Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Ohio Memorial Forest Dedicated – April 1947

Seventy-two years ago this month, Lorain’s own Admiral Ernest J. King helped dedicate the Ohio memorial forest and shrine near Loudonville honoring the memory of Ohio’s war dead.

The memorial forest is adjacent to Mohican State Park. Today, the shrine also honors all Ohioans who lost their lives in conflicts since World War II.

(The Memorial Shrine has been the subject of two then-and-now posts on this blog – one for the building, and one featuring its sign.)

The 1947 dedication ceremony was previewed on the front page of the Lorain Journal on Saturday, April 26, 1947.

Lorain’s Admiral Talks at
Loudonville Sunday

Many Lorainites are expected to attend the dedication ceremonies for the Ohio Memorial forest tomorrow at which Lorain’s Admiral Ernest J. King is to be guest speaker.

Sponsored by the Ohio Federation of Women’s clubs, with which the Lorain Federation of Women’s societies is affiliated, the forest will be a living tribute to all Ohio men and women who died in the war.

The forest is located on state route 97, three miles south of Loudonville.

The dedication is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p. m. Other speakers include Major Gen. Curtiss Lemay, a native Ohioan, and Gov. Thomas J. Herbert.

And here’s the Journal’s coverage of the dedication, which appeared in the paper on Monday, April 28, 1947.

Simple Rites Mark
Dedication of Forest
16,800 Ohioans Who Gave Lives in World War II
Honored at Loudonville Ceremonies


LOUDONVILLE – It was a quiet, simple ceremony – just as they would have wanted it.

The 16,800 Ohio war dead being honored here yesterday by the dedication of a state forest and shrine would have been proud of the simplicity of the affair and the living, enduring memorial dedicated to their memory.

A few representatives of what the men would have called army and navy “brass,” among them Lorain’s Admiral Ernest J. King, were there to dedicate to their memories the Ohio memorial forest and shrine. A crowd of more than 1,000 stood shivering during the outdoor ceremonies, amidst a constant downpour.

Cold, rainy day
It was raining and the day was cold, but “Perhaps it’s just as well,” in the words of Mrs. L. L. Kinsey of Akron, planner of the memorial, “that today we feel the rain and cold and walk in mud reminding us of the hardships our men endured.”

During ceremonies dedicating the 3,500-acre memorial forest near here, donated to the state by the Ohio Federation of Women’s clubs, Major Gen. Curtis LeMay of Lakewood, army air forces deputy chief of air, asserted those honoring the men who died in World War II should ask: “Will their sons have to die, too?”

The former director of the B-29 bombing raids on Japan asserted the reply to the question “depends on us. If we follow the course we followed after World War I, the course we are beginning to follow again today, if we disarm and dissipate our military strength, the answer is ‘yes.’”

Accepting the forest as a state shrine, Gov. Thomas J. Herbert said the memorial “must also be a constant reminder that we shall not be discharged from our obligation to them until the objectives for which they fought and died have been achieved.”

Admiral King concluded the ceremony with the prayer, “May God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, grant that these dead shall not have died in vain.”

Mrs. Kinsey, chairman of the state conservation department of the federation, said the shrine was an “all-Ohio product, built with the hearts and hands of the men who worked on it.”

O. A. Alderman, state forester, predicted that a million trees would be planted on the idle land of the forest and added that 70,000 already had been planted this spring.

The shrine is located at the Mohican state forest entrance on Route 97 near here and houses a great book containing the names of all Ohio men and women who made the supreme sacrifice during World War II, including 219 Lorainites.

Two hundred acres of the tract will be preserved as a nature sanctuary where the normal growth of trees, plants, animals and birds will be unmolested. The balance of the memorial forest will be devoted to timber production and for research in soils, water and wildlife and for demonstration in good forestry practice under supervision of the Ohio division of forestry.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Barroom Harmonizing Fades Away – April 25, 1947

Here’s an interesting little article with cultural implications that appeared on the front page of the Lorain Journal on Friday, April 25, 1947. It signaled the passing of the era of barroom singing in Lorain – those days of old when a tavern’s customers might suddenly burst into harmonious song.

So what was the reason for the end of the vocalizing in bars? As Robert Weigel explains, it was a combination of juke boxes (which became popular in the 1940s) and dance bands.

Barroom Ballads in City Nearly Extinct
Juke Boxes, Dance Orchestras Replace Impromptu
Harmonizing That Thrived in ‘Good Old Days'

Ballads often vocalized in the good old days of free lunches and nickel beers are becoming as rare as the native buffalo in Lorain tap rooms.

