Friday, May 31, 2019

The Searchers Movie Ad – May 29, 1956

The Searchers Movie Poster
As I wrote this post on Sunday afternoon, one of John Wayne’s very best movies, The Searchers (1956) was coincidentally showing on the GRIT TV cable channel. It’s not only my favorite John Wayne movie, but probably my all-time favorite non-comedy movie – period.

It didn’t get shown on TV very often, or at all, while I was growing up. I’m not sure why.

Consequently, I didn’t see The Searchers until I was down at Ohio State. It had a special showing as part of a classic cinema series at an old movie house in Downtown Columbus. My roommate at that time, “Doc” (he was a medical student) – who was an even bigger John Wayne fan than me – drove us downtown to see it.

Ever since I saw it for the first time on that big screen, I’ve been a big fan.

John Wayne as Ethan Edwards
John Wayne’s role as Ethan Edwards is one of his darkest and grittiest performances. The movie is about his obsessive quest to track down the Comanches (led by a warrior chief named Scar) who murdered his brother and most of his family, and abducted his young niece (played as a grown-up later in the movie by Natalie Wood).

The main conflict of the movie is that the niece spends so much time as a prisoner with the Comanches that she grows up and becomes one of Scar’s wives. The viewer isn’t quite sure whether the Indian-hating Ethan Edwards is planning to kill her or save her – right up to the end of the movie.

There are several complex themes explored and hinted at in the movie – including racism and redemption – making it much more than a mere Western. It’s often considered director John Ford’s best.

All in all, it’s a terrific movie with a story that gets me a little teary-eyed at the end.

Here’s the classic film trailer.

Anyway, I couldn’t resist posting the Lorain Palace Theater movie ad announcing the showing of The Searchers. It appeared in the Lorain Journal on May 29, 1956.
(I like the little ad with Sylvester the Cat.)
Here’s another ad that appeared in the Journal a day later on May 30, 1956.
I’m sorry to see that the Warner Brothers cartoon that was shown at the Palace with The Searchers was a stinky Pepe Le Pew one (“Heaven Scent”). John Wayne should have at least rated one with Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Ohio Edison Ad – May 27, 1964

Beginning in the 1940s, Reddy Kilowatt made practically daily appearances in the Lorain Journal in his role as the advertising mascot for Ohio Public Service Company (and later, Ohio Edison). He not only promoted his employer as a company providing the best electric service in the world, but also encouraged the public to buy electric appliances for their homes, and to give electrical gifts for Christmas.

By the late 1960s, however, Reddy was appearing less often in Journal ads. He was still around, encouraging the public to make large electric purchases, such as an all-electric home, or whole house air-conditioning, but it was no longer necessary for Reddy to peddle electric toasters and waffle irons. Thus, as I look at late 60s microfilm at the Lorain Public Library, I notice that months go by with no Reddy Kilowatt ads.

Since this blog often looks at things from a “fifty years ago” perspective, does that mean that you’ll see less of our pal Reddy on this blog as it continues on into 1969 and beyond?

Naw. (I’m sure you’re not shocked, heh-heh.)
Since Reddy also pops up a lot in old Vermilion Photojournal newspapers at the Ritter Public library, that means I should have a steady supply of ads with our old pal, such as this one (below). 
The stylish ad ran in the Photojournal on May 27, 1964 and offers a generous discount on the installation of the special wiring needed to service an electric range, with its heating elements and oven coils.
Anyway, a quick Google check reveals that the Brady Blog is a leading supplier of vintage Reddy Kilowatt/Ohio Edison ads – so it looks like I won’t be pulling the plug here on my favorite ad mascot anytime soon.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Lorain A&W Root Beer Ad – May 26, 1964

One of my memories of Vermilion from when I was a kid was that my parents took us a few times to the A&W Root Beer stand there on U.S. Route 6. (It was located where Wendy’s is now.)

I first wrote about the Vermilion A&W here.

What’s strange is that Lorain had its own A&W Root Beer stand on Route 6 too, a few miles to the east of the Vermilion one. It was located at West Erie Avenue and Madison.

Here’s an ad for that Lorain stand, which ran in the Journal on May 26, 1964.

