Wednesday, January 31, 2018

McDonald's Coming to Elyria Township – Jan. 1968

To close out the month, here's a nice little clipping from the January 1, 1968 Lorain Journal that provides a preview of what the new McDonald's in Elyria Township was going to look like.

It's really too bad McDonald's abandoned their iconic Golden Arches as an architectural motif. They were bold, distinctive and fun. They made eating at a McDonald's a festive and memorable occasion.

Here’s a detail from an advertisement promoting the newly remodeled stores with their mansard roofs. I wonder if those structural elements on the roof were supposed to look like french fries?

Anyway, the Elyria Township store has been home for some time now to the popular Rosie’s Family Restaurant. The remodeling done to the building over the years has almost completely disguised its fast food roots.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Chief Wahoo Heads for the Happy Hunting Ground

Speaking of mascots (as I often am), you might be surprised to learn that I’m not particularly upset about the Cleveland Indians’ decision to phase out Chief Wahoo on their uniforms.

And that’s despite the fact that I’m very fond of the Indians' lovable mascot.

To me, he’s a happy reminder of going to Cleveland Indians games at the Stadium with Dad and my brothers back in the late 60s and early 70s.

And strange as it may seem, Chief Wahoo made me think more positively of Indians. Instead of always seeing them as evil savages that needed to be dispatched by John Wayne with a gun, thanks to Chief Wahoo I saw them as friends.

But, if theres anything I learned after writing this blog for many years, its that just because something is old and beloved doesn't mean that it's going to be around forever. Let's face it, it's amazing that Wahoo's lasted this long, seeing as he's not exactly a flattering representation of a Native American.

So it's probably a good time to say goodbye to the Chief. 

He's not really going away, though. You will still be able to buy merchandise with his image locally. 

As for me, I have all the Chief Wahoo souvenirs I need – my baseball cap, my retro bobblehead, and my old baseball program. And most importantly, my memories of going to those games as a kid.

I've written quite a bit about Chief Wahoo and the Cleveland Indians over the years on this blog, including a post about the 1949 Cleveland Indian Sketch Book, my vintage ticket collection, Wahoo's appearance in a 1958 Hickory Grill ad, and my 1968 scorecard.

That Telephone Gal

1944 Magazine Ad
Yesterday on the blog, I featured the longtime advertising mascot of the Bell Telephone System, the little guy with a telephone for a body. The utility used him to communicate important messages to customers for about thirty years.

Well, before I leave this topic, did you know there was a female version of the mascot as well? Above is a magazine ad from 1944, in which the comely mascot offers some wartime tips about using long distance. The tips seem quaint today, especially in view of our incessant use of our smartphones.

Here's another appearance (below) from earlier in the war – 1942. I'm not sure if it's the same character, as her hair is different. Here she's offering tips to help the defense effort, such as answering the telephone promptly, having the right phone number before you dial and not talking on the phone too long. More good advice in both wartime and peacetime.

Monday, January 29, 2018

That Telephone Guy

Lorain Telephone Company’s ad mascot
as seen in a December 1951 newspaper ad
Remember back in November when I did a post about the Lorain Telephone Company’s advertising mascot – the round-headed, pointy-nosed character with a rotary phone for a body? He was featured in company newspaper ads throughout the 1950s, sometimes with arms and legs, sometimes not.
Well, it turns out that unless he’s a, uh, phone-y, he had a much bigger and longer career than I thought.

The Bell Telephone System had run magazine ads (in publications such as Popular Science) dating back to at least the late 1930s featuring wonderful illustrations of a similar mascot. He’s delightfully rendered in these ads as a fully dimensional, realistically shadowed character.

By the end of the 1940s, he had been simplified, and had evolved into the one seen in the Lorain ads.

Here’s a gallery of the mascot’s appearances over the years. As you can see, he was used frequently convey important message to telephone customers during and after World War II.


(Note the similarity of the building in the ad and Lorain’s facility on Ninth Street.)

As noted before, he appeared in Lorain Telephone newspaper ads during the 1950s.
In one of his last appearances locally, the phone mascot had been modernized slightly. The ad below ran in the November 1962 and 1967 Lorain Telephone Company directories.
After this appearance, apparently “time” was up for this longtime mascot who served the Bell System for just about thirty years.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Sheffield Lake Needs a New Village Building – Jan. 1941

1896 Lorain County Atlas Map showing the school on Lake Road
near Abbe Road that would become Sheffield Lake’s first city hall 
Back in 1941, Sheffield Lake was officially a little more than twenty years old, and its village hall was an old brick schoolhouse dating back to the 1870s. But a new building would eventually be needed, as the village was rapidly growing.

