tried to make it a nice place with a more ambitious menu. He also promoted his local suppliers in the ad, including Bazley Meat Market, Baetz-Barber Dairy, Franklin Beverage, Arvay Potato Chips and Continental Coffee.

I'm not sure if it all worked out, because the Kewtie had a new person in charge by the time of the 1942 directory. Mrs. Rosa Creveling was the newest person listed. Strangely enough, by 1945 Alf J. Damm's name was associated with the restaurant again.

It was in the 1947 edition that Robert Lane took over the restaurant, remodeled it and renamed it Lane's Grill. Here's the ad announcing the changes, which ran in the Lorain Journal on July 14, 1947.
Robert Lane's name was associated with the restaurant until the early 1950s, when Ethel M. Dounds was listed as managing it.

I guess you can't keep a good name down, because by the time of the 1954 directory, the restaurant was listed as the Kewtie again.

Near the end of the 1950s, its listing in the directory changed to Szabo's Restaurant. And by the early 1960s, it was listed as the Ralmar Restaurant.

The Ralmar name continued to be listed in the directories until around the time of the 1973 directory, when the name changed to Frye's Lunch Counter. Two years later, the restaurant became the Montezuma Restaurant.

The 204 Seventh Street address was listed as vacant in the 1978 directory; the address disappeared entirely in the 1982 book.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Woods Social Inn

1759 Broadway – home of Woods' Social Inn – is the beige building
Lorain's past is full of little-known tales of businesses and the people behind them. Some of these tales can inspire us today.

The story of Woods Social Inn is one of those stories.

An article in the Lorain Journal of June 21, 1955 shined a light on the Inn, its founder and his son.

It read, "Founded 36 years ago, Woods Social Inn, 1759 Broadway, is Lorain's oldest Negro business establishment.
"Porter W. Woods was a steelworker in 1916 when he decided to go into business for himself. He opened a barber shop and poolroom at 1846 Broadway and in 1919 purchased a rooming house at the present location of the Inn.

1919 City Directory partial listing for Broadway
"He remodeled the rooming house to make room for his barber shop and a poolroom. In 1927 he added two rooms and bath to the upstairs and added 20 feet to the downstairs which originally contained 1,000 square feet of space.

"In 1936, Woods obtained a beer and wine license to become the first Negro dispenser of alcoholic beverages in the city.
Trade token for Porter Woods' business
"In 1941, James A. Woods, a licensed barber, became manager after his father was forced to go into semi-retirement because of illness.

Porter Woods' obituary from the Oct. 26, 1945 Lorain Journal
"After the founder's death in 1945, the son became owner of Woods Social Inn, one of the most popular dine and dance spots for Negroes in Lorain county.

"In 1947, the Inn was remodeled and enlarged, the work taking three months during which time Woods managed the Elks Lake Erie Lodge baseball team."

The 1950s indeed was the heyday of Woods Social Inn. 

A few online websites that feature the Five Stars musical group state that they performed at the Woods Social Inn in early January 1955. (Click here to visit one of those websites, which referred to the Social Inn as "one of the most popular night spots west of Cleveland." This website also mentions the Social Inn.)

1958 City Directory listing
Surprisingly, the building apparently was still a home for travelers. The 1956 edition of the Negro Travelers' Green Book, a guide that listed establishments that catered to African American travelers, included a listing for Porter Wood Tourist Home at 1759 Broadway in Lorain.

By the early 1960s, the nightclub was winding down. Sadly, the Woods Social Inn name disappeared as of the 1965 city directory, apparently bringing to a close the sound of music at that location. 

A barber shop run by James Wood continued to be listed at 1759 Broadway throughout the 1970s and into the early 1980s. James Woods passed away in early January 1984.

Obituary from the Journal of January 8, 1984
Today, Broadway traffic passes by the former home of Woods Social Inn, unaware of its historic role as an entertainment and lodging haven for African-Americans in Lorain County.

Special thanks to Jo for her suggestion of the Woods Social Inn as a blog subject.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Beaver Creek Becomes Battle Creek – May 1953

Two days ago, I posted a 1969 Lorain Journal article about Dr. Roy Schaeffer and his development of Beaver Park beginning with his dredging of the creek. The article made a brief mention of a controversy involving Schaeffer and some competitors who "benefitted from his work in opening the river" that ended up in court.

Here's a well-written article by Robert Sanders that appeared in the Journal on May 27, 1953 that explains the whole unfortunate situation. It has a slight bias and I present it here strictly for historical purposes.

