Friday, July 30, 2021

Grand Opening – Ryan’s Cities Service – July 27, 1951

To close out July here on the blog, here’s yet another Grand Opening ad for a Lorain service station. (By George, I’ve posted a lot of them over the years!)

This one is for Ryan’s 24-Hour Cities Service Station, located at Broadway at Nineteenth. Robert Ryan was the owner and man behind the station.

There were some nice Grand Opening freebies for everybody, including plastic magnetic whisk brooms for the men, helium-filled balloons for the kiddies, and orchid corsages for the ladies. (Hey, that’s what Popeye’s pet Jeep only ate: orchids).

I’ve done a few posts on the Cities Service brand, which had several stations around Lorain. Cities Service eventually became Citgo.

As for Ryan's Cities Service station at 1905 Broadway, today the building is part of the home of Quality Security Door Company.

Courtesy Google Maps
Courtesy Lorain County Auditor

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Ancient Footprints at Amherst Quarries – July 1928

Back in the early 1900s, the local newspapers seemed to contain a lot of articles of an archeological nature.  Things (like old bones) were regularly being dug up or discovered, sometimes because farmland and woods that had been undisturbed for years were being developed.

But here’s the story of an ever older discovery, this time going back thousands of years. The article by John Love is from the July 27, 1928 Lorain Times-Herald and tells the story of some ancient footprints found at the quarries of the Cleveland Stone Company.




When Nero fiddled while Rome went up in smoke and Helen of Troy was wrapped in secret trysts, and even years before that, Lorain county was not unknown to the world. It was not known as Lorain County or even suspected of being such a place. It probably had a name as long as the appendage of one of the ancient fabled dinosaurs.

That the section now covered by Amherst was inhabited in those long years ago is now a drawn conclusion with the finding recently of imprints of human feet in sandstone by employes of the Cleveland Stone Company which operates large quarries at Amherst. 

Two or three thousand years ago a child about 12 years old, was tramping along what is known as the Rice farm in Amherst, and left an imprint in the sand. Centuries rolled by and events transpired quickly – the rise and fall of Rome, the fall of Troy, birth of Christ, Columbus voyage to American, but, even the ravages of time and the elements failed to efface the track made by the child. It has remained just as if it was left thousands of years ago.

It recently was removed from the farm by workmen of the quarry and is under lock and key at the stone company’s office.

With it is the imprint of a much larger foot – a flat foot for there is no sign of an arch. it is probably  the pedal trace of an adult and is clearly and sharply defined.

The age of the relics was determined by geologists from all parts of Ohio who have viewed the unique specimens. They declared that at least 2,000 years is required for an imprint to solidify. So many geologists and naturalists visited the offices of the Cleveland Stone company to inspect the relics that no record has been kept of names, according to officials.

The experts also have pointed out the this discovery lends affirmation to the theory that this entire section once was covered by Lake Erie. The child and its adult parent were walking the beach leaving an imprint where the waves could not obliterate it.

The findings acts as a connecting link with ancestry too remote to be even generally considered by those whose years of scientific study have prepared them for just such research in the sublimities of time.

Even the recent history is interesting however. Shortly after the discovery of the two imprints, petrified turkey tracks also were discovered. The three specimens were placed in front of the stone company’s office for the inspection of geologists. When the officials prepared to return the tracks to the safe box, they found the turkey tracks and concluded that someone evidently had allowed professional enthusiasm to best his ethics and honesty.

Two months ago workmen unearthed a section of tree that was in the process of turning to coal. It is quite likely the tree is older than the imprints because it was found at a depth of 102 feet. The sandstone in which it was found will be beveled and the specimen presented to the president of the Cleveland Stone company.

The three primitive prints will be placed on display for the Bee Keepers convention which is to be held at Amherst, August 8, 9, and 10 according to officials. The public also will be permitted to view them at this time.


The Journal article above originally appeared on the front page of the Amherst News-Times of July 26, 1928. Here’s how it looked on the front page of the News-Times.

There are some minor copy differences from the Journal’s edited version. The main one was that the Amherst News-Times notes that the turkey tracks were stolen. The article stated, “The ancient tracks were placed on display outside the main office and the experts allowed to study them at their leisure. Shortly after they left company officials preparing to return the stones to their shelter discovered the turkey tracks has disappeared. Although a thorough search was made of the vicinity the tracks were never found, and it is presumed one of the visitors allowed professional enthusiasm to get the better of this honesty.


The Amherst News-Times made another mention of the footprints on its front page of August 2, 1928.

