Thursday, November 30, 2017

Smith & Gerhart Christmas Layaway Ad – Nov. 19, 1949

Yesterday’s blog post was about the beautiful mansion owned by Joseph Gerhart, merchandise manager of the Smith & Gerhart department store, from the late 1930s right into the early 1950s. So, it’s a good time to post this ad promoting the store's line of toys available for layaway. Plus it might put you in the mood for Christmas, since the weather isn’t quite helping these days.

The ad ran in the Lorain Journal on November 19, 1949.

It’s an interesting selection of toys with many of them made out of metal, which makes me wonder if they were products of the Steel Stamping Company of Lorain.

After doing this blog for so long, I’ve mentioned Smith & Gerhart several times. I wrote about the store’s founding here, profiled the men behind the Smith & Gerhart names here, and posted the obituary of Mr. Gerhart here.

I also posted a more ‘adult’ Christmas ad for Smith & Gerhart from 1950 here.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"The Most Beautiful Home in Lorain” – 1923

If you’re a Lorainite, you probably recognized the home featured in this full-page ad for the Lorain Lumber & Manufacturing Company. The company supplied all of the lumber for the house, located at 3363 E. Erie Avenue.

The ad ran in the Lorain Times-Herald on November 24, 1923.

Recent Bing Maps view
Although the Lorain County Auditor lists the house as having been built in 1910, the ad gives the distinct impression that the house had just been built. The 1923 construction date is supported by the data in the city directories, where the 3363 E. Erie Avenue address does not appear until the 1924 edition.

The advertisement reveals that the original owners of what the ad described as both the “Most Beautiful Home in Lorain” and the “Most Perfect Home in Lorain” were Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Myers.

Sadly, John and Roxanne Myers did not get to enjoy their wonderful home for very long. By the time of the 1926 directory, Mrs. Myers was a widow. She continued to live there until the time of the 1931 edition of the directory, when the house was listed as vacant.

By 1937, however, the house at 3363 E. Erie had a new owner: Joseph Gerhart, merchandise manager of the Smith & Gerhart department store and his wife. Within a few years he was joined at the address by his father, Jacob Gerhart, Vice-President and Secretary of the company, and his wife.

The various caretakers over the years, including Geo. McFarland and D. M. Strickler – lived in the house located in the rear of the property.

The Gerharts lived there many years, right up into the 1950s. By the mid-1950s, however, the house was listed in the directory as “No Return.” It had a new owner by 1958.

It would be easy to make the argument that the stately home still lives up to its nicknames.

UPDATE (November 30, 2017)
I received an interesting email from researcher and regular contributor Rick Kurish about this home's original occupants. 
Rick wrote,"Since I live on the east side, I pass the house at 3363 East Erie Ave. on a daily basis. I have often wondered who built such a magnificent home on the lake. While the article you posted answered that question, I was surprised that I had never heard of the family as being prominent in Lorain. I decided to do a little research on John W. Myers and see if I could find how he came to build such a home.
"It turned out that John W. (Wilber) Myers was from Ashland County Ohio, and according to a brief obituary that I found in the Chronicle-Telegram of November 17, 1925, he was listed as a “Capitalist” whose business interests were in Akron Ohio. He died at his home in Daytona Beach Florida. So it appeared he had shallow, or non-existent roots in Lorain, so what led him to build such a palatial home in Lorain? I thought that perhaps he was enamored by living on the lake, and the land on the east side of Lorain was just conveniently available. However, a little further research revealed that the strong roots in Lorain belonged to his wife Roxanna Myers. 
"It turned out that Roxanna was descended from the Gillmore family that was one of the first families of Lorain (Black River). Roxanna was the daughter of Cornelius Reid Gillmore (1841-1912), and the granddaughter of Quartus Gillmore. According to the excerpt of North American Family Histories 1500 -2000, she also had in her family tree the Root and Day families, which were also pioneer families of the area.
"Apparently after John W. Myers died in late 1925, Roxanna sold the Lorain home and spent most of the remainder of her life in her home in Daytona Beach Florida. City directories confirm her living in Daytona Beach into the 1940s. She died in Florida on January 10, 1944 and was buried next to her husband in Ashland Cemetery, Ashland County, Ohio."
Thanks as always to Rick for his great research.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Routes 6 & 2 Cloverleaf Construction – Nov. 1956

Back in November 1956, construction of the new cloverleaf near the underpass where Routes 6 & 2 and Route 611 intersect was well underway.

