Tuesday, December 31, 2019

New Year’s Eve Ads 1959 & 1969

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve – a good time to look back on the past year, and years gone by.

This New Year’s Eve is unique in that it's the eve of a new decade. I still remember as a kid how futuristic 1970 seemed at the time. But I don’t recall feeling that way about subsequent new decades.

At least the catchy-sounding 2020 will be easier to remember than the odd-numbered 2019, which I never really got used to writing on my checks (yes, I still write checks for almost all my bills).

Anyway, to wrap up the year here on the blog, here’s a small assortment of ads with an appropriate seasonal theme.

If it was New Year’s Eve 1959, you might have considered a night out at the Saddle Inn in Avon Lake. Above is an ad that ran in the Journal on December 26, 1959.

And also from 1959 is the full-page New Year’s Eve ad reminding Journal readers not to drink and drive. The ad doesn’t feature the Grim Reaper, but the clown is still a little creepy.

Moving up to 1969...

One of the few banks still around today with its original Lorain County-themed name is First Federal Savings of Lorain. Here’s its New Year’s themed ad that ran in the Journal on December 31, 1969.

Baby New Year 1960 is rather chubby, so he would fit right in with today’s kids.
And here’s the full-page New Year’s Eve 1969 ad from the Journal featuring the one, the only... Grim Reaper. He’s looking quite festive with his jaunty party hat.
Lastly, here’s a grim bonus: a mini-ad by the Lorain Safety Council that ran a few days before the full-page one. This ad stresses safe driving in general, and appeared in the paper on December 27, 1969. It has a clever theme (“Don’t Wreck Your Holiday’) and a grinning skull.
Anyway, have a safe New Year’s Eve!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Garage Move – December 30, 1963

Moving a house has been the subject of many posts on this blog over the last ten years.

It’s something that never fails to interest me. The Journal must have known its readers would find it interesting too, since the paper featured so many instances of it.

The subject of today’s blog post is slightly different, in that only a garage is being moved. The photo below ran in the Lorain Journal on December 30, 1963.
Just so you can get your bearing, the house is headed north. Here are the houses (on the west side of Oberlin Avenue) shown in the background today, courtesy of Google Maps.
And here’s an aerial view of the garage at its new home (where the red flag is). The size and shape make me think it’s the same building.
I did try – twice – to get a photo of the garage. But both times when I drove over there to get a shot, there were tons of cars in the driveway (it is the holiday season, after all). Consequently I chickened out, thus avoiding a comical misunderstanding and possible riotous chase around the west side.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas!

Here's hoping that all my readers and friends have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!

I thought it was only fitting to feature our old pal Huckleberry Hound today, since he's been the subject of a few posts this year, including his visit to Hills Dept. store in 1966, and his appearance at an Ohio State game in 1955. By the way, let's hope Ohio State beats Clemson this Saturday in the Fiesta Bowl.

I'll be taking some time off from the blog for the next few days, but will be back around New Year's Eve (for the usual grisly post advocating safe driving).

Anyway, Happy Holidays to you and yours!

I'll be doing some heavy reading during my holiday break.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Brownhelm Community Christmas – 1967

On Christmas Eve, I like to post vintage articles about the Brownhelm Community Christmas celebration. The idea of having volunteers dressed as Santa Claus visiting homes in Brownhelm Township with gifts and treats is such a charming custom. And it’s been going on since the early 1930s.

Back in 2016 (here), I posted a series of articles from December 1932 indicating that it was probably the first year of the tradition. (On that same post, I included a photo from the 1964 celebration.) I have also posted articles from 1947 and 1963.

And here’s today’s article. This one ran in the Lorain Journal on December 24, 1967 and even has a photo of Rev. Ralph Albright, the man credited with being the founder of the Brownhelm Community Christmas.

It makes me want to drive out to Brownhelm Township tonight (it’s only about ten minutes from where I live) just to catch a glimpse of all the fun!

Way back here in 2010, I posted my personal reminisces about believing in Santa Claus. 

