Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Lake Erie Vacation Ads – July 1939

Here’s a nice collection of ads that appeared in the Pittsburgh Press back on July 16, 1939 under the umbrella theme of “Lake Erie – A Vacation Opportunity Within Your Budget.”

Although Geneva-on-the-Lake is in the spotlight, the ads include both the traditional western Vacationland area that spans from Vermilion to Port Clinton and south to Norwalk, as well as the resort area east of Cleveland.

Vacationland communities being promoted include Vermilion-on-the Lake, Elberta Beach, the Marblehead Peninsula, Lakeside, Ruggles Beach and Put-in-Bay.

Resorts east of Cleveland mentioned in the ad listings include Geneva on-the-Lake, Geneva, Pirl Beach and Madison-on-the-Lake.

Taken as a whole, the ads really position Ohio as a great, affordable choice for a waterfront vacation – an idea that is still applicable today, as evident in the fact that so many vintage cottage resorts west of Vermilion are still in business.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Page Milk Ad – July 30, 1956

Although Lorain had plenty of local dairies selling and delivering their own milk back in the 1950s, that didn’t stop national and regional companies from advertising their own brand of milk and other dairy products in the Lorain Journal.

I guess you can’t blame these companies for trying. I’ve featured Sealtest ads on this blog before, as well as one for the Page brand of products.

Well, here’s another Page ad, with a unique approach to selling milk: as a beauty aid. It appeared in the Lorain Journal on July 30, 1956 – 63 years ago today.

Gee, I don’t think 20-year-olds look like that anymore (that is, if they ever did).
It’s kind of interesting that the Page milk carton in the ad features an illustration of an old-fashioned milk bottle. Perhaps it was to make the transition to a paper package more palatable to the consumer still used to a milk man.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Traffic Light at Cooper Foster & SR 58 – July 1966

The intersection of Leavitt Road (State Route 58) and Cooper Foster Park Road – where Lorain and Amherst meet – is a busy place.

Although the Super Kmart is gone (with a new Meijer's under construction at that location), it's still a busy intersection, with Dunkin' Donuts, Walgreens, Chase Bank, Taco Bell, a Marathon station, a Sunoco station, a Speedway station, Chipotle, Bob Evans, Days Inn and Denny's, all nearby. Plus a State Route 2 interchange just up the road.

That's why it's rather quaint to think that it was back in July 1966 that a traffic light was first put up in that intersection.

Here's the news coverage of the event as it appeared in the Lorain Journal on July 7, 1969.

The event made it onto the front page of the Amherst News-Times too on the same day.
Looking at the two photos, it's a little hard to know for certain what views are shown. After looking at  the Historic Aerials website, I think the government officials in the News-Times photo are standing on the southwest corner and looking north on Leavitt.
There are a few clues. The photos were taken in the afternoon; and Leavitt was widened by then.

Anybody have any ideas?

Friday, July 26, 2019

The Passing Scene – July 1969

There were just two The Passing Scene panels in July 1969. Maybe Gene Patrick was just busy, or perhaps there was just too much going on that month with the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Anyway, the first strip appeared in the July 5, 1969 edition, the day after the infamous storm. Gene pokes fun at the International Festival, and well as the festival's golf tournament. None other than Sam Snead was a guest star at the Pro-Am Golf Tournament at Lorain Country Club on June 30th.

In the other panel, which ran on July 12th, Gene addresses the July 4th storm with one of the saddest looking cartoon characters he ever drew: a tearful man holding a fizzled-out firecracker while up to his armpits in flood water. It's a great drawing that sums up the tragedy well.
But in the same strip he also includes some of his most pointed and hilarious barbs, poking fun at the City of Lorain's many stalled municipal projects (including the railroad underpass that would not become a reality until the late 1980s), as well as Governor James Rhodes' proposed bridge to Canada.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Reddy for Some Frozen Vegetables?

Since I mentioned Reddy Kilowatt in my post about Sutter's, I’ll feature one of his Ohio Edison ads today.

It’s an attractive ad with a great Reddy drawing that appeared in the Lorain Journal on July 3, 1963, promoting electric food freezers. The idea is that with a freezer, you can enjoy “garden fresh” foods all year long.

I wonder if the average consumer still freezes excess produce? I kind of doubt it.

