Friday, April 30, 2021

Club Carousel Ad – April 14, 1961

I’ll close out April here on the blog with this ad for Club Carousel, the “Private Family Swimming, Sports and Social Center” located on Lake Breeze Road in Sheffield. The ad ran in the Lorain Journal on April 14, 1961.

The facility would celebrate its Grand Opening a few months later, which I wrote about back here.

The late 1950s and early 60s was an era in which some of the local swim clubs (such as the Sun Fun Swim Club in Vermilion) opened up. As I’ve noted before, perhaps this was a reflection of the good economic times, and the desire to enjoy wholesome family entertainment and social activities.

Club Carousel offered not only a variety of pools suited for various age groups, but also tennis and badminton courts, dodge ball, shuffleboard, horseshoe pits and basketball. According to the ad, a nine hole golf course was planned.

The closed Club Carousel as it looks today
(courtesy Lorain County Auditor)


Although we might not have enjoyed a pool membership, many of us remember the annual Haunted Forest of Carousel, a particularly well-done Halloween attraction.


UPDATE (May 3, 2021)

Courtesy of longtime contributor Doug, here’s a great aerial view of the former Club Carousel property from earlier this year.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Fifty Star Flag Ad – April 4, 1961

If the Democrats succeed in their latest attempt to make Washington, D.C. a state, then the United States is going to need a new flag for the first time since 1960.

As a card-carrying graphic designer (granted, the card says “LORAIN PUBLIC LIBRARY”), I wouldn’t want to have to design a new flag for the United States with an additional star added. The fifty-star flag is just too perfect, too iconic.

But we went through this flag design process before – 27 times – as this USA Today article points out. And who knows? Maybe one of these years, Puerto Rico will become a state as well.

Anyway, it’s a good time to post this full-page ad sponsored by the Lorain Journal, who was making the then-new 50-state flag available for sale as a patriotic service. The ad appeared in the paper on April 4, 1961.

In that same edition of the newspaper, this article ran on the front page.

It was a pretty good deal, since the kit included everything you needed to hang the flag from your house. And it was nice that the hometown newspaper was doing it as a public service.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Canada Dry Ad – April 26, 1951

Seventy years ago, Lorain had a facility on the east side that bottled Canada Dry Ginger Ale. So it's not surprising to see Lorain Journal ads for the fizzy concoction like the one above, which appeared in the paper on April 26, 1951.

My blog entry about the Canada Dry bottling plant at 1251 Colorado Avenue in Lorain continues to be the second most-visited post since the blog began in 2009. Here's the link to that 2013 post that has had more than 27,000 views. 

I’ve made several pleas over the years trying to find out just what brought visitors to that post. I’ve come to the conclusion that it was Mr. James R. Edwards, mentioned in the post as the well-known owner/operator of the Corner Store (where he sold and repaired model trains) at the former bottling location.

But getting back to the 1951 ad. 

It’s always nice to see old pop bottles from the days when they had the graphics printed on them, and they could be returned for a deposit. It was a much more environmentally friendly system than what we have now. (Plus it gave those of us who went looking for old pop bottles in fields a little pocket change, after we washed the mud out of them and returned them.)

The Canada Dry bottles were especially attractive, with the map of Canada and the regal graphics. Here’s one from the early 1950s, similar to the ones in the Journal ad.

And here’s another ad from the “Best of Them All” campaign. This one ran in the Journal on November 30, 1950.
Canada Dry has been the subject of many posts on this blog.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Canadian Cyclists Visit Vermilion – April 1961 – Part 2

It wasn’t very difficult to find one of the Canadian high school students who came through our area back in April 1961 during their bicycle tour around Lake Erie. His name came up in a Google search in a matter of seconds.

With a name like Adriaan Vanderlugt, however, I guess that’s not too surprising, eh?

But there he was, on the other side of the world in Australia, having enjoyed a long and successful career as a sculptor that shows no sign of slowing down. His wife Denise is a talented artist as well, specializing in quilt making but also working across a variety of mediums, including printmaking, collages and books.

After visiting the Vanderlugts’ studio website, I reached out to Adriaan via email to find out how he was doing these days. (I sent him a copy of the Journal front page featuring him and his cycling pals. I assumed he had seen it, but thought he might get a kick out of seeing it again.)

 I received a reply the very next day.

"G’day Dan Brady! was the greeting.

"What a treat it was to receive your email. And what a surprise.

“Yes, I have the picture and caption in my scrap book, but not the story. What a delight to read it again. Thank you so much. And on the front page of the Lorain Journal, with JFK indeed!  

Did Adriaan have any idea as to what his cycling partners were doing these days?

