Thursday, December 31, 2015

If You Drink, Don't Drive Ad – December 31, 1956

Well, it doesn't have the Grim Reaper in it, but here's another vintage newspaper ad discouraging people from drinking and driving on New Year's Eve.

This full-page ad ran in the Lorain Journal on December 31, 1956.

Although the ad lacks the punch of the image of a diabolically leering skeleton (like this one), it does have a clever line: "Don't Insist on Your Rites."

As usual, the ad has a nice roll call of local businesses. Happily, the 1956 list includes several – including Polansky's, Sliman's, Gluvna Funeral Home and Dombrowski Funeral Home – that are still around in some form 59 years later. Also, the Barck name lives on through Barck Auction & Realty.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

1958 New Year's Eve Nightclub Ads

If you were looking for a place in Lorain County where you could celebrate New Year's Eve 1958, these ads – from the December 30, 1958 Lorain Journal – might have helped you make a decision.

Sadly, all three of these businesses (and the buildings in which they were located) no longer exist.

First up is an ad for Supper Club, the subject of a multi-part blog series earlier this year (back here).

You might remember (in this post) that management of the Supper Club had changed hands in December 1958, and that it would soon be doing business as Old Ely Stagecoach Inn. So perhaps the New Year's Eve blowout was sort of a last hurrah for Supper Club (although that name would return in the 1970s).
Next I have an ad for Carey's Villa, which was located a little south of Supper Club at 1906 Lake Avenue between the Ohio Turnpike overpass and State Route 113.
Jack Sikora and his orchestra provided the music for the celebration. There is a little bit of an internet footprint online for Mr. Sikora; it appears that he led an orchestra while a student at Baldwin Wallace, and was performing locally with his group as early as 1944.
As for Carey's Villa (later renamed Libra Capri), be sure to read this Chronicle-Telegram article by Steve Fogarty, which provides a nice history of the business, written when the building burned down in May 2011.
Lastly, here's an attractive ad with great typography for Vian's in Sheffield Lake (which was located about a mile from where I now live).
The ad has an unpretentious, welcoming sound to it – my kind of place. 
Anyway, speaking of Vian's – watch this space in the next week or so as I finally get around to presenting the history of this iconic Sheffield Lake business!
(Hmmm.. that sounds familiar!)

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

I hope all of my readers and friends have a safe, wonderful and blessed Christmas! I'll be taking my usual holiday break from the blog beginning today, but I'll be back on New Year's Eve.
By the way, that's my parents' vintage creche above. Unfortunately, I don't know the actual history of how my parents acquired it. I just remember it from when I was a kid, and I'm happy that I ended up with it.

It's still in pretty good shape. Each figure is made of paper-mache and is marked "Hand Painted in Italy" on the bottom. There are a few figures out of camera range, including the shepherds, two camels, a cow and some sheep.

Various online sources state that sets almost identical to mine (with minor differences in painting details) were produced by Fontanini.

This set (below) is similar to mine, and was identified as being from the 1940s (although I have no way of knowing if that is true). With the exception of color variations, all of the figures match mine, although there is one that I do not have (which is visible behind Mary's head).

This set (below) very much matches mine, although I do not have the shepherd carrying the sheep. My flock has also been thinned a bit, as I do not have this many sheep.

This set (below) matches mine as well, although the paint finish is very flat, making it look like some of them have been repainted. I also do not have the donkey.
Here are two figures from the same set (below). I've never been able to figure out what the kneeling guy is doing. Thus, I don't know whether to set him up next to Jesus (if he is presenting him with a gift) or next to the sheep (if he is feeding them).
I've seen this figure in the same pose holding a lamb; I've also read that he's holding a hat in the above pose. 
If it is food he's offering, it looks kind of like some kind of pepperoni dish.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Santa Claus Comes to Brownhelm Twp – 1947

Each Christmas, my heart is gladdened that Brownhelm Township's wonderful tradition of having a real live Santa Claus visit each house in the area lives on through its Community Christmas program.

I posted an article about the 1963 Santa Claus visits here, and today's post is from a 1947 perspective.

I've transcribed the article for easier reading, although the jpeg of the page containing the article (above) is always fun to look at too. (There's plenty of ads for firms I've never heard of, like Jeancola Coal Co., Mayer's Hardware, Butter-Maide Bakeries, Lawson Lumber, Emmon's Pharmacy and Sam Ross & Sons.)

