Friday, November 30, 2018

The Marijuana Menace – November 1968

Marijuana seems to be in the news every day now, gaining respectibility.

Canada legalized recreational marijuana in mid-October 2018. In the United States, the recreational use of marijuana is legal in ten states. And Ohio legalized medical marijuana back in 2016.

That’s why it was fairly amusing to see the editorial below, which appeared in the Lorain Journal on November 22, 1968.

I’m on board with the idea that someone shouldn’t rot in prison for having a small amount of marijuana. But I’ll probably never budge in my opinion that recreational marijuana is a bad idea that I hope is never exported here from the Great White North.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Kryl All Girl Orchestra Ad – Nov. 10, 1945

Today we have a Lorain Journal ad for the Kryl All Girl Orchestra, which I thought was interesting. Sponsored by the Lorain Lions Club, the group was appearing at the Lorain High School auditorium on November 14, 1945.

The group was under the direction of Bohumir Kryl, who was a renowned Czech bandleader, cornetist and pioneering recording artist.

His All Girl Orchestra seems to have been just one of his many musical endeavors. It featured two of his daughters, one on violin and the other on piano.

According to the website, Kryl formed his all-female symphony group in the 1930s. The website notes that the group played to rave reviews right into the late 1940s.

It’s interesting that the Lions Club brought such a group to Lorain, which at that time was still a working man’s town more likely to support boxing matches held at the Antler’s.

Anyway, the all-female theme of the group seems to have been ahead of its time.

Want to hear a recording of Bohumir Kryl on the cornet playing variations on Carnival of Venice? (Those of us that played trumpet in our youth remember that tune very well. This version has some tricky double and triple tonguing in it that Kryl handles masterfully.)

Visit the Free Music Archives website here and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Kaminski Oldsmobile Grand Opening Ad – November 8, 1957

Here’s a full-page ad for the Grand Opening of Kaminski Oldsmobile at 2950 Broadway. The ad ran in the Lorain Journal on November 8, 1957.

As I noted back in this 2011 post, the 2950 Broadway address was originally the home of Kunick Motor Sales in the early 1950s. Vogt Oldsmobile took over the location a couple years after Kunick. Kaminski moved in after Vogt.

Kaminski only stayed at that address for only a couple years before moving the dealership to a new home on Henderson Drive (where my parents launched their decades-long love affair with the Oldsmobile brand).

Today, the 2950 Broadway address is home to Steel City Auto Sales & Service.

Believe me, posting this on the day after General Motors made its depressing announcement of plant closings and job cuts was not planned.

It's a sad, sad thing. But you can't make people buy vehicles they don't want.

I've never owned an SUV in my life and don't plan to. But I probably would have kept buying Oldsmobiles if GM had continued to make them. I'm loyal even when it doesn't always make sense.

Look what I received in my email this morning from an anonymous contributor and fellow Olds enthusiast: a nice vintage postcard featuring the building at 2950 Broadway as it looked when it was the home of Vogt Oldsmobile.

It's nice to see the building in its heyday as an auto dealership. Thanks to my anonymous contributor for sharing!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Nickel Plate 759 Crosses Black River – Nov. 1968

If you’re a fan of old steam locomotives, this one’s for you.

The photo (by Journal Photographer Terry Thomas) of old Nickel Plate Engine 759 crossing the Black River railroad bridge appeared in the Lorain Journal on November 12, 1968.

The caption notes that Engine 759 was built in 1944 and passed through Lorain many times before being retired in 1958. The caption also mentions that the train “may be used as one of the engines celebrating the centennial of driving the Golden Spike at Promontory Point, Utah, the occasion in the 19th century when this nation’s east and west were first tied by rail.”

Engine 759 was indeed used in that celebration. The steam locomotive even has its own Wiki page, which reveals that it was built in Lima, Ohio. It is currently on display at the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Courtesy Wikipedia

Monday, November 26, 2018

John Wayne in “Red River” on WUAB – November 1968

I remember as a kid seeing this California tourism ad
featuring John Wayne in Life magazine.
John Wayne was still hugely popular with movie audiences in the 1960s and 70s, and our family was no exception.

My parents took us to Amherst Theater to see many of his first-run movies, including The War Wagon (1967), True Grit (1969), The Undefeated (1969), Chisum (1970), Big Jake (1971), The Cowboys (1972), and Cahill, United States Marshall (1973). We also saw some of his other films from that era at Lorain’s summer movie program for kids.