Journal Christmas Eve Front Pages – 1935 & 1957

In honor of Christmas Eve, here are a few front pages of the Lorain Journal – decades apart from that particular date. It’s interesting to compare how each edition addressed the Christmas holiday, as well as the news of the day. 
First is the Christmas Eve edition from 1935. The big news was that famed aviator Charles Lindbergh and his family had moved to England, fearing for the safety of his family after his son Charles Jr. had been kidnapped and murdered. There’s also news of Lorain shoppers jamming the business districts, and a Mary Lee Tucker wrap-up report.
And sixty-two years ago today, the Lorain Journal published the front page shown below on December 24, 1957. It includes a nice editorial about the holiday, as well as the first part of a heartwarming story about Mrs. Calla Donna Woods, an 104-year-old Lorain County resident. There’s also a cute photo of Shelley and Suzanne Stone checking out the gifts under their Christmas tree at their home at 1010 King Avenue.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Christmas Ads – 1969

I featured some 1959 Christmas ads from the Journal a few days ago here on the blog; today we jump up to 1969 for a look at what was being advertised 50 years ago.

First up is an ad for the late, great Lorain National Bank and its newfangled BankAmericard. The ad  – which ran in the Journal on December 1, 1969 – helpfully explains how it works (use it “just like cash”).

(I had to Google BankAmericard to see if they were still out there. They are.)
Next up is an ad that ran on December 4, 1969 for Penneys at Midway Mall, promoting its Santa Mouse tie-in. It looks like Santa Mouse was expected to be the next big thing, with a book, record, stuffed toys, sleepers, night caps (hmmm, that’s kinda Dickensian for 1969) and other items.
But I don’t think there was a Santa Mouse animated TV special, so maybe that’s why the red-clad rodent is not well-known today. Santa Mouse books are easily found on Ebay, though.
This ad (below) for Mister S Family Restaurant ran on December 12, 1969 promotes not only its “Maxi” Burger but also “the world’s largest Christmas stocking,” which was going to be given away to a lucky winner. Anyone know who the cute little girl is posing with the 8-foot tall gigantic stocking? 
And lastly, here’s a clever ad for Lorain’s iconic Faroh’s Candies that ran in the Journal on December 15, 1969.
I noticed in the ad that Faroh’s suggested candy as a gift for the “newsboy, mailman or neighbors kid etc.” It reminded me of the days when the Journal was an afternoon newspaper, and when we had a regular “paper boy” who brought it each day. 
The “paper boy" was usually a slightly older kid who lived in the neighborhood. He would come to “collect" on a certain day, and he would punch a card that corresponded with our family’s subscription. If he had provided good service, then he was tipped right there while payment was being made.
Now the local papers are all morning editions, and are delivered under the predawn cover of darkness. You never see the person delivering it (or flinging it from their car, as the case may be) although you might hear them if they have a bad muffler.

As my old Masson schoolmate Mike noted in a comment left on this post, there was a popular Santa Mouse song sung by Burl Ives. Here it is, courtesy of YouTube.

Memories of Christmas in the One Room Schoolhouses

On Friday, I posted a 1963 article by Journal Staff Writer Lou Kepler about the Christmas window displays at the O’Neil department store at O’Neil Sheffield Center that year.

Today, Lou is back with another article. In this one, she writes about her memories of how Christmas was celebrated in the one-room country schoolhouses. It appeared in the Journal on Sunday, December 21, 1969.

Her charming story is rich with details about a simpler way of life long ago that few can remember. But it deserves to be preserved in memory, if only to remind us how Christmas used to be celebrated as a community affair, and how little it took to make children happy.

Lou’s Hearthstone
Santa Claus Came to One Room Schoolhouse Too

STUDENTS ALL over the Golden Crescent are performing for their PTAs or giving a Christmas program. There’s nothing new about it. Years and years ago kids in the country school did the same, but it was so different.

Most of the little one-room schoolhouses sheltered eight grades. One teacher heard classes from phonics to agriculture.