Court Ponders Beaver Creek Fence Case As Dockman Joseph Sisco Awaits Decision
Must Prove Creek Is Navigable

A man can do a lot of thinking while fishing. Take Joseph Sisco, for instance.

He's doing a lot of bobber-watching these days. It's about all he can do now that his boat dockage business is temporarily halted. Just fish and think.

Sisco is one of three persons who have filed injunction actions in common pleas court following the erection of two chicken wire fences across Beaver Creek just south of Routes 2 and 6 west of Lorain by Drs. Roy and William Schaeffer.

Ducks Penned
The Schaeffers up to now have claimed the fences are penning in ducks. Sisco, who has been operating boat dockage facilities a half mile upstream for 14 years and Paul Paghi and Maynard Coleman, who together, have constructed a new slip near the "duck pen," claim the Schaeffers are just out to ruin their business.

The Schaeffers have also filed an injunction. The hearing, which started May 15, has been continued to next Tuesday. Judge John Pincura is expected to make a decision by that time.

Meanwhile, Sisco will sit and fish and think. He will think of 1938 when he first leased seven acres of land and started the grueling job of establishing a going business.

Moved Earth
He will think of the mountains of earth he had to move by hand and of the 23 catwalks he has constructed during his years on the creek. He will think also of how this year was going to be the best ever because of $900 he spent on improvements last fall. Business was going to hit an all-time high of around $3,000.

He will think of the jungle-like growth he had to hack through to build the dock facilities and a comfortable home and of that happy day in 1943 when he and his wife, Ann, purchased the land when they realized their business was a modest, but growing, success.

Sisco will also think back to that day last summer when he says William Schaeffer told him he would have to pay $5 per boat in order to go through his property.

Cut Dockage
Sisco is more hurt than mad at Schaeffer who yesterday admitted to newsmen that the real reason for erecting the wire fence is that Sisco, Paghi and Coleman were going to cut dockage rates.

"We've always charged a minimum of $25 per boat. They were going to cut my price $5." When asked if he had ever asked $5 per boat from Sisco, Schaeffer said, "I think $7 is a much more fair price."

Schaeffer pointed out that "it's costing me $1,800 to dredge the harbor this year. Those guys upstream aren't spending any money at all. Why should they be allowed to go through my harbor?

The Schaeffers have facilities for 400 boats. It costs $25 to moor a ship during the summer season providing the boat does not exceed 15 feet. After that, it's $3 per foot. Largest boat utilizing dock facilities there is a 38 foot craft whose bill for the year would come to $114 including winter storage.

"Too Bad"
The retired Dr. Schaeffer, who is a retired dentist, estimates his property holdings, which include 23 acres, a restaurant-bar called "The Beaver House," and a marine store, to be worth $500,000.

"It's too bad about those fellows upstream," he muses. "Money certainly is the root of all evil."

What the whole case boils down to is whether or not Beaver Creek is navigable. If it is then Sisko, Coleman and Paghi win and the fence comes down. If it isn't then Schaeffer will be allowed to keep the fence up.

Meanwhile, Sisco can only sit and fish and think.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Summer Fun Page in the C-T – June 8, 1968

If you're a fisherman, a boating enthusiast or a camper, there's plenty to be nostalgic about on this page from the June 8, 1968 Chronicle-Telegram.

First, there's two articles about Beaver Park. One article is about the Beaver Park Yacht Basin, featuring quotes from manager Robert W. Dunham, and news about the recent purchase of the Beaver Shore Motel. The other article discusses the Beaver Creek Marina and the limitations of getting under the highway bridge across Routes 6 & 2.

There's an article about Garwell's Fishing, Boating and Picnic Supplies with quotes from George Garwell.

The upcoming Lorain Yacht Club's 39th International Regatta is the subject of another article, as well as a short column about Lakeview Park, and its newest picnic shelter built by the Lorain Kiwanis.

Along with all, that you have some ads for Beaver House (featuring their lovable mascot), Camp Cozy in Lakeside, Ohio, Valley Forge Golf Club, Klinects Maple Grove Lake in Grafton, and a CTS Fun Tour to Castalia and the Blue Hole.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Beaver Park Article – June 15, 1969

Here's an interesting article about Dr. Roy E. Schaeffer, the man who owned and developed Beaver Park. The article was written by Journal Staff Writer Bob Cotleur and appeared in the paper on Sunday, June 15, 1969. It provides a nice biography of Dr. Schaeffer and a history of Beaver Park, with mentions of the Killer Crossing, as well as the Beaver Shore Motel and Beaver House.


