Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Canada Dry Ad – Feb. 27, 1958

I know, I know – I should just rename this blog “Brady’s Beverage Blog.”

I do spend a lot of time writing about ginger ale, whiskey and soda pop. But, a blog has a ravenous appetite – or, more appropriately, an unquenchable thirst – for daily material that must be satisfied. And since Lorain County was the home of so many bottlers, I enjoy writing about the many national products that were produced here for decades.

And so, to close out February, here’s today’s topic: an ad for Canada Dry Ginger Ale’s Golden Anniversary promotion that ran in the Lorain Journal on Feb. 27, 1958. It’s a neat, Willie Wonka-ish gimmick in that consumers looked for special gold bottle caps. When they collected three of them, the caps could be redeemed for 30 cents – enough to buy a family-sized bottle of you-know-what.

It’s the whole ‘golden anniversary’ angle that had me a little puzzled. Traditionally, ‘golden’ meant fifty years, and Canada Dry Ginger Ale seems to date back to 1904 (the year it was created) or 1905 (the year the name “Canada Dry” was registered. But it appears that the promotion used the year that it was first shipped to the United States (1908).

Anyway, since I’ve written a lot about ginger ale in the last few months, it has also become a topic of conversation at work.

One co-worker thinks I’m all wet when it comes to my preferences in ginger ale (Canada Dry or Vernors). He much prefers the smooth taste of Seagram’s, especially in his highballs.

I’ve got to admit, Seagram’s is very good – very smooth. It’s not as sweet as Canada Dry. Plus it has a cool can design.

But the hoser in me keeps me reaching for Canada Dry.

By the way, that original blog post about the former Canada Dry bottling plant on Colorado Avenue is currently the second-most visited entry of all time here on the Brady Blog with 13,695 page views. (That’s second only to the post about the American flag painted on the cliff overlooking Route 2.)

I only wish I knew why.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Buckeye Hotel in South Amherst – Part 2

So what was the eventual fate of the Buckeye Hotel? As we shall see, there is a surprising twist to this tale.

Blog contributor and researcher Rick Kurish found many online references to the hotel as the scene of many social affairs through the years, including dinners, dances and meetings.

That is, until he found an article with the headline, “SOUTH AMHERST HOTEL IS GUTTED.” "The headline in the Chronicle-Telegram of November 18, 1961 describes the massive fire which leveled the hotel,” noted Rick.

"At the time of the fire, the hotel served as a boarding house for quarry employees. More than 30 people, including eight children, escaped with no injuries.”

Rick noticed that the C-T article about the fire has an incorrect timeline.

"The hotel, which the paper describes as a local landmark, is described as being built during World War I and describes it as a U shaped building. Perhaps the article dates the building from its reopening in 1919, and maybe the building was also expanded at that time or at a later date. Certainly the Buckeye Hotel existed pre-World War I.”

Here’s the Lorain Journal’s version of the fire as it appeared on the front page on November 18, 1961. (Click on it for a readable version.)

The fire received a lot of newspaper coverage throughout Ohio. The Daily Reporter of November 18, 1961 noted, "Fire swept through the Buckeye Hotel in nearby South Amherst early today, heavily damaging the old, U-shaped, two - story structure. No one was injured. Chief Bruce Mothorpe of South Amherst Volunteer Fire Department said about 30 persons, including some children, were awakened and left the building before firemen arrived soon after midnight. For a time it was thought one person might be in the hotel, which has about 22 rooms and several apartments, but the missing person later was located. 

"Firemen from nearby villages of Amherst and Oberlin helped fight the flames for more than two hours before they were brought under control. About 50 men worked with eight pieces of equipment, and ice formed on ladders and the freezing temperature stiffened water hoses. The fire apparently started in a utility and storage room on the second floor and spread into the attic, Mothorpe said. Most of the roof was burned away.

Despite the newspaper accounts of the hotel being destroyed by fire, thanks to the comments left by Eric Long on Part 1 of this series, we now know that the building wasn’t a total loss as I originally believed. As Eric noted, the house currently on the corner of Buckeye and N. Lake Streets is actually the original hotel building minus the second floor. Of course, some remodeling has taken place that camouflage the former hotel.

Here are a few views of the house/former hotel, courtesy of the Lorain County Auditor website, with the vintage postcard included for reference.  

Erics revelation solved a problem for me that came up while I was preparing this post. I could not understand while the aerial view of the hotel in 1952 was so similar to the 1969 view of the house. (See below). 

Now it all makes sense.

Anyway, special thanks to Rick Kurish as always for his great topic suggestions and research. And thanks also to Eric Long for helping make this post more accurate.