Anyway, here's the article about Brownhelm Township and its Christmas Eve tradition that ran in the Lorain Journal on December 24, 1947.

Santa Claus to Visit Brownhelm Township Families Tonight
Groceries Distributed to Needy in First of Programs
By Staff Correspondent

BROWNHELM – For the 15th successive year, each of Brownhelm's 254 families will be honored by a visit from Santa Claus tonight in a community-sponsored event that has become an institution in the county.

Eight Santas will be going about their rounds tonight bringing a gift for each child in the village. Shut-ins are to receive fruit, candy and cookies. Bags filled with candy, oranges and nuts will be left at every house.

Groceries were distributed at the first of the programs which began in the depression days of 1933. Men on this committee repaired and repainted old toys and women sewed clothes, made dolls and candy.

20 Help in 1933
Rev. R. E. Albright, who was then pastor of the Brownhelm Congregational church, and Mrs. T. W. Wilson, originated the idea. Only 20 representatives of churches and clubs helped with arrangements.

Since then the charitable side has been discarded and the event has evolved into the village-wide Community Christmas. Money is still contributed for needy families and toys are still repaired. But now gifts are given out equally and every child has an opportunity to meet Santa.

Several committees worked packing baskets of fruit and have bought toys. Christmas boxes from Brownhelm still go to servicemen overseas but not in such great numbers as during the war years.

John Love President
President of the committees is John Love. Other officers are Dwight Miller, vice-president; Mrs. Russell Miller, secretary; Mrs. Frank Whyte, treasurer; Mrs. George Bauman, publicity.

Serving on the committee for service men are Mrs. Henry Leimbach and Mrs. Alfred Brill; for children's gifts, Mrs. Ben Northheim, Mrs. Donald Sahr, and Mrs. Warren Manuel; candy and fruit, Melvin Niggle and Erwin Bachman.

Shut-ins, Mrs. T. W. Wilson, Mrs. Allie Claus, Mrs. Robert Leimbach, and Miss Emma Miller; Santa suits, Mrs. Paul Snyder, Mrs. Parker Baird, and Mrs. Leonard Northheim; for Santas, Rev. Albright; and drivers, LeRoy Hasenpflug.

Makeup, Mrs. M. Abraham, Mrs. Robert Leimbach, Mrs. Stuart Olbrich and Miss Eleanor Albright.

Route chairman are Mrs. Arthur Northheim, Mrs. Harvey Emmerich, Mrs. John Portman, Mrs. Peter Van der Ord; Mrs. LeRoy Emmerich, Miss Ruth Hasenpflug, Mrs. Justin Fry, and Mrs. Ray Wycoff.

The Santas will be provided with drivers for their trips which will begin about 7:30 p. m., according to route chairmen.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Lorain Stores Christmas Ads – December 1965

As long as I seem to be stuck in 1965, here are a pair of ads from the pages of the Lorain Journal that December – 50 years ago.

First up is an ad for Sam Klein that ran on December 17, 1965. It features a comely Santa’s helper, which no doubt would be considered politically incorrect by today’s standards. Seeing as all of the things on sale are for men and boys, perhaps a beefcake Santa would have been more appropriate in the ad to catch the attention of female shoppers.

But the gimmick of staying open until Midnight with free coffee and donuts available is a good one.
The other ad (below) is for the iconic Hills store on Route 57 and ran on December 18, 1965. It features a rather abstract Santa Claus graphic, along with a more conventional drawing of crowd of happy shoppers. 
Note all of the men in the ad wear fedoras. (Dad had one too, and it was up on his bedroom shelf all the way into the 1970s, when we would use it to imitate Crazy Guggenheim.)

Passing Scene Christmas Edition – 1965

Here's some more 1965 holiday fun from the pages of the Lorain Journal.

Continuing in my unwitting effort to reproduce every one of Gene Patrick's Passing Scene comic strips, here are two more from December 1965.

In the first one (below), which ran on December 4, 1965, we see that Lorain County has experienced its first snowfall of the season, and that a big local talent show was still part of the Mary Lee Tucker charitable effort. (I wonder when they stopped doing that? The good folks at the Morning Journal should really consider reviving it.)