Modernization of establishments and the rapid increase of juke boxes and dance orchestras in many places have forced out the impromptu barroom quartets of yesteryear, cafe proprietors say.

One proprietor who has been in business in Lorain for 30 years said the only time he hears “The Good Old Summertime,” “Silver Threads Among the Gold” and other oldtime favorites of harmonizers is when they’re played on a radio program. Several bartenders made similar reports.

Fraternal Sessions
A Lorain musician said he didn’t know of any cafe in the city where there was community singing.

Probably the only place in the city where “jolly good fellows” can burst into unrestrained renditions of the old favorites is in the bars of numerous fraternal lodges.

Here “Sweet Adeline” and “Down By the Old Mill Stream,” reported by local tavern owners to be dying out, sometimes come into their own when “the boys” get together on a Saturday night.

Over in the Bronx in New York, Harry Armstrong, 67, who wrote “Sweet Adeline,” said, “I don’t think 'Sweet Adeline’ will die out in the bars no matter what people say.” He credited the 51-year-old song as being a great harmony song, and a great drinking tune.

The article was right about the fraternal lodges still being a place where one could harmonize in the 1940s.

My grandfather was a member of the Lorain Elks, and the lodge (and its bar) on Sixth Street was a favorite place for him to stop on the way home from his job at the Journal. My mother still remembers stopping at the Elks Lodge to wait for him, and overhearing the raucous singing going on in the bar. She even recalls one of the tunes, the rather bawdy “Roll Me Over in the Clover.” (Since this is a family-friendly blog, I won’t post the lyrics.)

But I will post this YouTube video of The Crew-Cuts singing “Down by the Old Mill Stream,” one of the favorites mentioned in the article.

Friday, April 26, 2019

National Tube Want Ad – April 26, 1947

Here’s a want ad illustrating the labor shortage that was experienced by National Tube in Lorain after World War II, necessitating the company’s importing of Puerto Rican workers.

The ad ran in the Lorain Journal on April 26, 1947 – 72 years ago today.

Note that there were several places in Lorain County that one could apply: at the plant employment office at 28th St. and Pearl; in the telephone company office at Wellington; and at the United States Employment Service in the Broadway Building.

There was a also a need for housing for workers, and the ad included a number to call if you had rooms available.

Just a little slice of Lorain’s history.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Bud Bowman Ice Cream Ad – April 25, 1947

Although for many years, Lorain had many fine local dairies producing their own ice cream, there was still a market for ice cream produced by national and regional companies, including Chicago-based Bowman Ice Cream.

(I sometimes think of the huge Bowman Ice Cream logo that used to be painted on the side of Whalen Drugs facing Meister Road. I can see it in my mind’s eye.)

Anway, I’ve written about Bowman Ice Cream and its mascot Bud Bowman before, including this post featuring a 1962 ad, and this one which revealed that there was a live-action version of the cartoon archer that traveled around the country not unlike Oscar Mayer’s Little Oscar.

The ad shown above, which appeared in the Lorain Journal on April 25, 1947, is kind of amusing. In it, Bud is shown shoveling a spoonful of his namesake ice cream into the waiting maw of a real person.

Although this blog is one of the few places on the internet where you can find Bud Bowman, he still pops up here and there on Ebay.

Here he is on the front and back of a vintage milk bottle currently on Ebay.

And this Bud’s for you on a 1954 WBKB TV Chicago ad, also on Ebay.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Passing Scene – April 1969

April’s winding down pretty quick, so I’d better post these.

There were just two of Gene Patrick's The Passing Scene comics published in the Journal in April 1969. Maybe Gene was just busy with other endeavors, although the opening of his hobby shop next to Yala’s Pizza was still several years away.

Despite there being only two strips this month, he covered a lot of Lorain County turf in them. His topics included news events in several Lorain County cities, including Elyria, Sheffield Lake, Oberlin, Vermilion, North Ridgeville and Avon Lake.

The April 19, 1969 edition included a gag showing the fate of the Oberlin student protester (who was the subject of Passing Scene strips in preceding months).

