Monday, July 31, 2017

103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Camp Week – 1961

Well, there are cars parked all over the lawn at the 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry grounds in Sheffield Lake - so that can only mean one thing: Camp Week 2017 is underway. The weeklong celebration is a tradition dating back to 1866, when the Union soldiers of the 103rd decided to hold a yearly reunion to renew their friendships.

Thus, it’s a good time for me to post the article below, looking back at a previous reunion.

Back in 1961, the annual reunion of the 103rd O. V. I.  was an even bigger celebration than usual. The 100th anniversary of the Civil War also took place that year, as well as the rededication of U. S. 6 (Lake Road) through the community as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway.

A big parade commemorated the occasion, which was described as “Sheffield Lake’s biggest celebration in its century and a quarter history.”

Read all about it in the article, which ran in the Chronicle-Telegram on August 14, 1961.

Here’s another small article (below) about the celebration, which ran in the Chronicle on August 9, 1961. 
As you can see, it was quite a big event, with nineteen area mayors attending, and marching units of the U. S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and National Guard in the parade. The Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court was the featured speaker.

Friday, July 28, 2017

I-90 Public Hearing – August 1964

I found this article after I prepared yesterday's post about Route 254. It ran in the Lorain Journal on August 6, 1964 and is a report on a public hearing about a proposed I-90 segment designed to connect up with the Ohio Turnpike just west of Route 57.

The idea was to allow I-90 traffic to have its own Ohio Turnpike interchange to alleviate congestion at the Route 57 interchange. As we know, it was eventually built.

Here's the article (below). Note how State Route 254 figures prominently in the article; indeed on the accompanying map, you can see that today's State Route 2 was originally indicated to be the "proposed SR 254."

Perhaps the real reason the terminus of Route 254 was later moved from Route 58 to Route 57 is because that's where the road connected up with I-90, the Ohio Turnpike and State Route 2.


IR-90 Backed At Public Hearing

ELYRIA – Reactions to the proposed IR-90 route from the Ohio Turnpike to SR-57 were recorded yesterday at a public hearing at the Holiday Inn on SR-57.

The majority of the 35 persons present endorsed the new four-lane, limited access 3.7-mile-long road which begins on the turnpike in Amherst Twp., and is planned to connect with SR-254 at Rt. 57.

But some individuals who live close to the proposed road expressed fears about possible devaluation of their property by the construction of the route.

Donald H. Timmer, deputy director of Division Three, Ohio Department of Highways at Ashland, who conducted the hearing, said the need for the road has been determined through a joint study made by the U. S. Bureau of Pubic Roads, the Ohio Department of Highways and the Ohio Turnpike Commission.

The route reportedly will make it possible for all IR-90 traffic, estimated to be about 8,000 vehicles per day, to have its own turnpike interchange, thereby relieving the traffic load at the Lorain-Elyria turnpike exchange on Rt. 57.

The highway department does not plan to build the road until the late 1960's, Timmer said.

The new route will begin on the Ohio Turnpike 6 miles west of West Ridge Rd., and will swing north and east, crossing over Murray Ridge Rd., .2 miles north of Griswold Rd. It will continue east to connect with the proposed relocation of Rt. 254.

Timmer said the highway department has a Relocation Assistance Advisory group to help individuals or firms who have to relocate because of the new route. In cases where buildings must be moved, the person affected may get moving expenses paid, he added.

Toll facilities for the new route will be located on the Ohio Turnpike in Amherst Twp.

J. Norman Thompson, speaking as the chairman of the Main Thoroughfare Committee of the Lorain County Regional Planning Commission, said the committee, composed of representatives of cities, villages, townships, labor and industry, was 100 percent in favor of the route. He estimated that traffic from the proposed interstate system will help cause a spillover of 10,000 cars daily on Route 57 which will be mainly absorbed by the through route of IR-90 traffic.

Thompson said he would like to see the route programmed sooner than 1970.

Mrs. Ruth Collins, Elyria, said she was opposed to the additional traffic noise the route might bring but felt that the county must have good roads.

Mrs. Rose Bodor, who lives near the proposed route but not in the right-of-way path, expressed fears for her rental property's possible devaluation because of the road noise.

Robert Mascero, Elyria, who lives immediately south of the project, requested additional consideration because of possible devaluation of his property.

Mrs. Andrew Trimmel, Elyria, said she was worried that vibrations from the traffic would affect their newly built greenhouse there.

Mrs. Walter Halin, who lives 250 feet from the turnpike now, said she felt the county needed the road, but said she would not continue to live that close to both routes.

