Monday, November 30, 2020

Johnny Appleseed Monument Dedicated – Nov. 1900

Back cover illustration from Classics Illustrated Junior comic book, Johnny Appleseed (1955)
Although it seems like it's Christmas time already, it’s really still fall for several more weeks. And fall always makes me think of apples.
I’ve been enjoying many of the popular and newer varieties of apples during the last two months. These included Honeycrisp, Pixie and – my favorite – Evercrisp, of which I bought two bags at Miller Orchards.
And while enjoying all these apples, I naturally thought of Johnny Appleseed, who planted many an apple tree in Ohio. The monument honoring him in Mansfield, Ohio was dedicated one hundred and twenty years ago this month, on November 8, 1900.
The original monument in Mansfield
Here’s a picture postcard view.
In the decades since its dedication, the original monument began to show its age, thanks to the weather and vandalism. 
Thus the decision was made to replace the shaft and stone with the inscription with new ones, and move the monument to a new location in another Mansfield park. The ’new’ monument was dedicated in September 1953.
(For a well-written history of the monument with terrific photographs, click here.)
I paid a visit to the monument in Mansfield a few weeks ago. A sign at the entrance to South Park lets you know you’re close.
And here’s the monument.

Unfortunately, it looks like this stone will need to be replaced as well.
And what happened to the original stone? It’s in a museum in Mansfield.

Anyway, here is the Mansfield News-Journal’s coverage of the original monument ceremony from its November 8, 1900 edition. It includes many details of the life and death of Johnny Appleseed. (Sorry, but it was too much for me to transcribe, so you’ll have to click on it and zoom in for a readable view.) 
A few weeks later, one Ohio newspaper did an interesting follow-up with its own written portrait of Johnny Appleseed using a different source for its information. The story paints an image very different from the skinny character wearing a pot for a hat in the Walt Disney cartoon. In this Bucyrus Evening Telegraph article, it’s not a pot at all that he wears on his head – it’s something of his own design made of paste board. And instead of being tall and skinny, he’s said to be short and ‘chunky.’ Read all about the life of this unique man in the article (below) from the Bucyrus Evening Telegraph of November 29, 1900.

Father of the Apple Orchards
One of His Trees Still Lives and Thrives Near Bucyrus
History of a Noted Character Lately Honored With a Monument at Mansfield

