Monday, June 12, 2017

“Old E. H.” Rocks No More

The sign as it looked back in January 2017
As the sign looked in mid-December 2016;
"Old E. H.” still has his Santa cap on
I saw in the Chronicle Telegram on Friday that the iconic E. H. Roberts “rocking chair man” sign has been taken down from the building at the intersection of Route 57 and North Ridge Road. It’s kind of the end of an era for many of us that were so used to seeing it while stopped at the light there.

Here’s the link to the Chronicle-Telegram article by Scott Mahoney. It explains that the building has been unused for some time now and that the removal of the sign was necessary to hopefully expedite the sale of the property.

I figured that the sign was a goner when I first noticed that the building was for sale (at left) back around Christmas.

It’s interesting that the Chronicle article reveals that the sign was installed in 1955. It must have taken a while for the image of “Old E. H.” in his rocker to catch on and represent the company, because he didn’t appear in an Elyria phone book ad until 1968.

Here’s how he looked in that 1968 ad.
A later phone book ad seemed to return "Old E. H." to his roots.
By the 1990s, "Old E. H." had become "Mr. Help."

1992 Lorain Phone Book ad
The E. H. Roberts sign was one of those classic Lorain County landmarks – like the Lakeview Park Easter Basket or the train in Oakwood Park – that local Baby Boomers watched for from the back seat of the family car. In the more innocent era of the 1950s and 60s, it didn’t take much to amuse kids. I know we always watched for the guy on the rocking chair when we happened to be going down Route 57 going to or from the Turnpike.
Happily, the image of the man on the rocking chair will live on. “Old E. H.” is on both the front and side of the new building just a stone’s throw to the east on North Ridge Road.

While it’s sad that the landmark sign on 57 is no more, it’s amazing that it lasted for so long. That’s one thing you can say about Lorain County: change comes very slowly.

But it just won’t be the same when you’re stuck at that light at 57 and 254, and you don’t see the familiar, comforting image of “Old E. H.” with his feet propped up on his potbelly stove, harkening back to simpler times.


MMCM retired said...

what a shame...surprised the owner didn't take it to his new place that's a iconic sign. I went home on leave and showed the kids the sign they thought it was the coolest.....wonder who has the sign or if its for sale???

Lisa said...

Yes, I remember that rocking chair man from the 1960's while sitting in the backward-facing seat in my dad's station wagon. Memories!