Today, most of John Wayne’s best movies are available on DVD or rerun endlessly on channels such as Grit TV. But back in 1968, if you wanted to see a specific John Wayne movie, you had to wait for it to show up on television – if it did at all, since many of his films were out of distribution for decades.

Thus, a John Wayne movie on TV back then was something special.

So it’s not too surprising to see the ad below promoting the Friday night showing one of the Duke’s best movies, Red River (1948) on Channel 43. The ad ran in the Journal on November 22, 1968.
I know we were watching that night. (What seems strange to me now is that the movie – which seemed so old at the time – was only 20 years old in 1968.)

In the movie, John Wayne plays Tom Dunson, a pretty tough character who builds a cattle empire with his adopted son Matthew Garth, played by Montgomery Clift.

The Duke’s loyal sidekick is played by Walter Brennan.

The main plot of the movie is the big cattle drive during which Dunson’s ruthless actions towards his hired hands eventually cause a rift between him and Matt. Matt ends up taking over the herd from Dunson, leaving him behind. Dunson then vows to kill him.

It all ends happily and sappily, with Dunson and Matt reconciling at the end of the movie.

But not before a big fist fight between the two. I remember thoroughly enjoying watching Wayne punch Montgomery Clift. And not believing that Clift could really smack the Duke around.

Anyway, the movie had a big effect on my siblings and me. It got us all working on our imitations; John Wayne (“Someday you’ll turn around... and I’ll be there. And I’ll kill you, Matt.”); Walter Brennan (“You was wrong, Mr. Dunson.”); and Hank Worden (“Plantin’ and readin’... plantin’ and readin’).

I can still recite huge chunks of dialogue from that movie. I never forgot the ‘ode to beef’ in the movie, in which John Wayne extols how beef makes people strong... makes them grow.

Not surprisingly, I’m still a big John Wayne fan. And I watch Grit TV every day, especially when one of the Duke’s movies is being shown.

The Duke as "Tom Dunson" samples some chuckwagon grub in Red River

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Ohio State vs Michigan – 1968

1968 Football Program Cover
(Courtesy Ohio State University archives)
Well, it’s the day of the big game. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Since I’ve been featuring snippets of Ohio State’s 1968 National Championship season here on the blog, above is the cover of the football program for the game against Michigan that year.

And here is the Journal’s coverage the next day of the Buckeye blowout victory.

The funny thing is, while I was at Ohio State, I never attended a Michigan game in Columbus. My dormitory roomies and I used to scalp our tickets. (Greed is a terrible thing.)

I guess that’s why the cover of the 1978 program (below) featuring Tom Cousineau doesn’t look familiar to me.

Courtesy Ohio State University archives
It’s too bad Ohio State lost that game and ended up in the Gator Bowl, where Woody Hayes unfortunately wrapped up his coaching career.

Anyway, Go Bucks!

Friday, November 23, 2018

The Day After Thanksgiving – 1968

Well, it’s the day after Thanksgiving. Hope your holiday was great!

Fifty years ago, the day after Thankgiving was November 29, 1968. And that was the day that Santa Claus made his traditional arrival at Sheffield Shopping Center, as announced in the full-page Journal ad above.

(It’s kind of a strange looking Santa in the ad. Although he is usually described as being able to fit in a miniature sleigh, this ‘jolly old elf’ looks to be towering more than six feet tall. He also has one of the longest and most bendable torsos I’ve ever seen.)

I don’t remember making the trek to Sheffield Center for a Santa Claus arrival more than once if at all. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, we were too busy watching cartoons. (The ABC television network used to rerun a bunch of their Saturday morning TV programming on that Friday after Thanksgiving, which I wrote about here.)

Anyway, on that same day after Thanksgiving 1968, the article below ran in the Journal. It tells of the appearance of Edna Kaye’s Steel City Strutters of Lorain at Philadelphia’s 49th annual Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The photo of the Snoopy balloon is from the Macy’s parade in New York. Note the lighthearted holiday fare playing at the Astor.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving – 1965 Style!

Well, it’s Thanksgiving – so here’s hoping all of you enjoy the day, perhaps enjoying a fine meal with friends and family as you contemplate your blessings.

And in honor of the holiday, here are a couple more Thanksgiving-themed ads from the pages of the Lorain Journal.

First, here’s another one of those full-page sponsored ads that the paper used to run each year. This one is from 1965.