Weeks beforehand, the best artists drew pictures of Santa Claus, the visits of the Wise Men, the Babe in the manger and Christmas scenes on the blackboard with colored chalk.

The first grade children cut out holly leaves from green construction paper and put red berries on them with flour and water paste. Naturally they were quite smudged.

Teacher arranged the program. Different children were designated to speak pieces. Some sang. One or two played the piano. A short play was put on by the higher grades with the final bit a pantomime of Bethlehem.

Most everyone was on stage in the last bit. Boys, wearing bathrobes were shepherds. The prettiest little girls were draped in their mothers’ lace curtains and labeled angels. An eighth grade girl was always Mary. She had a blue scarf wrapped around her head and was clad in a white bedsheet.

Joseph, the oldest boy in school, wore a bathrobe too and the leftover big boys (there were never more than three) appeared as the Wise Men.

The babe in the manger was usually a doll. All the little girls brought their dolls to school for the teacher to see, hoping theirs would be the chosen one to represent the Christ Child.

One year we had a real, live baby in the crib. It cried lustily through the performance. A Wise Man stuck a pacifier in its mouth and finally shut it up. Pacifiers in those days were made from cloth filled with sugar and tied at the top with a string.

There was always a Christmas tree. The big boys made a production of getting the tree. They cut it down in the woods and hauled it to the school house. The rest of the students made paper chains, strung popcorn and cranberries and cut decorations out of tinfoil.

Of course there were no electric lights. Candles, lighted tapers in tin holders were scattered throughout the tree and were lighted at the beginning of the program.

Beneath the tree were presents. Every kid brought something for teacher. If it was “boughten,” it didn’t cost more than a quarter. You could get real fancy pins for 25 cents in those days, or even a bottle of perfume. Usually the gifts were potholders or hand crocheted handkerchiefs the mothers had made.

Parents brought one wrapped gift for each of their children which was placed in Santa’s pack along with a bag or little cardboard box filled with candy from the school board and on real special times, an orange and a few nuts. I always looked for the chocolate drops. There were two in each box.

As the program drew to a close, there’d be a loud ringing of sleigh bells outside and in would bound Santa Claus, who was probably the president of the school board.

He might not be in a red suit. He might be wearing a bearskin coat, which was quite the thing in those days, but he’d have on a Santa Claus face, a pair of high black rubber boots and a fur hat. A big sack full of the presents and candy would be on his back.

Striding to the front of the schoolroom, he’d dig into this sack, call out the name on the present and the children would eagerly spring out of their seats to receive it.

When the last box of candy and orange had been delivered by Santa, he’d ask us to sing. Teacher sat down at the piano, pounded out “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” and “Silent Night” and everyone, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters and parents sang.

I don’t remember ever hearing of any disaster during a Christmas program in one of those little red schoolhouses. It has all the markings. There were unprotected lighted candles in the windows near the paper holly. The lighted candles on the tree were definitely a safety hazard.

The only casualty I ever heard about was this week. That was when Elizabeth Prescott called me and told me about the time George Holzhauer was Santa Claus in her one-room school house. It seems Santa bent over a candle and his cotton-batten beard caught on fire.

It seems as if it always snowed at Christmas. We could count on going to that Christmas program in the old schoolhouse the Friday night before Christmas vacation in a sleigh.

Sometimes the whole neighborhood would form sort of a parade with the wagon boxes put on runners, the interiors filled with straw and packed with kids and parents. The horses always had on sleigh bells.

Those school programs were the height of the social season on the farm and were outdone only by the Sunday school program at the churches on Christmas Eve.

Friday, December 20, 2019

1963 O’Neil Sheffield Center Holiday Display Featuring Dennis the Menace

Many people have fond memories of going Christmas shopping in Downtown Cleveland and enjoying the various window displays in the department stores.

Well, the O’Neil Sheffield Center was not to be outdone during the 1963 Christmas season.

The article below, which appeared in the Lorain Journal on December 13, 1963, describes the special animated window scenes that the O’Neil store featured that Christmas. The displays starred famous comic strip icon Dennis the Menace, as well as his parents, his dog Ruff and "good old Mr. Wilson.”

