Thursday, October 31, 2019

Halloween Ads – October 1969

Well, it's Halloween. On this blog, that means it's time for a look back at what costumes the trick-or-treaters were wearing in days gone by.

Above is a large Hills ad showing an assortment of Collegeville costumes that ran in the Journal on October 16, 1969 – 50 years ago.

It's a rather measly assortment. Instead of costumes reflecting that turbulent era – such as a generic hippie or Green Beret – there's a generic skeleton, a public domain Cinderella, a cute bunny, an unreasonable facsimile of Bugs Bunny, and Major Matt Mason.

Major Matt Mason??

It turns out that Major Matt Mason was a Mattel action figure, "an astronaut who lived and worked on the Moon.” Unfortunately he must not have had the staying power of fellow action figure G. I. Joe, and was relegated to the toybox dustbin of history.

And here are the Halloween hares shown in the ad. Are those sideburns on the yellow bunny?

The October 22, 1969 Kmart Halloween ad in the Journal had several generic costumes (why pay licensing fees if you don’t have to?) as well as Major Mason again. There’s also another cute bunny.

Here’s what kids dressed as the Devil were wearing over their winter coats.
There are only two TV cartoon costumes shown in the Kmart ad: Bingo from the Banana Splits, and George of the Jungle. Bingo’s not too bad (although personally I would rather have gone trick or treating as Fleegle or Drooper).
But George of the Jungle just looks like a guy with sideburns in distress.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Gore Orphanage Legend: How the Journal Added Fuel to the Fire

Like many Baby Boomers growing up in Lorain County in the 1960s and 70s, I had heard the story about Gore Orphanage – how it had mysteriously burned down long ago, killing all the children, and how their ghosts now haunted the ruins of the building out on its namesake road south of Vermilion.

Where did I first hear about the legend? I'm not sure. It was one of those things that most kids seemed to have some awareness of, either through an older sibling or friend.

But there's one source that I believe greatly contributed to the popularity of the spooky story in the 1960s, saving it from obscurity and (for good or bad) planting the seeds of the full-blown phenomena it would become decades later.

And that source was the Lorain Journal.

It was in the late 1960s that locally there was an increased interest in the Gore Orphanage legend. Perhaps the reminiscing of elderly township residents (who were old enough to remember that there had been an actual orphanage, and that the nearby "haunted" Joseph Swift house had really burned down), had stirred the imagination of listeners. They wanted to know more about this orphanage and turned to the Journal for help.

Thus they wrote to the Journal's "Hot Line" feature, which answered a variety of questions. Here's a Gore Orphanage question that ran in the paper on June 3, 1967.

Here's another one, from July 16, 1968.
The Journal must have realized that interest in Gore Orphanage was pretty high – so it had Staff Writer Jeff Hammill write a full blown article (below) on it. The excellent piece ran in the Journal on August 8, 1968. Hammill even interviews a man who was alive when the real orphanage was in operation.