The Lorain Journal kept its readers up to date on the progress throughout the summer and into fall with a series of photographs.

The paper had run this photo (below) in August 1956 that I posted (here) during my blog series on the Pueblo. The red arrow shows where the Pueblo was located. You can see the wide ’S’ curve slowly taking shape. The view is looking east.

On October 4, 1956 the Journal included the photo below.

The caption read, “State Route 611 extending from Leavitt Rd. west to Routes 6 and 2 was scheduled to reopen late this afternoon. John J. Blahay and six-year-old Jeff Rowlands, both of Meister Rd., look on a section of the improved highway east of the intersection of Routes 6 and 2.”

A month later, here’s an aerial shot (below) that was featured in the Journal on November 10, 1956. While the construction site is kind of a mess, what’s interesting to me is the small group of white buildings off in the distance to the east on the lake side.
A few days later, the photo below ran in the front page on November 13, 1956. It’s kind of neat seeing the Nickel Plate Road logo on the railroad bridge.

The construction of the cloverleaf really altered the western approach to the city forever. It wiped out several businesses in that area and forced a few to move, with a somewhat barren landscape west of the underpass as the result.
The work was completed about a year later in October 1957. The photo below, which ran in the Journal on December 31, 1957, shows the final result.
The caption read, “This new underpass opened for the first time Oct. 3 is part of a $1,385,000 state highway department improvement of W. Lake Rd. The underpass permits through traffic to move on W. Lake Rd. west from Leavitt Rd. to the Nickel Plate Road underpass. City Officials believe that like the traditional cloverleaf this one will bring good luck for Lorain in the form of highway safety. Mayor John J. Jaworski said at the opening ceremony that the “new highway improvement will virtually eliminate traffic accidents at the underpass which is now a beauty spot.”

The view this past Friday

Monday, November 27, 2017

Original Lorain Yacht Club Clubhouse Demolished

It was sad to see that the Lorain Yacht Club’s original clubhouse and headquarters dating from the late 1920s was quickly demolished last week down at the municipal boat ramp. And yet another piece of Lorain’s rapidly disappearing nautical history is gone.

The Morning Journal featured the story on its front page with a screaming headline on Friday, but I’m not sure why. The article didn’t get into the history of the building beyond its last use as a bait shop.

I hadn’t seen the paper, and just happened to drive down there on Friday afternoon. The building had already been knocked down on Wednesday, but there was still some cleanup going on.

I approached one of the workers, a young man that was sweeping up some debris with a broom. He was a nice guy and paused briefly to chat with me.

He had been surprised “that a bait shop had an upstairs” until I told him about the history of the building and that many a fancy event had been held there by the Lorain Yacht Club in the 30s and 40s.

He expressed regret that the building had to come down.

Asked if there had been any salvaging done before the demolition, he admitted, “There wasn’t much to save.”

The Morning Journal article noted that it cost taxpayers $18,050 dollars to demolish the building. You could have done a lot of renovations with that kind of dough.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Ohio State vs Michigan – 1932 & 1957

It’s the big game tomorrow – Ohio State (my Alma Mater) versus Michigan – so here's a look back at some of the hoopla surrounding past games as it appeared in the Lorain Journal.

Above is a nifty little graphic featuring key players that was featured in the Lorain Journal on October 14, 1932 on the eve of the big game that year. Ohio State had creamed Michigan the previous year 20 - 7, so the Wolverines were looking for revenge.

They got it all right, beating the Buckeyes 14-0.

A more recent game’s aftermath is shown below in a page from the sports section of the Journal from Monday, November 25, 1957 – 60 years ago. Note how the coverage of the Buckeyes’ victory is completely overshadowed by the story of Jim Brown and the Cleveland Browns.