At least this one doesn’t feature the Grim Reaper, as so many of the other ones did – for July 4th, New Year’s Eve, School’s in Session, etc.

Not too many companies from the sponsor list are around today, mainly Columbia Gas and the successors to the various banks. But I’m pretty sure Ed’s Transmission is still chugging along on all cylinders in Elyria, and Dairymens still distributes its fine products in our area.

But Kline’s, Edna’s Hitching Post, George May Ford, A&P, Harry’s Mens Wear, Broadway Bowling Lanes, Bazley Market, Herb’s 333, Jacoby Food Fair, and Casey’s Drive-In are all just nostalgia blog fodder today.

My second Thanksgiving ad is one for Hart’s, billed in its November 21, 1946 ad as “Lorain’s Largest Jewelry Store.”
That’s a good-looking Pilgrim Turkey with an authentic-looking snood.
Anyway, it’s always fun seeing the prices on these vintage ads, such as a safety razor (18 cents), a man’s Elgin or Bulova watch ($67.50) and a women’s six diamond pair 14K yellow gold rings ($175).
In today’s prices, that’s $2.33, $875.37, and $2,269.48.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Cotton Club Thanksgiving Ad – Nov. 25, 1947

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, so it’s not too late for this holiday ad promoting Cotton Club Ginger Ale.

Sorry, guys, this ad doesn’t feature Big Ginger. After all, it ran in the Lorain Journal on November 25, 1947 – decades before she was even conceived by an ad-man.

But what the ad does feature is some ponderous advertising copy that lamely connects Thanksgiving to drinking Cotton Club Ginger Ale. Nevertheless it’s an attractive ad with nice typography.

However, seeing the bottle’s label – with the Cotton Club orchestra in silhouette – brought back a funny memory to me.

You see, that orchestra illustration was still on the label in the 1960s. And I remember that as a kid during that time, I used to think of The Mighty Hercules TV cartoons whenever I saw the Cotton Club label.

Why, you might ask? I asked myself the same question.

Fortunately YouTube had the answer. The super hero god appears in silhouette several times in the opening credits of the cartoon!

Say – if you’re a Baby Boomer, you might enjoy seeing the The Mighty Hercules animated opening sequence, as well as a full episode (which follows shortly after the opening). So get yourself a bubbling glass of ginger ale, settle back and enjoy! (It's actually not a bad cartoon.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Fast Foods Mart Opens – Nov. 9, 1965

Although Lawson’s was the first major convenience store chain to appear in the Lorain area, there were several smaller regional chains that fought for a piece of the pie, such as Convenient Food Mart and Open Pantry Food Mart.

But I had never heard of Fast Foods Mart, the store announcing its Grand Opening in the above ad, which ran in the Lorain Journal on November 9, 1965.

At the time of the ad, the chain had only two outlets in Lorain. One was the new store mentioned in the ad at 44th and Oberlin Avenue, and the other was at 1463 Broadway. There were also stores in Elyria and Norwalk.

I’m not quite sure what happened to this chain in our area. It wasn’t around very long.

The Fast Foods Mart on Oberlin Avenue in Lorain was an Open Pantry Food Mart by the time of the 1967 Lorain City Directory, along with the outlet at 1463 Broadway. They were joined by a third Open Pantry at 2875 G Street in Lorain.

Nevertheless, the Fast Foods Mart chain lasted into the 1970s. It even opened another Norwalk store in 1976.

Here’s how the Oberlin Avenue store looks today.

And here is the Broadway store, courtesy of Google Maps.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Murray Ridge Landmark Burns – Nov. 5, 1965

It’s always sad when a historic Lorain County building is torn down to make way for a housing development or dollar store. But it’s even sadder when such a landmark is loss to fire.

Unfortunately that was the case with the building as reported in the article by Milt Haitema below, which ran in the Lorain Journal on November 5, 1965.

The landmark was located on the northwest corner of State Route 113 (which in 1965 was Lowell Street) and Murray Ridge Road, and was believed to have been as stop on the Underground Railroad.

The article includes a quote by Colonel Raymond Vietzen, who ran the Indian Ridge Museum on Murray Ridge Road from 1930 to 1995.

Friday, November 16, 2018

The Passing Scene – November 1968

Gene Patrick outdid himself in November 1968 with five hilarious editions of his Passing Scene comic strip.

The November 2, 1968 strip ran the week before the presidential election.