Though a monument has been erected to the memory of “Johnny Appleseed,” in Richland County, there still thrives on the Dan McMichael farm east of Bucyrus, a living monument in the form of one of the apple trees, which was grown from the seed sown by this eccentric individual, and still bears fruit. It is probably the last living apple tree planed by Johnny, but it is healthy and bears luscious fruit annually. The father of the apple orchards of Ohio, will be remembered by many people still living in Bucyrus, and other parts of Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania, and he was one of the most noted personages of pioneer history. Jonathan Chapman was his name, but he was seldom ever known by any other name than his soubriquet “Johnny Appleseed,” which he received from the fact that he made a business of sowing and distributing seeds each year, and in this way cultivating apple trees from the seed which he sowed in different localities. He was known in Ohio as early as 1811. He had little nurseries all through Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana. He was first seen in Ohio in 1806. He was going down the river with two canoes lashed together, well laden with apple seed which he had obtained at the cider presses in Western Pennsylvania.
Johnny Appleseed was a very remarkable personage, identified particularly with the early history of Richland County, and played an important part during the war of 1812. He was born in 1775, at or near Springfield, Mass. In the early years of the past century he removed with his father and family to Marietta, Ohio. Johnny’s father, Nathaniel sr., moved from Marietta to Duck Creek. Johnny returned to Pennsylvania, and here it was he began the nursery business and continued it on west. He often visited his father at Marietta and Duck Creek, and gathered seeds there. In connection with the apple tree business, he employed much of his time in sowing seeds of different medical herbs in the localities which were destitute of them. His main objective was to equalize the distribution of these plants so that every locality would be supplied with a variety, dog fennel, pennyroyal, catnip, horehound, mullin, rattle root, and in fact every other plant which he supposed to be medicinal. He had little nurseries all through Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana.
If a man wanted trees and was not able to pay for them Johnny took his note, and if the man ever became able and was willing to pay the debt the money was accepted thankfully, but if not it was well with Johnny. Some times he accepted articles of wearing apparel instead of money. One coat in particular presented a fine appearance, although a bit unfitted for the rough wear it received. It was sky blue, light, very firm and soft, made in the prevailing Quaker style with two rows of silvery looking buttons as large as silver dollars. This bit of finery was at one time the wedding garment of a very wealthy young Quaker.
Johnny was never known in the least to resemble a fashion plate. He didn’t believe in wearing clothes simply for the purpose of making a fine appearance. He thought if he was comfortably clad, in clothes that suited the weather that was all that was necessary. His head covering was frequently of his own manufacturing. It was of paste board, with the front brim widely extending to protect his face from the sun. It was not a very sightly affair of course, but no one ever thought of laughing at Johnny Appleseed. He was too genuinely liked. His trousers were old and scant and short with a variety of substitutes for suspenders. He never wore a coat except in winter. His feet were knobby and horny and frequently bare. The bosom of his shirt was always pulled out loosely, so as to make a sort of pocket or pouch, in which he carried his books. He frequently wore an old coffee sack for a coat, with holes cut in it for his arms.
Johnny’s family, the Chapmans and their relatives are scattered throughout Ohio and Indiana. Four of his half sisters were living when a memorial was raised to his memory in 1882. The father Nathaniel Chapman was twice married. The children of the first wife were John, Lucy and Petty. The girls married and remained in the east. The children of the second marriage were: Nathaniel, Perley, Persia, Abner (a mute), Mary, Ionathan, (also a mute), Davie and Dolly.
Johnny’s personal appearance was unusual. He was small of stature, heavy set, rather chunky, quick in conversation and restless in his movements. His eyes were dark and sparkling and his hair and beard permitted to attain the greatest length. His clothing was generally more than half worn out before he fell heir to it.
Religiously considered he was a Swedenborgian and one of our early spiritualists. He maintained the doctrine that a spiritual intercourse could be held with the dead, having himself frequent conversations with the inhabitants of the spirit land, two of which of the feminine gender, had revealed to him the consoling news that they were to be his wives in a future state providing he would keep himself free from a matrimonial alliance while on earth. He vowed celibacy and never could be persuaded to pay any attention to the fair sex. He died as he lived a blameless moral man.
The Indians all liked him and treated him kindly, always. From his habits they regarded him as a man above his fellows. He could endure pain like an Indian warrior; could thrust pins into his face without a tremor. So insensible was he to acute pain, that his treatment of a wound or sore was to sear it with a hot iron and then treat it as a burn. He was never known to hurt any animal, or to give any living thing pain, not even a snake. Once, when overtaken by night while traveling, he crawled into a hollow log and slept till morning. In the other end of the log was a bear and her cubs. Johnny said he knew that the bear would not hurt him, and that there was room enough for all.
On the subject of apples he was charmingly enthusiastic. One would be astonished at his beautiful description of excellent fruit. His descriptions were poetic. The language well chosen; it could have been no finer, had the whole of Webster’s Unabridged with all its royal vocabulary, been fresh upon his ready tongue. All the orchards in the while settlements came from the nurseries of Johnny’s planting. Sometimes he carried a load of seeds on an old horse, but more frequently he bore them on his back, going from place to place on the wild frontier, clearing a little patch, surrounding it with a rude enclosure, and planting sees therein. He would frequently carry as much as a bushel and a half of seeds on his back.
In 1838, he resolved to go further on west than Ohio. Civilization was making the wilderness to blossom like the rose, villages were springing up, stage coaches laden with passengers were common, orchards were everywhere, mail facilities were very good, frame and brick houses were taking the place of the humble cabin; and poor old Johnny felt that his field of usefulness would have to be taken up further on. In the intervening years he returned to Ohio many times. His last visit was the same year that he died. In the spring of that year, one day after traveling twenty miles, he entered the house of a friend in Allen county, Ind., and he was as usual cordially received. He declined to eat anything except some bread and milk, which he ate while sitting on the door steps, occasionally looking out toward the setting sun.
Before bed time he read from his little book “fresh news right from Heaven,” and at the usual time for retiring he lay down upon the floor in his usual custom, as he never slept on a bed or coach of any kind. In the morning the beautiful light supernal was upon his countenance; the death angel had touched him in the silence and darkness, and although the dear old man essayed to speak, he was so near dead that his tongue refused its office. The physician came and pronounced him dying, but remarked that he never saw a man so perfectly calm and placid.
I’ve written about Johnny Appleseed before on this blog, including this post about his presence in Lorain County, and this one about my pilgrimage to the Johnny Appleseed Educational Center and Museum in Urbana, Ohio. (Unfortunately, many of the links on those ten-year-old posts no longer work.)
Panel from Classics Illustrated Junior comic book, Johnny Appleseed (1955)

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Lorain General Hospital Proposal – November 1950

Did you know that Lorain almost had a hospital on the East Side on Root Road?

I didn’t either, but here's the story that ran in the Lorain Journal on November 9, 1950. It’s an intriguing idea that perhaps was ahead of its time.


Campaign Opens Soon for Proposed General Hospital

Plans Near Completion On City-Wide Campaign

With more than three years of preparation and planning behind them, members of the campaign advisory committee for the proposed Lorain General hospital are completing plans for launching their drive to solicit funds.

C. C. Waterhouse, general chairman of the campaign, announced today that plans for a poster contest for pupils of elementary and secondary grades and adults will be held in the near future.

A kickoff dinner, tentatively set for the latter part of this month, will officially signal the start of the campaign.

One-Story Structure

At first, the cost of the new hospital was estimated at $200,000 but Waterhouse said it may run as high as $350,000. To house 25 or 30 beds, it is to be a one-story brick structure, 90 by 185 feet.

It will be a nonsectarian, non-profit institution, and will be open to both osteopaths and medical practitioners licensed by the state of Ohio.