"I have lost touch totally with Darryl, he wrote, "but after high school, Colin Watson went to University and I went to an advertising art studio and have made a living as an artist. Colin became an engineer and has worked overseas.


"I noted you checked out my website, but you would not know that I made the front page of the New Zealand Herald, not with a bicycle but with my 305cc Honda Super Hawk in 1969. History repeating itself.

Here is the article about Adriaans tour around the world by motorcycle and how he was sidetracked in Australia by cupids arrow.

Adriaan continued with an update as to what he was doing these days.

"From advertising art, I morphed into full time sculpture in 1985 and have had a most exciting career. 

"Just yesterday we had an unveiling of my latest sculpture in scrap metal depicting the ‘Musicians of Bremen,’ a Grimm Brothers Fairy Tale. 

"My friend is doing animal rescues and has chosen this image for her logo and asked me to make a sculpture which we positioned at the start of the drive way to her farm. The sculpture is over 9 ft high on a 2.5 ft concrete base.

Heres a photo of the wonderful sculpture.

Adriaan also sent me the newspaper account of the sculpture’s unveiling.

"And here we are, 60 years later and still making the papers, he noted, "although not quite on the front page but in colour this time! How the graphics have changed!

"Regards, Adriaan.”

It was great to catch up with Adriaan. Sixty years after his bike ride around Lake Erie, he's still showing us how it's possible to live life in a happy and serendipitous manner, doing what you love.


UPDATE (May 3, 2021)

The trip around Lake Erie wasn’t the only one that Adriaan and Colin took on their bicycles back in 1961. They followed it up in August 1961 with a 900-mile trip around Lake Ontario to Montreal and New York State! 

Here are some clippings from that second bike adventure that Adriaan sent me. The first two are from their hometown Hamilton Spectator; the third article is from a Watertown, New York newspaper.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Canadian Cyclists Visit Vermilion – April 1961 – Part 1

Sixty years ago this month, something took place that nicely illustrated our country’s great friendship with our maple-syrup-loving neighbor to the north.

It was back in April 1961 that a trio of young Canadian high school students decided to spend their Easter break bicycling around Lake Erie, which took them right through Lorain County on the old Rts. 6 and 2. 

A Lorain Journal reporter caught up with them in Vermilion. Here’s the article about their incredible adventure, which appeared on the front page of the newspaper back on April 6, 1961. It’s a real heartwarming story. 


Food, Friendship And Fun

Canadian Cyclists Pedal Way Around Lake, Visit Vermilion


VERMILION – A trio of youthful cyclists who pedaled their way into a rainy Vermilion Wednesday evening found food, friendship and lodging and departed early today.

The three were Darryl Amos, 16, Adrian Vanderlugt, 17, and Collin Watson, 16, all of whom are Hillpark High School students from Hamilton, Ont., Canada.

They are spending their Easter vacation by cycling their way around Lake Erie.

They figure the cost will be about $50 spread among all three of them since their habits are frugal and they never turn down a handout. 

They sleep mostly in barns or sheds, using sleeping bags for comfort and warmth.

Last night they slept at the Hosko Fishery on Rts. 2 and 6. The lodging was provided by Don LaCourse, an employee, at the request of Harold Neiding, manager of the Lake Erie Drive-In Restaurant.

The boys, clad in jackets and sweaters and medium heavy trousers, didn’t seem to mind the cold, which should be normal if you consider the heat generated by a person who rides a bicycle some 80 miles a day.

The Journal’s first contact with the trio came when this reporter stopped to give a lift to Amos, who was standing alongside the road just west of Vermilion.

Amos lifted his bike, which had a flat tire, into the rear of the station wagon and we drove to Diedrick’s Bike Shop on Rt. 60 for repairs.

His two buddies had gone on ahead so we decided to catch up with them. Amos spotted their bikes in front of the Lake Erie Drive-In on East Lake Rd. and we stopped to join them for coffee.

As the three munched hamburgers and drank milk shakes furnished by Neiding, they told of their excursion, which began in Hamilton on Good Friday.

Amos seemed to be the one who caused all the trouble along the trip because he couldn’t keep his cycle in repair. On Good Friday afternoon, some 30 miles out of Hamilton, the gears broke on his light, English-style Canadian bike.

Amos, however, managed to capitalize on the incident in much the same way as he did Wednesday. In the former case he was picked up by an employee of TV Station CHCH, Hamilton, who got him an unclaimed bike from the Hamilton Police Department.

Station CHCH and Radio Station CKOC, Hamilton, sandwiched the story of the boys’ tour into its Good Friday broadcasts.

