Monday, February 29, 2016

Own Joseph Ule’s Storybook House at 4620 Kolbe Road

On Saturday, I noticed that the ‘storybook house’ on Kolbe Road, designed and constructed by Joseph Ule in the 1940s, is for sale. It’s a real historical gem.

I’d post the realty estate link, but unfortunately the company associated with the listing will not allow you to view it without giving them your email address and cell phone number. So instead, here’s the more user-friendly Zillow listing.

A 1954 article about the house and neighboring windmill that I posted in 2014 provided the history of the house. It noted that Ule as a child “was always interested in fairytales and it is ideas from his dreams that are incorporated in his interesting home."

The house was built out of bricks from a 50-year old red brick school house that had been located on what was then Jaeger Road. The article noted, “The school house was completely torn down and the bricks reused. Some of the stones found in the original foundation were so huge it took a five-ton derrick to get them out of the ground. Ule’s father split these stones by hand for the foundation of the present home. Even the outbuildings around the home are made from brick from the old school and many of the square cut nails came from the original building. The original slate roof, now well over 70 years old is on the apartment-garage next to the home. The many gables gives the home an unusual appearance.

“In the entry-way to the house are several varieties of wasps, which, according to Ule are left alone. “We don’t bother them and they don’t bother us,” he said. On a stone in the wall of the entrance is a carving done by Cass Gilbert, who helped design the Renaissance buildings at Oberlin. Hand-hewn walnut beams are also used in the entry which is to be tiled with tile from England. The front door weighs 300 pounds and boasts hand-forged hardware.

“The fireplaces are conversation pieces. The shelf in the front room fireplace is built from walnut believed to have been wood from a vessel used during the War of 1812. The wood, found in the lake, was left to dry for three years before cutting. Ule said workers at the sawmill in Vermilion discovered what appeared to be cannon balls embedded in the wood. Balistic experts said there are of a type used during the War of 1812.

“Bricks from the home of James Whitcomb Riley are in the fireplace and hand-made ceramic Etruscan tile on which are embossed early Christian symbols are incorporated in the tile used in the downstairs fireplace.

“Locks on the house are of copper and are remnants of World War I when they were used on navy vessels. Old navy lights, also used during World War I, are used as ceiling lights in the kitchen while real hurricane lamps wired for electricity are used to provide illumination elsewhere.”

Here’s hoping the new owners of the house embrace its history and heritage. They will certainly be residing in Lorain’s most unique neighborhood, with a windmill next door and one of the county’s oldest homes (below) nearby.

Friday, February 26, 2016


June 16, 1972 newspaper ad
Tudy's listing in an early 1960s
Lorain promotional brochure
I'm sure many of my readers remember Tudy's, another popular restaurant that was listed in that 1969 Lorain Telephone Company directory I wrote about earlier this week. Tudy's was located on State Route 254 in Elyria Township, and was operated for most of its run by Art "Tudy" Diaz.

For years, large advertisements for Tudy’s that were written in an article format appeared in the business pages of the Lorain Journal. I remember first seeing these as a kid.

I finally made it a point to eat at Tudy's in the 1990s, just out of curiosity. I'm glad I did, because eventually the restaurant closed, and was replaced by a gas station/convenience store complex around 2000.

But to bring back some nice memories for those of you who enjoyed Tudy's, here are a few of their well-written ads from the pages of the Journal. (Click on each one for a larger version.)

February 17, 1972 ad
April 24, 1972 ad
January 20, 1975 ad
September 1, 1975 ad
And here's an aerial look at the former Tudy's property today.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Eddy’s Chalet West

1969 Lorain Telephone
book ad
Although my surname is Irish, my heritage is mostly German – and consequently so were the ethnic foods my Mom prepared when I was a kid (unless you count the occasional bowl of Lucky Charms).

My parents enjoyed going out to German restaurants, particularly Der Braumeister in Cleveland. But I'll bet they would have enjoyed Eddy’s Chalet West too, which was located at 32489 Center Ridge Road in North Ridgeville. It wasn't really a German restaurant, but Mom made many of the same dishes served there.