I don’t remember the Lorain A&W at all. It could be because Dad seemed to avoid that stretch of West Erie entirely, always using the W. 21st Street shortcut to save time whenever we were going west of Lorain.

Does anyone remember the Lorain A&W?

The Vermilion one is well-remembered, and the subject of a recent series of reminisces on the “You know you’re from Vermilion if....” Facebook page.

By the way, I happened to be in Windsor, Ontario a few days ago and passed an A&W Restaurant. The A&W operations in Canada are completely separate from that of the company based in the United States. (Read about the very successful Canuck version of A&W here.)

That got me to wondering: are there any A&Ws still in Ohio?

The corporate website answered my question. There are restaurants in Marion, Columbus, Whitehall and Zanesville. (I remember there was one north of campus on High Street when I was down at Ohio State in the late 70s. There was also one in Ashland, which I wrote about here.)

Click here to visit the A&W website to learn about the history of the chain, which is celebrating its 100th Anniversary in 2019.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Vermilion’s Sun Fun Swim Club Ad – May 27, 1964

May 27, 1964 Ad
The late 1950s and 1960s was an era in which many private swim clubs were launched in our area. The trend reflected the general economic prosperity enjoyed at that time.

Membership in these clubs also included access to other sports, as well as variety of exclusive social activities.

The Aqua Marine Swimming Club was one of the first to open its doors, in mid-June 1958. At the time, an article in the Chronicle-Telegram noted, “The swimming club is the first of its kind to operate in Lorain County."

In Lorain, there was the Riviera Swim Club on Oberlin Avenue; out on Lake Breeze in Sheffield Lake there was Club Carousel (which opened in June 1961).

In Vermilion, there was Sun Fun Swim Club, which opened in June 1960. At the top of this post is an ad that ran in the Vermilion Photojournal on May 27, 1964.

I posted the June 1960 Sun Fun Swim Club ad shown below (promoting first season memberships) here. As noted in that post, Sun Fun was later purchased by the Vermilion branch of the YMCA in early 1968.

June 9, 1960 Ad
In a comment on that same 2014 blog post, our friend Bill Nahm noted that the former swim club facility is still there out on Vermilion Road as the home of Lagoon Marine, which you can see in this Google Maps view.

Bill noted, "Notice the backwards Z shape in white, with a couple of boats by it. That is the outline of the pool. The small building with the black roof was the entrance to the pool. The large white roof was the Y's Gym.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day in the Golden Crescent – 1967

Although Memorial Day has long been celebrated as the last Monday in May, for almost a century (from 1868 to 1971) it was observed on May 30th.

Thus back in 1967, Memorial Day took place on Tuesday, May 30th. On the following day, the Lorain Journal presented the above full-page article and collection of photos highlighting the celebration around the Golden Crescent, which spanned from Norwalk to Avon Lake.

Photos include Lorain’s Memorial Day Parade, as well as the parades in Avon Lake, Sheffield Lake, LaGrange and Wellington. The Memorial Day ceremony at Pittsfield’s monument was highlighted, as it had only been two years since the community had been destroyed by the 1965 Palm Sunday tornado. Avon’s ceremony at the cemetery at Detroit Road and what is now State Route 83 was also featured.

Contributing photographers included Norm Bergsma, Gene Patrick, Ed Shulik, Bob Thomas and Virginia Willard.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Lorain Parks Prep for Memorial Day – 1956

Here’s a look back at Lorain getting ready for Memorial Day 1956.

The preparation by the park and street departments back then as explained in the article is quite impressive.

The accompanying photo of the park at Fifth and W. Erie caught my attention, because I was hoping that the article was going to mention the “Big V” – but no such luck.

City Parks Shaping Up For Holiday

With only four days until Memorial Day, the Lorain park and street departments today teamed up to beautify all veterans’ monuments and markers in the city in preparation for annual memorial services.

Supt. of Parks John Lisisky said a crew of workers began planting flowers at the veterans’ monument at Fifth St. and W. Erie Ave., and that the work will continue at all other monuments and markers beginning Monday.

LISISKY BLAMED the rainy weather for a late start in beautifying all city parks and areas where monuments are located.