I like the panel showing the old-style voting machine, where you flipped levers in complete privacy behind a curtain. (I think it was a better system, myself.) Patrick’s satiric depiction of Lorain City Council as a clown is unusual, but still funny. And I suspect that the ‘Schmedly’ name in the first panel is probably related to the U.S. Marine Corps slang term ‘Smedley,’ referring to someone who handles simple tasks for a superior.

The November 9, 1968 strip includes a dark, but very funny gun gag.

That’s a great caricature of the Journal’s Chief Photographer Norm Bergsma in the second panel. I like the drawing of the hippie, too!
The November 16, 1968 strip (below) puts a humorous spin on several things going on around Lorain County, including Oberlin College’s resistance to military recruiters on campus.
The November 23 strip (below) includes more Oberlin College hijinks as its subject. And note that local stores had their Christmas stuff out before Thanksgiving back then, too. I like the expression on the policeman’s face in the first panel too.
And lastly, the November 30, 1968 strip includes Patrick’s well-honed caricature of Mayor Woodrow Mathna.
As the panel points out, the Civic Center was originally planned to be the new home of Lorain City Hall. But somehow, it ended up being a mere office building, and a new (and hideous) Lorain City Hall was built where the old one was.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Nationwide Theatrical Ad – November 2, 1968

Remember my posts about Nationwide Theatrical Agency?

I first wrote about the Lorain company that booked entertainment acts for all occasions on this 2012 post. The agency booked singers, dancers, magicians, recording stars, novelty acts, comedians, jugglers, accordionists, ventriloquists, hypnotists, and more.

Last year, the current owners of the building on Broadway that was home to Nationwide Theatrical Agency discovered a treasure trove of old showbiz posters, postcards and pinups. They shared them with me, and were featured on this post.

Anyway, I recently found this ad (below) for the agency, which ran in the Lorain Journal on November 2, 1968. What grabbed my attention was the drawing of Snoopy from the Peanuts comic, which was enjoying tremendous popularity at that time.

It’s a strange drawing of Snoopy to use in an ad, however unauthorized it may be. (I can’t remember in the original comic strip if Snoopy was imitating a lion or other beast, or if he was yawning.)
Nevertheless, I wondered: who was (or is) Arlene Colyer? And what kind of act did she do as Snoopy the Musical Dog?
Fortunately, the internet provided the answer.
Arlene Colyer had been enjoying a great career as an entertainer since the early 1950s, performing xylophone selections and eventually becoming nationally known as “Queen of the Marimba.”
In 1965, she added realty to her specialities, becoming a realtor with an agency in Steubenville, Ohio.
From the July 15, 1965 Wintersville Citizen
But in November 1968, she was still performing, listed with Nationwide Theatrical. I’ll bet it was a cute act, with her dressed as Snoopy, playing the xylophone.
Arlene still has a connection with dogs, although none as famous as Snoopy. According to a September 2015 article in the Herald-Star, she keeps busy as a founding member and volunteer at the Jefferson County Animal Welfare League.
Here’s hoping Arlene is still doing well.

The ad also includes JoAnn Castle, “direct from the Lawrence Welk Show.” JoAnn was known as the “Queen of Ragtime Piano.” According to her Wiki entry, she replaced Big Tiny Little on the show. (My Grandmother had one of his LPs – you don’t forget a name like that.)

And here she is, performing on Lawrence Welk in 1967, courtesy of YouTube. She’s terrific!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Ohio State Beats the Spartans – 1968

What with Victory Park taking over this blog for a few days beginning last Friday, I never did get to post this. It’s the Lorain Journal’s November 3, 1968 account of the Ohio State Buckeyes taking on and beating Michigan State.

Well, the Buckeyes did exactly again that this past weekend. But unlike 1968, the march to a National Title for Ohio State doesn’t seem very likely at this point.

Anyway, as my sports buff pal Gene at my place of employment would confirm, I’m a big fan of vintage college mascots. Below is a vintage decal of  Sparty, the mascot of Michigan State.
By George, he looks like was designed by cartoonist Robert Crumb.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Still Looking for That Big V

With Lorain’s Victory Park in the news so much lately, I've been constantly reminded that I never did figure out who first installed the iconic Big V sculpture. It’s a mystery that’s been bugging me since 2011.

I first wrote about my quest here, comparing it to the search for the Big W in my favorite movie It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

I attempted to solve the mystery with a trip to the Lorain Public Library this past Saturday, retracing steps taken years ago with the thought that I might have missed it the first time.