When my parents first got their upright freezer in the late 60s/early 70s, they froze a lot of seasonal fruits, like strawberries and cherries (which my siblings and I had to pick, in a possible violation of child labor laws). Nowadays, you can buy strawberries at your favorite grocery store year long.

Plus, I think many Americans have developed an attitude towards what they consider “fresh” when it comes to food. I’m afraid that many of them have become food snobs who would turn up their nose at thawing out frozen vegetables for use in their exotic culinary creation of the day. “Fresh and local” ingredients rule in 2019.

As for me, I wouldn’t dream of freezing stuff like leftover corn on the cob or strawberries. I just eat them every day until they're gone. Freezing them would be like abandoning them in a snowy wasteland where they would be forgotten. (By the way, I had my first Fenik’s corn of the season last weekend, which was superb.)

Anyway, my parents’ freezer (which Mom still uses) eventually found its main purpose: to store all the perch and walleye that Dad “harvested” from Lake Erie. We ate pretty well year-round thanks to Dad’s fishing skills and that freezer.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Back to the Little Red Schoolhouse

Right after my post on Monday about the 1880 little red schoolhouse located on East River Road (that was repurposed in 1930 as a Girl Scout cottage), my faithful blog contributors sprang into action with helpful information.

Dennis Thompson came up with a 1924 post-Lorain Tornado aerial photo of the area that plainly shows the schoolhouse and its relation to the Burrell farm across E. River Road. You can see the schoolhouse at the top left of the photo; it’s the large, light-colored building. That’s East River Road running in front of it, and the Burrell farm across the road.

Then, Rick Kurish left his comment on the original blog post, answering my question about the possibility of any ruins of the schoolhouse that might be in the woods of James Day Park. "A bit of the foundation does indeed survive, he noted. "A few courses of the stone foundation and some brick fragments can be found on a bluff overlooking Sugar Creek on the east side of the paved path leading from the James Day parking lot to the Burrell house. Although the site is only about 10 feet off the path it is virtually invisible, unless you are looking for it.

How did Rick know it was there? As he explained in an email, "Probably 15 years ago after noting the school on an old map I decided that on my next trip to the park I would look for the site. It was surprisingly easy to find if you looked for it. There is quite a bit of the foundation still existing, at least there was the last time I visited the site about a year ago. In the fall just walk the path from the parking lot toward the Burrell house and after you climb the slight hill leave the trail and look on your left and you will find it."
Finally, completely by accident, I stumbled upon a back issue of Dr. Charles Herdendorf’s always excellent The Village Pioneer newsletter from March 2015. In an article about the early Sheffield pioneer families including the Burrells, Dr. Herdendorf mentions the 1880 schoolhouse – and even included a photo of the ruins.
The article also included a photo of a little model of the 1880 schoolhouse in its heyday.
Anyway, on the way home from work tonight I couldn’t resist stopping at James Day Park and hitting the trail to see the ruins of the schoolhouse. 
Like Rick Kurish observed, they were not visible from the paved trail paralleling East River Road. I walked from the James Day Park parking lot to a spot opposite the Burrell mansion with no luck.
So in full work clothes, I went into the woods (dodging the poison ivy) and walked along the bluff overlooking the creek as Rick advised. It didn’t take long to find what was left of the foundation. The main surviving wall is parallel to the paved sidewalk along East River Road.
If you would like to see the ruins for yourself, look for the tree that is very close to the paved walkway. The ruins are in the woods just to the east of it.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Sutter’s Ad – July 10, 1941

Air conditioning – the world’s greatest invention (in my opinion) – has been on my mind a lot lately, especially after the horrendous heat wave we just endured over the last week.

Thus it’s not a bad time to post this ad for Sutter’s and its recently installed air conditioning system. The ad appeared in the Lorain Journal on July 10, 1941 and provides a nice photo of the inside of the store.

I’ve written about Sutter’s before (here), and how for a time there were multiple locations. The one shown in the above ad, located at 636 Broadway next to the Tivoli, was originally Sutter’s Nut Shop, and was the place to go for an ice cream sundae.  Sutter’s Sandwich Shop was on the other side of the street with a 525 Broadway address.

I’m guessing that it was an occupational necessity for a place that served ice cream to be air conditioned. And according to the ad, it was “installed and engineered" by Reddy Kilowatt’s employer: Ohio Public Service Company, which was conveniently located nearby at Broadway and Sixth.