“We finally got the grass cutting job completed after numerous delays,” said Lisisky. “We ought to be in good shape before Memorial Day unless we get more heavy rains.

SERVICE DIRECTOR Wallace J. Chapla informed Lisisky yesterday afternoon that the street department crews will assist park department workers in getting the parks ready for Memorial Day.

Lisisky said park benches and picnic tables are being painted, baseball diamonds are being scraped and the inside of the colorful fountain at Lakeview park is being painted.

The multi-colored lights on the fountain will be turned on Wednesday night.

City workers have completed planting flowers at the Firemen’s Memorial Monument in Washington Park where annual memorial services will be conducted at 10 a. m. tomorrow in tribute to all deceased full-time and volunteer firefighters in Lorain.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Our Town: Amherst – May 23, 1956

Back in the late 1950s and early 60s, the Lorain Journal used to occasionally profile one of the neighboring cities via a full-page of photographs of its people and landmarks. These photo features provided a nice snapshot of the community at that time.

Above is the full-page devoted to Amherst, which ran in the paper on May 23, 1956 – sixty-three years ago today. It’s a charming portrait. Photos include the Old Spring, Mayor Jack Koontz,  a view of the business district, Powers Elementary School, the old Central High School and a shot of a neighboring quarry in Amherst Township.

Doug Kneeland, the author of the piece, describes Amherst as being more than a town, and more of a way of life. He writes, “From the soft green canopies of shade trees that shelter the neat homes and closely cropped lawns along its quiet streets to the dusty brick Park Avenue stores and the old cannons standing a proud but futile guard over the solemn-faced town hall, Amherst is Hometown, U.S.A.

“Cars move patiently through the narrow downtown streets and pedestrians saunter leisurely about their business.”

I’ll bet most of that description is still applicable today.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Passing Scene – May 1969

May is rapidly slipping away, so I’d better post this month's selection of Gene Patrick’s The Passing Scene from May 1969. Gene cranked out five editions of his comic strip, so let’s check them out and see what was going on in Lorain County fifty years ago.

The May 3, 1969 edition is a mixed bag of topics. It pokes the usual gentle humor at local events, but also makes reference to an act of protest by nine individuals (including several priests and nuns) who broke into the offices of Dow Chemical and destroyed files and other property. (Dow was targeted because it had won a government contract in 1965 to manufacture napalm.)
Gene is back to his usual form in the May 10, 1969 edition, with two panels depicting high school students gone wild. I guess that’s Mayor “Woody” Mathna in the last panel.

Silliness reigns in the May 17, 1969 strip, with card-shark grandmothers and a stereotypical bad woman driver.
The May 24, 1969 edition (below) includes a reference to something covered on this blog: the demolition of the Ebenezer Gregg/Myron Foote House. Gene even drew a pretty good cartoon version of the house!
Gene was right to be skeptical about 1972 being the date for a new courthouse for Lorain County. The new Lorain County Justice Center would not open until 2004.
Finally, the May 31st strip has some funny reminder of the days when hippies hung out at Lakeview Park, and when the income taxes for Lorain and Elyria were still in their early days of implementation.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Skeeter Bonn at the Lorain Arena – May 1956

Although the Lorain Arena is known for having hosted rock and roll revues, here’s a reminder that the popular concert facility also catered to other musical tastes.

It’s a tall ad for a big Country-Western Show and Dance at the Lorain Arena that ran in the Lorain Journal on May 19, 1956.

The headliner was Skeeter Bonn and his Pickin’ and Singing’ Boys, with Coy Martin (on steel guitar) and Sally Jo “direct from WWVA, Wheeling, W. Va.”
Skeeter Bonn had a nice musical career. According to his Wiki entry, "Skeeter Bonn was a singer and guitar player on several national country music radio programs and had several singles on RCA Victor in the 1950s. He was known as the "pickin' and singing' boy."

"He was born in 1923 in Sugarville, a small settlement in Fulton County, Illinois. At age 13 he left the family farm for nearby Canton. He joined the United States Navy in 1942, married Mary Louise Strode of Canton in 1945, and received an honorable discharge from the Navy in 1946.