The Dentist Who Owns Beaver Park Teen Resort
Staff Writer

DR. ROY SCHAEFFER likes to stroll around his Beaver Park
area, which includes a marina, a motel and a teenage resort.
AS A BOY of 13, Roy E. Schaeffer built his first dock for the small boat of a cottage owner and thus launched the Schaeffer family into the marina business.

Though he has been a boating enthusiast all his life, Roy followed his father, Dr. William E. Schaeffer, into a career as a dentist.

But Roy has kept his interests in boats and water all 54 years of his life.

His father had taken over Beaver Park in 1925 and "we have been there off and on ever since."

Lt. Roy Schaeffer was a Navy dentist from Dec., 1940, through November, 1947. He could have stayed behind the swivel chair, reaching tools suspended overhead or from the white antiseptic tray.

"The boat division was practicing beach landings through the surf at La Jolla, California. Men handling the boats has little or no experience so after a couple of accidents the skipper asked if anyone among us had small boat handling experience.

"I VOLUNTEERED and consequently after bringing the boat through the surf three times and taking it out again, they put me in charge of training coaxswains [sic] in boat handling.

"I did my dental duties as well, but during the two years I was at sea I did very little dentistry. Mostly I was involved in small boat handling."

He's modest. The citation he got with the Silver Star said in part:

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Boat Division Officer on board the (attack transport) U.S.S. President Adams during landing operations on Gavutu Island, August 8 & (, volunteering to pilot three loaded amphibian tractors over a difficult and hazardous route under continuous enemy sniper fire, Lt. Schaeffer accomplished a task previously attempted in vain by tractor crews and succeeded in reaching shore with urgently needed supplies in the darkness and rain."

The citation added how he and his crew salvaged an abandoned ramp boat from a reef "under range of enemy snipers" and other details. It was signed "Frank Knox, Secretary of the Navy."

Dr. Schaeffer resumed civilian practice in Amherst in 1947 and almost immediately began developing the Beaver Park area on Lorain's far west side into what it is today.

Once it was a quiet marshy area, with lily pads in the river and a few cottages here and there along the shore and the Beaver Creek.

HE BEGAN by dredging the creek, then "we built a floating piledriver from an old Ford engine and a winch and put in sheeting and piles."

Later he dredged three small docking lagoons south of the Lake Road and business began to thrive. In fact, competition arrived and benefited from his work in opening the river.

He built a fence across the river inside his land "to get the problem into court. The new business didn't see a need for helping financially with keeping the river open."

He won the lower court and appeals court but lost in the Ohio Supreme Court when new law was written "and it literally opened up some 25,000 miles of creek fronts in Ohio which previously had been non-navigable and therefore private."

He applauded the decision against him on behalf of the open waterways but is still irritated by the fact he had to maintain the dredging cost himself – to the added benefit of his competition.

Today the area north of Lake Road, about 21 acre with 3/4 of a mile of shoreline, is owned by the Beaver Park Company, surviving members of the family of Dr. William E. Schaeffer who died in June, 1967. Dr. Roy is president.

This area contains the Beaver Shore Motel, about 32 cottages which are nearly all privately owned, Beaver House which is a teenage resort and dockage for boats from 26 feet in length to 38 feet.

Vintage Beaver Park
Marine Sales Letterhead
The 16 acres south of Lake Road contains the three lagoons, the Beaver Park Marina (Company) and is owned by Dr. and Mrs. Roy Schaeffer outright.

YOU'VE READ about Beaver Park. The Norfolk & Western Railroad mainline slices the only access road to the motel, Beaver House and the dockage area in the basin near the river's mouth.

You've read about it because three young men were killed at the crossing in a train-car accident in 1966 and a Lorain woman of 37 died in another train-car accident there just a few days ago.

"I'd say, without any doubt, there are a minimum of 2,000 or 3,000 people a week who cross the tracks. We operate at high level for at least 10 to 12 weeks and at a lower level for six to eight months.

"There's no question it's a hazard," he said.

He'd like to see the conventional railroad crossing gate which lowers, and the red flashers which warn when a train is approaching. But he doesn't believe he (the company) should pay what he estimates to be "about $30,000 or more, plus 90 percent of the installation charge. The railroad would then take over and pay annual operating expenses."

But the real point is, he couldn't buy it if he wanted to. The railroad can only enter into such an agreement with a municipality, not a private individual or company.

"After the three were killed, the city of Lorain wanted us to put the gate-flasher up. But the railroad's attorney informed us the railroad could only enter into agreement with the municipality (Lorain) under a Public Utilities Commission Office (PUCO) ruling covering this point.