Journal Staff Writer Lou Kepler wrote the story. The window scenes sound really cute.

I did a post about the first appearance of Dennis the Menace in the Lorain Journal in 1955 back here.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Christmas Ads – 1959

Sixty years ago, you might have seen some of the ads being posted on today's blog in the newspaper. They all appeared in the Lorain Journal during the holiday season in December 1959.

First up is a seasonal ad for Kutza Pharmacy that ran on December 15th (I posted a full-page 50th Anniversary ad for the Lorain drug store last month here.)
That's a good looking Santa. But isn't the 15th a little late to have a sale on Christmas cards? (By the way, I haven't received a single Christmas card yet this year. Actually I did, but it was for the person who lived at my address before I did!)
And just to show every holiday ad didn't have to have Santa Claus in it, here's one with an elf. The ad is for Herb and Millie Smithberger's 333 Bar (one of the subjects of a post back here). Hey, we had a modern tree topper similar to the one in the ad.
Here's a December 24th ad for Lorain Lumber Company with two other holiday icons: a snowman and a reindeer. The snowman is unlike Frosty in that he is fully clothed. I wonder who sat on his hat? It gives him a hobo-like appearance.
Church attendance is going down pretty rapidly in the United States, so I guess this ad layout for the Lorain Real Estate Board (which ran on December 24, 1969) isn't going to be making a comeback anytime soon.
And lastly, it wouldn't be a vintage collection of Christmas ads on this blog without one that would now be considered politically incorrect. The ad is for Gary Motor Sales and ran in the Journal on December 17th. 
Last year I did a whole post on politically incorrect Christmas ads here, which featured another Gary Motor Sales ad with a Santa babe. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Hart Christmas Ad – Dec. 19, 1957

I like posting vintage Hart's Jewelry ads. They’re usually offbeat and fun to look at.

There was a 1946 Thanksgiving ad here, and a January 1947 ad with a comely Scottish lassie here. Then there was that 1954 Father’s Day ad with the Mystery Starlet, and a November 1957 Christmas Layaway ad featuring the Wyatt Earp Frontier Marshall Set. (By the way, the Mystery Starlet is a mystery no more – but that’s the subject of a future post.)

And here’s another one, from Christmas 1957. The nearly full-page ran in the Journal on December 19, 1957 – 62 years ago. As you can see, the words HART’S has been crookedly pasted at the top of the ad to give it some branding.

As usual, there’s fun things going on graphically. For starters, Santa Claus looks somewhat diabolical to me – almost scowling. And his bushy eyebrows contribute to his demented look.
But what really caught my eye was the small cut-in ad near the bottom right advertising a GIANT 35-INCH PANDA DOLL. 
I don’t know why, but this pointy-headed ‘panda doll' gives me the creeps. He looks more like a failed experiment from the Island of Dr. Moreau than a panda! Plus he’s about as cuddly as Ol’ Lanky Long (the subject of another offbeat jewelry store Christmas ad).
Anyway, if anyone has any happy memories of playing with this (ugh) doll, be sure to leave a comment! I tried finding one on the internet but I think they’ve all been relegated to that scrap toy bin of history.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Eagle Cafe Ad – December 14, 1946

I’ve had this ad in my files for a quite some time, and finally decided to research it properly so I could post it. It’s for the Eagle Cafe and Restaurant, and took up a half page in the December 14, 1946 edition of the Lorain Journal. (The Jolly Boys are the main attraction.)

The first available city directory that included a listing for Eagle Cafe was the 1947 book. (It wasn’t in the 1945 edition.)

John and Jennie Zaliski (usually spelled ‘Zaleski' and even ‘Zalleski') were the couple behind the business, which was located at 2933 Grove Avenue (today’s Ohio Route 57). It was just a couple blocks from the steel plant, which probably was very beneficial to the business.

Eagle Cafe enjoyed a long run with the Zaleski’s at the helm.