In the second strip, which ran two weeks later on December 18, 1965 we get a caricature of then-Mayor Woody Mathna (who helped settle the strike by the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1034 against the Employees Transit Lines Inc.), and another nod to the Mary Lee Tucker program (featuring a comical drunk).

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

O’Neil - Sheffield Shopping Center Ads Featuring Li’l Shef – December 1965

I must not have been reading the Journal yet in 1965, or I’d probably remember these ads. They were part of a series of half-page holiday advertisements for the O'Neil - Sheffield Shopping Center done in a comic strip format and featuring Li'l Shef and Ruf.

This above strip ran on December 2, 1965 in the Lorain Journal. In it, the two meet the shopping center's well-remembered talking Christmas tree.

Another ad (below) from December 7, 1965 is a little more hard-sell. In this episode, the androgynous Li’l Shef visits the shopping center. The ad also features a keen little map of the area before Route 2 was built.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Reddy Kilowatt Christmas Ads

Well, Christmas is almost here – so you know it’s time for a visit on this blog from that eternally cheerful character with the red stocking cap who always works hard to make your holidays bright.

No, I don’t mean Santa Claus. I’m talking about our pal Reddy Kilowatt! He hasn’t shown up on my blog since last Christmas, so it’s about time he dropped by.

First up is an Ohio Edison ad that ran in the Lorain Journal on December 10, 1965. In it, Reddy offers some tips on how to decorate your house for the holidays using lots of electricity.
Reddy’s message must have been effective, because in the 1960s I remember just about every house on E. Skyline Drive and the adjacent streets had the large bulb Christmas lights strung along the roofline. It  was really a cheery sight to see if you were out and about in the evening. (I commend all fathers back then for making putting up the lights a priority.)

The other Reddy ad ran in the Lorain Journal on December 24, 1946. The ad has a strange shape; it definitely has that cobbled-together-at-the-last-minute look. But the Reddy Kilowatt illustration is great, and reminds us that electric utility employees have to work in all kinds of terrible conditions to restore power during a winter storm.

Friday, December 18, 2015

"Charlie Brown Christmas" Ad – December 9, 1965

When I was a kid in the 1960s, the surest sign of the holiday season was the appearance of the animated Christmas specials on TV.

At first, there was just Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol (which I wore about here); then later in the 1960s, my brothers and I would eagerly await the broadcasting of the Big Three: Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer (which played on NBC), How the Grinch Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas (which were both on CBS the same night, one right after the other).
One of the things I looked for in the Journal right around the time the specials were shown were publicity photos on the TV page. At left is the photo that promoted the very first showing of A Charlie Brown Christmas, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. The photo ran in the Lorain Journal on December 9, 1965.

To read some 1965 TV reviews of that first showing – including one written by a reviewer who didn’t like it – be sure to visit The Tralfaz post also has the same photo of the Peanuts gang (but in that one Charlie Brown has both of his ears).
Maybe it’s because I’m a crusty old man of 56, but I’m finally burned out on A Charlie Brown Christmas and the others. I’ve simply seen them too many times. Plus, they’re all chopped up, time-compressed and interrupted by endless commercials when they’re shown on TV these days.
Like me, you might find it interesting to check out those TV listings below the Peanuts photo. It’s funny seeing how few choices you had back then. Although modern TV audiences would be horrified, it was plenty for us – and a lot simpler.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Lorain’s B&O Ore Bridge Comes Tumbling Down – Dec. 20, 1946

It was 69 years ago this month that an article on the front page of the Friday, December 20, 1946 Lorain Journal reported that the old Baltimore and Ohio ore bridge had been demolished.

Photos accompanying the short article were by W. J. Ashbolt.

The article stated, “The sturdy Baltimore and Ohio ore bridge, a landmark at the mouth of the Black River for 21 years, withstood two attempts to blast it to the ground yesterday, but the third try of the dynamiters was too much. The huge arm of the bridge, which had extended 40 feet over the river, broke off and fell to the ground. Workmen will start cutting away the rest of the bridge next week to make way for the mammoth new B. and O. docks and unloaders now nearing completion at foot of Broadway. Top photo shows the first explosion. The bottom shows the arm crumpled on the ground.”

Here's a vintage postcard of the ore bridge mentioned above when it was under construction, courtesy of historian and archivist Dennis Lamont. Dennis points out that its predecessor had been destroyed by the 1924 Lorain Tornado.