The Buckeyes ended up finishing the season 9-1, beating the Oregon Ducks in the Rose Bowl, and earning their third national title.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving 1957 from the Lorain Slag Company!

Well, it’s Thanksgiving, so here's a vintage holiday ad sponsored by the Lorain Slag Company.

By George, that company sure did buy a lot of ads in the Lorain Journal, even though it didn’t exactly sell something commonly purchased by newspaper readers. I ran its ad for Thanksgiving 1956 here, and I have one for Christmas that I’ll be posting next month.

The ad above appeared in the paper on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 1957 – 60 years ago.

The clip art used in the ad is a little unusual in that it does not include any Native Americans – just Pilgrims blundering around with their blunderbusses. I’m sure that the ad would be the object of scorn if it was run in the paper these days. But it has a nice message, and I’m sure the Morning Journal wishes that more companies would run holiday ads today.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Black Label Beer Ad - Nov. 22, 1955

I guess I have a strange fascination with vintage beer ads, since I feature so many of them on a blog that’s supposedly about Lorain County.

The two brands I’ve written about – Old Dutch and Carling’s Black Label – both had strong ties to the area since they were brewed in Northern Ohio. As a result, they seemed to run a lot of ads in the Lorain Journal in the 1950s.

The Black Label ad above ran in the Lorain Journal on November 22, 1955, two days before Thanksgiving. It features a great bottle illustration and of course, the lovely Mabel herself. It was part of a campaign that month that included the similar ad at left.

Carling’s Black Label is particularly interesting to me because of how it became so popular so quickly. The “Hey, Mabel – Black Label” tagline was brilliant in its simplicity, and the sense of fun and goodwill it generated. And even after Jeanne Goodspeed – the original Mabel in the TV commercials and ads – retired from modeling to start a family, the brand continued to cruise along successfully, using clips from her earlier commercials and even an animated Mabel in new ads. The beer's great taste and the memorable musical theme helped as well.

Anyway, I’ve taken a lot of abuse at work due to my lowbrow tastes in beer. Even recently, after I confessed that I had some Black Label in my fridge right now, a co-worker looked me straight in the eye and sternly stated, “Dan, it’s a bad beer.”

If I’m not careful, I’m going to find myself in the middle of a beer intervention.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

TV Listings – November 9, 1956

The TV pages in the back of the Journal during the 50s and 60s were a memorable part of the newspaper for those of us that read it back then.

Placing the TV programming grid and various entertainment features in the last full spread of the newspaper (right after the comic pages) made for a pleasant and logical conclusion to the reading experience. (If I was the editor of the Morning Journal, I would revive that well-remembered aspect of the paper from its glory years.)

And when holidays rolled around, you could always count on seeing publicity photos promoting seasonal television fare.

With Thanksgiving approaching, the Journal TV page from November 9, 1956 (a portion of which is shown above) was no exception. We have a big photo of Jan Murray, the host of Treasure Hunt, and Pat White, one of the “Pirate Girl” models on the show, dressed like pilgrims. (Sadly, Miss White passed away this year).

I remember Jan Murray from his appearances on other game shows, but didn’t realize he was a host himself, and that he created the original Treasure Hunt. (I do remember watching the later version of the show, which by then didn’t have the pirate theme.)

Anyway, if you look closely at the TV program listings, there’s some interesting things you might remember. The occasional quarter hour listings are something that I’d forgotten; often the news was just a 15-minute show. The following morning’s programs were included in the listings as well, since the Journal was an evening paper back then.

There’s a few things of interest in the program listings. While many local TV children’s show hosts are well-remembered (such as Barnaby and Captain Penny), I see one that is not as well-known: Mr. Lollipops. According to the Cleveland Classic Media blog, the Geppetto-like Mr. Lollipops was played by Cleveland TV veteran Joe Berg. (You can see a photo of him here on the North East Ohio TV Memories blog).

Saturday morning kiddie fare included Howdy Doody, ventriloquist Jimmy Nelson, Captain Kangaroo, and old Mighty Mouse cartoons.

There’s also a children's show I’d never heard of before called The Friendly Giant, which later become a long-running staple of Canadian programming beginning in 1958.