"He won a singing championship in Illinois in 1949, and by 1951 he was on the Iowa Barn Dance Frolic on WHO (AM) in Des Moines, Iowa. After that he was a regular on the WLS National Barn Dance from ChicagoWLWMidwestern Hayride from Cincinnati, and WWVA Jamboree from Wheeling, West Virginia

"In addition to his ten or so singles on RCA Victor, he also had a single on Sims Records, No. 325 "Let Me Be The One", backed with "Off To Vietnam (In The Green).”

Heres Skeeter performing Rock-A-Bye Baby.” It’s pretty catchy (and not the same tune that Jerry Lewis performed).

How about some more Skeeter? Here he is performing "Yodelin Bird from 1955.

Skeeter passed away in November 1994.

Also appearing on the Lorain Arena bill was Pie Plant Pete from Cleveland radio station WGAR, and Slim Luse and his Swinging’ Raiders.

Click here for a nice biography of Pie Plant Pete in the website. He was so popular on WTAM in Cleveland that his show was broadcast coast-to-coast.

Here he is performing "Over Yonder Over There" with his sometimes partner, Bashful Harmonica Joe.

Popular local talent Slim Luse was mentioned on this blog before, as he performed at the Grand Opening of Johnny’s Country & Western Bar in Lorain (which I wrote about here).
A blurb in the November 13, 1954 edition of Billboard notes, “Slim Luse, former fiddler with Pee Wee King and the WSM “Grand Ole Opry,” now has his own unit, the Swingin’ Raiders, doing a regular Saturday night jamboree show over WEOL, Elyria, O., in addition to playing dances and shows in the area.”
All in all, it sounds like it was a great show at the Arena back in May 1956.

Monday, May 20, 2019

New Bridge for Mill Hollow – 1964

While scrolling around on old newspaper microfilm at the Ritter Public Library in Vermilion, I found this little item that would be of interest to anyone who grew up loving Mill Hollow.

The photo appeared in the Vermilion Photojournal on May 20, 1964 – 55 years ago today. It shows the old, single-lane bridge that used to span the Vermilion River near the entrance to the park. It was in the process of being replaced at that time.

Here’s a photo of the current bridge from yesterday.

And here’s a shot of the current bridge courtesy of the Lorain County Metro Parks.

The year 1964 was a big one for Mill Hollow. Although the park opened in July 1960, the restored Mill Hollow House did not open until July 1964. I’ll have more on that event next month.

Mill Hollow has been a favorite topic on this blog, which is appropriate, since the park is still one of my favorite places on the planet.

The well-remembered, original steep hill leading in and out of the park was the subject of this post, and I did a “Then & Now” of the Mill Hollow house here.

I also wrote about the Mill Hollow badger here, and posted autumn photos of the park in 2011, 2014 and 2018.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Kellogg’s Jumbo Assortment Ad – May 1969

Well, it’s finally Friday – the end of the work week. Time to limp home and relax.

But fifty years ago in May 1969, Friday in the Brady household meant one thing: Mom was going grocery shopping after dinner. And she was sure to bring home plenty (three or four boxes) of the sugary cereal my siblings and I craved. She would buy whatever we asked for – Cap’n Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes... How many mothers do that in 2019?

We would pretty much go through a box on Friday night at snack time, and then enjoy some more in the morning right before we settled down for the inevitable Saturday morning cartoons.

This large ad (which ran in the Journal on May 14, 1969) combines cereal and cartoons very nicely. It shows the gargantuan Kellogg’s Jumbo Assortment: 18 mini boxes of cereal including the dreaded adult ones (Raisin Bran, Corn Flakes) and the kiddie ones we liked.

Here’s a color photo of the Jumbo Assortment in the ad, courtesy of Hake’
Making a cameo appearance in the 1969 ad is Bingo, one of the Banana Splits – the costumed musical foursome who hosted their own show for Kellogg’s.  Each week the group (Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snorky) performed in what would now be considered music videos, as well as short slapstick comedy bits. They also showed a strange grab bag of cartoons, plus episodes of Danger Island, a live action adventure.

(I remember just tolerating cartoons like The Three Musketeers, waiting for the show to get back to the Banana Splits and their hijinks.)