The back of the vintage postcard (which appears courtesy of reads, "Northwest Ohio's Authentic Chalet Restaurant and Lounge. Specializing in Chicken Paprikash, Stuffed Cabbage, Hungarian Platter, Fresh Lake Erie Perch and Canadian Pickerel. Prime Steaks cut to order by Eddy."

Late 1960s ads for Eddy's Chalet West promoted the "new Edelweiss Room."

The book Legendary Locals of North Ridgeville (2014) by Carol G. Klear includes a nice page devoted to the history of the restaurant as well as its owner, Edward Ratusz. It reveals that the restaurant was originally known as the Green Parrot Restaurant when his parents bought it. Ratusz eventually took over the restaurant when his father retired, and renamed it Eddy's Chalet West.

Eddy's Chalet West closed in 1994 when Ratusz retired. The restaurant was sold, and became the Woods West. It later burned down, and today the property is vacant and for sale.
Vintage Matchbook currently on Ebay

1978-79 Lorain Phone Book Ad

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Paul & Evelyn’s Dinette in Avon Lake

I mentioned Paul & Evelyn’s Dinette in the restaurant roster that I posted on Monday as one of the places in Avon Lake that was open in 1969. Above is a current photo of the building at 33451 Lake Road in Avon Lake that was home to the diner operated by Paul and Evelyn Kulyk.

The article below, which appeared in the Press on December 22, 1993 during a transitional time for the restaurant, provides a nice history of the business.

McDonough’s re-open Paul & Evelyn’s
By Karen Drasler

AVON LAKE - The funny shaped building at 33451 Lake Road, famous for nearly a half century as Paul & Evelyn’s Dinette until it closed just over a year ago, is now open under new management.

“The long, narrow building is typical for diners built in the 1940s and 1950s. They are modeled after train car dining rooms,” explains one of the new managers, Marsha McDonough.

“In fact, many of the traditional diners were actual cars from a train. But not this one,” she adds with a twinkle, because the Paul & Evelyn’s building is not exactly rectangular. Its shape conforms to the irregular shape left between two larger buildings.

The diner is typical in that customers choosing one of the 13 bar stool seats at the counter can watch the cooks working.

McDonough is well aware of many traditions Avon Lakers treasure from the landmark dinette, which closed when Paul had to bow out because of illness. He operated the restaurant himself following the death of his beloved wife, Evelyn, several years before. Paul Kulyk has been in Pennsylvania recuperating at a brother’s house, but is back in Avon Lake from time to time.

Paul and Evelyn’s was not a place to go to have a private conversation. Whatever topic came up, it got tossed around among the other customers and Paul.

Paul cultivated a reputation as a local character, albeit a charming character for the most part. One of his favorite sayings was reportedly: “Order what you want. Eat what you get.”

Rumor has it that Paul used to encourage customers he liked by charging them less, and discouraged those he didn’t by charging them more, for the same order.

Another story from many years ago is that Paul didn’t like a group of construction workers from the CEI plant across the street coming in, because their muddy feet got his floor dirty. So he brought all kinds of stuff from the back room and piled it on the tables. When the workers came in and said, “There’s no where to sit!” Paul replied, “That’s right.”

A different type of tradition people remind Marsha about is Evelyn’s wonderful homemade pies, with strong hints that it should be continued.

“That’s a very labor-intensive proposition,” she says, nodding her head. “I’m going to have to think about that one.”

The new managers of Paul & Evelyn’s have some traditions of their own. Michael and Marsha McDonough, and their children – Marty, 23; Tim, 21; Kevin, 19, and Megan, 17 – already operate one restaurant in Avon Lake: Lenny’s Deli & Beverage at 33688 Walker Road.

In the 10-plus years since the McDonoughs took over Lenny’s, it has changed from a mostly carry-out beverage store, to being mostly a restaurant with wine and other beverages as a side-line. Their youngest child was seven, the oldest 13 when the McDonoughs eased into the restaurant business.