Read all about it in the article below, which appeared in the Lorain Journal on January 28, 1941.

It would take a while before Sheffield Lake actually replaced its original city hall/civic center.
In 1957, sixteen years after the events described in the 1941 article, Sheffield Lake officials were completing an addition to the building (which I wrote about here). 
Here’s what the building looked like then (below).
Finally – ten years later in May 1967 – Sheffield Lake Council passed an ordinance authorizing Mayor Earl E. Barnhart to sell the city hall property to Albert Caiata, a local building developer, for $20,000. According to an article in the Journal on May 10, 1967, “Caiata has bought up six acres around the city property where he and his business partners plan to build a 154-unit high-rise apartment complex. The apartment will be constructed at a reported $2.8 million.”
“The city is presently working on plans to construct a new city hall. According to the master plan of the city, the new building is to be located on the fire station property on Harris Road (which I wrote about here.)

The new Sheffield Lake City Hall complex was eventually dedicated on June 13, 1970.
Lakeside 10 Apartments was under construction by 1970 and first showed up in the city directory in 1971. It later became Erie Shore Landing; in early 2016 it became The Perch on Lake.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

What used to be in that building?

A recent view of 1503 Oberlin Avenue
Here’s a building on Oberlin Avenue that many Lorainites have driven by through the years, perhaps on the way to Lorain Creamery, which was just a few doors down to the north.

It’s an interesting portion of Oberlin Avenue right there just south of the railroad tracks, with a variety of commercially-zoned properties mixed in with the houses.

As many of you might remember, it was the home of Pioneer Printing.

Pioneer Printing first appeared in the Lorain phone book and city directories in 1961. There were two production facilities; besides the one at 1503 Oberlin Avenue, there was an outlet in Elyria.

The article below, which ran in the business advertising section of the Lorain Journal on December 9, 1963 provides a nice look at the company and the owner, Jack Kuntz.

And here’s an ad for the firm that ran in the Lorain phone book in November 1963. The illustration kind of reminds me of Sgt. Joe Friday of Dragnet.
For many years, Lorain County was a hotbed for printing. At the time of ad above, there were 15 companies listed in the phone directory. Besides Pioneer Printing, other Lorain companies included Atlas Engraving on 5th Street; Bodnar Printing on E. 28th; Central Print Shop on E. 28th; Henry’s Letter Shop at 356 Broadway; Lorain Printing, which had moved to its facility on Colorado Avenue by then; Mariotti Printing on E. 28th; McMahon Printers at 647 Broadway; and H. N. Wieland Printing, which was at 2507 Leavitt Road (in the building that later became the Lorain Youth Center, and still later, Lorain Party Center.)

Pioneer Printing endured for many years at 1503 Oberlin Avenue before its listing disappeared from the city directories and phone books in 1996.

Lorain still has several printing companies, including two from the above 1963 roll call that have managed to survive in a tough local economy.

The Bodnar Printing Company (at 3480 Colorado Avenue) and Mariotti Printing (at 513 E. 28th Street) are happily still here. SQP Print Center (the successor to Slutzker’s) also enjoys the distinction of enjoying many successful years at 721 Broadway in Downtown Lorain.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Snow Storm – Jan. 24, 1963

During the last two weeks, I’ve posted a few Journal articles from the winter of 1968, which was a pretty bad one.

The winter of 1963 was no slouch either.

Read all about it in the two articles below, which appeared on the front page of the Lorain Journal on Jan. 24, 1963 – 55 years ago today.

The first article explains how National Tube and the Ford Assembly plant had to shut down to conserve gas for use by home customers. The second article reports on the bone-chilling temperatures, as well as the absentee rates in the various local schools. (I wonder if the Journal still posts that kind of thing when schools stay open in bad weather?)

I wish I could say that I remembered this 1963 snow storm, but I was only a month short of being four years old. I was probably too busy watching cartoons.

Cold Forces Shutdown At
Steel Mill, Ford Plant

Cutback Ordered
To Provide More
Gas For Homes


Bitter cold temperatures which may set new all-time records in Lorain today began to be felt in Lorain’s industrial plants.

The cold weather forced the closing of two mills at the National Tube Division, Lorain Works, and brought the announcement that three-fourths of the operations at Lorain Assembly Plant of Ford Motor Co. will be closed down Friday and Saturday.

Both plants reported the curtailed operations because of compliance with a request from Ohio Fuel Gas Co. to reduce their use of natural gas by 50 percent so that there will be more gas available for home customers.

Meanwhile the intense cold broke a number of Ohio Edison Co. lines in Lorain County and surrounding areas to knock out power to homes and businesses Wednesday night and early today.

Lorain Works, the largest gas user in Lorain County, shut down its No. 2 seamless and continuous buttweld mills at 7 a. m. today. Several hundred workers are affected.