(You can learn more about the history of the Buckeye Quarry here on the Amherst Historical Society website.)

Monday, February 26, 2018

Buckeye Hotel in South Amherst – Part 1

If you mention the word “Buckeye” to anyone nowadays, they probably think of the Ohio State University football or basketball teams. But if you grew up in South Amherst, the word might conjure up memories of a landmark hotel owned by the Cleveland Quarries Company.

I first heard about the hotel in an email from longtime blog contributor Rick Kurish. He wrote, "I ran across an interesting picture postcard today on Ebay that I had never seen before. It is a postcard of the Buckeye Hotel in South Amherst circa 1910.”

That’s the vintage postcard at right.

"The little that I currently know is that the Buckeye Hotel was owned and operated by the South Amherst Sandstone Quarries,” continued Rick. "I’m not sure of the years of operation, but I have run across references to the building from about 1900 until the 1920s. I believe that the hotel served travelers, visitors to the quarries, as well as quarry employees.”

Rick did some research on the hotel and was able to find out a lot about it.

"The first thing that I wanted to do was identify its location,” he noted, "which I have been able to do with certainty.
“I believe that the hotel dates to circa 1900, which is about the time that a Chicago banker named John R. Walsh purchased some sandstone operations in South Amherst and incorporated the Ohio Quarries Company. At that time (1903) he greatly expanded both the quarries and the stone cutting operation. 
"One of the quarries that was part of the Ohio Quarries Company was the “Buckeye” quarry reputed to be the deepest quarry in the world at the time. This quarry was probably the genesis for the names Buckeye Street and Buckeye Hotel, which were associated with the Ohio Quarries. 
"An early mention of the Buckeye Hotel appears in the Elyria Chronicle of November 15, 1907. The article would indicate that the hotel served more as a boarding house for quarry employees, and closed during the winter when the quarries were inactive.”
So where was the hotel located?
Rick observed, "That the Buckeye Hotel was located on the southwest corner of Buckeye street and South Amherst Road, also known as Lake Street, can be confirmed to my satisfaction by several sources. 
"First, the postcard shows the Hotel facing South Amherst Road with a large home behind it. That home still exists on Buckeye Street. In fact the south side of buckeye street is lined with about ten homes of identical construction, which indicates to me that they were built by the quarry company.”

Here’s a vintage photograph (courtesy of Drew Penfield) showing that row of similar homes on Buckeye Street that Rick is talking about.

Here's the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Buckeye Street (courtesy of Dennis Lamont) showing those same houses, as well as the Buckeye Hotel.

And here’s a photo of the homes taken looking west down Buckeye Street on this past Sunday.

The first one on the left in the photo from Sunday is the house visible on the vintage postcard of the hotel.
Rick confirmed his hunch by checking census records. As he noted,"The 1920 census enumeration lists the occupants of the homes on Buckeye Street and the next enumeration, listed as being on South Amherst Road, is the Buckeye Hotel. 
"A Howard Hunt was listed as the proprietor of a boarding house and lived there with his family and thirteen men identified as boarders who worked at the quarry. An article from the Amherst newspaper of April 17, 1919 indicates that Mr. Hunt had been given a lease to run the hotel/boarding house, and that the hotel was undergoing extensive renovations and would reopen shortly. That would seem to indicate that the hotel had been closed for a period of time. 
"Another snippet from the Amherst newspaper of April 6, 1922, under "South Amherst News," indicates that the Ohio Quarries had donated property just south of the Buckeye Hotel as athletic grounds for South Amherst High School. This was the property that South Amherst High School used for football and track before they were consolidated with the Firelands School System. This athletic field is still there, just south of Buckeye Street.”
Tomorrow: the rest of the story

Friday, February 23, 2018

Atkinson & Williams Ford Ad – Feb. 24, 1958

I couldn’t resist posting this ad for Lorain’s Atkinson & Williams Ford dealership, which was located on Kansas Avenue.

The whimsical ad, which ran in the Lorain Journal on February 24, 1958 shows how much automobile advertising has changed in the last sixty years.

The ad stars a cute, kilt-wearing, bagpipe-playing Scottish bear. (I did a post last month about the ubiquitous Scottish thrift theme that seemed to dominate 1950s advertising.)

In this ad, each piped toot of his instrument represents another feature of the Ford Custom 300 Tudor, such as whitewall tires, two-tone paint, gold anodized side molding, turn indicators, gunsight fender ornaments, special chrome headlight trim, deluxe interior and Magic Aire heater.

The bear kind of reminds me of the little-known Disney character Bongo (at right).