The children have matured and are now much-valued helpers. In fact, after overseeing the initial set-up stage, Marsha is back at Lenny’s (where she manages the day shift) leaving sons Tim and Kevin in charge at the new location. Son Marty manages the late-afternoon and evening shifts at Lenny’s. Megan, a senior at Avon High School, helps out as her time permits.

The new Paul & Evelyn’s will be open by 6:30 or 7 a.m. with pancakes, omelettes and other breakfast fare. It will also be open for lunch.

“Tim’s a morning person,” his mother says with a smile.

Kevin, a daytime college student, and Megan, who is a senior at Avon High School, help out in their free time.

Their dad, Mike, works full-time as sales manager for Eagle International and pitches in on Saturday and evenings at the food business.

The McDonough family resides in Avon where Mike is the Ward 4 councilman. He’s also known in some circles as a dirt bike racer.

“He’s always thinking, always busy doing four things at once,” wife Marsha says. “Sometimes he reads while he’s driving and eating,” she laughs, but a hint of concern flits over her calm features.

In addition to breakfast, the new place will feature juicy hamburgers and French fries. Lenny’s speciality is deli-type food.

“My cholesterol level was getting low. I’m glad you opened the new place,” a customer jokes.

When the new managers were getting Paul & Evelyn’s ready to re-open, they found a box of old menus from the early days at the restaurant.

“Do you know what a nickel would buy back then?” Marsha asks.

“A cup of coffee.”

Paul Kulyk passed away in October 2002. Here is the link to his obituary.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Grand Opening of the Castle – August 13, 1941

The Castle has been one of my favorite topics on this blog since I started it. There’s just something about it that really symbolizes Lorain’s heyday to me.

Well, here’s something that I hadn’t seen before I finally found it on microfilm the other night: the Grand Opening ad for the Castle On the Lake. The ad was nestled in with the movie ads in the August 13, 1941 edition of the Lorain Journal.

It’s interesting to see that frog leg dinners were promoted right along with steak and chicken. (Maybe I watched too many Hoppity Hooper cartoons as a kid, because frog legs still don’t sound all that appetizing to me.)

It didn’t take very long for the Castle to transition from a private residence to a nightclub. The article below, which appeared in the June 10, 1941 Lorain Journal, tells the story.

Property Purchased by Cleveland Men

The “Sugar Castle,” Stop 103 W. Lake-rd, built in World War days by O. F. Hageman, has been acquired by a group of Cleveland businessmen and will shortly become a nightclub.

This was confirmed today by Eddie Schindler, proprietor of the Airway cafe, a Cleveland night spot, who said he represented the Cleveland backers of the venture. He said purchase price was approximately $24,000.

Schindler said a $10,000 remodeling program which will include revamping of the interior and landscaping of the grounds is underway now and is to be completed in time to open the place by July 4.

The night club will be know as the “Castle on the Lake.”

Queried on reports that gambling was planned, Schindler declared, “No, and it never will be."

Monday, February 22, 2016

Restaurant Roll Call – 1969

Reading that February 1970 article about Lorain’s new “quick service” dining scene that I posted last week made me curious about the other restaurants in the neighboring cities during that time period. So I went back and reviewed the Restaurants listings in the November 1969 Lorain Telephone Company directory and compiled a rough list.

All I can say is that the surrounding areas had an incredible amount of choices – of both Mom and Pop places as well as national chains – when it came to eating out back then.

Over in Vermilion, the A&W Root Beer stand on Liberty Avenue was still open, as well as Casey’s Drive In. Other culinary choices included the Holiday Inn Steakhouse, Ann’s Lunch, Dockside Bar-B-Q, Elberta Inn, the Hanna House, Lake Erie Drive In, L’Auberge Du Port Restaurant Francais, Leidheiser’s German Restaurant, McGarvey’s Boat Drive-In, The Nest, Old Prague Restaurant, Dairy Queen, DuPerow Restaurant and The Pit.

Further west out in Huron, there was the Philbo House at the junction of Routes 61 and 6 & 2, and the Twine House on North Main.

