Thus, another piece of historic Downtown Lorain is lost.
What were some of the significant tenants in the building over the years? I turned to the city directories at the Lorain Public Library to find out.
It appears that before the 1924 Lorain Tornado, there was a Thistle Building at 676 Broadway as early as 1907. There were furnished rooms for rent and offices as well. A real estate company (Hayes-Francis) was at 700 Broadway.
Apparently, the tornado changed that arrangement.
By the time of the 1926 city directory (the next available book), the Thistle Block was now located at 700 Broadway. The main store tenant at that time was Geo. Clark Co., a jewelry store. Geo. Clark Co. would have a long run at that location, lasting until the mid-to-late 1940s – but another well-remembered Lorain business would be there even longer.
Also in the Thistle Building in that 1926 directory were various physicians, as well as the Knights of Pythias, who used the building's third floor auditorium as their hall for most of the 1930s. Later in the 1940s, the Boilermakers Union 358 would take over the third floor.
By 1950, Geo. Clark Co. was out – and Harry’s Men’s Wear was in. Harry’s Grand Opening at the 700 Broadway location was in November 1950. Harry’s would continue to call that location home until around 1986.
Other businesses shared the 700 Broadway storefront with Harry’s in the 1950s, including Young Timer’s Shop. But during the 1960s, Harry’s had the address all to himself. Two beauty salons shared the address with Harry’s in the mid-1970s.
Sadly, the building was vacant around 1986 as Downtown Lorain continued to suffer its rapid decline. A few years later, a few new businesses – Bizcomp (1988), Ana Travel (1988), Great Lakes Limousine (1993) – called 700 Broadway home.
But the building’s heyday was largely over by then. And with the tragic fire over the weekend, the book on the Thistle Building's history has been closed.