After that it was steady cycling. The first two days, Watson reported, they bucked 25-mile-an-hour head winds which slowed them down. By the time they reached Vermilion they had covered 375 miles. They have 290 to go if navigator Vanderlugt’s calculations are correct.

When bedtime comes they show a “leave it up to us – we’ll handle it” attitude. The first night they slept in a barn with 32 cattle; second night, they got separated, two slept in a bed in Blenheim, Ont., and Amos slept in the back room of a hotel. The third night they wound up in the lobby of the YMCA in Detroit after several police calls arranged for them. The fourth night they slept in a barn with one cow in Flat Rock, Mich. Tuesday night they slept in a hayloft between Toledo and Bono.

“There is much more to see when you reach the American side,” said Vanderlugt. “It is more heavily populated and the Americans, on the whole, are very nice people and extremely friendly.”

They left Vermilion at 7 a.m. today, stopped for a brief tour of the Ford Motor Division’s new Lorain Assembly Plant, where they were shown the assembly line and were photographed for the company’s magazine. They headed east on their bikes at 8:30 a.m.

The three, all members of Hamilton High School track and field team, say that the trip “is a ball.” They hope to visit an American High School before they cross the Peace Bridge at Buffalo.

If traveling broadens one, it also reminds him of home. In addition to learning something of America and is people, its geography and industry, they’ve found there’s nothing like “home cooking.”

Nevertheless, they are already planning a similar trip around Lake Ontario.


A lot has changed since the young cyclists visited our area sixty years ago. 

It’s a different world now. Although the basic goodness of people never changes, it's a much less innocent time. It’s hard to say whether such a journey would even be feasible today.

And there are other things that have changed. Thanks to the pandemic, the border with Canada has been closed for more than a year. The Lorain Journal is now the Morning Journal; the Ford Plant that they toured is long closed; the restaurant building in Vermilion that was the Lake Erie Drive-In is now the home of Jim’s Pizza Box.

But happily, some things don’t change.

What do I mean? Well, I caught up with one of the Canadian cyclists last week. (Not with my car, of course; online!) And as you’ll find out in tomorrow’s post, he’s still making the newspapers – sixty years later!

Friday, April 23, 2021

Pictures at a Demolition: Wakefield Mansion

On Thursday, the long-awaited demolition of the old Wakefield Mansion and museum annex in Vermilion finally took place. The wake started early, with interested onlookers with cameras gathering just outside the fence surrounding the complex by mid-morning. 

Despite the disappointment being expressed by some of the members of the crowd, it was almost a festive atmosphere, with some nearby residents setting up lawn chairs to watch the show. I couldn’t resist joking to one small group of gawkers lining the parking lot, “What, no food trucks?” We all agreed that hot coffee would have been a top seller.

Anyway, here’s a look back at the mansion and museum annex as it was in 2019. (I took a lot of pictures back then here.)

Then early this year.

And finally, in recent weeks.

And then Thursday. Although I hung around as long as I could in the morning, the demo crew was doing some last minute salvaging above the entrance – disappointing many who just couldn’t wait around all day waiting for the modern Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel to do his thing.

Of course, while I was away, it was finally... “Showtime!” When I returned in the afternoon, I ended up catching the tail end of the demolition of the mansion itself. (For a great photo and a nice write-up, here is the link to the Morning Journal’s article by Rick Payerchin, with whom I enjoyed a chat at the demo site. The rascal even mentioned me in the article as having ‘crossed the county line for a view.’ Hilarious!)

What could be more romantic than
watching a historic mansion get demolished?
I ended up leaving again for a few hours and stopping back in late afternoon to see if the annex was down. Most of it was – but the pilot house still needs to be moved.

At least I didn’t have to worry about trying to get a souvenir for my Demo Artifact Collection®; a few weeks ago I was wandering around the site before the fence was up, and I found a nice chunk of the tile roof that had blown off in a winter storm.

UPDATE (Friday, April 23, 2021)
The cleanup and demolition operations continue.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

King-Size Steakburger at the Hoop – April 1961

Here’s a nice ad for the late, great Hoop chain of drive-in restaurants in Lorain. The owner, Richard Head, always seemed to have his finger on the pulse of what his customers wanted – in this case, a huge burger. The king-size steakburger was in addition to the Super Hooper, a double-decker burger (similar to a Big Boy) which was already on the menu.

As usual, Head was right on target. 

Burger King (who wouldn’t enter Lorain County until the late 1960s) had only added its iconic Whopper to its menu four years earlier. And McDonald’s wouldn’t roll out its Quarter Pounder nationally until 1973.