The Legend of Gore Orphanage
Staff Writer
HENRIETTA – Was there ever a place called Gore Orphanage? Where was it? Was it really destroyed by fire with many children being burned to death?
These are some of the questions being asked by people in Lorain County. For some reason which nobody has been able to explain, there has been an upsurge in interest over this bit of local history.
George Metcalf, Director of the Lorain County Historical Society Museum, said he has been receiving many requests for information about the orphanage.
DESPITE the fact that the entire history of the place is in this century, little is known about it and what is known is confused depending on the source of information. No records of the orphanage were kept.
The orphanage was begun in 1902 by Reverend John Sprunger, a German Lutheran minister and his associates who had come here from Bern, Ind. They had had an orphanage there but it burned down.
In Lorain County it was called the Orphanage of Light and Hope. The site consisted of about 500 acres.
According to Harold Swanson, North Ridge Road, Vermilion, who lived there from 1904-08, the land was made up of four farms formerly owned by Nicklaus Wilbur, Leveret Denman, Joseph Howard and John Hughes.
SWANSON remembers Sprunger as a kind-hearted man who had every good intention of making the place a success.
“However, he was away a lot and couldn’t devote enough time to the children. He hired overseers to manage the orphanage.
“Some of these men and women were kind and good like Rev. Sprunger, but there were some who were terrible. One of these men was named John Strauss.
“HE WAS very brutal. He whipped the children for very little things they would do wrong,” Swanson remembers.
He said that finally after almost killing a boy, Sprunger realized what was happening and released him.
Swanson said that, despite Sprunger’s goodness, he would rather spend four years in the state penitentiary than in that orphanage.
The homes, there was a boys’ home and a girls’ home, were two houses that had been standing on the previous farms. They were about a half-mile apart.
There are varying reports on the location of the orphanage. Metcalf located the place on a map about halfway between the present SR 113 and Portman Road on Gore Orphanage Road.
However, Swanson said that the boys’ home was located on the spot where a home now stands at the corner of Portman Road and Gore Orphanage Road. He said the girls’ home was down Portman Road to the east.
THE ORPHANAGE survived a number of years until Sprunger died in 1914. Then two years later, the mortgage was foreclosed by a Vermilion bank.
The children were moved to various homes in Cleveland.
The story that the girls’ home burned down is true, but once again stories about it differ.
Metcalf reports that the house burnt sometime in the ‘20s after it had been vacated. But, Swanson said that it burnt down around 1912 while it was still occupied. In either case, both men agree that no deaths were caused by the fire.
The boys’ home was torn down after the orphanage was vacated and a house was built on that spot. Some of the timbers from the old house were used in the new one.
The common belief that the area is haunted by the spirits of dead children stems from a separate story, that of the Swift Hollow House.
Joseph Swift, a former Connecticut soldier during the War of 1812, came to ’New Connecticut,’ a parcel of land set aside in Ohio for war veterans.
He was given 150 acres by the federal government on the Vermilion River and added to it. His farm prospered and by 1840 he was wealthy enough to build a house.
He engaged Oziah Long, an Elyria judge, to build a “Greek Revival” style house. The home when completed had columns, French windows, fourteen rooms and six fireplaces.
In 1865, Rosedale, as it was called, was sold. The Nicklaus Wilbur family bought the house and lived there a number of years.
BEING spiritualists, these people often claimed to have been able to raise the spirits of some children who had been buried along the river. This led to the belief that the home was haunted.
Eventually, the home was vacated and finally in 1923, it burned to the ground.
Because the Swift House was located at the bottom of the hill that the orphanage that the orphanage was later to be built on, the stories of the two places mixed, resulting in the rumors of ghosts and children screaming.
One final rumor that needs to be cleared up is how the word ‘gore’ became included with the orphanage. 
According to Metcalf, the “gore” was a strip of land between the originally surveyed Lorain County line and the lines of Erie and Huron Counties.
The discrepancy arose because of a fault in the early surveying of the Western Reserve.
Although Hammill’s article was very thorough and should have put the Gore Orphanage legend to rest, interest in the story may have been kindled even more. Here's another “Hot Line” clipping from October 28, 1970. 
I like this "Hot Line" entry because it's a great capsule history of the orphanage and the Swift house, and offers the best and simplest explanation of the creation of the Gore Orphanage legend. It notes, "It is the belief of those who know the stories of the two places, that through the years the facts have become mixed." 
(That makes much more sense than the much-repeated theory that the Gore Orphanage legend owes its inspiration to the tragic Collinwood school fire of 1908, and that somehow the school fire story in which 172 children died was 'relocated' to Vermilion. What teenagers in the 1960s could remember a fire that took place in 1908, more than fifty miles away, and perhaps twenty years before their parents were even born?)
Anyway, despite the Journal's attempt to clarify the legend of Gore Orphanage, the story took on a life of its own, with the result that we are still taking about it decades later. 
And with its continued exposure in books, on websites and even as the subject of a movie a few years ago, Gore Orphanage will very likely continue to capture the imagination of young and old.
As part of the preparation for this post, I paid my annual visit to the ruins of the Joseph Swift mansion on Gore Orphanage Road this past gloomy Sunday afternoon. I was the only one there, except for (appropriately enough) a black cat that was lurking about the site.
Sadly, the graffiti-covered remaining gate post has seen better days.
While doing this blog for ten years, I’ve written about Gore Orphanage several times. I did a multi-part series on it here. I also wrote about how the 1923 Swift House fire was covered by the Elyria Chronicle here, and by a Mansfield newspaper here. I featured an article about a visit to the Swift House ruins in 1948 here, and paid a visit to the site with my camera here in 2011.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Plymouth Ad – October 29, 1956