The hospital will be located south of the Nickel Plate railroad on Root-rd, with three and one half acres of land available for building space.

Earlier action in starting the campaign was postponed for two reasons, Waterhouse said. The first was a survey made by another local group which was considering the construction of a hospital; the second was the building of the addition to St. Joseph’s hospital.

The campaign advisory committee consists of 27 local men and women. For purposes of methodical campaigning here, the city has been divided into nine divisions, almost the same plan used for the Community Chest drive.

Two Captains Named

Recently appointed captain of the national firms division was J. Harold Clark. G. William Eddy was selected as captain of the professional and clerical division. Other division heads will be chosen in the near future.

Waterhouse said that preliminary plans are being made for coverage of other communities in Lorain-co. Earl Sure, president of Sheffield Lake Businessmen’s association, is in charge of the drive there.


I don’t know how far along this proposal went before it was abandoned. It was a good idea, because that area remains underserved today from a health care standpoint. 

From a 2020 perspective, the hospital seems like it was going to be rather small. (It would have fit on my house lot when I lived in Sheffield Lake.) The article doesn’t say what side of Root Road it was going to be on, but it was still farmland south of the tracks on both sides back then. But being adjacent to train tracks doesn’t seem like the quietest place for hospital patients to convalesce.

Ironically, today the trend seems to be for health care organizations to build small to medium-sized neighborhood clinics, such as the one Mercy built on Oak Point Road a few years ago. I was just there a few days ago and it’s quite nice.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Lorain Creamery Article – Nov. 15, 1970

Here’s an interesting article written by Journal Staff Writer Bob Cotleur about Wells Gray, the president of Lorain Creamery. The profile ran in the paper back on November 15, 1970. At the time, the business had just expanded to Avon Lake with the opening of the Old English Parlour on Miller Road.

In the interview, Gray sheds some light on his background as a college football star, and shares his thoughts about the future of the creamery business.

Like many Lorainites, I have many pleasant memories of getting ice cream cones at the walk-up window at the Creamery, as well as enjoying many sit-down treats at both Old English Parlour outlets. My sister worked for the Grays as a waitress at the Parlour in Lorain. 

Strangely enough, until I read this article I didn’t realize that the pretty girl with the last name of Gray in my class at Admiral King High School was the daughter of the man who was the president of the Creamery.


Wells Gray: From Football to Lorain Creamery

“This clippity-clop has got to stop. You’re drivin’ me nuts in the mornin.’ Deliver the milk but get rid of that silk, That high-stepping’ horse is deplorin’...

– From a factory worker’s pre-dawn complaint, circa 1980 to 1930-plus.

By BOB COTLEUR, Staff Writer

WELLS ORION GRAY, a handsome, rugged, 36-year-old former college football star, is president of Lorain Creamery Inc., a milk and ice cream palace.

Gray and his brother, Paul, 32 and cousin, Dick Gray, 36, are part of the management team that recently spent $300,000 to open an English Cottage-styled, 104-seat old fashioned Ice Cream Parlor in Avon Lake a few weeks ago. Even the spelling is English and old fashioned.

The milkmen employed by the Lorain Creamery home-deliver bread, eggs, laundry soap, glassware, candy and hand lotion, to name a few of the non-milk items stacked inside the milk trucks.

“One of our best sellers,” says Wells Gray, “is chicken pot pie.”

Yet what’s up front... is milk.

And what Wells Gray is... is contrast.

“Wow-wie,” says dark-haired, small and pretty Mrs. Eva Short, manager of the cozy 25-seat ‘parlour’ at the plant site on Oberlin Avenue and 14th Street in Lorain. “Wells Gray is a terrific guy, a hardworking man’s man. But always the same. He always says, “How ya doing’ Ev,’ or he calls me ‘Chief.’”

Mrs. Short, with her wide, friendly smile, sees and likes the outer man.

She knows he won a football scholarship from Lorain High, to the University of Wisconsin and that as a six-foot, 220-pound guard he became the Badger’s captain in 1955 and won honorable mention on the All-American scene. She may even know he was drafted by the Washington Redskins at the same time he was drafted by Uncle Sam.

And Uncle Sam won, of course. She’s got to know that.

BUT SHE MAY NOT know he earned his degree in agriculture with a major in dairy farming which is of itself a contrast, for Lorain Creamery never owned a cow. It buys its basic milk from a Cleveland co-op known as Milk, Inc., even though the raw milk comes from cows in Henrietta, Birmingham, South Amherst, “all around here,” as Wells Gray says.

But she doesn’t know the inner man.

“Sometimes I feel frustrated behind the desk, “ said the Badger guard who played an All-Star game with Sam Huff. He also roomed with Jim Temp, for seven years a defensive end with Green Bay, and, at another time, with Quarterback Jim Haluska (Browns, Chicago Bears). “Sometimes I like to get more involved in the physical things. I feel that I think better when I get out and work.”

Once he even thought of another kind of work. But after a talk with his late dad, it faded away. “Dad pointed out there would always be a need for milk,” Gray said, “and it seems there always was plenty to do around the creamery.”