The April 26, 1969 strip (below) pokes fun at the idea of illegally praying in school. (The second of two landmark decisions by the Supreme Court declaring school-sponsored prayer unconstitutional had occurred only six years earlier.)
The strip also reminds us just how late in spring that daylight savings time used to start.
I liked it better that way. Today’s changeover is much too early; it takes me weeks to get used to it.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Erie County Bank Grand Opening in Vermilion – April 1969

(Courtesy Lake Shore Rail Maps)
On the face of it, the stately KeyBank building (above) on Liberty Avenue in Vermilion (U. S. Route 6) across from the shopping center may not seem like anything to be nostalgic about.

But the building's location is what's notable: it was built on the former site of the Crystal Beach ballroom.

At right is a terrific photo from Drew Penfield's Lake Shore Rail Maps website showing the ballroom and just how huge the domed structure was. (Click here to visit the website’s fascinating Vermilion pages, which include a capsule history of Crystal Beach amusement park, which closed at the end of the 1962 season.)

April 29, 1949 Ad Promoting Bands Appearing
at the Crystal Beach Ballroom
Anyway, the building that is currently home to KeyBank had its Grand Opening as the main office of Erie County Bank back on April 12, 1969. As an article in the Journal on April 10th noted, “The bank is located on the former site of the Crystal Beach ballroom across from South Shore Shopping Center on US 6 (Lake Road).

“Prizes, gifts, displays and refreshments will highlight the grand opening of the installation which offers complete banking services.

“The new main building houses the offices of the president and other bank officials off the main lobby. On the second floor at the mortgage department, checking and proof department, board room, employes’ lounge and a community room equipped with tables, chairs and a kitchenette. Its capacity is 60 persons.”

Erie County Bank was established in 1940. Society Bank of the Firelands was its successor bank, followed by KeyBank.

The Vermilion Photojournal featured this night shot of the building on the front page of the April 10, 1969 edition.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Lake Erie Lanes Article – April 7, 1959

1962 Phone Book Ad
If you grew up in the Lorain area, there were a lot of choices if you wanted to go bowling, including: Rebman’s on Oberlin Avenue; Andorka Lanes on the east side; Broadway Lanes in the basement of the Broadway Building; Aqua Marine Lanes in Avon Lake; Shoreway Lanes in Sheffield Lake; and Lake Erie Lanes in Vermilion. There were also opportunities to bowl in some of the social clubs, like the American Slovak Club.

Driving out to Lake Erie Lanes was probably one of our last resorts, because it seemed so far away. But it is one of the survivors of the group mentioned above.

Lake Erie Lanes was still under construction when the article below ran in the Lorain Journal on April 7th, 1959.

There’s one historical note in the article, which states, “Lake Erie Lanes will provide a much needed recreation spot for the community, which has been without a bowling alley for the past 10 years. Until that time, two lanes were in operation at Furguson’s Recreation, operated by the late E. C. Furguson.”
Lake Erie Lanes had its Grand Opening a mere four months later on August 22, 1959.
Around 2017, Lake Erie Lanes became Pence Lake Erie Lanes.
I’ve written about bowling many times on this blog, including a post about Sully Bates, the Sheffield Lake resident who invented two bowling grips, and one about Rebman’s Recreation and its Automatic Pinspotters.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Happy Easter!

Here’s wishing all of my readers and friends a Happy Easter!

Above is a Journal photo of one family's traditional pilgrimage to the Easter Basket in Lakeview Park, which ran in the paper on April 7, 1969.

Note that the photo caption refers to the theft of two of the eggs. Hope the thieves didn’t end up with hernias, seeing as the eggs weigh between 68 and 74 pounds.

By the way, the Morning Journal ran several photos of this year’s basket color scheme, which apparently hearkened back to a similar one from 1958.

Courtesy Morning Journal
Happily, Rona Proudfoot’s Flickr collection of new and recent Lorain Easter Basket photos is still up! (Click here to visit it). You can find a photo of that original 1958 version there! 
The Lakeview Park Easter Basket has long been a favorite topic on this blog.

Easter Bunny Visits Elyria Hospital – 1969

I couldn’t resist posting this photo, it’s so darned cute. It ran in the Journal on March 29, 1969, and shows the Easter Bunny stopping by in the children’s ward of Elyria Memorial Hospital to visit Julie and Jonie Smith, the four-year-old daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Smith of Elyria. The girls sure look excited.

1968 Faroh’s ad
It’s kind of funny thinking back to the days when I believed in the Easter Bunny.

What I did think he looked like? I’m not sure. Unlike Santa Claus, there was no standard look for the holiday hare, although the costumed figures appearing at malls were usually white. I think kids just accepted him as is, not unlike a toddler at Disneyland being excited to see a five-foot tall costumed Mickey Mouse.