Here’s a great, full-page ad promoting the new Plymouth models that ran in the Lorain Journal on October 29, 1956. The idea of that ad is that Plymouth was three full years ahead of its competition in terms of the engineering and styling of its vehicles.

It’s really a bold design for an American ad at that time. (I know because I had to study that kind of thing when I took Industrial Design classes at Ohio State.) The ad has somewhat of a modern European flair – which Plymouth obviously hoped the reader would transfer to the perception of its cars.

Anyway, I’ve mentioned on this blog how susceptible I am to advertising. I’m beginning to think my parents were too, because it wasn’t too long after this ad when they purchased a 1958 Plymouth Savoy.

I wrote about that car (which my siblings and I later compared to the Batmobile) here.

It wasn’t long, however, before my parents switched their allegiance to Oldsmobile and later, specifically the Cutlass.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Atkinson Williams Open House – October 1956

Although Lorain no longer has a new car dealership within its borders, it used to have several – including the Atkinson Williams Ford, which was located on Kansas Avenue.

Above you see a nice full-page ad for an Open House at the dealership, spotlighting the new 1957 Fords. It ran in the Lorain Journal on October 2, 1956.

It’s not a Grand Opening ad for the dealership, which previously was located on Broadway. (I posted an earlier 1956 ad announcing that the new showroom on Kansas was now open here.)

You’ll note that the ad also includes Ed, the advertising mascot for Ed Tomko Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Avon Lake. Ed has been featured on this blog more times than I can count, since he was used extensively by the Journal art department in various ads since the 1950s.

But strangely enough, Ed doesn’t seem to be featured on the Ed Tomko website. Maybe they still haven’t forgiven him for working for a rival automobile dealership.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Garwell's Sign Lives On

Although the former Garwell's Bait & Tackle store was demolished in September (which I wrote about here), a little bit of the original store lives on at its former location.

The cutout lettering spelling out GARWELL’S above the store entrance did not disappear in a pile of smoking rubble like so much of Old Lorain.

Mary Garwell-Ziegman, whose parents opened the business back in 1950, recently told me that the letters had been repurposed by her husband as a sign on their pole barn, which sits behind where the store used to be.

It’s a nice little homage to her family’s well-remembered business.

The Garwell entrepreneurial sprit lives on as well. As Mary explained to me, "A few weeks ago I signed a lease on a store front in North Ridgeville (near the intersection of Rt. 83 and Center Ridge Rd.). I call it Second Chances Consignment Thrift Shop – where I even offer fishing tackle!”

Mary invites her friends to stop in and visit her at her store if they are ever in the area.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

The “New” Ted Jacobs – October 1956

Here’s a real symbol of Downtown Lorain’s heyday.

It’s a full page ad from the Lorain Journal of October 20, 1956 announcing the November 8th opening of the new Ted Jacobs store on Fourth Street.

From what I can tell (perhaps someone who shopped there can confirm this), this was a brand new store, replacing an old one at the same location. A look at vintage aerial photos from 1952 and 1962 reveals that an older building was torn down just to the west of the new store, consequently providing the “free convenient parking next door” referred to in the ad.

I wrote about Ted Jacobs a the time of his passing in 2015 (here).