That’s Wells Gray’s philosophy today and the only contrast between him and his late father was one of age.

But, for the man who turned away from pro - football after military service because of bad knees, still another contrast arrived in life.

His wife, the former Kathleen Mramor of Lorain who had earned her degree in fine arts at Ohio State University and now dabbles in interior decorating, was a part of it. When Kathleen Gray complained that Wells’ pipe was “smelling up the house” and the kids were “after me with those TV commercials about smoking, I gave it up.

“Didn’t smoke much anyhow,” he said, sounding like Blanton Collier after San Diego dunked the Browns.

But Wells is very proud of his wife. “She did the decorating of our Avon Lake ice-cream parlour-restaurant,” he says, “and she works Monday and Friday evenings at T. N. Molas’ furniture store as the interior decorating consultant.”

Wells Gray missed one of the more interesting scenes of business life when, back on June 17, 1931, his father Wellsley D. Gray and his two partners proudly announced the opening of their new $40,000 store on Oberlin and 14th Street. They had been in business since 1923 and this was a great step forward.

IT WAS THE depression. Herbert Hoover was at Marion, Ohio, dedicating a monument when an airplane flew over and drowned him out and making him irate enough to threaten Congressional action against planes flying over crowds. Al Capone was having his troubles that day with federal agents.

But the big story in Lorain was the birth of a new business (Lorain Creamery) during the depression.

Wells Gray missed it all because he wasn’t born until 1933.

“As kids we worked on the horse and wagons (not everything was rubber-tired trucks) before we had drivers’ licenses,” he said of the three partners today.

He said his dad, who suffered a stroke in the summer of 1968 and died the next January, was very easy-going. “He rarely lost his temper and I can’t ever remember him swearing.”

Later on, Wells got his drivers license and then spent some summers spelling the milkmen on vacation. Even today, as late as a few years ago, “when help was hard to get,” he and Paul and Dick got out and handled routes as well as running things in general.

AS THE FOUNDING fathers left the scene, Wells took over operations and production. Cousin Dick handled office and managerial responsibilities and Paul ran the ice cream production and route work. All three are equal shareholders in Lorain Creamery and Wells guesses they made him president “because I was the oldest.” But he isn’t too impressed with it “because we share in all responsibilities.”

Lorain Creamery even today isn’t huge by most standards, but it processes some 40,000 pounds of milk each day, about 3,000 gallons, and covers a home delivery territory in the upper two-thirds of Lorain County (nothing in Oberlin), west to Huron in Erie County and east to Bay Village.

When the new operation in Avon Lake was approved, a new corporation, Parlours Inc., was formed with Paul Gray as president.

“We have 33 people with Lorain Creamery,” Wells said, “which includes 20 route drivers. Paul also has 33 people in Avon Lake, 25 of them are waitresses.” (The ice cream parlour also serves light lunches, these chilly days.)

The real success of Lorain Creamery is the firm’s ability to make headway against the tides of the times. When the founders began business in 1923, there were at least seven or eight creameries serving Lorain, Wells said. Today there are four. “Home Dairy, Clovervale, Trotta, which distributes for Oberlin Farms, and ourselves.”

He felt that Dairyman’s Association, large on the scene just a few years ago, had just about ended all their home delivery routes.

“We still have all of ours even though other companies have cut back,” he said. Gray offers a mental image of a mother of a large family lugging six half-gallons of milk home from a Lawsons or Clovervale store.

“We save her handling that weight and also hold down her impulse buying,” he points out while adding a package of cookies to the milk in his mental image. He means this is why he sticks with home delivery.

YET HIS OWN diversification techniques – selling soaps and chicken pot pie – came from the idea that if a driver is going to make home stop twice a week, he might as well sell something.

“In the summer time kids frequently switch to Kool-aid, so the driver ought to at least sell a loaf of bread or a dozen eggs.”

But the items the driver offers, Gray says, come from meetings between his partners, a sales and route manager. The five decide. Then the customer is advised by a sales flyer of what items are new and coming soon. He samples, first.

“Halloween candy went very well and Rose - Milk hand lotion was a big seller. So is laundry compound.” They sell more than a ton a month and pitch it on “no polluting phosphates,” one ultra-modern hard-sell technique that blends with old-fashioned, home-delivered handling.

Even the ice cream parlor is built on sophisticated merchandizing methods, despite maple nuts and butter pecans that are real and not ersatz.

“We thought about it a long time, even before dad and the others retired. They were pretty conservative guys,” Gray said in understatement, “but they build the company well and delivered a quality product that survived.”

WHEN THE SONS got control, Paul researched New England states where old fashioned ice cream parlors made it big. Wells visited a successful operation in Indiana and heard management state the parlor doubled their ice cream business.

“Oh, we thought about stores like Lawsons and knew it was a good outlet for your milk and good for increasing your volume, but we liked the profit picture more on ice cream. And when we spent $20,000 to remodel the front of the Oberlin Avenue plant into a 25-seat parlor everybody that came in told us 'too bad it wasn’t bigger.’”