Who doesn’t remember the Tra La La song, the theme song of the Banana Splits?

This YouTube sample includes the theme song again, plus some of the comedy bits, such as Fleegle getting the mail, Drooper taking out the trash, etc. That strange, caterpillar-like arm in the mail box always creeped me out!

The Banana Splits were also featured on many Kellogg’s cereal boxes, promoting various send-away offers, such as this printing set. (Hey – maybe this cereal box ad indirectly led me to go into the printing business as a career!)

Cereal has long been a favorite topic on this blog. I also did a post on the Rice Krispies song, whose songwriter – N. B. Winkless, Jr. – also wrote the Tra La La song).
Hey, how about a look back at the introductory commercial to Kellogg's Puffa Puffa Rice? I remember this commercial well, especially with that grass-skirted Hawaiian cutie in there. I wonder if Kellogg’s was aiming this cereal at men, as a sort of Polynesian fantasy breakfast?

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Sheffield Lake Fantasy Fair – May 1969

Remember fun festivals?

Sure you do, if you grew up in Lorain County in the 1960s. Fun festivals were miniature school-sponsored ‘carnivals.’ They were held at the school, where there were tables set up with little games where – for the cost of one ticket – you could try your luck and win a prize, such as a live goldfish (much to Mom’s dismay).

There was usually a “pick-a-pocket” lady, who wore an big, colorful apron with a lot of pockets, each containing a small prize. For one ticket, you could select (sight unseen) something out of one of her pockets.

I remember going to a fun festival at Charleston Elementary School, and coming home with several of these small ‘walker’ toys (below), mistakenly thinking it was supposed to be Mickey Mouse’s pal Pluto. (Why are the kids on the package a martian-like green?)

Courtesy the Internet Antique Shop
I seem to recall that the walking dog didn’t work particularly well. Instead of “walking” to the edge of the table, Rover was dragged right over.

This “jumping frog” was another typical prize at a fun festival that I remember. There was a little spring-loaded lever in the back that you set by embedding it in a small blob of sticky gel material attached to the back of the frog; eventually the lever would loosen and release, cause the frog to “jump” into the air.

Courtesy of Bay
Anyway, here’s an article promoting an upcoming festival at Tennyson School in Sheffield Lake. It ran in the Journal on May 12, 1969 and highlights the creativity of Mrs. Ronald Lemke.

Sheffield Lake To See Paul Bunyan
Staff Writer

SHEFFIELD LAKE – Tennyson PTO is writing a new chapter to the Paul Bunyan legend.

Dominating the scene when Tennyson opens the door on its gay Fantasy Fair Saturday will be a giant Paul, ready to tramp through the Minnesota woodlands with his powerful ax.

The 10-foor high figure is the creation of Mrs. Ronald Lemke whose talent for costume design has brightened the Halloween parade for the past two years.

Working with chicken wire and a two months’ supply of The Journal, Mrs. Lemke says she spent an average of ten hours a day for two months to make the paper mache giant.

While the Lemke family ate dinner in shifts at a card table, Paul took his ease on the dining room table. Now that he is completed he has been shifted to the Sheffield, Sheffield Lake Board of Education Office where he stretches across the corner of the room waiting to make his Saturday debut.

OUTFITTING Paul became a family project. Elaine Lemke, a sixth grader at Sheffield Middle School, gave up her red sweater to make his hat, and Mrs. Lemke sacrificed her husband’s scarlet stocking cap to make sox for his tree-like legs. “OK woman, anything for the cause,” said Lemke as he watched his cap top Paul’s sturdy lumber jack boots.

The folk hero is complete in detail, even to a red checkered bandana that is stuffed in his back pocket. His eyes, after a long search, were made from Italian glass grapes, the hair on his chest and head is black yarn and his shoe laces were also a donation from a patient Mr. Lemke.

Another clever creation of Mrs. Lemke that will entertain children at the fair is the costume of the Pocket Lady. Tennyson’s pocket lady will be a brown tree with a realistic headdress made of green and orange leaves. Something that should especially appear to all is the next of scarlet cardinals that rests in her branches.