Today the former store has apparently been absorbed into the Spectrum Consulting Services complex.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Fruehauf Trailer Plant Article – October 1945

Seventy-four years ago this month, the Fruehauf Trailer Company made the front page of the Lorain Journal on October 31, 1945. The article noted, “Ground is to be broken immediately in Avon Lake for a $4,500,000 truck-trailer manufacturing plant for the Fruehauf Trailer Co., Detroit.

“This was learned today following announcement of the company’s plans last night by Harvey C. Fruehauf, president, at a meeting in Cleveland.

“The plant, to go up at the intersection of Walker and Miller roads, eight miles east of Lorain, will be the largest in the world engaged in the manufacture of truck-trailers and will employ 2,500 men.

“We hope to start turning out Fruehauf trailers in the Avon Lake plant next summer, the head of the company said, tho the building schedule reported in an official announcement sets the completion date for construction as next August.”

Today the plant is known as the Ford Ohio Assembly Plant. According to the UAW Local 2000 website, "The facility was originally built in 1946 by the Fruehauf Company and was utilized to build over-the-road trailers until 1972 when it was purchased by Ford Motor Company. At that time the plant consisted of 1,000,000 square feet under one roof on 242 acres. With three smaller expansions in the 1970's and 1980's and with the expansion associated with the 1992 Ford Econoline and the 1993 Mercury Villager and Nissan Quest, the plant has now grown to 3.7 million square feet on 419 acres.”

To learn more about the Fruehauf Trailer story, visit the website of the Fruehauf Trailer Historical Society.

The Fruehauf plant had a minor role in my family’s history. Years before Mom worked at U. S. Steel in Lorain, she worked in the office at Fruehauf in Avon Lake. She was bowling on a Fruehauf league when she met Dad (who was bowling for the 333 Bar) at the bowling alley formerly located in the shopping center on Lake Road in Avon Lake (Stop 65).

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Historic House Demos – Fall 1969 - Part 2

The other historic house that was demolished in September 1969 was also on U. S. Route 6. But unlike the Baumhart house, it was on the on the east side of Lorain.

The house was located on the southwest corner of Idaho and East Erie and originally known as the home of Ebenezer Gregg. According to his biography in The History of Lorain County, Ohio, Gregg was born in Dorchester, New Hampshire and emigrated to Ohio in 1835.

The house was believed to have been built in the 1870s, and was the first really grand house on the east side of Lorain.

By the 1960s, the house had been the longtime home of Myron Foote and his family. In 1966, Foote tried to get a zoning variance for the property, so that it could be sold to a prospective buyer and redeveloped. But a neighborhood group objected to the rezoning and a long battle followed.

The story of the house and the fight to save it were the subject of an early post on this blog (here).

The house and its imminent demolition were even the subject of The Passing Scene comic strip in May of 1969.

From the May 24, 1969 Journal
And here’s a Journal photo from that same time frame of May 1969.
From the May 16, 1969 Journal
In the end, however, the house came down. Here’s the photo from the September 30, 1969 Journal.
And that’s the story. Two homes at opposite ends of town, both with a rich history of the early days of the area; both demolished, their stories buried forever and forgotten.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Historic House Demos – Fall 1969 - Part 1

The autumn of 1969 was a busy time in Lorain when it came to demolishing historic homes.

While doing my regular blog research on Journal microfilm at the Lorain Public Library, I came up with two demolition photos that I never thought I’d see. And both of them were on the same roll of microfilm: September 1969.

The first home was at the intersection of Baumhart Road and West Erie Avenue (U. S. Route 6). Here’s a photo of it circa 1956.
It was built in the 1820s by Colonel Henry Brown (later known as Judge Henry Brown), who was one of the founding fathers of his namesake Brownhelm settlement. By the late 1940s the house was known as the Baumhart house, since the descendants of Jacob Baumhardt (who was born in the house) were living in it.

(I did a seven-part series on the house back here in 2017.)

And here’s the sad demolition photo, from the September 10, 1969 Journal.