"Fred Ritenauer, eighth ward councilman at the time, then backed off. He said the city had other places they would put gates first before spending money at Beaver Park crossing."

Ritenauer agreed the ruling was specific. He said he dealt during the negotiations with Dr. William Schaeffer, then president of the company, but added, "he could have made a contribution toward the cost. But he didn't want to."

INSTEAD THE Beaver Park Company installed yellow flashers which signal constantly whether a train is coming or not. Dr. Schaeffer thinks it is worthless.

"We paid around a thousand or so to have them put in and we pay to maintain it. But it's really of no value because it blinks all the time and people who ride by there know it blinks all the time.

"It's not any warning other than the same type of warning you see when you're driving along the highway and it's just to catch your eye. I think it just lulls people into security more than anything else."

His suggestions?

"There's been more than a suggestion of creating an underpass there. Once, when the state planned to take over this area and more to create an Admiral King park, they wanted five underpasses, two for roadways and three for pedestrians. I guess it's been passed up for not being feasible for the money it would cost," he said.

Dr. Schaeffer today is six feet tall, wavy-haired and weighs less than he did while playing football for Ohio State University in the late 30's. He's an avid golfer as well as boater, and loves water and snow skiing and bridge. He married the former Jean Stewart of Grosse Ile, Mich., in 1944, and has two sons, John, 23, and Bill, 21, and two daughters, Tane, 19, and Narda, 16.

His views on youth are tempered and broadened by "the kids at Beaver House, the teenage resort at Beaver Park. Mel Shullick, the manager, keeps a tight absolute rein on them. It proved out. There's a minimum of trouble despite a violent, explosive situation created because you're piling anywhere from 400 to 600 teenagers into a small area.

"Mix them up with that loud music, or wild music or good music, whatever it is the kids love it, and all the elements for trouble are there," he says.

But the owners or managers of other Lorain area teenage spots have a firm agreement. If a kid is banned from one place, the ban extends to all others. Dr. Schaeffer calls it "a threat over their heads" and believes it works well.

WITH HIS OWN children, he says, "we've always avoided even the accepted use of cigarettes. They drink beer but use little or no liquor. I hope they don't use any of the drugs and my son John, he's in medicine, has taken a hard stand against it with the younger children.

"If you enjoy living, enjoy getting around, then why should you use something you know is eventually going to end up in trouble, eventually be detrimental to your health," he asks.

He has spent six years on the board of the Amherst School District and believes the city is one of the finest places to live on earth.

But he takes a hard line against opponents of urban renewal. He believes the need for renewal is there and must be supported "otherwise the town is going to continue a downhill trip, as far as downtown is concerned."

He considers one of the brightest moments of his fistful of lives that "alumni day" at Ohio State in 1965 when he and his late father William came back to celebrate the 25th and 50th anniversary, respectively, of their graduations as dentists.

But the brief record seems to be ending.

Son John is on his way to becoming a medical man, an MD instead of a DDS.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Bridge Over Beaver Creek – Then & Now

Looking south from approximately where West Erie Avenue is today. 
The tracks of the Lake Shore Electric Railway are seen in the foreground.
Continuing my ongoing (and seemingly endless) focus on Old Lake Road…

Circle marks the spot where Old Lake Road bridge
over Beaver Creek was located
Here's a 1907 postcard (above) courtesy of Drew Penfield and his Lake Shore Rail Maps website showing how Lake Road used to cross Beaver Creek. It's hard to imagine today how the road jogged down into what is now Copper Kettle Marina to cross this bridge.

Apparently it was quite a menace to motorists.

On August 27, 1930, the Lorain Journal and Times-Herald reported, "Commissioners plan to meet with the state highway department sometime in September in an effort to get state aid for a 3-ply W. Lake-rd program. This improvement to be requested includes widening of the highway between Lorain and Vermilion, removal of the dangerous curve and bridge at Beaver Park, and elimination of the diagonal crossing hazard by construction of an overhead bridge.

On December 14, 1931, a $300,000 road improvement program for Lorain County for 1932 was announced by State Highway Director O. W. Merrill which included "completion of the Lake road between Lorain and Vermilion." As the Lorain Journal and Times-Herald reported that day, "The Lake road project is to be completed at an estimated cost of $110,000, which includes construction of a bridge across Beaver Creek. The road already has been reconstructed from Lorain westward to Oak Point and from Vermilion eastward to Kilbane's camp. Next year the road will be completed between these two points, a stretch of 3.04 miles.