A U. S. Steel spokesman said that everything possible was being done throughout other areas of the steel plant to conserve natural gas.

A Ford spokesman said that the cutback in gas at Lorain Assembly Plant will go into effect at midnight and that the passenger car lines, employing more than 3,000, will be down Friday and Saturday.

The commercial line will work Friday but will be down Saturday, which will close all assembly operations.

About 250 workers at Cleveland Quarries Co. are out of work as the result of the cold. The quarry closed Tuesday but because of the increased cold weather, it was decided to not resume work until Monday, according to a plant spokesman.

Numa Vidal, manager of the Lake Erie Division of Ohio Edison Co., said today the intense cold caused copper wires to shorten and break in some areas.

Several hundred customers in the South Amherst area along 113 and east of Rt. 58 were without electricity for about 35 minutes Wednesday night. The wire breaks were reported at 10:45 p. m.

Vidal said that 50 of the customers were without power for three hours and 15 minutes.

In the Elyria area along Rt. 20 in the east side, including the Ridgeville Shopping Center, 20 customers were without power for more than two hours. The Shopping Center was without power for an hour.

At 12:05 a. m. today, a power line broke on Rt. 57 at LaPorte to knock out service to some 50 customers for three hours.

Vidal said that at Olena near Norwalk lines were down to interrupt the flow of power for four hours to 20 customers. The power went out at about 10:30 p. m. Wednesday night.

“Everything is under control and power is being restored as quickly as possible after reports are received on lines being down,” said Vidal.

Considerable absenteeism was reported in the Lorain area because workers could not get their cars started this morning.

The passenger and commercial lines at the Ford plant were delayed for one hour because of the lack of men on the job because of the cold weather.

A Ford spokesman said the maintenance crews were kept on overtime to help workers get their cars started to return to their homes Wednesday night.

L. P. McIntire, manager of the Lorain office of Ohio Fuel Gas Co., said, “Another milestone is being attained by the company in gas distribution. Large industrial users of gas are cooperating by cutting gas consumption by 50 per cent so that home customers are assured of sufficient gas.”

He said the company records show that this winter had been 10.1 per cent colder than a normal winter before the record-breaking cold hit during the night.

The Lorain yards of American Ship Building  Co. today was forced to operate with 165 fewer men who failed to show up because of the intense cold weather.

Temperature Dips to -19
In Official Oberlin Mark

Lorainites today were promised a slight warming trend as a record-topping cold wave brought a low of 19 degrees below zero to Lorain County.

While the -19 figure was the lowest figure recorded here in many years, it was not a record. The U.S. Weather Bureau at Cleveland Hopkins Airport said that the low for the county is -23 and was recorded at Oberlin. Records did not show the year of the recording, however.

The low temperature predicted for tonight was 0-10 below.

Donald T. Jameson of Oberlin, official U.S. weather observer for Lorain County, said he recorded a low of 19 degrees below zero from midnight until 5:30 a.m. today.

In Lorain, the Water Works reported a low of -14 for the night. The lab reported -14 degrees at 11 p.m. Wednesday. The mercury reached -13 at 4 a.m. today where it remained until 1 a.m. when -10 was recorded.

On Wednesday, Lorain recorded its first fatality as a result of the weather. Paul H. Hofecker, 59, died in front of his residence, 1142 W. 30th St. while shoveling snow. He was dead on arrival at 11:13 a.m.

Cleveland – among other cities – also reported cracked weather records, with the mercury descending to an all-time low of 19 below zero in that city.

Other low temperatures throughout Ohio included: Akron-Canton, 21 below; Dayton, 19 below; Marietta, 14 below; Toledo and Youngstown, 17 below, and Cincinnati, 19 below.

Dr. John Evans, superintendent of Lorain schools, said this morning that the administration will consider the possibility of closing the schools Friday if conditions, such as absence and transportation problems warrant it.

N. L. Sutherland, director of pupil accounting, said that the absence rate was high across the city.

At Lorain High School, according to R. J. Holder, principal, 25 per cent of the student body was absent, but all teachers were present.

Dr. Joseph Calta, principal of Admiral King High School, reported all teachers in, but 771 students out of 2, 361 absent.

A spot check at schools across the city revealed 50 per cent of the student body at Whittier Junior High School absent, 149 out of 478 missing from Longfellow Junior High and at Masson Elementary School 37 per cent of the student body absent.

E. M. McCaskey, business manager, said this morning that generally speaking most of the buildings were in good shape as far as heating was concerned.

County schools, according to C. A. Gibbens, superintendent, “were hit rather bad.” Only three districts out of the 10 were in operation. They are Avon Lake, Clearview and South Amherst.