When John retired in the mid-1960s, the business was then operated by Marcia Krizic. By 1970, Andy Krizic was in charge.

The business continued through the 1970s (Victor Matos was the name associated with the cafe in 1975) right into the 1980s. Carlos Burgos was the final name listed with the business in the early 1980s.

Changes finally occurred, when the cafe became known as Kitty’s Place (around 1983), then Eagles Lounge (around 1984) and Las Vegas (in the mid-1980s). By 1987 the 2933 Grove Avenue address was listed as ‘vacant.’

But that’s not the end of the story.

The 2933 Grove Avenue address saw new life beginning in the early 1990s when it became the home of El Patio Mexican Restaurant right into the 1990s. (I carried out from El Patio a few times; its Mexican food was known for its authenticity.)

Today, however, the building at 2933 Grove is condemned, and it will likely meet the fate of so many other deteriorating buildings in Lorain. But for many years, it was the scene for many good times.

UPDATE (January 29, 2020)
Here are a few undated "through the windshield" shots of the former El Patio. I took them sometime in 2019 I believe.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Fun with Funwell

Alan Hopewell (left) and his brother Mike
Christmas 1960
Anyone who reads this blog has heard of Alan Hopewell. He’s the gentleman – formerly from Lorain and now a Texan – who for years has regularly posted comments on this blog.

He once mentioned that his nickname for a while was Funwell. And indeed, several readers have said that his comments make the blog more fun and more interesting.

Alan grew up in Lorain in the 1960s just like I did. But as an African-American who moved around and lived in different part of the city, he saw Lorain from a different perspective, which he is happy to share.

Heres what he wrote in 2012 about the Huddle, a long-gone but not forgotten bar in Downtown Lorain: "The Huddle was one of those early 60's style lounges you see on detective programs, dark, lots of indirect lighting, padded bar, smokey/whiskey/perfumey scent in the air, music constantly playing. My brother Mike and I shined shoes there as kids, and I was an occasional customer when I got older.

As you can see, Alan has a knack for painting pictures with words.

Anyway, in honor of his upcoming birthday in a week (December 23rd), I thought I'd feature a few of Alan’s reminisces about Lorain, gleaned from a series of emails we exchanged earlier this year. He also explains how he ended up in Texas. Enjoy!

Memories of Lorain
By Alan Hopewell

I was born on December 23rd of 1955, at St. Joes. 

Alan and his mother – NYC 1961
You won't find my birth notice in the Journal's archives, because they didn't list children born out of wedlock back then. I'm the oldest of three boys, the youngest of which, Phillip, was born after the death of my grandmother.

My grandparents were a mixed couple, who moved from Pittsburgh to Lorain in the year of the tornado, 1924. They had five girls and one boy, the youngest, with my mother being the next oldest. 

For obvious reasons, race wasn't really taught in our home, although we were certainly aware of it. My personal experience of it was, and still is, to not take it personally. Besides, it's just a physical attribute, nothing more, with about as much real significance as the length of my index finger.

I count myself blessed to have grown up in the days of the Kennedys, Dr. King, and those who affirmed that people who made an issue out of race were the ones with the problem. This view has gotten me in trouble at times, most often with my so-called "brothas and sistas.

Of course, my growing up with light skin, blond hair and blue eyes probably confused a lot of people... go figure.

Alan (at right), his cousin and his “Papa"
When I was born, we lived at 1867 Elyria Avenue. If you turned east on 19th Street from Broadway, and crossed Elyria Avenue, you'd wind up in our driveway. My family lived there for thirty years, until eminent domain forced us to move into the house next door, where we lived for about a year, as the houses on the block were being torn down to build Giant Tiger.

In 1965, while  we were still at 1867, my grandfather had a stroke, his second. The first caused him to retire from the National Tube in 1948. The second stroke meant he could no longer work at the Central Bank on 20th and Broadway, where he'd been custodian since leaving the mill. I was the one who found him that morning, the day before Easter, sitting on the floor in his pyjamas, slumped against the bed, unable to move or speak.