The Hoop ad above ran in the Lorain Journal on April 25, 1961 – sixty years ago this month.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The Small Neighborhood Grocery Stores

Before the modern supermarket gained widespread popularity in the 1950s, the small mom-and-pop neighborhood grocery stores played an important role in the lives of everyday people. These small stores made it possible for shoppers to walk a short distance from their homes to acquire whatever food and goods they needed, all without getting in a car. Some of the businesses even delivered.

Lorain had many of these small stores in the older neighborhoods, often on corner lots. Some of the businesses were part of a larger chain; others simply went by the name of the family that owned and operated them. The family usually lived above or behind the actual store.

(I’ve written about some of these stores, some of which were part of the Food Fair chain.)

Over where my mother grew up on Sixth Street just off Oberlin Avenue during the 1930s and 40s, there were several of these small mom-and-pop stores. 

One of them was just a few short steps away, at Fifth and Brownell. That’s a photo of it as it looks today at the top of this post. It has recently been remodeled and converted into some sort of residence.

Back in the early 1930s, it was an A&P. But by the early 1940s, it was simply Durham’s, run by Brundage Durham.

Mom remembers Durham’s pretty well, although it wasn’t the main store where her mother shopped for her groceries. Grandma seemed to treat it as a convenience store – as a place to send Mom to pick up a bottle of ketchup or something to get her out of the house.

One of the stories Mom likes to tell is how she remembers going there as a young girl, perhaps with a scribbled list provided by her mother, and telling the owner she wanted a can of Chicken Campbells Soup. Of course, Mr. Durham reacted quizzically before correcting her. “You mean, Campbells Chicken Soup.” (I still ask Mom if she’d like Chicken Campbells Noodle Soup for lunch sometimes.)

Grandma was kind of funny. Although Durham’s was only a short distance away, she preferred the grocery run by Clayton Miller over at 1009 Seventh Street, across Oberlin Avenue and next to Lorain High School. She even felt that the Hills Brothers Coffee that Mr. Miller sold was better than the Hills Brothers that, say, Fisher Foods was selling over on Broadway. “The cans are fuller,” was the way she explained it to Mom.

(The store next to Lorain High School no longer exists. It was eventually lost when the school expanded to the south.)

Grandma also shopped at stores run by the Aquilla family. John Aquilla had a meat market at 365 Oberlin Avenue. Here’s a photo of Mom (at far left) in front of it with some of her school friends.

Paul Aquilla had a small grocery store at 560 Washington Avenue, across from the old Lorain High School. I remember seeing the sign for it for many years during my trips to the library.

But getting back to Clayton Miller.

Strangely enough, when my parents built their house on E. Skyline Drive, my mother discovered that his daughter Marilyn and her family lived in the next block from us. I even played with her son. Their last name was Simpson, and they had a big, stylized ’S’ on the front of the house over the garage that remained there for decades after they moved.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

“The Alamo” Plays the Palace – April 1961

My favorite TV network GRIT has been showing John Wayne’s epic production The Alamo lately, so it’s a good time for this post. The blockbuster feature arrived at the Palace Theater in Lorain exactly sixty years ago this month. 

Here’s the teaser ad that ran in the Journal on April 5, 1961 on the eve of its first showing.

And here’s the Journal ad from April 6, 1961. Looks like the artwork was cropped a bit this time to get the prices in.
As an article in the Journal on April 8, 1961 noted, “The exciting battle between Davy Crockett’s brave band of fighters against the numerous Mexican forces commanded by Gen. Santa Anna is the main event in “The Alamo,” playing at the Palace.
“Starring John Wayne as Davy Crockett, Richard Widmark as Jim Bowie (younger brother to the man who designed the knife) and Laurence Harvey as William Travis, who established the first line of defense against the Mexicans, the film also includes Frankie Avalon and Pat Wayne in its cast.
“Production of the film, totaling $12 million, including the construction of a full-size replica of the original building of the Alamo at a cost of $1,500,000.
“The set has been a tourist attraction in the Brackettville, Tex. area since the end of the filming.
"The film is produced and directed by Wayne, who has been planning to bring the story to the screen for 14 years.
“The actual battle centered around the Alamo mission, where for 13 days 185 volunteers fought off over 7,000 Mexicans who were well trained and armed battle veterans.
“The Alamo is reported to be the most expensive film ever produced in the United States.”
In this smaller Journal ad from April 8, 1961, it looks like Davy Crockett has lost his trademarked coonskin cap in all the chaos.
The film was popular enough in Lorain to be held over. Here’s the Journal ad from April 13, 1961.
Anyways, Pilgrim, this is one of the many John Wayne movies that I own a copy of on DVD. 
It was a souvenir gift from the Texas Bradys, who made the pilgrimage to Alamo Village in Brackettville when it was still open as a tourist attraction.