Sheffield Lake had a nice selection of places where one could get something to eat. There was Amber Oaks, Bill & Don’s Sheffield Inn, Dutch Treat, Miller’s Dairy Isle Snack Shoppe, Pizza Hut, and of course, Vian’s Barbecue & Restaurant.

Nearby in Avon Lake, you could dine at Aqua Marine - Ramada Inn (another topic that will finally debut on this blog this year), Dairy Queen, the Lovin Oven, Paul & Evelyn’s Dinette, the Saddle Inn Restaurant & Motel, Sandy Lee’s Restaurant, and the Tropicana Lounge & Restaurant. And in Avon, there was Miller’s Country Place.

Over in Amherst, some of the restaurants included the Chatterbox Restaurant, Mischka’s Restaurant, Vicki’s Restaurant, Dewey Road Inn and Yeager’s Acres. And in Birmingham, there was K’s Restaurant on Route 113, which advertised home cooked meals and homemade pies.

Out in North Ridgeville, there was Eddy’s Chalet West. In Elyria, you could dine at Carey’s Villa on Lake Avenue, the Holiday Inn near Midway Mall on Lorain Boulevard, King’s Table, Mr. Larry’s Beef ’N Tails, the Porter House, and the Weathervane Club, which was located on Butternut Ridge.

During the next few days, I’ll feature some local restaurants of yesteryear in their own posts.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Eating Out in Lorain – February 1970 – Part 2

Here’s the rest of the article about Lorain’s changing restaurant scene, written by Marsha Nutter, which appeared in the Sunday Journal on February 1, 1970.


Pizzas and Hamburgers On The Run
Eating Out Today: A New Way of Life: Part 2

Staff Writer

So, the quick service restaurants seem to be doing a booming business but what about the regular restaurants in the area? How are they doing?

Vogue magazine, which recently did a major article on the quick service franchising, reported, “The whole experience of eating has been drained of every last personal and social aspect.”

Some restaurant owners feel people still want the personal and social aspect in their dining – all the frills.

EDDIE SOLOMON, owner of McGarvey’s Restaurant in Vermilion, said he had his best year ever last year and has doubled his sales in the past six years.

“The quick service establishments haven’t really bothered us,” Solomon said, “but there is no doubt a market for them.

“I feel there is also a trend toward elegant dining. People still want atmosphere and they are ready to pay for it,” Solomon said.

“As a matter of fact, there’s a need for a few more good restaurants, especially in the Lorain area,” he said.

JOHN PRESTI of Presti’s Restaurant in Oberlin, said there is still a market for the “better-type” restaurant and the leisurely meal.

“The quick service establishments cut into our late evening trade,” Presti said. “Those who are just looking for a snack for a sandwich now turn to the quick service places.”

“There’s definitely a market for both types of eating places,” Presti said.

Ted Patouhas, manager of the Holiday Inn of SR 57 in Elyria, said he feels a lot of people, especially young families, use the quick service restaurants.

“They can eat out more often and they don’t have to get dressed up,” Patouhas said.

“I STILL believe the nice leisurely meal is popular and at least 60 percent of our evening business and around 90 percent of our noon business is from local people,” he said.

Olga Blondyn of the Castle-on-the-Lake Restaurant on West Erie Avenue in Lorain said leisurely dinners are still popular.

“Quick service establishments haven’t really affected our business,” she said. “We still get the normal flow of business that we have always had.”

She said she feels people still like to dress up and go out for a nice dinner and then just set around the table and relax.

Eddie Ratusz, owner of Eddie’s Chalet West in North Ridgeville said he believes the new movement of young people use the quick service establishments.

He also said about 80 percent of his business is from outside Lorain County.

I’m sure you saw the two restaurant photos on the Sunday Journal article reproduction at the top of this post. The one on the left is the Old English Fish ’n Chips restaurant building, which was located on Oberlin Avenue (and is currently the home of Diso’s Bistro). The other, of course, is one of the area Casey’s Drive Ins (there were three); I’m guessing it was the one on N. Ridge Road that started out as Kelly’s Jet System Hamburgers.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Eating Out in Lorain – February 1970 – Part 1

Here’s an interesting article that provides a nice snapshot of the restaurant scene in Lorain in February 1970. The article, which appeared in the Sunday Journal on February 1, 1970, focuses on the newest culinary phenomenon: “quick service food.” (The term “fast food” hadn’t been coined yet!)