The mother of five daughters, Mrs. Lemke worked on her man-sized project while involved in another back-breaking task... moving from the family home on Brockley Ave., to a new residence in Knickerbocker Knolls at the east end of the city.

There will be other clever story book characters walking the halls at the fair, including a black and white skunk with inch-long eyelashes and an emerald collar made by Mrs. William Lyon. 

Hours for the Fair will be from 1 to 5 p.m. with tickets available at the door. Inside will be games, refreshments, a quaint country store and movies. Ways and means chairman are Mrs. Alfred Wynek and Mrs. Kennethe Deshuk, but all members of the PTO as well as the teachers at the school worked to make the festival possible.

Sheffield Lake’s fantasy-themed fair seemed to be a notch above the Lorain version (no pun intended in view of Paul Bunyan and his axe). But I’m not sure that having the pick-a-pocket lady costumed as a tree was a good idea, with the famed lumberjack of folklore lurking nearby.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Convenient Food Mart Ad – May 5, 1967

Convenience stores hastened the demise of the local dairies in the 1960s. After all, why wait for milk to be delivered (and left outside in all sorts of weather) when you could pick it up at your own convenience, along with other things you might need, like lunch meat and chips?

Thus, chains such as Lawson’s, 7-Eleven, and Open Pantry served a need, and did it with clean, well-lit and well-stocked stores that stayed open late.

Convenient Food Mart is another regional chain that – unlike some of its 1960s competitors – is still around. Above is a large ad that ran in the Lorain Journal on May 5, 1967.
The corporate website reveals the company history. It notes, "William J. Bresler and Walter R. Schaub founded Convenient Food Mart, one of the first and one of the best convenience store chains, in Chicago in 1958. Their idea was to provide customers a supermarket in miniature, which would be located in the customer’s neighborhood and perhaps owned by one of the neighbors. The new store they envisioned would be open seven days a week, from early morning until late at night or 24 hours a day.

"This concept was launched in the nation’s heartland and immediately proved successful.”

In Lorain County, the local Convenient Food Marts had their roots in an Elyria dairy. As noted here on the website, "The original Company had its beginning in the year 1911, when Edward Seabold Sr. began delivering milk to homes on the West Side of Elyria. The milk came from the family farm on Telegraph Road.  Ten-gallon cans were carried on a horse drawn wagon and milk was hand dipped at each home into the customer’s container. Delivery was made twice a day, due to the absence of refrigeration and pasteurization. The business was then known as Seabold Dairy.

"A few years later, the operation was moved to Lake Avenue (now called North Gateway Boulevard) on the same land where the present Company headquarters are located.
"In 1919, Edward was joined in the growing business by his brother, Carl. The business was incorporated in 1932 as Elyria Dairies, Inc., and the trade name “Sunshine Farms Dairy” was created.
To develop an additional market for Sunshine Farms Dairy products, the Seabold brothers formed North Central Ohio Convenient Food Mart, Inc. in 1964, and acquired the franchise for Convenient Food Mart stores. Convenient Food Mart opened its first store on July 12th, 1965 in Lorain, Ohio."
Even though the 1967 ad lists Hills Brothers Coffee (my parents’ favorite), I don’t think we ever shopped at Convenient Food Mart. The closest store to us was on Leavitt Road, near W. 21st Street. It was more convenient to visit the Lawson’s on Oberlin Avenue to pick up things we needed (such as dutch loaf).
At least Convenient Food Mart had something that neither Lawson’s or Open Pantry had: an advertising mascot – the customer who is king!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Oldest Home in Avon – May 1966

Several of my posts in the last few days have been about historic Avon, and here’s one last entry to close out the topic for now. It's about the oldest home in the city, located at 2940 Stoney Ridge Road.

The photo and caption ran in the Lorain Journal on May 10, 1966.
A plaque mounted on the fence post notes that it is the William Cahoon House, circa 1825. Cahoon was Avon’s first settler.
The website (here) provides some history of the house.
According to this article by Kevin Martin on the Morning Journal website from August 13, 2018, the City of Avon was considering purchasing the historic home to preserve it and put it to civic use as a multi-use facility or welcome center. (I’m not sure what the status is of that proposal but I think it’s a great idea.)
Anyway, I can understand why the Journal photographer decided to photograph the back of the house in 1966. It’s not easy to get a good photo of the front, with all of the trees and brush.
Here’s my shot from a Saturday morning a few weeks ago. It required several back-and-forth trips along Stoney Ridge, but at least I didn’t get run in by Avon’s finest for my guerrilla photography.