We had to move to Leavitt Homes in 1966, because we couldn't afford anything else. My mother was on welfare, had been since the birth of my brother, Michael, in '58, and she had health problems of her own.

Happy Memories
Now I may have left the impression that my childhood was bleak, and if so, I apologize

Fourth Grade at Boone School, Lorain - March 1965
(Alan is in front row, far left)
I loved being a kid in Lorain in the Sixties. Most of my memories of those days are of fun times with my family and with friends; going to school at Boone, Charleston, and Hawthorne; visiting Lakeview, Oakwood, Central, Cascade, Findley, Mill Hollow; double features at the Dreamland, Tivoli, Palace, and Ohio; summer nights at the Tower and Lorain drive-ins; riding Sting-Ray bikes around Westgate Shopping Center; catching tadpoles and praying mantises; comic books, television, climbing trees, rock fights, Cub Scouts. 

So what did I enjoy the most about Lorain? That covers a lot of ground. 

But if I was to pick one particular thing that I enjoyed the most over the years, it would be going to the movies.

We lived about a block and a half from the old Dreamland when I was little, and we went every weekend, sometimes during the week, watching everything from monster movies to Westerns to comedies, from Boris Karloff to Doris Day. There we were, my brother Mike and I, having the time of our lives.

Sometimes, we'd see a movie downtown, at the Tivoli, the Ohio, and my favorite, the Palace, with its cool decorated interior and that wicked chandelier. I sat under it once... but just once. One of my earliest memories was being led into the Palace's auditorium by an older cousin, and seeing "Duck Dodgers" on that big screen.

The best of all were the drive-ins, the whole trip, staying up late, driving out to the Lorain or the Tower, movies under the stars, concession stand munchies, really great stuff! 

How I Met Tracy
Dan asked me how I ended up in Texas. That's easy.

In 2006, a friend suggested that I get a Yahoo account to help with finding a job. Soon, I had the email addresses of several family members.

One afternoon, I was at the Main Library in Cleveland, and I was going to send a still from a monster movie to my younger brother, who's also a horror fan. Well, I messed up, and wound up sending the email to everyone on my list.

When I checked my emails the next day, there was a message from a cousin, telling me about a website that dealt in nostalgia, movies, comics, toys, like that.

A "selfie" of Alan and Tracy
I signed up, and began getting into discussions with other members, including a lady who went by the name Beatles 4Ever. She intrigued me from the beginning, and I looked forward to talking to her online.

She told me about herself: her real name (Tracy), where she was from (Whitney, Texas), and other things that became a lovely conversation. Posts becoming emails, emails becoming eCards, which turned into phone calls, which became long, long letters, etc.

We both realized that we had to do something about this.

Summer of '08, she spent a weekend with me in Cleveland, and after several months of missing each other, we decided I'd come to Texas, to be with her, and to escape the North Coast winters.

I've never regretted it, and I don't see that I ever will.

Special thanks to Alan for sharing his reminisces and photos.

Friday, December 13, 2019

The Passing Scene – December 2, 1967

Well, it looks like 1969 drew to a close with no new Passing Scene comics appearing since July of that year. It’s strange to me, since it seems like cartoonist Gene Patrick was still at the Journal during that time period, contributing the occasional cartoon to accompany an article.

It will be interesting to see when the strip reappears. I’ve seen some from the 1970s, so it's bound to show up sooner or later if I keep on checking newspaper microfilm from 50 years ago. Hopefully there is an article explaining why it was on hiatus.

Anyway, for a quick fix of Gene Patrick’s cartoon creation, here’s a strip from December 2, 1967 – 52 years ago this month – that was languishing in my files. It includes a few seasonal references, as well as one of Gene’s favorite topics to poke fun at: hippies.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Flying Cars – Ohio Edison Style 1959

I used to take trips to Toronto once or twice a year, and on a few visits caught the Second City stage show (I was a big fan of SCTV). One of these reviews was entitled, “2000 Years and Still No Flying Cars.” I thought it was a hilarious observation.