Here is the article, written by Staff Writer Marsha Nutter. I’ve transcribed it to make it easier to read.

Pizzas and Hamburgers On The Run
Eating Out Today: A New Way of Life

Staff Writer

EATING IN the car or inside the building – from paper cups, tin foil wrappers and cardboard boxes is all part of a national trend, the quick service food establishments.

These establishments, which specialize in fast service, seem to be taking over much of the restaurant trade.

Serving anything from tacos and chicken to pizza and the good old hamburger the quick service food establishments are springing up everywhere and often in clusters, so every member of the family can satisfy his tastes.

Ken Cassell, a Lorain realtor who owns several franchises, said he has studied the quick service food franchises the past few years and he feels they are here to stay. Cassell has franchises for Taco Kid, Pizza Hut, Fish and Chips and Lums.

“I think they are a tremendous service to the community,” Cassell said. The basic concept of the franchises has provided people with what they want at a modest cost – without all of the frills.”

ANOTHER POPULAR idea in the quick service food franchising, Cassell said, is grouping several franchises in one area. He has done this on Oberlin Avenue in Lorain.

“People will then come to that area because they know that’s where all of the food restaurants are,” he said. “They can then buy what their tastebuds want that day or if the entire family is out, maybe they want something different, and the whole family can be serviced.”

The quick service establishments enable more families to eat out more often because of the lower prices.

What about the success of these restaurants?

“The public tells whether or not something is successful,” Cassell said. “The public is patronizing these restaurants and they are making money so the public must be telling us something.”

JOHN GONGWEK, manager of the Red Barn Restaurant in Elyria, said he feels the quick service food establishments are a great asset to all ages – the youth can come in and grab a snack, young married couples with their children now have a better chance to go out and eat and more and more golden agers, on a fixed income, are able to eat out.

“We’re able to keep up with fast people living the fast pace today,” Gongwek said.

Floyd Ferner, manager of Sandy’s Restaurant on Oberlin Avenue in Lorain, said in his market “everything is fast, fast, fast.”

“People just don’t like to wait anymore so we stress service, quality and cleanliness,” Ferner said. “The average customer is usually taken care of within 15 seconds after he enters the door.”

HUBERT STEAGALL, manager of the McDonald’s Restaurant on SR 254 in Sheffield Township, said he feels the business is definitely on the rise.

“I have been getting more and more families coming in here for dinner and I believe this is going to continue,” said Dale Miller, manager of the Burger Chef on Lodi Street in Elyria.

Bob Bartlick, owner of Mister S on Broadway in Lorain, said he feels the quick service food establishments have lost some of their enchantment because of price increases.

“I think this is only temporary though,” he said.

“If our franchises weren’t doing the business, they would not warrant any new openings,” said Leon  Denomme, manager of Burger King on Broad Street in Elyria.

“Quick service isn’t any good without proper facilities which include a good dining room and ample parking space,” he said.

GENE FREET, manager of the Kentucky Fried Chicken Restaurant in Sandusky, said “the trend is definitely toward the quick service establishments.”

Tomorrow: The rest of the story, which includes the viewpoint of the owners of several iconic area restaurants including McGarvey’s, the Castle-on-the-Lake, Presti’s and Eddy’s Chalet West.

You’ll note that the article shown at the top of this post includes several small photos of area restaurants. The strip of photos across the top include (from left to right) Sandy’s Hamburgers at Oberlin Avenue and Meister Road in Lorain, the Burger Chef in Elyria, the Red Barn in Elyria, Taco Kid, and the Pizza Hut on Oberlin Avenue in Lorain.

The vertical photos consist of Minnie Pearl’s Chicken on Leavitt Road and Arby’s on Griswold in Elyria.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Stevan Dohanos 1948 Red Cross Poster – Part 2

Here’s the rest of the article that appeared in the February 6, 1948 Lorain Journal about Lorain artist Stevan Dohanos and his painting that was used for a Red Cross poster (shown above). In this part of the article we learn about the background of Dohanos and how he became an artist.