Apparently it didn’t bother me that real rabbits scampered around on four feet while the Easter Bunny walked upright on two. As long as he brought Faroh’s candy (and hard-boiled eggs, which were also in our baskets) I didn’t care.

It was all part of the fun and magic of the holiday, in the years before the religious significance sank in.

But I still think this Easter Bunny (from a 1964 Picway ad) is kinda creepy. He’s eyeing those kids a little too carnivorously. Plus he’s dressed like an undertaker.

1964 Picway Shoe Marts ad

Thursday, April 18, 2019

1969 Easter Ads

Easter is this Sunday, so here are a few vintage ads from Easter 1969 to put you in the holiday mood.

Dealership logo from mid-1960s
First up is the one above, a full page one for Midway Mall that ran in the Journal on March 21, 1969. It features a rather offbeat bunny perched on the Midway Mall logo. Note that the long-eared one was going to arrive in a Ray Faro 1969 Pontiac convertible; no firetruck or helicopter for him!
Ray Faro Pontiac advertised itself as "Lorain County’s largest Pontiac Dealer” and was located at 416 Middle Avenue in Elyria. 
Next up is an ad for one of my favorite blog topics: Amber Oaks. The ad ran in the Journal on April 3, 1969. At least Chef Bunny is not serving up his own kind (although who eats rabbit at Easter?)
(Hey, speaking of Amber Oaks – is it ever going to reopen?)
Lastly, here’s one of those full-page ads with sponsor businesses. It ran in the Journal on Easter Eve, April 5, 1969. I’m not sure if the entire family is blonde, or if the illustration was intended as a coloring page.
Not too many survivors from the listing of merchants unless you include successor banks. But at least Chris’ Restaurant is still around; I ate there a few weeks ago! (Note that in the ad, Chris’ was still located in the building on West Erie that up until a few years ago was home to Jack and Diane’s.)

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Vermilion Acquires Houses for Demolition - Spring 1964

This photo of two homes on W. River Road in Vermilion, acquired by the city in the spring of 1964, caught my eye. It ran in the Journal on March 19, 1964.

The one on the right was slated for demolition but as the photo caption noted, the one on the left was under consideration as a possible temporary police station. The property containing both homes, however, were going to be used “as part of the city’s improved sanitary sewer system and also to eliminate the hazardous S-curve which fronts the property.”

This news item even made it into the Sandusky Register of March 23, 1964.

I wondered: is the house on the left still there? I hadn’t done a “Then & Now” in a while, so I thought it’d be neat if the house had survived all these years, repurposed as something else. But neither newspaper’s article included an address for either building. City directories and phone books did not include a listing for Vermilion Auto Body Shop either.
Looking at a map of West River Road, however, it was easy to figure out where they had been located: on the now gently curved section of the road near its intersection with South Street, where the Vermilion Wastewater Treatment plant is now located.
A 1960 aerial view of the area (courtesy of HistoricAerials.com) confirms this, showing the two houses along with a much more drastic curve of W. River Road. You can also see the South Shore Packing Company (the subject of yesterday’s blog post); it’s the large building complex opposite the two houses.
For a lark, I checked the microfilm archives of the weekly Vermilion News for some mention of the two homes being acquired, and maybe a better photo. But all I could find was a reference in the March 19, 1964 issue about the acquisition of land, and that “use of the newly acquired Ross property should be given for study by the planning commission to improve the curve at West River and South St."
Strangely enough, while looking at Vermilion Photojournal film for 1969 in preparation for an upcoming post about the Pit restaurant, I found this (below) entirely by accident: a photo of the house on the left in the 1964 photos being demolished.
It's nice that the caption provides a capsule summary of the history of the home, pointing out that the home had originally been located on Ohio Street before being moved. That explains why in the two photos at the top of this post, the house appeared to be jammed onto the property tightly next to the other house.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