Unfortunately by the time of the demolition, the Journal no longer had anyone on staff (like it did in the 1950s) who knew the history of the house and its actual age (it was not 200 years old).
Tomorrow – The other house

Friday, October 18, 2019

Milan Canal Article – October 16, 1956

Everyone probably knows that Milan, Ohio is the birthplace of inventor Thomas Alva Edison. But did you know that Milan was once a busy shipping port, thanks to a three-mile canal linking the tiny village to the Huron River and Lake Erie?

Read all about it in the interesting article below, which appeared in the Lorain Journal on October 16, 1956.

Milan’s canal made the Journal again a year later, when it the paper printed the article below. It’s about the village’s first apartment house, built on the banks of the old canal. The article ran in the Journal on November 6, 1957.
And here’s a view of the apartments at 61 E. Front Street today, courtesy of Google Maps.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Turnpike Lanes

While researching my recent bowling posts, I came across this ad for a bowling alley I’d never heard of: Turnpike Lanes. The bowling alley with the clever name was located out on Griswold Road at Route 57, a little north of the entrance ramp to its namesake highway.

The ad with the great architectural rendering above appeared in the 1961 Lorain phone book. Note that the special Enterprise 4040 phone number reflected the 40 Brunswick pinsetters.

Turnpike Lanes opened in 1961. Here’s another ad, this time from the Chronicle-Telegram on January 12, 1962. It reveals Dave Marks as the Manager.

It looked like Turnpike Lanes had all the ingredients for success. But an article in the September 13, 1962 edition of the Chronicle pointed out a discouraging trend when it came to bowling: people weren’t bowling as often, with a reported drop in the number of local leagues. The article noted, “One reason lies in the rapidity with which bowling emporiums have been built in the past 10 years. The result has been a slicing up of patronage among the houses, with a couple houses losing customers every time another is built.
“The opening of Shoreway Lanes, a 24-alley plant in Shoreway Shopping Center, Sheffield Lake, has affected the patronage at arenas in Lorain and Avon Lake.”
Although the same 1962 article observed that Turnpike Lanes had scheduled 36 leagues, which was more than the previous year, bowling was not destined to last at that important intersection with the coming of Midway Mall.
Turnpike Lanes continued for about three more more years before Furniture Land took over its address in the city directory around 1966. Perhaps the opening of the Mall simply made the property too valuable to waste on a sport that locally seemed to be declining in popularity.
Meyer Goldberg grocery store soon joined Furniture Land at the former Turnpike Lanes location, since the building and property were large enough to accommodate more than one company. 
A variety of businesses called that location home over the years. I’m sure many of you remember when Booksellers was in the western portion of the building from 1986 to 2001. Thinking back at that book-crammed space, I can now visualize a bowling alley (with its multiple levels) there.
Today the nicely remodeled building is home to J&M Interiors and Design.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Hoop Introduces Tel-Autograph Ordering – Oct. 1956

Ordering food at a drive-in back in the 1950s usually meant sitting in your car and waiting for a carhop to come take your order.

By the 1960s, technology had evolved so that it was possible to sit in your car at the drive-in and place the order through a speaker system; then, when your food was ready, it was brought out to you. The A&W Drive-in in Vermilion had a system like that.

But during the time period in-between these two scenarios, there was a unique option for drive-in restaurant owners  – and that’s the subject of today’s ad. The ad for the Hoop Drive-in on Henderson Drive ran in the Lorain Journal on October 2, 1956 and announced the restaurant’s new Tel-Autograph system of ordering.

So what was the Tel-Autograph? Much as its name implies, it was a machine that electronically transmitted messages in the sender’s own handwriting. It was invented in the late 1870s, and was the precursor to the modern fax machine.

Tel-Autograph technology seemed to be perfect for the restaurant business.

So how did it work at the Hoop? As the Journal ad noted, the drive-in customer drove by several menu boards (much like today’s drive-through lanes) before placing their order at the Tel-Autograph booth, where the "courteous attendant” took the order and transmitted it to the kitchen.

It was all very high-tech and modern for 1956.