The decision to go ahead in Avon Lake followed naturally. But the caution conservatism of Bothe Wellsley D. and Wells Gray hasn’t flown out the window. Wells believes with a special consultant on the parlor that “the thing to do is stick with your newest investment and really get it going.

“We’ve got an eye on a site or two in Lorain and we may buy the land. But then we’ll wait five years or so...”

It’ll be interesting to see what his children will think and do a couple of decades from now. The oldest, Wells, 14, is tremendously interested in football today and his father finds some of his shiningest moments in “any successes Wells and any of my kids or wife has.”

The other children are Erin, 12, and James, 4.

As for the kids’ father, he still has one more contrast left in his system. “It is possible,” he says, “that in time milk itself could be a relatively small part of our business although milk is the main reason we go to the customer’s house today. But as the public demands certain products, this is what we’re going to have to sell.”

There is, of course, nothing at all old fashioned about that.


Like the bread man and the Charles Chips man, the milk man eventually lost favor with the public, who apparently preferred going to grocery or convenient stores for their dairy products. The Creamery had its own little store in the building on Oberlin Avenue offering milk, donuts, cheese, etc.

According to an article in the Chronicle-Telegram from Feb. 2000, the Lorain Creamery lasted until 1989 when it sold out to Smith Dairy.

Today the building on Oberlin Avenue is still there, triggering happy memories of great ice cream to those who remember.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving – 1970 Style!

Here’s hoping that you and your loved ones enjoy a safe and Happy Thanksgiving! 

Fifty years ago, the Journal featured these two ads in its November 26, 1970 edition. Above is a full-page ad for Elyria Savings & Trust with a nice, stylized illustration signed ‘Nowak.’ I suspect it’s the work of Superman artist and syndicated illustrator Leo Nowak, whose 1958 Kroger artwork I posted back here. (By George, the second pilgrim from the left does bear somewhat of a resemblance to ol’ Supe.)

This second Journal ad is of the variety very familiar to regular readers of this blog, that of the full-page holiday ad with various local sponsors.

As usual, the fun (or disappointment as the case may be) is seeing what’s still around, fifty years later. Despite their full-page ad, Elyria Savings & Trust sponsored this page as well. As many of you might remember, EST became part of First Merit in the late 1990s, which was merged into Huntington Bank in 2016.

Surprisingly, this ad has more survivors than most of the ones I’ve posted in the past. The Morning Journal, the Lorain Palace Theater, and Midway Mall are all still around in some form or another.
And Ridge Hill Memorial Park, which never goes out of business.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Heilman’s Thanksgiving Dinner Ad – Nov. 1960

Going out to eat on Thanksgiving has long been a tradition for many families that simply want to avoid cleaning up a big mess after the preparation of the meal. This provides more time to visit and enjoy the holiday. 

Over the years, I’ve featured a variety of vintage Thanksgiving restaurant ads, including the Deutschof (1937), the Castle (1954),  Howard Johnson’s (1957), and the Airport Tavern (1957).

Here’s another one. It’s for the well-remembered Heilman’s Restaurant at the corner of Broadway and West Erie Avenue and ran in the Journal on November 12, 1960.

It’s a strange-looking ad too. 

Despite the fancy-sounding meal on the menu (a “gourmet buffet complete with garnished hams, decorated turkeys, ice carvings), the ad depicts what looks like twin pilgrim clowns. Each has a bulbous schnozzola that would not look out of place on Red Nose Day.

Gee, the turkey dinner and clown motif is almost reminiscent of an ad for Harvest House.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Sparkle Market Turkey Ad – November 1960

It’s been a while since I featured a vintage Sparkle grocery store ad with Sparky, the ever-happy, freckled advertising mascot, so here’s a Thanksgiving-themed one. It ran in the Lorain Journal on November 16, 1960.

“Lifer’s finest Fresh Frozen Young Tom Turkeys” are the big item on the full-page ad. 

Lifer Turkey Farm was owned by Dwight & Florence Lifer, and was located in Knox County, Ohio near Danville. The turkey farm apparently was well-known enough to be the subject of a 1947 episode of an Ohio Bell-sponsored radio series on WTAM called “The Ohio Story.” (To read the radio script, click here.)

The per-pound turkey pricing in the Sparkle ad varied by size. Turkeys weighing twenty pounds and up were only 39 cents a pound; small turkeys weighing only six pounds (that’s a Tweety Bird) and up were 49 cents.

I don’t remember mom ever fixing a turkey for the Brady Thanksgiving dinner when I was a kid. For years, she fixed two birds – a duck and a capon. She remembers that it was a lot of work.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Lorain County Turkeys – Thanksgiving 1950

Do you buy a fresh or frozen Thanksgiving turkey to serve at your family’s holiday feast? 

Back in November 1950, a lot of Lorain Countians apparently were buying fresh, local turkeys. The article above, which appeared on the front page of the Monday, November 20, 1950 Lorain Journal, noted that 25,000 turkeys were being raised in the county back then by 20 commercial producers for the big day.

The photo accompanying the story shows ‘doomed’ turkeys on the Yates farm on Indian Hollow Road.