Clearview schools reported 30 per cent absentees this morning and students at Avon schools were sent home at 10 a. m. due to lack of teachers.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Duane Building Rendering Unveiled – Jan. 23, 1906

While attempting to research the Thistle Building last fall, I kept finding articles about other buildings that were under construction about the same time.

The Lorain Daily News had a nice article (below) about the Duane Building in its January 23, 1906 edition. It was nice to find out about a beautiful building in Downtown Lorain that predated the tornado by eighteen years and is still around today.

Handsome Block Nearing 
Completion and Soon to be Occupied
Interior Arrangements Will Be of Costly and Improved Design

The Duane building, herewith depicted, will be completed and ready for occupancy about March 1. It will be one of the handsomest structures in the business section of the city and one of the most up to date buildings in Lorain county. The building is being erected by A. J. and J. R. Leighton from designs by H. E. Ford. The property is owned by the Duane building company and will cost about $50,000.

The Duane building is 60 by 165 feet, three stories high and is of brick and stone construction.

The main floor will be occupied by the stores of the Metzger and Robinson Company and G. P. Bretz, and the basement will contain a barber shop. The second and third stories will contain apartments. There will be five suites of rooms on each floor. These will be of four, five and six rooms and each will contain a bath room, refrigerator and gas range.

In the center of the building is an open court 24 by 32 feet. This will make it possible for the inside rooms to be as light and airy as those on the outside. This court and the vestibules and bath rooms will be floored with mosaic tile and will be furnished with vermont marble wainscoting. There are both front and rear stair cases so that furniture and provisions can be taken in and out of the building from the rear and not from the front.

Of course the Duane building was erected primarily to provide suitable quarters for the Metzger and Robinson’s big clothing store. This will be made one of the finest clothing establishments in the state of Ohio. The equipment will be inferior to none in the country. Over $10,000 will be spent in furnishings alone. Everything that is modern in the fitting up of a clothing store will be installed. A shoe department will be added and the force of employees will be augmented.

Here's a vintage view, courtesy of the Lorain Historical Society.

And here's a more recent view.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Sickles Bottling Company

I’ve featured nostalgic soda pop advertisements on this blog a lot in the last few months, so a recent email from longtime blog contributor Rick Kurish was perfectly timed. It contained information about a Lorain bottling company that I hadn’t heard of before.

Rick wrote, "I ran across an ad for the Sickles Bottling Company of Lorain Ohio, that I thought might interest you. The ad appeared in the Amherst newspaper of July 8, 1948, and has a nice graphic of a young lady enjoying a Ma’s Old Fashioned Root Beer.”

Here’s the ad (below).

Now that’s the kind of advertising copy I like: short and to the point!
But getting back to Rick’s email. He noted, "The interesting part for me was the location of the Sickles Bottling Company, located at 1142 West 14th Street in Lorain. My dad grew up at 1127 West 18th Street, and that was just a handful of houses east of Oberlin Avenue, which would lead me to believe that the 1142 address was probably located on the corner of West 14th Street and Oberlin Avenue. I never knew there was a bottling company at that location."

Rick checked the Chronicle-Telegram for the same time period and found the ad below.
Ad from the Chronicle-Telegram of April 6, 1948
Rick was able to establish a rough timeline for the company based on when the ads ran. "As far as I can tell,” he wrote, "the ads ran occasionally from early 1948 until at least August of 1952.”
"A June 1953 reference to the Sickles and Franklin Bottling Company would seem to indicate the merger of two companies. Apparently the location at 1142 West 14th Street closed at the time of the merger,” concluded Rick.
Rick was right on the money with the timeline for the business. It first appeared in the city directories in the 1947 edition, with George H. Sickles was the manager. 
Here’s a recent view of the company’s former facility at 1142 W. 14th Street in Lorain, courtesy of Google Maps.
Below is the “Beverages – Wholesale" listing that ran in the Lorain Telephone Company directory in 1947. You can see that there were quite a few local bottlers and distributors. Sickles Bottling Company has one of the large ads running down the right-hand side of the page.
As the ad noted, the firm bottled Ma’s Old Fashion Root Beer. It appears to have been a popular regional brand, with lots of old signs and bottles for sale on the internet.
Sickles Bottling Company's listing disappeared as of the 1952 directory. As Rick noted, the company merged around that time with the Franklin Bottling Company (which I mentioned before on this post back in 2012). The new, combined bottling company lasted until the early 1960s.
A 1959 Lorain phone book ad
Although Ma’s is no longer in business, Squirt soda is still around. Here’s the link to its website; Little Squirt the mascot is there too, on the company’s ‘history’ page. Grapette is still available too.