Anyway, I like the preponderance of penguins in the Sutter’s ad, driving home that antarctic air theme.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Little Red Schoolhouse Becomes Girl Scouts Cottage – July 1930

At one time, our Lorain County countryside was dotted with little red brick schoolhouses built in the late 1800s. There were quite a few of them indicated on vintage Township maps, especially from the 1870s onward. (I’ve written about a few of these schoolhouses, including the one at Meister and Leavitt that served Black River Township.)

By the 1930s, however, many of the schoolhouses had outlived their usefulness and sat empty, having been replaced with larger, modern schools. This meant that they were either abandoned or repurposed as something else.

One of those schoolhouses that saw new life was featured on the front page of the Lorain Times-Herald of July 3, 1930. It was located on the Burrell farm on the east side of what is today East River Road, just a short distance from Colorado Avenue (State Route 611).
On the same page was a short article noting how the Lorain Lions Club had remodeled the schoolhouse into a cottage for use by the Girl Scouts as a base for hikes and other activities. 
You can see where the schoolhouse was located on this 1896 Sheffield Township map.
The Images of America - Sheffield Village book by Charles E. Herdendorf includes a photo of the schoolhouse prior to its conversion to Trails End cottage.
The book’s caption reads, “This 1880 redbrick district school was located on the East River Road near the Sheffield Congregational church. Grades one through eight were taught on the main level, and the board of education occupied the basement.”

Today, the school’s former location is part of James Day Park, and it doesn’t appear that the building is still there, assuming it was constructed near the road like many other schoolhouses. But perhaps a bit of the foundation survives, hidden in the woods under the thick forest canopy that has arisen in the past 80+ years.

Friday, July 19, 2019

50th Anniversary of 1969 Moon Landing

It's hard to believe that the 50th Anniversary of the moon landing is tomorrow.

It was back on July 20, 1969 that the Apollo 11 astronauts landed on the moon. Later that day, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took those historic first steps down the ladder of the lunar module Eagle and onto the moon's surface.

I remember it very well. (I was ten years old.)

Back then I owned a Sony reel-to-reel tape recorder, and I recorded the landing as reported by Walter Cronkite. Later, the whole family stayed up late to watch Neil Armstrong walk on the moon.

The next day (Monday), the Journal reported the historic event on its front page as shown below in the copy of the newspaper that my parents saved.

Here's the bottom half.
Reading the newspaper 50 years later, a few things surprised me.
I had forgotten that the Russians made one last attempt to win the Space Race by landing (more like crashing) the unmanned Luna 15 satellite on the moon at the same time we were there. They had hoped to scoop up some moon rocks before we did – but failed. (You can read all about it here on a NASA website and here.)
I also did not know that after President Nixon talked to the astronauts, he made two other special phone calls. 
As reported by the Associate Press in the Journal, "After a super long distance call to tell America's men on the moon "how proud we all are," President Nixon phoned Mamie Eisenhower and former President Lyndon B. Johnson to share his jubilation with them.
"AFTER TALKING with the astronauts, Nixon called Mrs. Eisenhower at the nearby White House mansion where she is visiting. He disclosed that the widow of the late President Dwight D. Eisenhower had commented earlier that "somebody up there is looking at them too" – referring to the late Gen. Eisenhower.
"Nixon phoned Johnson at his Texas home.
"White House Press Secretary Ronald L. Ziegler told reporters that the President informed Johnson that "I thought we ought to share this great moment."
"Johnson told Nixon, Ziegler said, he had been following the Apollo 11 activities all day and appreciated Nixon's call at the historic moment."
The Journal had a nice, simply stated editorial that day that reflected how all Americans were feeling.
And to the right of the editorial was this great cartoon by Wayne Stayskal that was a tribute to the Apollo 1 crew (Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee) who perished in the January 1967 launchpad fire (which you can read about here and here). 
A few more tidbits from the Journal back then...
On July 13, 1969 the paper’s front page included a small summary of the upcoming moon landing timeline of events for its readers to clip and save.
On the front page of the July 17, 1969 edition, this article appeared (below) which contemplated several hair-raising scenarios of what dangers might be facing the astronauts on the moon. Thank goodness none of them came to pass.
Lastly, on the actual day of the moon landing, the coverage of the historic event almost seems like an afterthought on the Journal’s front page of July 20, 1969.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Note – Ruggles Beach

Are you old enough to remember dancing at The Note at Ruggle's Beach, just west of Vermilion?
I'm not, but I remember seeing ads for it in the newspaper in the 1960s, and thinking it was the kind of place that the teenagers in those beach movies (like Beach Blanket Bingo) would go to.