This later color postcard (below) shows the bridge in its heyday.

And here are the B. & O. docks and unloaders that replaced the ore bridge that was torn down. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Cleveland Browns vs. Yankees Ad – Dec. 17, 1946

We’re all still happy that the Cleveland Browns snapped their losing streak last Sunday, so it’s a good time for me to post this Richman Brothers ad dating back to the team’s very first season as a team. It ran in the Lorain Journal on December 17, 1946 and promotes the Browns’ appearance in the first All-America Football Conference championship game, against the New York Yankees. (The Browns won. You can read more about that season here.)

The ad has a great illustration of the Browns’ Brownie mascot in a tug of war over the crown with the Yankee.

The game was also the final appearance that season of George Bird's Musical Majorettes, an all-girl marching band that played during halftime for the Browns during their 1946 and 1947 seasons. (George Bird had been director of the Massillon Tigers high school marching band. Cleveland Browns coach Paul Brown – formerly the football coach at the Massillon high school early in his career – enlisted Bird to be entertainment director of the new Browns organization.)

Here’s a photo of the group taken on December 8, 1947, courtesy of

The Reminisce magazine website has a nice story by Elvira Lausche Flynn of Willoughby Hills, Ohio about her time as a trombonist with the group. You can read it here.
Elvira Lausche Flynn is second from the right in this photo.
(Photo courtesy
Happily, the Musical Majorettes held a 50th anniversary get-together in 1996, which you can read about it here in this Washington Post article. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Polansky's Market Locations – Then & Now

I've mentioned many times that I stop at Polansky's Market on Dewey Road about once a week to buy something to put in my crock pot on Sunday. Well, I recently remembered that I had an ad for Polansky's from a 1955 edition of the Lorain Journal that included photos of both their stores at that time: the one at 14th and Long, and the Amherst store at 6703 Dewey Road.

Naturally, that means a meaty opportunity for not one, but two "then and now" photo treatments.

Here's the 1955 photo of the original store at 14th and Long (below).

And here's my shot from over the weekend. I’ll bet the market’s neighbors were pretty bummed when the Polansky store closed.

Here's the photo (below) of the Dewey Road store from the 1955 ad.

And here it is in 2015 (below), much larger than in the 1955 ad, probably due to the 1962 remodeling (which I wrote about here). As regular Polansky customers know, this building no longer houses the market, which is in another building further back from the road.

By the way, the Western pork ribs that I cooked up in my crock pot were dee-licious, especially with Mississippi Barbecue Sauce (also purchased at Polansky's) that was manufactured right in Fremont, Ohio.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Last Word on Green Lantern Camp

Well, I think I finally have an answer as to the location of Green Lantern Camp, thanks to the folks at

My obsession with the location of Green Lantern Camp has been going on since Paula Shorf sent me the vintage postcard above back in April of last year (here). Originally, the only address I had was Stop 110 1/2.

1939 City Directory Listing
Later, a 1936 city directory listing that I found identified its location as Meister & W. Lake Road.

1936 City Directory Listing
I did an update on my hunt as recently as November (here).

Now, after looking at a 1952 aerial photo of the intersection of Meister Road and Lake Road, I'm convinced that I've found Green Lantern Camp at last. All of the buildings on the vintage postcard have corresponding structures in the 1952 photograph (below).

The small cabins in the aerial are all in a row like on the postcard. The large building near the highway in the aerial corresponds with the large angled building on the right side of the postcard. Other buildings seen on the postcard seem to be represented in the aerial. And I'm guessing that the poles behind the cabins on the postcard were located on what is now called Brenner Drive (which makes sense since W. F. Brenner was the last person listed as the owner of Green Lantern Camp).
When Lake Road (now West Erie) was widened in 1956, much of the Green Lantern Camp property was lost to the new sweeping S-curve leading eastbound traffic to the undercut. The cabins may have survived for a time (only to be torn down later), but the large building near the highway was certainly a casualty. I believe that building was the Bohemian Tavern, and that originally it was the Green Lantern Restaurant.
Here is the area today, courtesy of Bing Maps. Some of the houses further back on Meister in the 1952 aerial can still be seen today on Fulmer (the former Meister Road).
And today's Brenner Drive is a nice homage to the family that owned much of the land in the area, as well as W. F. Brenner, operator of Green Lantern Camp.