Lorain Rooftops Part Of Red Cross Poster (Part 2)

Dohanos, who has gained widespread fame with his Saturday Evening Post covers, was born in Lorain, the son of a steelworker and one of nine children.

He had always liked to draw but his first real glimpse of the artistic world came when he was asked to play the lead in a play for the Hungarian folk theater.

Soon he was “messing around” with paints and allowed to work on the backdrops and scenery. After two years of high school he entered the steel mills here but continued his homework for the International Correspondence school courses in art in which he had enrolled.

These courses led to his only formal study at a Cleveland art school where he spent three terms of evening classes. When 20 years old, he became an apprentice in an advertising studio in Cleveland where he spent six years, learning the business of commercial art in all its phases, lettering, design and layout.

His first recognition as an artist came after he had won first place twice for drawings at the Cleveland Museum of Art and in 1933 he moved to New York to work for the Fawn studios.

His fame as an artist has grown rapidly since that time and he was one of six artists assigned by the government as members of the treasury art project to spend six months in the Virgin Islands, painting what they saw.

On his return to the states, Dohanos’ tropical-style paintings were a great success and it was in 1938 that he began to work for the Saturday Evening Post, illustrating a serial story.

This led to many more story illustrations in other magazines and then he began to narrow his work down to the Saturday Evening Post alone.

Dohanos’ work is done in a rambling home and studio in Westport, Conn., where he lives with his wife, Margit, and two sons, Peter and Paul.

You might remember my 2011 post (which began here) in which I tried to locate the mysterious house in Lorain that Dohanos featured in a painting that ran on the cover of the July 20, 1946 issue of the Saturday Evening Post.

The mystery was later solved in a three-part blog series (which ran here, here and here) in which it was revealed that the house on that cover was the house on First Street in which Dohanos was born. Unfortunately it had been torn down.

Anyway, a close look at the 1948 Red Cross poster – in which Dohanos is said to have included some Lorain rooftops – makes me think he snuck his old homestead into a painting once again.

Take a look at this detail from the Red Cross painting (below).

What do you think?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Stevan Dohanos 1948 Red Cross Poster – Part 1

Sixty-eight years ago this month, well-known Lorain artist Stevan Dohanos was featured on the front page of the Friday, Feb. 6, 1948 Lorain Journal shown above. He had just completed a painting to be used as a Red Cross campaign poster.

He even included a bit of Lorain in his poster artwork. You can read all about it in the article by Jean Weaver, which I have transcribed below for easier reading. (I’ve had to bust it into two parts; today’s part is the story behind the poster, and in tomorrow’s portion, the focus is on Dohanos himself.

Lorain Rooftops Part Of Red Cross Poster

The remembered rooftops of his hometown, Lorain, the spire of a little church in Connecticut and the strong green shaft of a lamp post in Conshohocken, Pa.

All these contributed to the intensely American theme of the 1948 Red Cross fund campaign poster, designed by Steven [sic] Dohanos, son of Andrew Dohanos, 5070 Elyria-av.

The story of how he came to paint the poster was told by Dohanos himself, in a recent interview at his Connecticut home.

Dohanos began working on sketches for the poster early last fall in his studio in Westport, Conn. The suggestion had been to show a Red Cross worker extending help in time of disaster.

Turns to Notebook
He had chosen a young woman worker from a neighboring Red Cross chapter, had photographs made of her against a background of destruction, sheltering a child in her arms and it was from these photographs that he was working.

But his artist’s mind kept searching for a simpler theme which would better represent the Red Cross as a basic part of American life.

In an old notebook filled with impressions of a sketching tour thru Pennsylvania several years before, he found one particular sketch which stood out in his memory.

On a street corner in the industrial town of Conshohocken near Philadelphia he had been struck by the symbolism of two flags, American and Red Cross, unfurled from the height of a lamp post.

This sketch was the starting point for a strong and simple poster chosen almost instantaneously from those submitted to the Red Cross.