That was back in 1999.

Well, it’s been 20 years since then and there’s still no flying cars. But back in 1959, the future looked pretty bright and by George, Ohio Edison thought that flying cars were in the near future – and built an ad around that theme.

Here’s the ad, which ran in the Lorain Journal back on Tuesday, December 1, 1959.

Although the ad is somewhat hilarious (in its depiction of Mom and Sis coming in for a landing above Dad and Junior), I have to admit that the artist did a good job of designing the vehicle. And at least one of the futuristic ideas mentioned in the ad (such as the kids being "able to dial a library book, a lecture or a classroom demonstration right into your home – with sound” came true.

I’m afraid, however, that flying cars like that shown in the ad are still decades away.

I just hope I’m not still commuting to Cleveland if they ever do become a reality.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Ohio Artist Kinley Shogren

The condo where I live in Vermilion just off U. S. Route 6 overlooks a small lake, with railroad tracks running alongside it. It's a great setting that's especially beautiful in the fall. And during the winter, I have a ringside (or trackside) view of the trains going by.

That's why when I saw this charming old calendar page on Ebay (above), I knew it would be the perfect decoration for the wall overlooking the lake and tracks. What made it even more perfect was the discovery that the watercolor was the work of Ohio artist Kinley Shogren. My print was part of a series of paintings he did for a Chessie System calendar in the early 1960s.

The article below provides a nice profile of the talented Ohio artist. It was written by John Futty and appeared in the Mansfield News Journal on July 19, 1990. The article coincided with the opening of a special exhibition of ninety of Shogren's paintings that were on loan from collectors.

As it notes, “Shogren has become the best-known artist in north central Ohio through his vividly realistic renderings of landscapes ranging from Ohio villages to Great Lakes shipping. Shogren’s works are distinguished by an impeccable attention to detail and an eye-catching sense of place.

“Shogren grew up in Lakewood and decided to make art his career after injuries suffered in World War II during the Battle of the Bulge made him give up plans to coach and teach physical education.

“He studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art from 1946 to 1949, then took a job as a commercial artist with the Hal Malmquist art studio in Cleveland before striking out on his own.

“One year after leaving art school, Shogren was growing weary of painting green countrysides and began searching for some scenic variety.

“That’s when I discovered the Flats in Cleveland, with the steel mills and the old ore freighters,” Shogren said.”

Here’s one of Kinley Shogren’s paintings that featured Lorain. It is identified as B & O Ore Dock - Lorain Str. Robert Hobson Unloading (1951).

Shogren died in October 1991. The article below appeared in the Mansfield News Journal at the time of his passing.
From the Mansfield News Journal, Sunday, Oct. 20, 1991
As the article notes, “He first visited Mansfield in 1956, when a banking official asked him to paint Central Park before Park Avenue West was cut through it. Shogren painted many disappearing landmarks, and he said it was his sense of history that led to the details in his painting.

“He said once, pointing to a painting of a wooden trawler in Canada, “A boat like that is a historic vessel. There are very few in existence, and it’s important to have an accurate record. It’s the same with my painting of the old (First National) bank in Ashland. It was a good stone building, and now it’s gone.
“In 1990, he was honored with a month-long, one man show at the Mansfield Art Center. The exhibit titled “Mansfield Collectors Honor Kinley Shogren” featured 90 of his paintings loaned by 48 collectors and was the largest group of his work ever assembled under one roof."

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Beachcomber Motor Lodge Opens – Dec. 1959

Sixty years ago this month, the Beachcomber Motor Lodge opened for business on West Erie Avenue, right behind the Howard Johnson's restaurant.

Above is the full-page ad making the announcement. It appeared in the Lorain Journal on December 4, 1959.

According to the article below, which appeared on the front page of the same edition of the paper, Arthur Goldstein of Lorain and Ben Friedkin of Youngstown were the men who made it happen and made their longtime dream real.

The motor lodge represented the latest in modern design and conveniences and was impressive considering that it was not part of a national chain. As the Journal article noted, “The new Beachcomber Motor Lodge offers almost every comfort, including central air-conditioning for the most humid weather and individually-controlled thermostats for cold weather.