Since the Big V was never mentioned in any of the Times-Herald coverage of the dedication of the Miss Victory statue, I have to conclude it was not there in April 1922.

Hoping that perhaps it was added to the V-shaped park in the weeks following its dedication, I went back and checked the Times-Heralds of that time period. No luck.

The 1924 Lorain Tornado newspaper coverage didn’t mention the Big V either.

During the days when I spent a lot of time at the old Black River Historical Society, it was suggested by someone there that the Big V was put up after World War II.

So on Saturday, I rechecked the Lorain Journal coverage of Admiral Ernest J. King’s visit to Lorain in late September 1945 celebrating the victorious end of the war. Again, no mention of a Big V being added to Victory Park – before, during or after the celebration.

The Lorain Elks did have an award-winning float in the victory parade that included a large clock marking the hour of eleven, a dove of peace and – you guessed it – a large V for Victory. The Elks have maintained the Big V in Victory Park for years, and I have wondered if the V from their parade float was the inspiration for it.

But getting back to my research. I have spot-checked newspaper coverage of various Memorial Days, Veterans Days, and anniversaries of V-J Day and V-E Day in Lorain, finding no mention of the Big V.

Nevertheless, my hunt goes on. It's like my own personal Moby Dick. (Or Moby Vic if you prefer.)

Hopefully with the renewed interest in Victory Park, a vital piece of information may trickle out and solve the mystery.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Corporal John R. Danley

Yesterday was Veterans Day, but it is observed today because it fell on a Sunday. So it’s not too late to post these front pages of the Lorain Times-Herald from July 1918.

The newspapers tell the story of John Danley, the Marine Corporal who was the first man from Lorain to lose his life in World War I.

There would be many more Lorainites who would die in the conflict, but since Corporal Danley was the first, the city took the news very hard and made plans to honor him.

The front page of the July 9, 1918 Times-Herald reports Danley's death and provides a biography of the man who was born in Cleveland but spent most of his life in Lorain.

The front page recounts his last letter to his family, written on June 11.

Danley wrote, “I have a few minutes to spare and we all have permission to write a short letter. As I write this I am well, but our regiment suffered rather heavily in the last week. I suppose you have read all about that in the papers. We saw some of the real old open warfare. I do not know as yet how the other boys fared.

“Hope all of you are well and happy. This is strenuous writing with shells bursting around here.

“Goodbye with love, Jack.”

The front page of the July 11, 1918 edition of the Times-Herald announces the memorial services for Corporal Danley.

The page also notes that Mayor A. J. Horn was forming a soldiers' and sailors’ commission to create a memorial to the Lorain men fighting in the war. Since there was already a park on the west side of Lorain (Lakeview Park) and there were some in other areas of the city, the Mayor thought that a park on the east side would be most appropriate. The Mayor hoped that a permanent memorial, such as a memorial hall or art museum, could be built.

The front page of the July 13, 1918 Times-Herald announces the creation of the east side park. It states, “The new park on the East Side which will be in the center of the tract containing 240 homes for ship workers, a project made necessary by the war for world democracy, will be named for Corporal John R. Danley, the first Lorain man to die in action during the present war.”

I’ve written about Corporal Danley before. 
Back in 2014, I posted a small article that included a photo of his final resting place in France. And about a week after that, I wrote about Danley Park here.
Needless to say, the permanent memorial hall or art gallery were never built. 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

A Plea to Cancel the Sale of Victory Park

Saturday’s edition of the Morning Journal included an article that attempted to clarify why Lorain wants to sell Victory Park, the park containing the city’s memorial to all of the soldiers who fought and died in World War I.

The explanation actually makes the whole proposal sound even worse, and confirms my original belief that the sale of the park needs to be cancelled.

The veterans group, whose name had not been revealed in coverage by either of Lorain County’s daily newspapers up to that point, is the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Louis Paul Proy Chapter 20, which is located next door to the park.

The Journal article attempts to convince the reader that the DAV isn’t the bad guy here. 

It quotes Ray Kershaw, adjutant and treasurer of Proy Chapter 20, as pointing out that they originally bought the property next to the park because, “We wanted to have some green space next to us, keep the corner all veteran-oriented if we could.”