Under the heading, “The Sands of Time,” an article noted, “It is interesting to speculate on the type of people who lived in this district 2,000 years ago. Were they Indians or members of a race living in the country before the arrival of the Redskins? That there was such a race has been established definitely by scientists and probably they succeeded some earlier race, so old they left no traces.

“It is rather intriguing to weight the possibilities disclosed by the discovery of footprints at least two thousand years old. Were they made by direct descendants of the Egyptian slaves? Or were they the imprints of prehistoric savages who lived too long ago to leave definite records?

“Probably we’ll never know.

“Whatever their sources they are undoubtedly marks caused by human feet and are impressive because they indicate to some extent the millions and millions of people who have been swept into oblivion leaving only such obscurities as an occasional foot print, arrow heads or broken crockery to identify them.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Reddy for a Newfangled Electric Refrigerator – July 1938

Flies getting into your home is one of the unpleasant aspects of summer. No matter how hard to try to avoid it, it’s almost inevitable that at least one fly is going to get in at some point. And then the comical chase begins.

Worst of all is when you can’t find it – and you know he’s there somewhere, possibly landing on your food (yecch) or even you when you’re not paying attention. I’m positively neurotic when it comes to finding the offending airborne intruder, and disposing of him before I do anything else.

Our old pal Reddy Kilowatt doesn’t like flies either, judging from his reaction in the ad above, which ran in the Lorain Journal back on July 28, 1938. Of course, that’s one monstrous fly, rendered in disgusting detail.

The focus of the ad is the promotion of the new Frigidaire electric refrigerators to replace the old ice box that kept its contents cool with – what else? – a block of ice.

My mother remembers her family’s ice box well. It was in a little shack-like structure on the back of their house on Sixth Street, where the ice could melt and not make a mess. She also remembers going with her father over to the Lorain Crystal Ice Company to buy ice from the vending machine there, and hearing the various clunks as the ice made its way down the chute.

Anyway, during those Depression days, the refrigerator in the Ohio Public Service Company ad could be had for $4.00 a month (that’s $77.00 a month using one of those online inflation calculators).

At that price, I reckon I might have had to buy a fly swatter instead.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Nathan Perry’s Road – July 21, 1926

For you history lovers, here’s an interesting article from the pages of the Lorain Journal of July 21, 1926. It concerns the effort of two Lorain men (one a city engineer, the other an official with the Chamber of Commerce) to trace a historic road dating back to Lorain’s earliest days. The article illustrates their research efforts and the many challenge of trying to interpret various clues more than a hundred years later.


Trace Lorain-Co Road Used By Nathan Perry 125 Years Ago

By A. O. France

A LOST road 125 years old, believed to be the oldest highway in Lorain-co, is being traced by assistant city engineer Edgar Job and H. G. Curtis, secretary of Lorain Chamber of Commerce.

Long since fallen into disuse the century old road is marked now by inaccurate measurements, old hickory and elm trees, and rotten stumps.

This meagre dole of information is supplemented by the startling announcement in an old record book that the road goes “by” the trading post of Nathan Perry.

That word has caused Curtis and Job much perplexity. Job says that he wishes he had the patience of his Biblical namesake. Curtis seconds his wish.

For they cannot decide whether “by” means past, near or misses.

That’s because all other records assert that Nathan Perry’s trading post was located near the mouth of the Black River. Should the road record be authentic Perry’s post must have been near the present site of the post office at 9th-st and Broadway.

History of the road goes back to the year 1808 when the entire western portion of the original Western Reserve was known as Geauga-co. The county seat was at Chardon.

Curtis and Job went to Chardon recently. There they found a record dated Nov. 8, 1808. It contained a petition to the commissioners of Geauga-co praying that a road be established to start at a point 10 miles west of Hudson and proceed to the mouth of the Black River, there to join the road leading from Cleveland to the western line of the “firelands” – what is now the boundary of Erie-co.

Here’s the original “praying” which sets forth the desire of prominent citizens for the road.

“We, the undersigners, being desirous of obtaining a road for the accommodation of the public, present this petition before your honorable board, praying you, the honorable Commissioners for the County of Geauga, and the State of Ohio, to grant a committee to lay out a road, beginning where contemplated road from Hudson westward shall strike the line of the county, thence the nearest and best way to the head of boating on the Black river, thence the nearest and best way to strike the contemplated road from Cleveland to the west line of the fire lands; which committee we do wish to have appointed to do their businys [sic]. The persons we do wish for a committee are Nathaniel Doane Esq., Calvin Hoadley and Bella Brunson, all of which is a desire of yr Humble servants.”