At first Dohanos thought the lamp post and flags should stand alone against a plain background. But then he realized that “America” should be sketched in to give the touch of Main Street detail.

Thus the resulting poster gives a sum total of American, the gingerbread eaves and the quaint but homely cupola, the circling pigeons, the spire of the church and the squat water tower of a small industrial plant.

The hands of the clock on the church tower which point to seven after 11 suggest a mood and time of day and the flags suggest the whole way of life.

Tomorrow: The rest of the story

Monday, February 15, 2016

329th Infantry Returns Home to Lorain County – Feb. 15, 1919

Ninety-seven years ago today, the Lorain County soldiers of the 329th Infantry were welcomed home from the “great world war,” arriving in Wellington at the Big Four Railroad depot early on the morning of February 15, 1919.

They were treated to a wonderful reception in Wellington, as described on the front page of the Feb. 15, 1919 Evening Telegram, including a sumptuous breakfast. They also marched in a parade before boarding a car for Oberlin, and then Elyria.

As eloquently stated in the caption below the illustration, “Elyria’s welcome home to the soldier boys in the blowing of whistles, the ringing of bells, the acclaim of the populace, and given expression in speech and song, not only cheered their hearts, but the hearts of fathers, mothers, and sweethearts, as they have not been cheered since they left the city many months ago in response to the country’s call, to perform a patriotic duty, to win the fight for democracy and make the world safe.

“Having performed that duty without flinching, but at the sacrifice of long separation from friends, and the privations suffered, which is the lot of the true soldier, they have now returned to again mingle with those they love, and pursue the avocations of peace.

“And so, in extending these boys, 36 in number, members of the 329th Infantry, and comprising 12 from Elyria, 19 from Lorain, two from Wellington, including the gallant Lieutenant F. L. McDermott, and three from Oberlin, we speak not alone for the Telegram, and the people of these four cities, but Lorain county in its entirety; and may the best wishes of the community as a whole be ever with them, and God’s richest blessings ever rest upon them. That is our thought and wish and will ever be our prayer and the prayer of this community.”

It’s interesting how Lady Liberty is drawn in the Telegram illustration.
Like many women on World War I posters, she’s drawn wearing Roman garb and clutching the flag. But unlike many of the stuffy women in other renderings, the Lady Liberty here – joyous and triumphant – is attractive, almost like a pin-up.

The soldiers marching by her seem to approve.

Quite a difference graphically from what had been used as Lady Liberty only a couple of decades earlier (below).
Vintage 1880s engraving
(Courtesy the

Friday, February 12, 2016

Sparky's Coming to Food Center – January 1957

I’ve done several posts about the Lorain grocery store operated by Frank “Jay” Jursinski on Oberlin Avenue at Meister Road. It was an early tenant of the shopping center there that later included Willow Hardware.

Jay’s opened in March 1952 and was affiliated with several different national grocery store chain over the years. It was an I.G.A. Food Liner in March 1953, and by March 1955 was a Food Center.

Back here, I posted a March 10, 1955 ad (below) that ran in the Lorain Journal featuring a nameless grocer mascot that looked an awful lot like good old Sparky of the Sparkle Market chain.

At the end of April 1955, the store celebrated a Grand Opening in a larger space in the shopping strip.

But it wasn’t until late January 1957 that the Food Center officially became a Sparkle Market.

In the weeks leading up to the change, a series of full-page ads announcing prizes, gifts and great deals drummed up interest. This ad (below) ran on January 16, 1957.

A week later, this ad ran on January 23, 1957. It features the now-familiar rendering of Sparky.
Finally, on January 30, the big announcement of the opening celebration as Food Centers officially changed their name to Sparkle.
From then on, Sparky made regular appearances in the ads, such as this one (below) on March 20, 1957.
Here are some more great Sparky illustrations from 1957.
From a February 6, 1957 ad
From a June 19, 1957 ad
From a July 1957 ad
Jay later moved his Sparkle store further south on Oberlin Avenue to a brand new building that would become the home of Meyer Goldberg’s.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Reidy Scanlan/St. Joe's Demo Update

By George, this is the third post this week related to demolition!