“Badge 714” – the syndicated reruns of Dragnet – was being shown at seven in the evening on Friday night on Channel 8. It’s a good example of how a popular show’s syndicated version was renamed to avoid confusion with new episodes.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Bazely Cash Market Thanksgiving Ad – Nov. 19, 1956

I don't believe I've ever featured an ad for Bazley Cash Market before on the blog, despite a suggestion by a reader to do just that several years ago.

The above Thanksgiving-themed ad appeared in the Lorain Journal on November 19, 1956.

I got a kick out of the apron-wearing turkey clerk, eagerly taking phone orders for (shudder) his own kind for a Thanksgiving repast.

Until I prepared this post, I had thought that Bazley Cash Market was a standalone Lorain store. It turns out that it was in fact a regional chain of meat markets, with outlets in several states, including Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and Ohio.

Here’s an ad dating all the way back to 1916. It appeared in the Owosso, Michigan Daily Argus on September 23, 1916.

According to an ad in the June 21, 1955 Lorain Journal, "Bazley Markets came to Lorain in 1919 – a branch store of Bazely's Junedale Markets with 50 stores in 6 states.

"The main offices are located in Chicago, the nation's center for stockyards."

Bazley Cash Market  first showed up in the Lorain City Directories in the 1926 edition, located at 622 Broadway. The store moved to 630 Broadway in the early 1930s.

By the late 1930s, Bazley Cash Market had arrived at its longtime home at 704 Broadway.

The store disappeared from the Lorain City Directory in the 1967 edition.

Do a lot of people still make egg nog part of their Thanksgiving?

That’s a good question. Apparently in the 1950s, egg nog was popular enough to warrant some advertising, such as the ad below for Page’s Holiday Egg Nog that appeared in the Lorain Journal on the same day as the Bazley ad.
Mom always made egg nog part of our Thanksgiving while I was growing up. We had a little glass of it in the afternoon before the big feast. She would sprinkle a little ground nutmeg on each glass (and add a shot of rum to hers and Dad’s).

Friday, November 17, 2017

Lake Erie Oil Anniversary Ad – Nov. 12, 1946

Here's a handsome ad for the Lake Erie Oil Company, which was located on Ohio Route 254 near the railroad tracks. It appeared in the Lorain Journal on November 12, 1946 – 71 years ago this month – and celebrated the company's first anniversary at that location. It also promotes Fleet-Wing gasoline being good at 20 degrees below zero.

I first wrote about Lake Erie Oil back in 2012 (here). I also featured some of the firms’ large, vintage holiday ads for  Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It's interesting to think that the company's plant there provided Fleet-Wing gasoline (later, Sinclair) for local gas stations. The firm also produced fuel oil for heating purposes.

Anyway, it looks like Fleet-Wing Gasoline kinda got the marketing jump on Sohio and its Double Ice Guard guarantee.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Lorain Telephone Company Ad – Nov. 13, 1956

Here's an ad that hearkens back to the days when utility companies used advertising mascots to pass along important information to their customers. It helped put a friendly face on what were otherwise soulless corporations.

The above ad, which ran in the Lorain Journal on November 13, 1956, provided a handy tip to help its customers remember their new, longer telephone numbers.

Our telephone 3-digit prefix back then was AVenue 2 (282).

It sure was nice to able to tell just by recognizing a local telephone prefix where someone lived or a business was located. Nowadays – with landlines rapidly losing favor – a cell phone prefix can be associated with any location. They're harder to remember too.

The earliest appearance of the phone mascot so far that I can find has been from a December 1951 ad in the Lorain Sunday News. Our friend here has no arms, and is decked out in Scottish regalia – no doubt trying to appear "thrifty."

Here he is in a Feb. 1952 Lorain Sunday News ad. It must have been a frosty day.
By 1956, he had sprouted arms (so he could dial himself?) and legs.
And by 1961, he had been redesigned (below) to be a little cuter.

UPDATE (Dec. 4, 2017)
Here's another sighting of our phoney pal, from a June 21, 1955 ad in the Lorain Journal. The artwork was very small so it looks a little grubby when scanned and enlarged.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Ford Plant Groundbreaking – Nov. 1956 Part 3

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Ford Lorain Assembly Plant went off as planned on Wednesday, November 21, 1956, with Hayes B. Whittlesey manning one of the shovels. The above photo ran on the front page of the Lorain Journal that day.