Monday, May 13, 2019

A. A. Bungart’s Impressions of Avon in the Old Days

It is very fortunate that back in the 1950s and 60s the Lorain Journal was committed to preserving the history of Lorain County.

As noted on this blog, many of the stories that the paper published back then contain historical information and first-hand recollections and reminisces that otherwise would be unavailable today.

Here’s a good example by Journal Staff Writer Bill Wilgren that ran in the Journal on May 15, 1967.

It’s an interview with Professor Aloysius A. Bungart, who moved to Avon in 1908 and served as Mayor in the late 1930s. The article includes Professor Bungart's impressions of Avon in the ‘old days,’ as well as his opinions on the problems facing the country back then (which contain one term that is considered offensive today).

A. A. Bungart View Avon in Retrospect
Staff Writer

AVON – How does a man view modern life who has lived in the community for 59 years? What are some of his lasting impressions of the past?

PROF. ALOYSIUS A. Bungart, 38960 Detroit Road, who taught English literature at John Carroll University for 40 years, and has served as Avon councilman and mayor, said, “Progress has an ominous ring.

“I think modern society with its rat race, makes people more neurotic and dissatisfied. Other than advances in medical science, I believe my grandparents lived a richer, fuller, freer life.”

Speaking with a wry smile and a twinkle in his eye, Bungart said, “I’m a moss back, a dodo, a reactionary, but, I’m proud of it.”

HE BELIEVES improvements are inevitable for Avon. “The city has 20 square miles, almost the area of Lorain. When you consider sewer improvements, you have to look at the many acres of undeveloped land which is not even accessible by road.”

What are his impressions of the past?

“My sister, Dora, was born in a log house in Sheffield Village when Detroit Road was a dirt path. There was an old grist mill south of Detroit Road near French Creek.

“Most of the truck farmers traveled to Cleveland market by horse and wagon.

"The town water pump was located in front of what today is the library. People came from miles around to get water.

“FRENCH CREEK Tavern was open when I moved here in 1908. You could go in there with five cents, have a glass of beer and have all the lunch you could eat.

“City hall was located in the present library building on SR 611 at Detroit Road. There were about 1,500 residents mostly farmers – when I moved here.

“I went to work in the old days by taking the Avon Beach Park trolley to Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co., in Avon Lake then I’d transfer to the Lake Shore Electric to get to Public Square in Cleveland.

THE VOLUNTEER Fire Department was started in the 1930’s. I was mayor from 1938 to 1940 and was on council 10 years before that.

“The cemetery on Center Road and SR 254 was probably an old Indian mound. Many Indian artifacts have been found in Avon.”

On the modern scene:

“It’s futile to talk about universal peace. I vehemently deny that poverty is the principle motive for crime.

“I’m afraid the colored situation will get worse before it gets better,” Bungart said.

HE SUPPORTS the war effort. “I’m a hawk as far as Vietnam is concerned.”

Professor Bungart likes Avon.

“The Bungarts are Roman Catholic of German ancestry and for almost 60 years our family has lived in a predominantly Protestant neighborhood. I cannot recall a single instance of prejudice, intolerance or bigotry.

“May such an atmosphere of living togetherness permeate Avon, the nation and the world,” he said.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Ida Stone – A Friend of the Lorain Public Library

The Friends of the Lorain Public Library organization is currently holding one of its book sales from now until May 16th. If you love books, it's a great opportunity to add to your own library – on the cheap. 

Although many of the books are donated by the public (which explains the abundance of cook books in pristine condition), there are also old library books that are being "retired."

At the last book sale, I picked up a former Lorain Public Library copy of The Man Who Never Was by Ewen Montagu (shown above). Inside is a bookplate indicating that it was donated by Miss Ida Stone in memory of her parents.
So who was Ida Stone? Probably the best friend the Lorain Public Library ever had.