Late last November, when the former Reidy-Scanlan building was about to be torn down, I scanned old newspaper microfilms at the Lorain Public Library in an unsuccessful attempt to find out some of the early history of the building.

So, last week – while looking for something else, of course, I finally found what I was looking for: a nice architectural rendering of the building (below). It ran in the Lorain Daily News on August 5, 1913.

The caption reads, “Work is progressing rapidly on the new block building being built at the corner of 21st street and Broadway, for the Reichlin, Reidy, Scanlan Furniture and Undertaking company. The building will be of brick construction and its dimensions will be 58x110 feet. The south side of the building facing Broadway will be used for undertaking parlors and chapel. The bloc will be completed about December 1st and will cost approximately $37,000. The building will be strictly modern and when completed will be one of the finest in the city.
I’m still scratching my head as to why this building couldn’t have been rehabilitated. 
Anyway, here’s what the now-empty corner looked like last weekend.
Across 21st Street, the work cleaning up the demolition of the oldest part of the former St. Joe’s is progressing nicely. A handsome new outside wall camouflages the unsightly seams that were exposed as a result of the demolition.
Quite a difference from the view back in August 2013.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Johnny Risko and Joe Friday

I’m a big, big fan of Jack Webb, well-known as the creator of Dragnet and for his portrayal of no-nonsense Sergeant Joe Friday on radio, TV and even in a theatrical movie. I have the whole 1960s TV revival of Dragnet on DVD.

However, you might not know that Webb also produced, directed and starred in several movies in which he played other characters. I happened to pop one of them – Pete Kelly’s Blues – in my DVD player this past Saturday night.

Pete Kelly’s Blues (1955) is about a bandleader and cornet player (played by Webb) in Kansas City during the 1920s. He gets mixed up with a party girl (Janet Leigh) who loves him, and a gangster (Edmond O’Brien) named Fran McCarg. The movie also features Martin Milner (later of Adam-12) in a small role as the band’s hot-headed drummer.

Not surprisingly, it’s hard to watch Webb as the stiff, straight-laced band leader who is good with a gun without thinking of Joe Friday. Time magazine thought so too. In its review, it said the movie might as well have been called Young Cop With a Horn (in a reference to a similar 1950 movie called Young Man With a Horn.)

By now, you’re probably wondering. “But Dan, what the heck does this have to do with Sheffield Lake's Johnny Risko?”

Well, early in the movie, the gangster character McCarg stops in at the nightclub at which Pete Kelly and his band are performing. McCarg summons the bandleader into the nightclub’s office to tell him he’s taking over management of the band, as well as a cut of their earnings.

When Kelly enters the room, McCarg is studying a photo on the wall with his back to the movie audience. While looking at the photo, he murmurs, “Quite a fighter, Johnny Risko.”

Webb replies, “He’ll do.”

When McCarg turns around, you can see the photo of Johnny Risko just over his left shoulder.

Anyway, it’s a nice tribute to Johnny Risko, who had only passed away in 1953, and a reminder of his success as a heavyweight boxer in a career that spanned 1924 - 1940.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Bringing Down the Sveden House

Another day, another demolition.

I was out by Midway Mall over the weekend. It’s very strange not to have to drive over the 49th Street Bridge (which was demolished last November) to get across Route 57.

It’s an improvement, but as a result, there are a lot of new traffic lights. But that’s progress.

There’s other changes going on out there as well, including the ongoing demolition of the former Sveden House Smorgasbord.

You might remember that I did a two-part post on the well-remembered buffet (here and here) and another about its promotional postcard (here).

Anyway, here’s a photo of the building from about a year ago, when winters actually brought a little bit of snow.

And here’s the view from sunny Saturday afternoon.
Looks like the excavator has been customized with a unique sunshade (below). Either that or the operator was watching me as I took my photograph.

So it’s goodbye forever to memories of the Sveden House, a reminder of the good old days when we used to get all dressed up with suits and ties (the males, that is) to go out to dinner on Sunday afternoon.