I’m not sure how long the Tel-Autograph lasted in the drive-in world. But it's fascinating to look back and see that competition for customers was just as fierce more than sixty years ago as it is today, forcing restaurant owners to try every gimmick they could to increase sales.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Four Winds Drive-in Grand Opening Ad – Oct. 1956

Many of us that grew up on the West Side of Lorain may remember that there used to be a Manners Big Boy down at the end of Oberlin Avenue where it meets Cooper Foster Park Road. The restaurant building was located on the northeast corner, where today there is a broad, sweeping turning lane for those heading north on Oberlin Avenue – with no evidence that anything was ever there.

Well, back in the mid-1950s, Four Winds Drive-in called that location home. The full-page ad (above) for the Grand Opening of the drive-in appeared in the Lorain Journal on Friday, October 19, 1956.

As you can see, the ad promotes the restaurant’s “authentic, old world recipe” pizza, “baked as it is in Sunny Italy... right before your eyes... not in pans, but on the tiles of our open hearth.”

The ad copy certainly wins me over. It notes, “In any language it means just plain delicious, for Neopolitan pizza is truly royal pastry. Though originated in the 17th Century, no one really knows when the pizza came to America, but all know it is the most popular of all Italian creations. Crisp, succulent, flavorful, aromatic, the pizza is either a snack or a meal.”

Four Winds Drive-in was an early player in Lorain’s pizza wars. Although Yala’s had opened in 1954, there were only four pizza places listed in the Lorain phone book in 1956 in that category: Four Winds Drive-in, Lusca’s, The Pizza House (located where Rosie’s Pizza is now) and Motto’s Pizza & Spaghetti House. (By the time of the 1957 book, the listings also included Giovanni’s, Fior’s Lake Road Spaghetti House and DeLuca Bakery.)

Here’s the 1956 phone book ad for Four Winds Drive-in.
By 1958, the Four Winds Drive-in had become the fourth location of Richard Head’s burgeoning empire of Hoop Restaurants. But as you can see from the ad below from the 1958 phone book, the Hoop still featured the popular Four Winds Pizza.
By 1961, the Hoop was still promoting its pizza in phone book ads, but without the 4 Winds tie-in.

Just as the Four Winds Drive-in was getting started on Lorain's west side in October 1956, the Hoop over on Henderson Drive was introducing a high-tech gadget. What was it? Stop back here tomorrow to find out!

Monday, October 14, 2019

What used to be in that building?

I haven’t done one of these types of posts in a while, so it’s about time.

Recently I noticed by the sign out front that this attractive brick building towards the southern end of Oberlin Avenue in Lorain had recently sold. (I always liked the fedora-wearing dog logo on those BARCK Realty signs.)

Do you remember what business was at this location for decades beginning in the mid-1950s?

Anyone who lived on the West side of Lorain would probably instantly recognize it as the home of Stanley’s Garden Center, owned by Stanley and Helen Zadekas.

Although it might seem a little unusual location for a business like this (in the old days you might have to go out into the country to find one), in this case it makes sense.

Back in the 1950s, this area was still “out of town” when it comes to Lorain. It wasn’t yet part of the city.

It was beginning to open up, however, with the explosion of homes that was beginning to occur on the west side (which my parents were a part of). Businesses began to pop up on Oberlin Avenue south of Meister Road to provide families with the things that they needed for their new homes.

So what was out in that neck of the woods around the time when Stanley’s Garden Center opened?

Looking at the 1957 City Directory, there were several businesses mixed in with the homes. There was the Airport Tavern (today’s Mutt & Jeff’s), Lenny’s Drive-in and Shield’s Rest Clinic (today’s Sprenger Health Care Autumn Aegis).

And although Tower Boulevard wasn’t built yet, the Lorain Animal Clinic was already there at 4205 Oberlin Avenue. Further down was the Italian American Veterans at 4645 Oberlin Avenue. Near the very end there was the Four Winds Drive-in (more about it tomorrow) and Stone Villa. (No Rebman’s yet.)