Here's her photo from the 1945 Lorain High School Scimitar yearbook.

At the time of her passing in November 1968, her obituary in the Chronicle-Telegram noted that the retired Lorain High School teacher had recently donated 1,123 books to the Lorain Public Library in memory of her late parents.

The online History of the Lorain Public Library System notes that in 1970 the library established a paperback collection, and that "Many of the paperbacks are gifts from Miss Ida Stone, a retired Lorain High School teacher."

Anyway, I'll bet that Miss Stone died believing that the books she donated would remain on the shelves down at the Main Library on Sixth Street in perpetuity, for patrons to enjoy, and as a loving tribute to her parents.

It just doesn't seem right that any of those books should end up in a sale along with romance novels and old dog-eared copies of People magazine.

From November 27, 1968 Lorain Journal

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Caboose in Avon Backyard – May 1967

Not too many nine-year-olds have their own red caboose in their backyard to play in, but Mark Hogrefe of Avon did back in May 1967. Read all about it in the article below, which appeared in the Lorain Journal on May 22, 1967 – 50 years ago this month.

As the article notes, Mark's parents learned from a family friend (who was a Baltimore and Ohio railroad conductor) that the caboose was being retired. With his help, the Hogrefes were able to obtain the caboose.

So where is the caboose these days?

Today, old C-398 is located in the Shoppes of Old Avon Village (along with Jax Store for Men & Women, the subject of yesterday's post) next to the Railway Barbershop.

Click here to visit its page on the website.

C-398 Prior to a new paint job

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Jax Store For Men Ad – "The Man from Lorain"

Here’s a vintage ad for a well-known Lorain business that dates back to the 1950s. The ad for Jax Store for Men ran in the Lorain Journal on May 5, 1969 – 50 years ago this month.

I like the theme of the ad, with a profile of “The Man from Lorain” as a chap who collects classic blazers to keep him looking “his dashing best.”

It probably wasn’t the most appropriate marketing approach for a working-man town like Lorain, but men still needed to have a suit or sportcoat in the closet. So why not one from Jax?

Lorain was lucky to have so many fine men’s stores for decades. Besides Jax, there was Harry’s Men’s WearSam Klein Co and Louis Cohn.

Although long-gone from Lorain, Jax is still around today in Lorain County. Today it is called Jax Store For Men & Women and is located in Olde Avon Village.

An article in the Plain Dealer from October 2008 points out the story behind the store's unusual name and a bit of the company history. It notes, "In the 1960s, Jax in Beverly Hills was THE place for starlets to shop. Even Marilyn Monroe bought her cotton dresses and capris from the now-defunct store, known best for its chic yet affordable offerings.

"The Jax boutique in Avon, formerly of Lorain, has also been around since the 1950s. The two stores aren't connected in any official manner, but they share the same snappy name and the concept of stylish, affordable clothes -- from party clothes to professional wear and sportswear -- for men and women.
"Owners Merle and Scott Beyers bought the store from Merle's dad, Art Lipsin, who opened the store in 1951 in south Lorain. They bought it from him in 1983 and moved it to Avon in 2005."

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Drive-in Banking Ad – May 5, 1956

In 2019, personal banking can be done entirely online or with a mobile device. The result? It's not necessary to ever visit the actual branch office. It’s a sign of the times embraced by the majority of the public. (But not me; I like going to the bank – and helping tellers hold on to their jobs to boot.)

But back in 1956, you still had to go to the bank. Thus, the hottest trend in banking back then was the drive-through teller.

Above is the announcement that this particular convenience was now available at Lorain Banking Company at their new drive-in branch on Sixth Street. The ad ran in the Lorain Journal on May 5, 1956.

What’s kind of interesting is that it took Lorain Banking Company so long to do it. The Central Bank Co. had its “exclusive” drive-in teller service up and running in 1951, according to this 1952 ad celebrating its achievement.

Anyway, Lorain Banking Company merged with National Bank of Lorain to form Lorain National in 1961. Lorain National was sold to Northwest Bank in 2014, and that is the branding on the Sixth Street drive-in service today.