James P. Horn, chairman of the Lorain County Commission, said the commission favored the route because it would alleviate traffic on Rt. 57 and that it had been working toward necessary four-lane arterial highways for Lorain County.

Oliver E. Schubert, an Oberlin teacher and former resident of the area of the proposed route wanted more talk about plans to help the people and said the objectors should be represented by someone to talk for them.

A. J. Lehman of Lehman and Johnson Real Estate Brokers endorsed the route as being beneficial to most of the people. Lehman said realtors as well as individuals have suffered individual losses by new highways but that they were beneficial in the long run to all concerned.

Art Neiding, 624 Murray Ridge Rd., said he felt that the route should be started even farther westward on farm land and not in built up property.

Timmer said that a court recording of the hearing would be forwarded to the Ohio Director of Highways for his consideration before the route is journalized.

Here's the map of the same area today.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Route 254: Where Will It End?

A few weeks ago, there was local news coverage (here) about an effort to extend Route 254 from where it currently ends at Route 57 all the way west to Route 58. The reason behind the proposal is that it would eliminate some of the confusion created by the various names of the currently unnumbered highway as it passes through two townships on its way west to Amherst.

Strangely, no one interviewed for the newspaper article mentioned that for decades, that 4.4 mile stretch of road was Route 254, before its terminus was later pushed east to Route 57. I’m sure many readers were scratching their head over that.

When did the state highway officials move the terminus to Route 57? I’m guessing that the change occurred in the 1990s, although I don’t have the maps to prove it. I can’t remember the reasoning either; I think the state was trying to save money and pass along the road’s maintenance to the county. Either that, or resistance to widening the road (it’s pretty narrow west of South Broadway) made it rather deficient as a major state highway.

Here’s an early 1960s Arrow City Map (dating from before Route 2 was built) clearly showing Route 254 extending to Leavitt Road (Route 58).

And here's a wider view of the map. These vintage maps are always fun to look at!
Interestingly, when the current limited access highway Route 2 was under construction, for a while no one knew what it was going to be called. I posted a 1966 article about this confusion here.

One of the possible designations for the highway mentioned in the article – in addition to the rather cool-sounding "Northwest Freeway” – was none other than Route 254.

It probably would have been better if it had been designated Route 254. Calling it Route 2 destroyed the old, comfortable “6 & 2” name for the local lakefront road.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

1976 All-Ohio State Fair Band Panoramic Photo

Well, the great Ohio State Fair opens today, so it’s a good time for me to post this photo. It shows the 1976 All-Ohio State Fair Band.

I spent two weeks down at the Fair that year as part of this group, which I wrote about here. Even as a crusty 58-year old, I still get a lump in my throat when I think about how much fun it was.

Fellow Admiral King High School Band member Dave Szabo was a member of the State Fair Band too that year. Consequently, we missed summer band camp, as well as being in the AKHS marching band photo for the 1976 football program – but it was worth it.

The All-Ohio State Fair Band tradition continues today (here’s the link to its website).

As for the photo, I still remember the day they took it because we had to sit perfectly still for what seemed like a long time while the panoramic camera did its job. It was a sunny morning, too, and I was really squinting.

To reproduce the photo here on the blog, I had to scan it in pieces and reassemble it, so there’s a visible seam (sorry about that). But since this photo is nowhere else on the internet, I thought it would be nice to post it.

And since the blog software automatically reduces large jpegs to a maximum of 22” wide, here it is below in larger, cropped sections (in case some 1976 Band members would like to pick themselves out in the crowd.

The red, white and blue personalized jumpsuits we wore (remember, it was the Bicentennial year) were a little gaudy, but they created a distinctive look for the Band – especially the groovy scarves that would look right at home around the neck of Fred on Scooby-Doo.
(By the way, your humble blogger is in the bottom photo, in the back row with the other trombone players, seventh from the end.)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Skyline Park Ad – June 1965

Here’s one final new home development ad for now. It’s for Skyline Park, located west of Leavitt Road and south of Skyline Drive.

The ad ran in the Journal on June 5, 1965. Apparently it's from the second phase of Skyline Park (note the “No. 2” after its name). I posted earlier Skyline Park ads from 1963 and 1964 here.

What’s interesting about the ad is the map showing the route to Skyline Park. Leavitt Road was being widened at that time (which I wrote about here), necessitating the circuitous route shown. Hey, this map has north at the bottom too!

As our house on East Skyline Drive was under construction at the time of this 1965 ad, I’m sure we had to take the same winding route from Oberlin Avenue to check its progress. We moved in during December 1965, just about the same time Leavitt Road was completed.

If I remember correctly, although East Skyline Drive did go through to Leavitt, it was unpaved beyond our house.