South Shore Packing Corp. – Vermilion, Ohio

Did you know that for many years, a packing plant in Vermilion, Ohio packed millions of olives each year, shipping them from coast to coast under various labels?
At one point, the South Shore Packing Company was the nation’s largest producer of “fancy pack” olives and was ranked as the 10th largest importer of olives in the United States. It was located at 5117 South Street.
Here are labels of two of the olive brands packed by the South Shore Packing Company, in addition to its own South Shore brand.
The South Shore Packing Company is currently the subject of a neat little display in Vermilion’s Ritter Public Library. The exhibit includes vintage olive jars and lids, company letterhead, article reprints and a shipping box.
Here's a peek at some of the displays.
Coincidentally, a few months ago I received copies of the same materials that are part of the library display. They were shared with me by local historian and author Matt Weisman, who thought they might make a good subject for a blog post.
Here’s one of the color product cards (the other is at the top of this post).
And here is a Plain Dealer article and photos about the company from June 16, 1963.
BOTTLES ’N’ BARRELS. Merle Roger, outside foreman, pushes another barrel into position in the storage yard. The barrels and hogsheads contain the olives and are shipped to Vermilion from Spain. The jugs are filled with salt brine which drips down into the barrels to keep the olives constantly covered.
THE RUN. Down go the briny olives into the wash from their barrel as Mrs. Martha Mey releases them.
TREE TRIMMER. Mary Lou Canterbury is the expert placing the olives on the branches of  the plastic “tree,” then placing the trees in jars. Pull out the tree and the olives, too. No more digging.
Here’s another article reprint. It’s from the February 1971 issue of Port of Cleveland Newsletter and has some terrific photos in addition to a detailed explanation of company operations from port to grocery store.
The article points out that “the barrels and casks were hand made of Chestnut from Portugal. Since it is not practical to reship the empties, South Shore sells them for many uses. Fishing camps use them for keeping minnows, farmers for feed containers, etc. People who are skilled at woodcraft make all kinds of furniture from them. Supermarkets often use them to make display stands for the many South Shore variety packs (see photo).”
The article also notes, “The 50 year old company has been located in Vermilion (under the same management) since 1943. Although the plant packs some private label brands, their own South Shore brand represents 78% of the company’s production.”

Lastly, here's a late July 1977 Associated Press article about the South Shore Packing Company that received national distribution. This clipping appeared in the Newark Advocate on July 30, 1977.

The South Shore Packing Company appears to have closed when its owner, S. Leonard Appleman, retired in 1987. It disappeared from the Lorain phone book after the 1986-87 edition.

S. Leonard Appleman passed away on November 20, 1989.

Courtesy Morning Journal
Thanks to Matt Weisman and Al Doane for providing the historical materials for this post.

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Candy Shop – Vermilion

Vintage Postcard
Easter's coming. And for many years, if you lived in Vermilion, that very likely meant you could look forward to finding some goodies from Tom and Rhonda Zahars' Candy Shop in your Easter basket.

Just as Faroh's was the choice of the locals in neighboring Lorain, the Candy Shop – located in the South Shore Shopping Center – was the hometown favorite for many Vermilionites.

Apparently chocolate had long been the Zahars’ family business through the ages. According to the DiscoverOurTown.com website, “eight generations of the family have made chocolate, for the last 34 years at the shop in Vermilion.”

The caption for the vintage postcard shown at the top of this post reads, “A popular tourist attraction creating International Award Winning Chocolates as one of our specialties. Shown here is our “Big Dipper”. Young and old alike are fascinated by this “Chocolate Waterfall” which drenches our various centers with luxurious real milk or dark chocolate.”

But chocolate wasn’t the only draw for the store.

President Ronald Reagan’s penchant for Jelly Belly created a huge demand for “the original gourmet jelly bean" in candy stores across the country. As Tom Zahars noted in an article in the April 3, 1981 Elyria Chronicle-Telegram, “The amount of Jelly Belly sold since President Reagan’s inauguration has been astounding.”

“We were lucky and anticipated their popularity but we’re still surprised at the way sales have been going. The last time we put a call in to the manufacturer, we were told there’d be a wait of 3-12 weeks for orders. We understand that they’re working around the clock, trying to keep up with the demand.”

The article also noted, "Zahars has 18 feet of shelving in the Candy Store devoted to nothing but the Jelly Belly. Most people buy the mixed variety. However there are customers who have specialized tastes.”

“I think,” said Zahars, “that the people who try Jelly Belly like them because they are a top quality, good candy. They’ll go on eating them even if the president stops. Things will probably slow down a bit as far as sales go but the Jelly Belly is definitely here to stay.”

The Candy Shop disappeared from the Lorain Phone book listings beginning with the 2005 edition.

Here are some vintage Candy Shop ads, including a full page Easter-themed one with photos of their operations from the late 1980s, culled from various online newspaper archive sources.

June 15, 1982 Chronicle-Telegram ad
March 15, 1986 Sandusky Register ad
April 5, 1987 Chronicle-Telegram ad
December 12, 1993 Chronicle-Telegram ad