Anyway, perhaps some marketing executive at Ford realized that they needed a more sophisticated advertising approach than bagpipe-playing bears. The very next year, the Peanuts characters made their TV debut in a commercial for Ford and its “Economy Twins” – the Falcon and the Fairlane 500.

I like the cute, natural voices of Linus and Lucy in this early TV appearance.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Krantz Hardware Building Design Unveiled – Feb. 22, 1906

Last fall I spent a lot of time looking at microfilm at the library trying to find an article about the Thistle Building from the time it was first built.

It seems that I found almost every new building on Broadway from that era except the Thistle Building (such as the Duane Building).

Well, here’s another one. Above is the front page illustration with caption announcing the upcoming construction of the new Krantz Hardware Company building. Its location was described as the southwest corner of Broadway and Franklin Street (today’s Fifth Street).

The building would be better known as the longtime home of Lorain Hardware (run by the Krantz family).

The 1924 Lorain Tornado would strip the building of its top floor and roof. You can see the damage in the photo below, courtesy of the Lorain Historical Society.

The building’s facade was later hidden by a Mansard-style roof, giving it a more modern appearance as seen in this photo, also courtesy of the Lorain Historical Society.
Today, the building has been restored to its original, ornate appearance. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Washington's Birthday Sale – Feb. 21, 1958

In honor of George Washington’s Birthday (on Thursday), here’s a page of a special shopping section that ran in the Lorain Journal on Friday, February 21, 1958 – 60 years ago today.

It’s kind of a wacky sales theme, combining the celebration of the birthday of the Father of Our Country with a “We’ve Gone Mad!” theme in which "Madman Muntz" and his TVs seem right at home.

The ad includes a roll call of many other well-remembred Lorain stores, including Louis Cohn, Kresge’s, Kline’s, Cane’s Surplus Store, Penney’s, Wissman’s, and the Style Center.

I like the little pieces of George Washington clip art that are dropped into some of the ads, especially the one of Li’l George blowing out candles on a birthday cake.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Early Days of Kentucky Fried Chicken in Lorain County

I love chicken pot pies, and a discussion about them at work recently resulted in my having to stop at Kentucky Fried Chicken to pick one up for dinner that night. (That’s the power of suggestion for you.)

As someone who really pays attention to advertising and packaging, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the box the pot pie came in had a fun, retro design with the full company name. It even had a vintage illustration of Colonel Sanders himself.

Here’s a better look at the box lid.

That got me to wondering : “When did Kentucky Fried Chicken first arrive in Lorain County?”

Well, back when Colonel Sanders launched his fried chicken empire in the 1950s, he first enlisted franchisees who would put Kentucky Fried Chicken on the menu in their own established restaurants. One of the earliest and biggest franchisees was Kenny King of Cleveland.

Thus in Northeast Ohio, many of us were first introduced to the Colonel’s chicken through Kenny King’s. The restaurant also had other things on their menu, such as the “Big King” steak burger.

Vintage city directories and phone books indicate that one of the earliest Kenny King's offering Kentucky Fried Chicken in Lorain County was at 903 Telegraph Road (State Route 113). It first showed up in the Elyria phone book in October of 1961.

Here’s the ad from the 1962 Elyria directory.
Here’s a color photo of a bucket similar to the one shown in the ad.
And here's a Kenny King's newspaper ad from the Lorain Journal of August 2, 1963.

Here’s a later ad, from the 1967 Elyria directory. Note that the Telegraph Road address is still the only restaurant in the area.
Also of interest is the use of the same Colonel Sanders illustration that was found on my pot pie box.

Even as late as 1968, the only local Kenny King’s was in Elyria. Here’s a coupon that ran in the Lorain Journal on March 20, 1968.

It looks like Kenny King’s did not make it into Lorain until the early 70s, with a Kenny King’s Carryout listed at 4300 Oberlin Avenue in the 1971-72 Lorain Phone Book.

Here's a June 29, 1973 ad from the Lorain Journal. Note that a new illustration of the Colonel was being used.

A year later, Lorain had two outlets: 4300 Oberlin Avenue and 1725 Henderson Drive. Here’s a 1974-75 phone book ad listing both of them.
Although the Lorain restaurants were Kenny King’s in the early days, my parents didn’t refer to them as such when they wanted Kentucky Fried Chicken. It was always, “How about some Colonel Sander’s for dinner?”
Anyway, in recent years the corporation has embraced its original name, utilizing it in advertising and signage along with the shortened name KFC. I’m sure the Colonel would be proud.
UPDATE (March 12, 2018)
I enjoyed a big ol' bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken last week and was pleasantly surprised to see that it had a nice retro design, just like the pot pie box. It's a nice counterbalance to the goofy TV commercials with the celebrity Colonels.