The accompanying article written by Jack LaVriha noted, “A party of Lorain County business, civic and industrial leaders, public officials and representatives of families in the township braved a steady drizzle to be at the groundbreaking ceremony.

“Manning spades to turn over soil which became thoroughly wet by an all-night rain were James O. Wright, assistant manager of Ford Division; Ward Fulsom, general manufacturing manager of Ford Division, and Hayes B. Whittlesey, 80-year old Brownhelm Township farmer and member of a pioneer township family.”

In his speech at the luncheon following the ceremony, Thomas R. Reid, director of civic affairs for Ford Motor Company, stated that Ford believed in being a good corporate neighbor and citizen. Reid promised that in addition to “providing good jobs and the local purchasing power of a good payroll,” Ford Motor Company would assume its fair share of the community’s charity drives and local business contributions.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Ford Plant Groundbreaking – Nov. 1956 Part 2

On November 13, 1956, the Lorain Journal featured the above photo of the home of Hayes B. Whittlesey in its pages as a tie-in with the previous day’s account of Mr. Whittlesey’s planned participation in the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Ford plant.
Today the country road on which the house is located is no longer called Foster-Park Road. The new Route 2 constructed in the 1960s resulted in the rerouting of today’s Cooper Foster Park Road north of the highway. The portion of Cooper Foster Park Road south of the highway and east of Baumhart Road on which the Whittlesey farm is located is now called Whittlesey Road.

Courtesy Google Maps
The sign directs the motorist to head north on Baumhart
to access the eastern continuation of Cooper Foster Park
Here’s my shot of the former Hayes B. Whittlesey home from this past weekend (below).
I almost didn’t recognize the house when I went to photograph it on Saturday morning. A Google Maps “drive-by” showed the house as it looked in 2008, still with its whitewashed appearance (below).

Monday, November 13, 2017

Ford Plant Groundbreaking – Nov. 1956 Part 1

Back in November 1956, the Ford Motor Company was about to break ground on its new Lorain Assembly Plant.

Interestingly, Ford wanted to make it something special by involving Hayes B. Whittlesey, a descendant of one of Brownhelm Township’s founders, in the groundbreaking ceremony. Read all about it in the two articles below, which appeared on the front page of the Lorain Journal on November 12, 1956.

Ford Motor Co. Plans 
To Stage Groundbreaking

Brownhelm Ceremony Is Scheduled

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held at the new multi-million dollar Ford Motor Division Lorain Assembly Plant site in Brownhelm Township on Wednesday, Nov. 21.

Two top Ford Co. officials and a direct descendant of one of the original families which settled in Brownhelm Township 138 years ago will take part in the ceremony.

James C. Wright, assistant general manager of Ford Division; Thomas R. Reid, director of the Ford Company’s Office of Civic Affairs, and Hayes B. Whittlesey, prominent 80-year-old Brownhelm Township farmer, will turn over the first spadefuls of dirt.

The groundbreaking will take place at the southwest corner of the Lorain Assembly Plant site on Routes 6 and 2 at Baumhart Rd., about four miles west of Lorain.

The site is now being cleared for the erection of the giant assembly plant which will contain 1,500,000 square feet of space and is scheduled for completion early in 1958.

The plant will employ 2,500 workers on a one-shift operation, or nearly double that number on a two-shift basis.

Ford officials said the groundbreaking will be held at 10:30 a.m.

Immediately after the ceremony, a press conference will be conducted in the recreation room of the Brownhelm Congregational Church by Wright for newspaper, television and radio representatives.

A 10-year veteran with Ford, Wright formerly was director of purchasing for the company and has had wide experience in the fields of company organization, finance and manufacturing. He is a member of Ford’s administration committee, the firm’s top policy-making group.

Wright assists Robert S. McNamara, vice-president of Ford Co. and general manager of the Ford Division, in the management of the company’s largest end-product division.