We called the whole grassy swampland between us and Temple Avenue "the field." It became such a popular area for people to dump their trash that the city had to erect a "No Dumping" sign.

It was on that same land that a plane crashed in 1971 (which I wrote about here).

Monday, July 24, 2017

Sherwood Allotment Ad – July 27, 1957

Anyone growing up on the west side of Lorain in the 1960s has probably heard of Sherwood Allotment.

Well, above is an ad promoting it that ran in the Lorain Journal on July 27, 1957 – 60 years ago this month. It provides a nice description of a model home built by Molnar-Riley Construction for that development. Features of the home included built-in Tappan oven and range, a black top driveway (don’t see too many of those these days), oak flooring throughout, Formica counter tops and a cement block basement.

It’s interesting that according to the ad, one of the benefits of living in Sherwood Allotment was its location “only minutes from Downtown.” Who knew that 60 years later, the location would be even better, being minutes away from the retail development on Oak Point?

Anyway, I've mentioned before that the school bus carrying the Sherwood Allotment kids drove right by our house on E. Skyline Drive heading west towards Leavitt Road. But we lived just inside the boundary that would have put us on that particular bus, so we walked to Masson School. We probably needed the exercise anyway.

Being the nosy type, I drove over to Sherwood Allotment in June on a Saturday afternoon to see if I could find the model home featured in the ad. Sure enough, it was just a few houses to the east of Sherwood Drive, and still looked great.

Interestingly, the Lorain County Auditor website says the house (which recently was sold and still had the FOR SALE sign out front) was built in 1959. 
But readers of this blog know better (heh-heh).

Sunday, July 16, 2017

On Vacation!

Howdy, folks – just a reminder that I’m on vacation all week, so no new (or mildly recycled) content on the blog. But please stop back again next week, when I’ll be back (with some no doubt hastily prepared tripe)!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Oberlin Estates Ad – July 20, 1957

To close out the week, here's yet another vintage ad that's part of my apparent effort to document as many Lorain housing developments of the 1950s and 60s as possible. This one is for Oberlin Estates, which was located east of Oberlin Avenue at W. 37th Street.

The ad ran on Saturday, July 20, 1957 in the Lorain Journal. So did this full-page ad below.

As you can see, Kucirek Construction was behind the development. I’ve written about Emil and Emily Kucirek a few times on this blog, including this 2010 post about the Oberlin Avenue farmhouse they rehab’d, as well as this extensive 1969 interview with them.
As for the ‘Capri’ model home featured prominently in the ads, it’s still there on W. 37th – and looking great.
And with that, I’m on vacation! The last time I took a week off from my job in Cleveland was in 2014 – so I’m long overdue for a break. And although I usually take time off from the blog during Christmas week, my last summer vacation here was that same week in August 2014!
So please stop back in a week or so when I’ll return to my regularly scheduled blog programming. Have a great summer until then!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Central Bank Drive-Through Ad – July 1952

Although being able to do your banking while remaining in your car is something we all take for granted now, it was still a new concept back in 1952.

The above ad, which ran in the Lorain Journal on July 4, 1952, promotes the fact that the Central Bank Company, located at Broadway and 20th Street in Lorain, was the only local bank to offer a “Drive-In Teller” service at that time. It was in the rear of the building with access from 20th Street.

The “Drive-In Teller” window was even featured in the film LORAIN – An Industrial Empire in Ohio’s Vacation Land.

Of course the Central Bank building is long-gone (except for the pillars), but here’s roughly the same view today as seen in the film.
Courtesy Google Maps
Ironically, it now seems that most banks seem to have done away with direct customer contact in their drive-throughs, favoring the clunky pneumatic tubes.
It’s been a long times since I put my savings book in a drawer at the drive-through. In fact, most banks (except for First Federal Savings of Lorain) have done away with the books!
I know you’re probably wondering – what about “Miss Vacationland” of 1952 mentioned in the ad?
Well, the pageant was held at Lorain’s Lakeview Park on July 4, 1952. The winner was Sandusky’s Darlene Nancy Miller, 18, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Warren J. Miller. First alternate was Gloria Jean Lehnert, 19, of Amherst, and Second alternate was Dolores Lohrer, 19, of Sheffield Lake.
A crowd of 40,000 watched the pageant.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cities Service Luxury Driving Ad – July 1, 1958

Here’s an unusual approach to marketing gasoline: position it as a luxury item for women. That’s the gimmick at work in this ad for Cities Service, which ran in the Lorain Journal on July 1, 1958.