Monday, February 19, 2018

St. Joseph’s Hospital to Enlarge – Feb. 19, 1907

Although the oldest wings of the former St. Joseph Hospital building were torn down three years ago, it will remain a big part of many Lorainites’ collective memories.

One hundred and eleven years ago today, the hospital unveiled the architectural rendering of the new structure on the front page of the Lorain Daily News of Feb. 19, 1907.

Here’s the story as it appeared in the paper that day. (Part of the article was unreadable due to the age of the paper and quality of the microfilm, and I have indicated that in my transcription.)


New Wing, Nucleus of Future Enlarged St. Joseph’s Hospital

The accompanying photograph shows the new addition to St. Joseph’s hospital the designs of which have just been completed by Architect H. E. Ford. The building is the first of a group of four wings. It will be built on the north side of the present structure and will have a frontage of 100 feet on Penfield avenue and 40 feet on Kent street. It will be of brick, three stories high and will be absolutely fireproof and will cost $20,000. The building will be connected to the present building by passage ways nine feet in width.

The basement will be used for a clinic and free dispensary. The second floor will contain four large rooms with toilet and other rooms, including diet dining room. The upper floor will have thirteen small ward rooms with one or two beds each. There will be toilet rooms, linen rooms and diet dining rooms. Plans will be prepared so that the contractors can bid within two weeks and work will commence as soon as the contract [unreadable].

As soon as possible another wing will be built on the south side of the present building which will connect the two front wings by an administration building. From the north and south buildings there will extend westerly two other wings so that the present frame structure will be completely surrounded.

The whole building, when completed, will have a frontage of 235 feet on Penfield avenue and will cost over $150,000.

I never realized that St. Joseph Hospital had been built in stages as described in the article.

You can see the transition as it unfolds in the vintage postcards below. (I’ve included postmark years when they were available.)


Friday, February 16, 2018

Grand Opening of Fisher Foods at Westgate – Feb. 1958

Well, it's Friday – and back in the 60s and 70s, that meant it was grocery shopping day in the Brady Household. (I still tend to do it on Friday.) So it's a good day to post this full-page ad.

It's the Grand Opening ad for the new Fisher Foods store that was located at the Westgate Shopping Center at 21st and Leavitt in Lorain. The ad for the regional grocery store giant with the longtime Lorain presence ran in the Lorain Journal on Feb. 19, 1958 – 60 years ago this month.

As the Wiki link above noted, Fisher Foods eventually merged with the Fazio’s chain of stores.

It’s strange thinking about how many big grocery store chains are either no longer in Lorain (Kroger’s, Sparkle) or kaput altogether (A&P, Pick-N-Pay, Finast, Fazio’s).

Back in 2011, I did a post about going grocery shopping as a kid with Mom back here.

Anyway, here’s a 2012 view of the former Fisher Foods location at Westgate.

And here’s an October 2016 view of most of the shopping center, looking somewhat worse.
And finally, here’s a recent view.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

A “Super" Way to Spend an Afternoon

Since I work in Cleveland, I’m usually loath to turn around and go back into town after work for any reason. However, a ‘super’ suggestion by a co-worker convinced me to make the trek into Downtown Cleveland on a Saturday afternoon.

What brought me back into town? The terrific exhibit at the Cleveland Public Library – Superman: From Cleveland to Krypton. It's on display through March 31, 2018. If you're a fan of the Man of Steel and want to learn about his Cleveland roots, it's an impressive exhibit not to be missed.

Here's the link to its page on the Cleveland Public Library website.

Large backdrops with er, super graphics tell the story.

The exhibit features tons of memorabilia and artifacts in display cases from several well-known collections. Just about anything related to Superman that you can think of is on display, including original comic strip art, original costumes from the TV series and movies, rare photographs, posters, toys, lunch boxes, cereal boxes, autographed items – you name it, it's there.

It's all methodically organized and displayed in a beautifully-designed setting that is almost overwhelming to a nostalgia buff. Music, clips and sounds from the TV series and movies play in the background as well. I found myself strangely choked up as I took it all in and confronted various pop culture artifacts that made me feel like a kid again.

The funny thing is, my introduction to Superman as a kid was only through watching the Adventures of Superman TV series that ran on one of the UHF channels after school. We never had any of the comic books. To us, the guy on TV (George Reeves) was Superman.

There was an advertisement (below) featuring Superman (promoting the Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey) that ran in the back of the DC Comics (The Adventures of Bob Hope and The Adventures of Jerry Lewis) we did have around the house.
Anyway, if you're a fan of one or all of the various comic book, TV and movie incarnations of Superman, you won't want to miss this terrific exhibit at the Cleveland Public Library.