He has been with the Ford Co. since January 1946, and has held a number of important posts in the management of the company.

At noon, Ford Division will be host to about 100 guests at a luncheon in the church social room.

The guest list will include representatives of Brownhelm Township families and those business, industrial and civic leaders of Lorain County who played an important role in locating the new Ford Division assembly plant in the township.

Following the luncheon, Reid will express the Ford Company’s appreciation for the cooperation and warm-hearted support the company has received and will speak on Ford’s “Good Neighbor” policy and how it will apply in Lorain County.

Before joining Ford, Reid was a vice-president and director of McCormick and Company, Baltimore, Md.

In addition to his duties at Ford, he is prominent in the affairs of Detroit’s Board of Commerce, Michigan’s Economic Development Commission, the National Municipal League, the Citizen’s Research Council of Michigan, United Community Service of Detroit and the United States Chamber of Commerce.

Introduction of guests will be made by Robert H. Spaethe, executive director of the Lorain County Development Committee.

Descendant of Settlers To Help 
Break Ground At New Ford Plant Site


Hayes B. Whittlesey, 80, of Foster Park Rd., who will participate in groundbreaking ceremonies at the new Ford Division Lorain Assembly Plant on Nov. 21, is a lifelong farmer and member of one of the families that settled Brownhelm Township 139 years ago.

Modest, friendly and possessor of a keen memory, Whittlesey said he was looking forward to the groundbreaking ceremony “with some anxiety.”

Looking more like a retired business executive than a farmer, Whittlesey smiled as he said in a rocker in the comfortable hoe in which he was born, and said with pride:

“The new Ford Division plant is the real beginning of industrial and residential growth for Brownhelm Township. It took a long time to start, but it’s a great beginning.”

Whittlesey owns a 109-acre farm on Foster park Rd. near the north end of the township, east of Baumhart Rd.

The home in which he lives was built in 1836 by his grandfather, Solomon Whittlesey, who was among the first settlers who arrived in Brownhelm Township in 1817.

The settlers came from Stockbridge, Mass., a year after agents of the Connecticut Land Company had surveyed and laid out the township land.

Hayes Whittlesey said his grandfather lived in a log house he had built in the township only a short distance to the east of the present Whittlesey home.

“It was in the log house,” he said, “that a group of residents met in June, 1819, and organized the first church in the township.”

“The church was the forerunner of the present Brownhelm Congregational church,” he added.

Cyrus L. Whittlesey, father of Hayes B., was born in the log house Aug, 8, 1832.

Cyrus Whittlesey married Lucy Bacon, daughter of Samuel Bacon, another early Brownhelm Township settler.

Hayes B. Whittlesey, who still enjoys working on his farm and abstains from drinking and smoking, said, “Brownhelm Township is full of colorful history.”

“I have always had confidence in the growth and expansion of our township,” he declared. “And I had an idea that when it did happen it would be in a big way.”

Whittlesey said he recalls the operation of a stone quarry in the township more than 50 years ago “which was really the first industry in the township.”

He said there were two or three cheese factories, all small operations, which soon disappeared.

Asked how he keeps in good physical condition, Whittlesey said, “It is work on the farm that has done it. Hard work never killed anyone.”

Whittlesey and his charming wife, the former Elsie Cooper, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on Nov. 7 of this year.

Mrs. Whittlesey’s grandfather, Anson Cooper, was also a pioneer settler of Brownhelm Township.

The Cooper farm is located on the west end of Cooper-Foster Park Rd.

The Hayes B. Whittleseys have two daughters, Mrs. Lucy Straley, wife of Dr. J. W. Straley, a member of the faculty of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N. C., and Mrs. Ruth Hite, whose husband Howard operates the Whittlesey farm.

The Straleys have two sons and a daughter and the Hites have a son, Clayton, a junior at Ohio Northern University, Ada.

Mrs. Whittlesey has two brothers, A. J. Cooper, who lives in the Cooper homestead, and E. G. Cooper of Lorain, retired president of Central Bank Co.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Blue Bonnet Margarine Ad – Nov. 14, 1957

I couldn’t help posting this ad for Blue Bonnet Margarine that appeared in the Lorain Journal on November 14, 1957 – 60 years ago this month. The ad is fun to look at with a lot of stuff going on.