Stanley’s Garden Center had an impressive run until it closed in the early 2000s. Kelly Heating and Air Conditioning then called the location home for many years, followed most recently by Ink Shop.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Death of a Dome

Vintage postcards of the old Lorain County Courthouse with its stately, magnificent cupola and dome never fail to impress me.

While the newly restored former Courthouse is still very attractive, much of its beauty and character was lost when the stately dome structure – topped with a statue of Lady Justice – was removed.

In a comment that I left on my post about the former Courthouse last month, I briefly touched on how the dome came to be torn down. The commonly accepted version of the story is that the dome had been too badly damaged in a wind storm and became a hazard, thus necessitating its removal for the safety of the local populace.

But was that really the case? I decided to go back and read the story as it played out in the Lorain Journal in 1942 and 1943, and present the articles here on the blog. After reading them, it was easy to see that there was a coordinated rush to demolish rather than repair (especially in view of the later effort to replace the whole building via a county-wide ballot issue in 1944).

Here’s a report of the initial damage to the Courthouse dome caused by high winds during a terrible storm in which wind speeds were as high as 60 miles per hour. The article appeared in the Lorain Journal on March 9, 1942.

A day later, an article (below) appeared in the Journal in which the County Prosecutor expressed his opinion that the county legally didn't have to repair its buildings at all!

By March 17, 1942 the dome suffered more damage in a storm. Here’s the Journal report from that same day.
In this article from the March 20, 1942 Journal, it sounds like there was plenty of money available to either repair or remove the dome.
Meanwhile, the condition of the ornamental zinc trim at the top of the dome was getting worse. This article from the March 24, 1942 Journal explains.

By early April 1942, the County Commissioners were still waiting for an opinion from the state building inspector as to whether the dome should be repaired or removed. This article appeared in the Journal on April 3, 1942.
Almost a year later, the decision to either remove or repair the dome was not yet resolved. The article below appeared in the Journal on February 20, 1943.
A few days later, the small article in the Journal on February 23, 1943 noted that Judge Webber was threatening a lawsuit if a decision was made to remove the dome.
On Feb 24, the County Commissioners voted 2-1 to remove the courthouse dome. The article below appeared in the Journal that day.

By February 25th, when the article below appeared in the Journal, demolition was already underway. The article describes how the statue of Lady Justice atop the dome was unceremoniously decapitated by a member of the demolition crew. The rest of her body was allowed to fall and crash from its longtime spot atop the dome was well.
Incredibly, while the demolition was in progress, the Common Pleas Judges had not yet made a decision as to whether the dome should be removed. The article below from the March 10, 1943 Journal explains.
The article notes that the demolition was already into its fourth week, and that the contractor bristled at the suggestion that "the delay was caused by workmen running into 'more substantial' construction than expected." It hardly sounds like the structure was ready to collapse as it had been claimed.
A day later, the two Common Pleas Judges Cook and Findley dismissed the lawsuit brought by retired Judge Webber to halt the demolition. Here's how it was covered by the Journal in its March 11, 1943 edition.
As a sad footnote to this whole affair, Judge Webber made one final, poignant plea to save the dome in a letter to the County Commissioners. 
As the news item below from the March 18, 1943 Journal noted, "Declaring that it has taken workmen four weeks to remove one-third of the dome, Webber's letter said that "it must now be apparent to you that you have made and are making a mistake in tearing down the court house dome, constructed of solid brick masonry and reinforced steel.
"Webber cited a letter published in a newspaper in which a Grafton, O. resident reported that he had inspected the dome and that "only a direct hit by a 4-ton block buster" would have destroyed it."
When Did the Lorain County Courthouse Originally Open?
I was curious as to when the Courthouse actually opened, since I've never seen an official date of dedication. Checking an online newspaper archives website, I found two small newspaper articles that suggest it was October 1881. The first is from the Wellington Enterprise of Oct. 19, 1881 and mentions that the building was "nearly completed."
This second news item (below) appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer on Tuesday, November 1, 1881. It notes that the October term of the Lorain County Common Pleas Court opened in the new Courthouse on October 31, 1881.