Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Rick K. Remembers: the Ohio Turnpike – Part 1

Last month regular blog contributor Rick Kurish emailed me about his reminisces about the Ohio Turnpike, which would seem to fit in nicely with all of my recent posts about local highways. Rick also made me aware of an interesting controversy in the early 1950s regarding the Ohio Turnpike’s planned route through Elyria.

Rick wrote, "Over the years your blog has covered the opening of various sections of Interstate 90 across northern Ohio during the 1960s and 1970s. While I'm sure that I would be in the minority of your readers, my memory of travel in northern Ohio not only predates I90, but also the Ohio Turnpike!

"When I was in grade school, in the early 1950s, the turnpike was being planned and built and was an interesting topic to us kids. I can still remember the pre-turnpike car trips my parents would make to Cleveland with us kids. The best route was Route 254, and the drive seemed to take forever.

"When my grade school teacher told the class that after the turnpike was completed, you could be in Cleveland in about a half hour with virtually no stops or traffic lights, I remember thinking that would be the best thing ever!”

Rick had a ringside seat for the construction of the Ohio Turnpike.

"At the time the turnpike was being built, one of my uncles lived on Gulf Road in Elyria just south of the proposed route, and the future site of Elyria Catholic High School,” remembered Rick. "When the pike was constructed in that area, it required a fair amount of blasting to get through the sandstone bedrock. The blasting caused some cracking of basement foundations in the area, including my uncle's, resulting in claims and payment of damages.

"I remember that after the turnpike opened, my cousin and i would walk up the road to the Gulf Road bridge over the turnpike, and wave to the truckers, who almost always replied with a blast from their air horn. In that simpler time there was no chain link fence on the bridges, just a railing about two or three feet high, and no one worried about be hit by something thrown from the bridge.

"Good memories from over 60 years ago!”
Next: Controversy


Matt Weisman said...

Rick must have been real close to me. I watched them build it by where St. Jude’s is today. I thought they were digging to China! Lots of Euclid earth scrappers and bull dozers pushing them day in and out. Quite a scene when you are 10 years old. From Popular Street the next road north was Burns and nothing had been built up yet to Detroit Road. All old field, woods and abandoned farms were there, a young boy’s dream back then.

Mark said...

Love articles about Old Roads!!