A vintage Blue Bonnet package features a similar pencil promotion
There’s the ahead-of-its-time promotional gimmick of ordering pencils engraved with a name or wacky saying. Suggestions include the now politically incorrect “Date Bait Dotty,” “Two-Gun Max,” and "Return This You Cheap So and So.” (We had these types of pencils as stocking stuffers over the years, although I think ours came from the Miles Kimball catalog.)

Anyway, the ad layout is nice and clean as well, with great curved typography (done the old-fashioned way without Illustrator software) and cute drawings of the type that were later parodied on Ren & Stimpy.

The Blue Bonnet box is there too, giving us a glimpse of Blue Bonnet Sue, its well-known, comely advertising mascot.

While the Blue Bonnet brand seems to date from the mid-1940s judging from available ads, Blue Bonnet Sue began appearing on the package in the early 1950s. She's undergone subtle changes over the years. Originally she looked like she'd be right at home on the frontier; eventually she evolved to a more glamorous look.
A 1953 Ad
These days, Sue is still on the package, but sadly, she plays second fiddle to a stack of flapjacks.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Carl Johnson’s Restaurant Ad – Nov. 2, 1957

Directly across from the Lorain Drive-in movie theater in the late 1950s was Carl R. Johnson’s Restaurant. The restaurant fronted Lake Road, with a trailer court behind it.

I first wrote about it back here.

The ad above promoting chicken dinners ran in the Lorain Journal on November 2, 1957 – 60 years ago last week. It depicts a rather serene Sunday scene, with dear old Dad reading the Sunday paper with Junior in his lap, while Mom sits adoringly at his feet. Sister indifferently peruses the funny papers.

By the time of the 1957 ad, the restaurant was being managed by Florence and Ben Millen. The business would soon have a new name: Lakeshore Drive Inn.

In recent years, the restaurant had been the home of Jack and Diane’s Lounge.

There's no more chicken dinners being served up at 5100 West Erie Avenue these days; today, the address belongs to Healing Wings International Ministries.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Lorain Man Wins French War Cross – Sept. 1918

I like to celebrate local unsung heroes and veterans on this nostalgia blog, and here’s a good example of a Lorainite who was both. His name was Edward G. Stebbins, and prior to World War I, he was an electrician at National Tube.

But it was in the war that he really distinguished himself, winning the French Croix de Guerre (or for those who you who didn’t take French – the cross of war.

As described in “A History of the 1st U. S. Engineers, 1st U. S. Division” (1919), Stebbins "was a member of a working party caught in a heavy barrage; regardless of personal danger he assisted in carrying wounded comrades through the barrage to safety and then returned in order to carry out other men.”

He was also awarded the Silver Star Citation.

Here’s the story (below) as it appeared on the front page of the Lorain Times-Herald on September 6, 1918.

It's appropriate since Veterans Day is this weekend. The Nov. 11th holiday originally commemorated (as Armistice Day) the end of World War I.


Edward G. Stebbins, former employe of the National Tube Co. is probably the first Lorain man to receive the French Croix de Guerre or cross of war. He was also promoted to be a corporal and received his honors for valiant service on the battlefield.

Corporal Stebbins enlisted in the railroad engineers and is a member of Company B first railway engineers. He has been in France a year and now wears two service bars, one for each six months of service in the war zone. He says:

“I am the proud wearer of a Croix de Guerre. I am sending the citation home. It is written in French.

“I suppose you have read of the good work the “boys” are doing and it is the truth. I can tell of some wonderful work I have seen done and only hope I can have a chance to tell about it some day.”

Corporal Stebbins says he craves cake all the time. He says the soldiers are well fed but they have a desire for home meals.

On that same page of the Times Herald just below the article about Edward Stebbins, there is an account of a Vermilion soldier, Allan Darby, whose death in the war had been erroneously reported to his parents. Happily, it was in error.

Apparently he had been picked up on the battlefield and assumed dead – but he recovered. It was his letter to his parents, dated after the report of his death, that convinced them.