The ad was part of a series with the same luxury theme. Here they are in color – beginning with the same ad above – courtesy of the good folks at

I like the way the gas pump subliminally serves as a TV.
But what about the men? Cities Service didn’t forget about them. Here’s a nice manly ad from 1963 with mountains and a crystal clear lake that’s no doubt teeming with bass. Plus the ad agency threw in a cute cartoon beaver gas attendant to appeal to that part of the public that is a sucker for advertising mascots (like me).
Speaking of Cities Service, I drove by Benny’s Carriage Shoppe on Reid Avenue last weekend and took the shot below. I really like that retro gas station look.

I also featured Benny’s on this blog back in 2015 (here).

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Probst Ad – July 12, 1947

Summertime makes me think of ice cream, so it’s fitting to post this ad for Probst Corner. The ad ran in the Lorain Journal on July 12, 1947 – 70 years ago this month – and celebrates the First Anniversary of the business.

The ad provides a nice photo of the owners, Herman and Violet Probst, as well as the distinctive storefront. The ad reveals that the firm also sold baked goods, candy, snacks and even frozen Birdseye brand products.

I’ve written about Probst Corner before, including this post featuring an ad from 1954. Thomas Probst, the grandson of Herman and Violet, left a nice comment on that post about a vintage Probst Ice Cream scoop that he still uses.

Lorain was certainly fortunate to have so many family-owned ice cream shops to choose from over the years.

Although the oldest Lorain businesses are no more, it’s nice that Trish and Tom Harris have kept Lorain’s ice cream legacy alive with their K-Cream Korner and K-Cream Parlour.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Rainbow Golf Gardens Ad – July 4, 1930

During the summer, many people think of heading out to play a round of miniature golf – perhaps in Vermilion at Romp’s.

I had always thought that miniature golf (what we sometimes refer to as Putt-Putt) was something that first became big in the 1960s and 70s. Well, here’s an ad that shows that it was popular in Lorain much earlier than that.

The above ad for the Rainbow Golf Gardens ran in the Lorain Times-Herald on July 4, 1930.

According to this Wiki entry, miniature golf courses had become quite popular by the end of the 1920s, thanks to the development of suitable artificial greens. The sport became so popular that rooftop courses became very common.

In Lorain, the Rainbow Golf Gardens had two locations: 1520 West Erie (just east of Lakeview Park) and 710-14 Broadway.

The business was owned by Frederick A. Koegle and William Seher.

As the Wiki article indicated, the Depression wiped out most of the early miniature golf courses in the U. S. by the end of the 1930s. It looks like Lorain’s mini-golf courses were victims of bad economic times as well.

Available city directories at the Lorain Public Library indicate that the Rainbow Golf Gardens (at West Erie only) was still open in 1933, but had closed by the time of the 1937 edition.

Speaking of miniature golf, I happened to drive by the former Putt-Putt on Route 57 near Route 2 recently. The sign is still in great shape, but it looks like windmills would be the least of a golfer’s problems on that course today.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Avon Lake – “Our Town” – July 1957

To close out the week, here’s a full-page photo spread that should be of interest to my Avon Lake readers. It ran in the Saturday, July 27, 1957 edition of the Lorain Journal.

There’s plenty of charming shots of subjects found around 1957 Avon Lake: the freight agent at the train station; the new 400-foot smokestack of the CEI plant; the new municipal building on Avon-Belden Road; the city’s first church; the city’s fully-equipped fire truck in front of the fire station on Lake Road; the roller ramps at the Avon Lake Boat Club docks; and of most interest to me, B.F. Goodrich (where my father worked for more than twenty years).

Gerry Vogel’s Avon Lake book in the Arcadia Images of America series includes some great photographs for comparison with their 1957 counterparts here, including this shot of the “first church building in Avon Lake” in 1896.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Lorain Lighthouse Historical Marker

A nice view of the Lighthouse from the Spitzer Marina
(Courtesy Matt Weisman)
I didn’t make it down to the ceremonial unveiling of the Ohio Historical Marker honoring the Lorain Lighthouse last Friday, but local historian and author Matt Weisman did – and generously shared his photos of the event with me. Thanks, Matt!

Here’s a nice one of Frank & Carolyn Sipkovsky of the Lorain Lighthouse Foundation Board of Trustees. (Frank is the Chairman of the Board.)

And here are a few more of Matt’s great photos.

Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer
Dave Kramer, Local lighthouse historian and
Lorain Lighthouse Foundation Board of Trustees member
I finally got a chance to check out the marker on Monday morning. I was somewhat surprised by the marker’s location; I originally thought it would be further down on the pier – maybe even at the end of it, where you could photograph it with the lighthouse nice and big in the background.