According to the article, ‘The turkey crop in Ohio this year is estimated at 1,300,000. 

“Prices, according to reports, will run from 50 cents to 80 cents per pound, according to size, variety and how they are dressed.

“Turkey growers would like to dispel one false impression – that turkey toms are not as desirable as hens.

"“The toms now are delicious for roasting, Mrs. Harvey M. Wilford of Elyria said. “There isn’t any better eating than, say, a prime 30-pound tom properly cooked.” The Wilford hatchery will have about 4,000 birds ready for Thanksgiving this year.”


For years, whatever frozen turkey my employer wanted to give us was good enough for me. Usually it was a ten or twelve-pounder, which was plenty big enough.

A few years ago, just for something different, I ordered a fresh turkey from Polansky’s. It was very good. But my taste buds, long wrecked from my eclectic tastes (salty snacks, sugary cereals) couldn’t detect a noticeable difference from a frozen bird.

These days, whatever the restaurant (where I’m carrying out from) is serving is fine with me.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Rock Creek Run Ads – Nov. 1960

Yesterday I wrote about some houses on Root Road in Lorain, built by the same builder, that seemed to symbolize the average, middle-class neighborhood of the 1950s.

Well, today’s post is about a 1960s housing development – Rock Creek Run, in Amherst – that aimed a little higher, and had wish fulfillment as its advertising theme. "Every Woman’s Dream... A Home in Rock Creek Run” is the headline for this pair of ads. The ad below ran in the Journal on November 5, 1960.

The second ad ran in the paper a few weeks later on November 14, 1960.
Gee, the woman in the illustration kind of reminds me of actress Dorothy Malone (who I’m familiar with from her many appearances in Westerns).
Anyway, the ad copy for the Rock Creek Run ads still rings true today, with the "winding roads, and wooded, rolling sites.” It’s still a charming area.

Best of all, it still has its original name and signage – 60 years later.
I first paid a visit to Rock Creek Run back on this post.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Root Road Construction Co. Ad – Nov. 3, 1950

For anyone interested in seeing a nicely preserved row of Lorain houses from the early 1950s, the first block of homes on the west side of Root Road just off of Colorado Avenue would certainly fill the bill. 

Collectively, the homes are like illustrations right out of a 1950s Dick and Jane reader. Compared to today’s huge family homes, they might seem a little on the small side. But they're well-maintained, and their lush, decades-old trees give the properties a certain charm.

There may be a limited variety of home styles, but the builder staggered their placement enough so that the undesirable "cookie cutter" effect was avoided.

So who built them? The full-page ad from the November 3, 1960 Lorain Journal has the answer.  The company behind the construction of these homes was the Root Road Construction Company, with Jos. Finochi & Son as General Contractors.


Of course with these types of vintage ads featuring a photo of a new or model home, I like to try and find it so I can photograph it (or pilfer a photo from the Auditor website). I drove over there to take a look this past Sunday.

There were at least three of these style homes in that same block, with only two that could be considered ‘just off’ Colorado Avenue as indicated in the ad. And of the two, only one had the window on the side of the house as shown in the photo, the correct property dimensions and the ‘built in 1950’ designation (on the Auditor website).

I could be mistaken, but I believe the house in the photo is this one (below). Like the other houses on the same block, it has remained true to its original construction, with no outlandish modifications that might otherwise disturb the quaint harmony of the neighborhood.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

I-90 from Route 611 to 83 Opens – November 1970

Most of the people who read this blog have probably driven to Cleveland on I-90 many times. But how people remember when I-90 was only finished to State Route 83?

That’s what’s being celebrated in the photo above, which ran in the Journal on November 14, 1970: the completion of the stretch of the highway from State Route 611 to State Route 83 (although back then, today’s Route 83 still had its original 76 designation).

I remember the temporary Route 83 terminus of I-90 well. By 1975 I was driving, and I used to go to Avon Lake once a week (for band practice). The highway conveniently ended where I would have gotten off anyway.

It was the same thing with State Route 2 going west. For many years, it ended at Baumhart Road (which is where I exit it now to go home).

It wasn’t until the late 1970s when I took I-90 all the way to Cleveland for the first time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Tony’s Meats – November 1970

Ad from the December 9, 1970 Journal

The distinctive logo
While I was growing up, my mother always bought her meat at one of the grocery stores near us on Lorain’s west side, such as Meyer Goldberg's. But many people shopped at one of the many fine butcher shops in the area.

One of them was Tony’s Meats, located at 220 East 28th Street. Tony Marinik and his wife Henrietta were the proprietors, and they are the subject of the great interview below. It was written by Staff Writer Hugh Gallagher and appeared in the Journal on November 1, 1970.

The former home of Tony’s Meats today.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Coffin and Bones in Lorain Street – Nov. 1905

Here’s a story from the November 17, 1905 edition of the Lorain Times-Herald (above) that I probably should have posted closer to Halloween.

What happened is that workers digging up Washington Street in Lorain to lay water mains made a grisly discovery...