Anyway, I'm satisfied that I have it right. So, as the sun slowly goes down in my "now" photo of the area today (below), it also sets on this particular quest.
Looking south from West Erie towards the same area as seen in the vintage postcard;
That's Frontage Street running parallel to West Erie; Fulmer Road comes out where the red fire hydrant is,

Friday, December 11, 2015

Vintage U.S. Federal Highway Shield Sign

If you're an old road buff like me, then you can imagine how surprised I was back in the 1990s to see this old style U.S. Federal Highway shield sign on W. 28th Street in Cleveland near Detroit Avenue. Previously, I had only seen this die-cut style sign in old photos, usually with a bunch of men wearing hats nearby.
But somehow, this sign for U.S. 42 managed to survive – unnoticed – for decades, long after that particular style was obsolete. A similar die-cut sign for U.S. 6 was in the same area, just around the corner on Detroit, which to me was amazing.

They were both real rarities around here, and more than once I thought about swiping one of the signs. Either would have been nice to have.

Anyway, on the way back to work after lunch one day, I noticed a Cleveland street department road crew right in the middle of taking down the U.S. 6 sign on Detroit. I thought, "Here's my chance!" I quickly pulled over and asked the worker if the city would sell me the sign.

He looked at me quizzically, and said, "Aw, this sign's no good, it doesn't reflect light any more. That's why we're taking it down."

And with that he tossed it into the back of the truck. The one on W. 28th is no longer there either.

Oh, well – I tried!

Click here to learn about the interesting history and design evolution of those U.S. Highway signs.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Lakewood Manor Motorist Motel

Several miles east of the Harbor View Motel in Lakewood was the 66-room Lakewood Manor Motorist Motel, shown above in a vintage postcard.

The motel was quite large, with entrances on both Lake Avenue (shown above) and Clifton Boulevard (U.S. Routes 6 and 20). It’s unusual (to me at least) because it was pretty much located in a residential area, although there was a gas station next door.

In the vintage postcard below (courtesy of the Cleveland Memory Project website) it doesn’t appear that the motel had expanded north to Clifton yet, because a different building (seen on the far right of the photo) occupies that portion of the property. But it’s hard to tell.

You can see what I mean in the circa 1951 aerial photos below, (courtesy of the Cleveland Memory Project website). By then, the motel was at full size. That’s Clifton Boulevard on the left, and Lake Avenue just barely in the photo on the right.
In this aerial photo (below) from 1951, Lake Avenue is on the left and Clifton is visible on the lower right. Looking at the huge building, it looks like it expanded as time went on.
And in this last vintage postcard from the Cleveland Memory Project website, you can get a better view of the rest of the motel.
In the 1990s, and early 2000s, I did a "then and now” vintage postcard feature for an employee newsletter that was published by the company I work for. In one issue, I photographed the Lakewood Motorist Motel, which by then was part of the Days Inn chain.
It looks kind of rough in my photo (below). The grounds are pretty barren too.
So what’s on the property today? The motel is still part of the Days Inn network, and looks pretty nice (below).
Lastly, here’s an image from the Days Inn website (below).

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Harbor View Motel Part 2

After driving by it for years on the way to work, it was strange to pull into the driveway of the Harbor View Motel in Rocky River, and follow the narrow road past the beverage store leading back to the motel.
We seemed to be the only ones staying there that Saturday night, as there were no other cars in the parking lot. In fact, the elderly desk clerk kindly ‘upgraded’ us at no extra charge to the "honeymoon suite,” which was the room closest to the lake. It was also larger than the other rooms.
I remember that when we got into our room, we had the impression that no one had slept in it for a while. But it was neat and tidy, and a perfectly preserved time capsule of 1950s motel hospitality, complete with pink and black tiles in the bathroom. It was very cozy, listening to the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach as we drifted off to sleep.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t long after our stay that the motel did eventually close. By 2000, the former motel property was now the home of Harbor Village Townhomes.
It’s kind of sad to think that the era of mom-and-pop motels is pretty much over in 2015. It took special people – willing to forego their own vacations – to commit themselves to the incredible amount of work involved with maintaining a motel, and making sure their tourist guests were comfortable so that they’d want to come back again. 
The entrance to the motel property as it looked during the time of our visit
The same view today