The article also notes, "Kershaw said the large "V" memorial and the Victory statue, which depicts the Greek goddess Nike bearing a sword and a palm frond, were not part of any deals to be made on the land and that the “Big V" will stay where it’s at no matter what."

“We did not want to buy the property with the (Victory statue) on it, because it’s city property and a memorial to World War I vets,” he said.
Why sell the park to the DAV then? They don’t want to buy the statue; they want the property to remain a green space; and they want the corner wedge-shaped land to remain ‘all veteran-oriented.’
So keep the park as it is, and the Big V and the statue will stay where they’re at, “no matter what.
Especially if the Proy Chapter 20 ever goes out of business. It happens.
But Lorain city officials saw the Proy Chapter’s interest in the property as a way to get rid of a park so that they city wouldn’t have to maintain it. 
The Journal article quoted Safety-Service Director Dan Given. “The city’s position is that we own hundreds of parcels all over that we’ve acquired over time," Given said. "Why are we sitting on these things, maintaining them, cleaning up junk when we can actually make it productive?
My answer to that is: Why does a park that is practically sacred land have to be productive? A memorial park is supposed to be a place where citizens can come and contemplate what is being honored.
It’s embarrassing that a city of Lorain’s size is so eager to save money that it would sell what is arguably one of its most important parks – and one of its smallest and easiest to maintain.
Perhaps the most ridiculous comments from the Journal article belong to Phil Dore, Lorain’s deputy safety-service director and the Mayor’s chief of staff. In attempting to justify the proposed sale, he pointed out that the city “went out of its way to ensure the property had no historical significance for WWI.”
“It just so happened, that whoever funded the statue, put it there,” Dore said.
Well, yes, I don’t think that the V-shaped property was a WWI battlefield or anything. What kind of historical significance were they expecting to find?
And as to the identity of “whoever funded the statue," let’s consult the Lorain Times-Herald of April 7, 1922, the day after the dedication. It notes, “Yesterday’s memorial was erected by the city at a cost of $6,000. It was made possible largely through the untiring efforts of Service Director Snell and former Councilman John J. Baird.”
And by the way, the same article noted that “Mayor William F. Grall arose from a sick bed to be present while thousands trudged from all sections of the city to witness the birth of that which is the personification of liberty, equality and honor.”
Ninety-six years later, Lorain’s Mayor Ritenauer is on board with the sale of the park as long as it doesn’t result in a “nasty storm,” and Lorain’s Safety-Service Director Given regards the park as an unproductive parcel. 
How times have changed.
Lorain: please don’t sell the park. Maintain it proudly. It’s the right thing to do.

UPDATE (November 12, 2018)
It was great to read in the Chronicle-Telegram (here) that a plan is now in place for the Lorain Port Authority to take control of Victory Park pending approval of Lorain City Council. The city would make improvements to the sidewalks and right-of-way, and the Big V and statue would remain in place.

Congratulations to Mayor Ritenauer, the Lorain Port Authority and everyone involved in this proposal for making this a Happy Veterans Day indeed.

Friday, November 9, 2018

An Editorial: Why?

Why does the City of Lorain think it's a good idea to sell the small, iconic park that pays tribute to its sons who served and died in World War I?

I’m at my wit’s end trying to understand this decision.

According to the coverage in the Morning Journal, a veterans group has expressed interest in purchasing the park property.

Consequently, Lorain City Council voted to sell the two parcels of land that make up the small park. The sale includes the “Big V” and the winged Miss Victory statue.

So that’s all it takes? An unnamed group wants to buy the park, and the city is more than willing to put it up for sale in order to make that happen.


It can’t be because of the cost of maintaining the park. It’s tiny! A two-man city crew could probably mow and edge it in about a half hour. And the Lorain Elks – to their credit – have been maintaining the Big V for years. So the park is hardly a drain on city workers or finances.

What is going on here? Why is this park – a small, charming green space in a historic neighborhood – an issue at all? And why now?

To make matters even worse, it has been suggested that the winged victory statue could be moved to Lakeview Park.

That’s a terrible idea. It’s bad enough that several monuments and markers have been already been relocated and unceremoniously grouped together, totally out of historical context, down at Lakeview Park. The last thing that is needed down there is yet another historical marker.

Anyway, the winged victory statue was dedicated with great fanfare ninety-six years ago in a community and civic celebration unrivaled in its day. It would be a disgrace, and an insult to all the soldiers who were wounded or died in World War I, for the City of Lorain to sell the park.

The dedication, April 6, 1922