Half covered over with rotting wood, the remains of some rude coffin of ancient pattern, part of the skull and a few pieces of the bones of a human being were unearthed at the lower end of Washington Street about 9 o’clock this morning.

While at work, laying water mains across the street about 200 yards from the lake and directly in front of Mayor King’s house workmen discovered the fragments of some sort of a box. Upon closer examination it proved to be the side pieces of a coffin. Under the wood were seven pieces of bone, three of them being parts of the skull. A bone of considerable size, evidently from the lower part of the leg, was among the rest. All the bones are very much decayed and, together with the almost unrecognizable shape and substance of the coffin, form no clue as to the physical character of the long dead inhabitant. The remains were buried in about four feet of earth.

This is the second coffin that has been unearthed at the same point within the last year.

There have been several theories advanced to account for the find. Not in the memory of the oldest settler was there ever a cemetery on that spot. This knowledge led to the belief that the skeleton was that of an Indian. However, it was never the custom of the Indians to inter the fallen members of their tribe in coffins. The skull would indicate that the body was that of a man not fully grown, but the other bones are full size.

There is a theory that this section of the city was at one time, perhaps a century ago, the burying ground of some family or community never known or heard of by the present generation. It is believed that a number of other coffins are buried in the immediate vicinity, and there is talk that search will be made for other coffins. The coffin which was struck last winter contained the bones of an adult. Research into the records of the county will be made to find if a burial ground ever existed near this point.


Perhaps even more disturbing that the above story are the various accounts of mayhem and unsavory happenings found elsewhere on the same front page of the Times-Herald.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Martin's Run Improvements – November 1970

Where Sherwood Drive crosses
Martin’s Run
The article above (which appeared in the November 11, 1970 Journal) about proposed improvements to Martin’s Run brought back some memories. 

The creek, which still runs through much of the west side of Lorain, was a favorite place for my brothers and I to explore when we first moved to Skyline Drive in the mid-1960s.

Back then, the creek was still in its original, wild state and we loved to put on a pair of rubber boots and go explore it.

To get to it, we had to cross a vacant lot of high weeds and then slowly climb down a fairly steep cliff. Once there, you could catch all sorts of things: crayfish, turtles, frogs, minnows, etc. Of course we brought all of these unfortunate creatures home, where they never lived very long. 

At the east end of the length of the creek where we played, there was a large storm sewer that emptied into it. Sometimes kids would go into it with a flashlight and go exploring. I never did; I was afraid I’d get lost in there.

Sometime we would follow the creek further east, where it ran behind houses and you risked trespassing if you went too far. There were some areas in the woods that made a good hangout for older kids who wanted to smoke. I remember turning back one time after unexpectedly encountering ‘big kids.'

Martin’s Run right next to Leavitt was eventually ‘improved’ and it was never the same. There was no fun to be had walking around on a homogenized, concrete shore where nothing grew. 

I think that ‘our’ portion of Martin’s Run was converted into a drainage ditch sometime before the part of the creek discussed in the November 1970 Journal article. At least that’s the way I remember it. 

Martin's Run east of Leavitt Road today. It looks nothing like it
did when we were kids.


Back here, I wrote about the answer to the eternal Lorain question: is its Martin Run or Martin’s Run?

Thursday, November 12, 2020

St. Joseph Hospital Parking Garage – Nov. 1970

Fifty years ago this month, St. Joseph Hospital in Lorain was busy constructing its new 595-car parking garage. According to the item above, which appeared in the Journal on November 21, 1970, “The work is beyond the halfway point and the first two levels are expected to be finished by the original target date in mid-December."

It’s interesting that that the caption notes, “The sagging appearance of the garage is caused by the upward slopes of the ramps.”

(I posted an architectural rendering of the parking garage and other proposed additions to the hospital back here.)

Fast forward to 2020, and – you guessed it – the garage and the rest of the empty St. Joseph complex are slated to come down. There’s a fence around the whole property, and demolition has begun.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

35 Lorain Men Gave Their All in World War I

Today is Veterans Day.

It was originally known as Armistice Day, honoring only World War I veterans. That’s because November 11, 1918 was the day that an armistice was reached and World War I hostilities between Germany and the Allied Powers ceased. (It wasn’t until June 28, 1919, however, that the war officially came to a close with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.)

Today – with the United States involved in so many other wars since WWI – Veterans Day was expanded to honor American veterans of all wars.

So in honor of the holiday, let’s take a look back at some front pages from the time of the official end of the war and the joyous celebration that followed.

This front page of the Lorain Times-Herald of June 29, 1919 covers the signing of the Treaty earlier that day. It also mentions the upcoming parade and presentation of the medals to the veterans.

Under the heading, “SCORES OF WAR VETS TO PARADE,” an article notes, “Lorain soldiers, sailors and marines are going to turn out in large numbers for the celebration parade on July 4. This was indicated last night by the enthusiasm shown at the meeting of the Victory association last night. Reports from all sections of the city are to the effect the soldiers will take part in the procession and will be glad to do it. They will be the city’s guests of honor. They will have the place of honor in the parade and besides they will be given a fine home cooked dinner in the Civic Center. The ladies in charge of the feast are preparing to serve 530 men in uniform.