Anyway, The Note opened in the summer of 1963. Here's an article that appeared in the Lorain Journal on July 10, 1963 that tells the whole story.

Dance Hall Opens At Ruggles

VERMILION – There's a brand new "Note" in an old, old song... the dance hall at Ruggles Beach has been re-opened.

But the new cement and steel structure is as different from the old hardwood-floored dance hall as modern jive is from the jazz of the 20's and the swing of the 30's, albeit the short skirts, shifts, and teen-age hairdo's are reminiscent of the boy-bobs and cootie coops of the "dinosaur days."

Rising from the ashes (like the legendary Phoenix) of the old dance hall which burned completely July 3, 1960 is The Note, a recreation center designed especially for "young adults."

"We don't call them kids. We treat them as young adults and they have not disappointed us," said Kermit Price, president of the Hallmark Corporation, a group of Sanduskians who own and operate The Note.

Price is also the general manager and has memories of Ruggles as it was in the late 40's.

There is some 15,000 square feet of floor space in the dance hall, which includes an area under cover and a large patio for open air dancing.

There is a snack bar for soft drinks and sandwiches but The Note is"dry" alcoholically.

Music is provided by records. Speakers are installed throughout the building in the ceiling and also on the corners of the patio.

Disk jockeys handle the records and include Dave Parks of Sandusky's WLEC and George Mayer, who helps part time. He is manager of the South Shore Branch of the Erie County Bank.

The music is usually selected from the top 40 records of the week and several of these are given away as prizes during the evenings when the dance contests are held.

In addition, The Note features live "combos." Price said the aim of the management was to provide about half each of recorded and live music.

The picnic grove has been cleared of several years growth of brush and debris and a fence erected – this has a dual purpose  – to keep the young customers of The Note from straying to nearby private beaches, and as a control for would-bee intruders.

Auxiliaries from the Erie County Sheriff's Department are on hand to lend protection if needed.

While The Note is primarily a "young people's" center, Price said parents were welcome to stop in to see what sort of place it actually is.

An open house is planned for mid-July and at that time the public will have an opportunity to visit.

Future plans call for the development of the picnic area and beach – Ruggles was once the mecca for Sunday School picnics, family reunions and other types of group picnics.

The name "Ruggles" will always bring back many "Do you remember's?" and even as the older generations shed a nostalgic tear for their lost youth, they cannot help but rejoice that "Ruggles is open" once more.
Advertisements for The Note appeared in all of the local papers. Some ads included the illustration of the unusual building or its sign; others were more generic.

July 2, 1963 ad from the Lorain Journal
July 17, 1963 ad from the Lorain Journal
July 31, 1963 ad from the Sandusky Register
October 3, 1963 ad from the Chronicle-Telegram
June 5, 1964 ad from the Sandusky Register
August 28, 1964 ad from the Sandusky Register
August 29, 1964 ad from the Sandusky Register
Nov. 20, 1964 ad from the Sandusky Register
January 29, 1965 ad from the Sandusky Register
April 2, 1965 ad from the Sandusky Register
January 19, 1968 ad from the Sandusky Register
Feb. 2, 1968 ad from the Sandusky Register
Sometime around 1969, management of The Note changed, and the ads seemed to reflect that a change had taken place, both at The Note and culturally as well.
June 19, 1969 ad from the Fremont News Messenger
July 3, 1969 ad from the Fremont News Messenger
Sept. 25, 1969 ad from the Sandusky Register
I’m not sure when The Note closed. The distinctive building is still there on U. S. Route 6 in Ruggles Beach, with no evidence of its former life as a popular teen hangout or its link to the earlier dance hall. Today the building is home to Sportside Storage.

Judging from the ads, one of the regular local bands at The Note was Ronnie and the Rainbows. Click here to read about Ron Zehel and his bandmates on the buckeye website. On its “Venues” page here, the website also notes (no pun intended) that The Note apparently went through some name changes and lasted into the 1980s.