I guess the intention was to make the marker easily accessible – which works for me, as I was too pooped to walk to the end of the pier anyway.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Aut-O-Rama Drive-In Ad – July 2, 1965

Lorain County was a real hotbed for drive-in movie theaters.

There was the very first one in the county, the Lorain Drive-in Theatre on Route 6, which opened in June 1946; the Carlisle Drive-in Theater on Route 20 (1949);  the Tower Drive-in (May 1950); and the Aut-O-Rama on Route 10 out in North Ridgeville (1965).

Today, only the Aut-O-Rama – the very last to open – remains. Here’s the link to its website.

The ad shown above in from that inaugural 1965 season and ran in the Lorain Journal on July 2, 1965. The double feature was a good one with lots of star power: Mister Moses (with Robert Mitchum and Carroll Baker) and The Rounders (featuring Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda).

I love the great caricatures in the ad of Baker and Mitchum by Al Hirschfeld, although they didn't make it onto the official movie poster.

The Ford-Fonda flick looks like a lot of fun, and more like typical drive-in fare than the Mitchum movie.

After all, any movie with Doodles Weaver, Chill Wills and Edgar Buchanan can’t be all bad!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Fourth of July!

Well, it’s July 4th – and it’s hard to believe the year is half over already.

If you were preparing for a holiday feast in Lorain 60 years ago, you might have consulted this Kroger ad that ran in the Lorain Journal on July 1, 1957.

Note the appearance of our old pal Toppiethe Top Value Stamp elephant, at the top of the ad, appropriately enough.

Some of the food brands listed in the ad are kind of interesting.

‘Clover Valley Pork & Beans’ are featured. I recognize the Clover Valley brand from shopping trips to Dollar General; sure enough, after checking online, I see that while Kroger was the original registrant of the brand, Dollar General is now the trademark owner.

Note Swift’s Premium “wafer-sliced’ meats – exclusive to Kroger – including hard salami, bologna, cooked ham, cooked specialty, hot-o-collo and spiced luncheon meat (sounds like it might be Dutch Loaf). Swift’s history goes back to 1855; the company is still around, although it was purchased by a Brazilian company in 2007.

I like the brand name of the margarine listed in the ad: Eatmore Margarine. (It kind of reminds me of the character in the classic Monty Python Travel Agent sketch, with the name: Mr. Smoke-too-much.)

Monday, July 3, 2017

Planning Lakeview Park – July 1916

In case you might be heading down to Lakeview Park for the holiday, this might be of interest.

Back when Lakeview Park was being developed, there were a lot of decisions to be made about what it was going to look like. The article above, which ran in the Lorain Daily News on July 25, 1916, sheds some light on the planning process.

Municipal Bathhouse as Proposed by Server Horn 
Would Be of “Double Deck” Type Similar to 
Structure at Edgewater Park, Cleveland.
Drainage work preliminary to the general improvement of the site of what is to be Lakeview park on W. Erie avenue, recently optioned by the city from the heirs of the W. S. Chamberlain estate at a purchase of about $53,000, is soon to be begun, Service Director A. J. Horn announced today.
With the drainage work under way, City Engineer C. M. Osborne is to begin the preparation of an estimate of the cost of carrying out plans prepared by H. M. Horvath, Cleveland landscape architect for the improvement of the park site.
Horvath’s plans include the routes of drives, footpaths, the location of a proposed big municipal bathhouse and of recreational fields.
The lake-front included in the park, according to tentative plans of city officials, would be protected by the construction of four jetties, extending into the lake and providing landing places for small boats.
The municipal bathhouse, as proposed by Director Horn, would be of the “double-deck” type, similar to the structure recently completed in Edgewater park in Cleveland, with the lower floor occupied by dressing rooms, lockers and other bathing facilities and the upper floor given over to an “observation” deck.
Recreation fields, which would include baseball diamonds, tennis courts and possibly a soccer field, would be located in the section of the park lying south of West Erie avenue, according to Horvath’s plans.
Improve Other Parks
While the preparation of plans for the improvement of Lakeview park are in progress, city officials are improving other parks. Service Director A. J. Horn today ordered 76 new park benches to be divided between Oakwood park in the steel plant district and the parks in the central and northern districts of the city.
Service department workmen are engaged in grading work on Riverside park on the lower East Side. Director Horn says this park, the improvement of which had never been completed, will be sown with grass seed next fall.
Horn today was considering plans for the erection of a diving platform in the lake at the city bathing beach on the lakefront at Water Works park.
Bids are to be received in Horn’s office tomorrow for the refreshment concession at Oakwood park for the season. The concession will carry with it the exclusive right to sell refreshments in the park.