“From the ultra-modern gatehouse and its combination lobby and meeting room to the 51 units themselves, the decor has been carefully planned.

“Each room is color-coordinated, featuring wall-to-wall carpeting, walnut paneling, two double beds, telephone service with a central switch board, free television, and dressing table and vanity area.

“Privacy is guaranteed throughout from the vinyl-tiled entranceway and ceramic-tiled bath to the individual porches with their iron railings.

“Facing the lake, each room has an all-glass window wall looking down upon a 25-by-50 foot heated swimming pool, complete with surrounding deck chair sunning area.”

The Beachcomber changed hands in 1969 (which I wrote about here), with George Steinbrenner and Lorain Insurance agent William Rieth purchasing the building from Arthur Goldstein, who at that time was the retired owner of the Style Center.

In 2014, I gave the former Beachcomber (then known as Erieview Motel) the then-and-now photo treatment. Click here to see the motel as it looked then, as well as some vintage ads. 
And lastly, I covered the 2017 demolition of the former Beachcomber here.

Monday, December 9, 2019

A. Helfrich Building at 822 Broadway

Recently I received an email inquiring if I had any information on the history of the building at 822 Broadway in Lorain (above), which is currently undergoing some renovations.

It’s always a little tricky to use city directories to research a building, but here is what I believe to be correct.

The ‘A. Helfrich’ name on the building was Anthony Helfrich, who had a furniture and undertaking business. Up until the 1905 city directory, it was located at 700 Broadway (later the location of the Thistle Building, now a vacant lot). Thus the 1906 inscription date makes sense.

There were two addresses associated with the building: 820 and 822 Broadway. The funeral business was at 820 and a variety of businesses used the 822 address until it became the primary address in the 1980s.

The Shiff Brothers and their musical instrument, hardware and pawn broker business were an early tenant at the 822 address, appearing in the 1912 and 1915-16 editions of the directory. Around the time of the 1919-20 directory, the Helfrich Brothers Pool Room took over the 822 address.

In the 1921-22 book, the brothers were now running a cigar shop. Anthony Helfrich continued to run his funeral business at the 820 address.

By the time of the 1924 city directory, Jos. Stark had a dry goods business listed at the 822 Broadway. It wasn’t until the 1929 book that Stone Malt appeared at that address.

July 13, 1934 Ad from
Lorain Shopper News
Throughout the 1930s, the Anthony Helfrich funeral business continued to be listed at 820 Broadway (Helfrich passed away in 1930) and the restaurant known as Stone's Grill was at 822. Indeed, the two companies stayed put during the 1940s as well.

It wasn’t until the 1950 city directory that the business that many of us remember showed up listed at 820-822 Broadway: Rusine’s, run by Michael Rusine. Stone’s Grill apparently moved next door to 816-818 Broadway (the small brick building that is still there today) and kept on appearing in the  city directory right into the 1980s. (I’m not sure when it closed).

According to the city directories, Rusine’s eventually used the 820 part of the building for storage.

It will be interesting to see the next chapter in the history of the newly refurbished 822 Broadway.

Here’s a link to a 2017 Morning Journal article by Richard Payerchin about the building’s deteriorating condition at that time.

UPDATE (December 9, 2019)
Local historian and author Al Doane reached out to me today with some additional information about the Helfrich funeral business when it was located in its namesake building.

Al wrote, "I would like to add what I had found years ago about it. I found this information in a Lorain Daily News article.

"The article stated that the funeral business was conducted on the 4th Floor of the building. I had wondered how they got the body up to the 4th floor. 

But then Al read that one of the problems that the present owners of the building faced is that there is an elevator shaft from the ground floor to the fourth floor. So it all made sense.

"At first when I read the article with funerals on the 4th floor, I could not imagine carrying a body up all those stairs,” noted Al. Hearing about that elevator shaft solved the mystery.

Thanks for sharing your findings, Al!