The new stretch of Lake Road would basically follow the route of the interurban. As the Lorain Journal and Times-Herald reported on June 10, 1933, "Under the plans of the highway department, the new roadway will leave the present Lake-rd at Beaver Park bridge and follow the Lake Shore Electric Co. tracks for a two mile course. It added, "The new road will strike the present roadway again at the Claus' hill, two miles distant west from the bridge. The section of highway laying between the two points will be abandoned."

Today, of course, that abandoned section is known as Old Lake Road.

State Highway Director O. W. Merrill gave the order to go ahead with the project to improve Lake Road west of Lorain on June 12, 1933. As the Lorain Journal and Times-Herald reported, "The order also permits the state department to go ahead with construction of a new bridge over the Beaver creek to replace the present narrow, antiquated structure which has been one of the biggest menaces to auto traffic on the Lake-rd for more than a score of years.

On August 14, 1933, the Lorain Journal and Times-Herald reported, "Work has started and is well progressed on a new bridge at Beaver creek and a two mile unimproved stretch in the highway to the west of the creek. Attempts at settlement of right of way disputes that are holding up widening and repaving of two shorter sections are being made."

This was a reference to Henry B. Claus and a few other landowners that included M. F. and William Peer, Kishman Beach Land Co., Mrs. Hattie Braun and Jacob Baumhardt.

By August 22, 1933, Mrs. Braun was the one holdout. As the paper reported, "It was definitely learned that the state has refused to pay Mrs. Braun the $2,850 she asks as damages for the removal of several century-old shade trees which align the front of her property. They are in the line of the highway improvement proposed by the state."

The article also noted, "At present a section of Lake-rd lying between Beaver park and Claus' hill is being relocated and will be completed in the next 60 days."

Although I couldn't duplicate the vista shown on the 1907 postcard, here's a view from a slightly closer angle, showing where the long-gone bridge was located over Beaver Creek. (Four-lane West Erie Avenue, a guard rail, and overgrown trees and brush all conspire to make the 1907 view impossible.)

The view on Monday night
You can see a bridge abutment (painted grey) at the left hand side of the photo.

Here's the obligatory aerial view.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Interurban Car on Old Lake Road

Courtesy Lorain Historical Society
You may have noticed that I've featured this 1950s aerial photo of Old Lake Road quite a few times on the blog in the last few weeks.

Well, I'm not quite done with it yet.

Historian and archivist Dennis Lamont and Lake Shore Rail Maps Webmaster Drew Penfield made me aware of something in the photo that I never would have known was there.

Dennis and Drew are both experts on the Lake Shore Electric Railway, the interurban line that provided service between Cleveland and Toledo. Part of their expertise includes knowing what happened to the various numbered streetcars that were sold off once the interurban system was dissolved in 1938. Some of these retired cars were repurposed as houses, cottages, diners and storage sheds.

One LSE car of particular local interest was No. 155, manufactured by the Niles Car and Manufacturing Company of Niles, Ohio. As Drew notes on his Lake Shore Rail Maps website, Niles coach 155 "served an unspecified purpose on the farm of William Miller, at the west end of Old Lake Road, west of Oak Point."

Here's a photo of No. 155 in retirement, courtesy of Dennis Lamont.

Apparently all that was known about the photo was that it was taken in 1939 "at a farm west of Lorain."
Well, as you probably guessed by now, Dennis and Drew found No. 155 right in the vintage aerial photo. As Dennis wrote, "If you take a close look at the farm right down the old road from the gas station, Drew and I think this was the place. It's all gone now, since the power plant sits there now."
And here it is (below). The car is the long grey thing right next to the road.
When I checked the city directories for Old Lake Road, sure enough, in the 1959 directory there was a listing with the name Miller for that portion of the road (below). I don't know if it's a coincidence or not.
The three individual names were cross-referenced elsewhere in the directory as living in "apartments," so apparently the collection of buildings in addition to No. 155 functioned as a sort of apartment complex.
In addition to Drew's Lake Shore Rail Maps website, another great resource (that also features photos from Dennis Lamont's archives) is Randall Hicks' Hicks Car Works blog. Here's the link to his page about the Lake Shore Electric that provides a history of the Niles cars. It also features a photo of No. 155 (below) passing its twin car in Norwalk.
Car No. 155 is on the right
(Photo courtesy of Randall Hicks)
The photo shows the rear of 155, but since it is identical to car 158, you can compare 158 to the photo of 155 in retirement on Old Lake Road.