“The military organizations plan a pretty service immediately after the parade. When the procession ends, the soldiers will form in company fronts and will be presented with medals of appreciation from the citizens of Lorain. The presentation will be made by the Mothers of Democracy, all of whom had sons in service. They will be assisted by the Canteen Girls.
“The former will ride in a float just back of the military men and the Canteen Girls will march with the Red Cross division and will then go forward to assist in the medal presentation.
“Immediately after this ceremony the solders will conduct a service of their own. A bugler will play “taps” and the parade will end.”
The front page of the Thursday, July 3, 1919 “Victory Edition” of the Lorain Times-Herald honored the 35 fallen soldiers from Lorain.
“The city of Lorain did its duty to the country during the war,” the lead article noted. “The city gave 1500 men to the nation’s army and navy during the conflict with Germany. The folks at home did their duty by backing the men at the front by helping to provide money with which to carry on the war by furnishing clothes, hospital supplies and supplies of all kinds.
“But it was the men who paid the supreme sacrifice that gave the most. They gave their all in the cause of world freedom. Their names will be emblazoned on the pages of history for they are the ones who sacrificed their all, the most precious thing in the world – life.
“Thirty-five Lorain young men gave their lives for America in the war against German militarism. Of these eleven died in action in France, one died at sea and one died of wounds in France. Six Lorain men died of disease while in France and 16 died of disease while in camps in the United States.
“It is in honor of these men that the city tomorrow will unveil a gold star service flag. The community will do its best for the sorrowing mothers and fathers by expressing its appreciation of the sacrifice their sons made.”
The July 3rd edition included a variety of ads welcoming the solders home, and thanking them for their service.
Lastly, the front page of the July 8, 1919 Lorain Times-Herald included a photo of the parade.
World War I stories seem to find their way to this blog.
Back here, I told you the story of Edward Stebbins, the Lorain man who was awarded the French Cross of War for his valiant service on the battlefield during World War I. And this multi-part blog series (suggested by author and historian Paula Shorf) told the story of the Men of Company H, an infantry unit that was stationed in Lorain before being sent overseas. This post told the story of the homecoming of the Lorain County soldiers of the 329th Infantry. And, of course, Corporal John Danley has been the subject of several posts.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Lorain World War I Victory Medal

Did you know that the City of Lorain presented Victory medals to its returning veterans after World War I ended?

I didn’t either, until longtime blog contributor Rick Kurish made me aware of it earlier this year after he noticed the above medal advertised on eBay. He noted, "According to the Chronicle-Telegram of June 21, 1919, Lorain was planning a big Fourth of July celebration. Part of the celebration included the presentation of medals of appreciation to the soldiers from the city who served.

The medal is quite handsome. Its inscription reads, “ PRESENTED BY THE PEOPLE OF LORAIN IN GRATEFUL RECOGNITION OF SERVICES IN THE WORLD WAR 1917-1918.” Under it is a shield that contains a rendering not unlike the Seal of Ohio.

Here’s the other side of the medal.

So who made the medals?

The medals were produced by the Whitehead & Hoag Company of Newark, New Jersey. (At the very bottom of the “Lorain” side of the medal are the words, “W & H CO.” and “NEWARK N.J.”) 

It’s not surprising that Lorain chose Whitehead & Hoag to produce the medals. At that time, the company was the world leader in manufacturing badges, buttons, banners, gold and enameled emblems and pins, calendars, souvenirs and other advertising novelties.

Since Rick’s discovery of the medal on eBay earlier this year, another one recently turned up there. This one still has its original ribbon intact.

Anyway, the awarding of the medals by the city was a wonderful gesture. With Veterans Day tomorrow, it’s a good time to think about appreciating our veterans. 

Monday, November 9, 2020

Mill Hollow Revisited

One of the nice things about living in Vermilion is being only a short drive away from the Vermilion River Reservation – that is, Mill Hollow & Bacon Woods. I spent a lot of time down there this summer enjoying the trails.

Autumn is a wonderful season down there too, and I captured a few fall photos, including the bridge over the Vermilion River and the Bacon House.

On one of my recent visits, I couldn’t help pulling off the road before descending the hill into the park, and walking over to take a look at the ‘old road.’ It’s really been reclaimed by nature since it was bypassed by the new entrance.

I’ve mentioned before how it used to be pretty interesting as a kid to go up the hill when we left the park after picnicking or camping there. The old road was pretty steep and Dad had to throw it in low gear.

In case you’ve forgotten, here are a few views of the park and the original road into it, courtesy of Historic Aerials.
1952 – before it was a park
Back in 2014 on this blog entry, I posted this current aerial view (below).
And finally, here’s a ’now’ Google Maps view showing the new, gently curved entrance into the park, and the bypassed roadbed – which is still discernible, but in the process of being reclaimed by nature as I noted.

In case it’s been a while since you visited Mill Hollow, here’s a recent view of what it looks like at the top of the hill, before you follow North Ridge Road down into the park area.
Mill Hollow has been a favorite topic on this blog since the beginning.