Then follows a list of signers of this petition.

That the petition was granted is evidenced in the fact that Curtis and Job have found definite traces of the road.

Starting near Boston-twp and proceeding westward through Columbia they arrived at a large ash tree near the 10th mile post from the Cuyahoga river. Thence by a series of intricate measurements in chains they arrived at the site of a farm owned by Calvin Hoadley.

From there the directions took them to an old mill. A “creek of water” running northwest was their next clue. Then an old mill mentioned in the record proved that they were on the right trail. They kept on. Old tree stumps, large rocks, and a clump of elm trees rewarded their search.

At last they reached what is referred to in the record as “a trading camp on the Black river.”

From that point on, it was easy to follow the directions given in the 125-year old manuscript.

But the result was mystifying. The record commanded that they cross and re-cross the Black river arriving finally at the spot where the road goes by the trading post of Nathan Perry.”

Curtis and Job are still puzzling over the original location of Perry’s post. Was it at the mouth of the river? Or was it at 9th-st and Broadway?

Until they solve that problem the greater puzzle of what happened to Lorain’s lost road after it reached Lorain will remain a mystery.


I’m not a historian, but to me, the whole thing seems like an odd premise. 

You would think that if a road was carved out of the wilderness from Hudson to today’s Downtown Lorain (slightly more than 50 miles) that it wouldn’t have been ‘lost’ or have disappeared. It would seem that such a road would have appeared on at least one township map from the 1800s, and eventually would have evolved into a well-traveled state route or county road.

Interestingly, the Ohio Turnpike would seem to be the modern-day equivalent for most of the route.

Monday, July 26, 2021

From Indians to Guardians

So the new name of the Cleveland Indians is going to be the Cleveland Guardians. 

With all due respect to the Native Americans that were offended by the old name, all I can say is: Ugh. 

I really thought that they would go with no mascot – and be known simply as ‘Cleveland.’ It would have been a good solution. The offensive ‘Indians’ name would go away, but it would still be there in our memories. Plus, having no mascot would be unique, and sort of fit in with the minimalist approach of the Cleveland Browns and their plain orange helmets.

My second guess was that the team would go back to an earlier name – the Cleveland Spiders. Although I don’t like spiders (or any kind of insect or bug, for that matter), at least it would have introduced the concept of heritage. It wouldn’t even have needed a cartoon spider logo. The team would benefit from the historical equity of the earlier name, with some old-time lettering in the logo to drive the point home. 

In my mind’s eye, I can see how the team could have creatively transitioned back to the Spiders name, with a special ceremony at the old League Park where they played. The new Spiders could have worn vintage 1920s uniforms for the first season. It would have generated a lot of publicity and goodwill.

One of the stone Guardians
(Courtesy Wikipedia)
But no, the team will be called the Cleveland Guardians, a completely meaningless name. 

The Guardians name has a similar cadence to ‘Indians’ with the ‘-dians’ at the end, so it rolls off the tongue in a familiar way. But what does it honor? Carved stone gods on the Hope Memorial Bridge that very few people in Northern Ohio (much less the rest of the country) even know as ‘the Guardians of Traffic.’

I stopped being an Indians fan long ago, so I’m not too upset. I still root for the team for the sake of its fans. But the fans don’t seem to be too happy right now, judging by comments left on news websites and social media.

Anyway, a ‘guardian’ is defined as a defender, protector or keeper. 

What will the Cleveland Guardians be guarding or protecting? Not their historical legacy, that’s for sure. Maybe home plate?

But I wish the team good luck as they go forward next season with their new name, while the old team name heads off to the Happy Hunting Ground.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Lorain City Club’s Kids Baseball Day – July 19, 1951

Here’s a nice reminder of a different time, a time when Lorain had an active City Club that sponsored an annual trip to take a group local kids to see a Cleveland Indians game.

The full-page ad ran in the Journal on July 18, 1951.

It was a total community effort (not to mention the involvement of the Indians as well). 

The list of local industries and organizations that helped make the event possible included the various ethnic societies (such as Sons of Italy, United Polish Club, Slovenian Home, Saxon Club, etc.), the unions, fraternal organizations (such as the Elks), service organizations (such as Lorain Lions Club, Lorain Kiwanis Club) the veterans organizations, the utilities, the area’s industrial giants (National Tube, Fruehauf, Nelson Stud, B. F. Goodrich Chemical, etc.) and of course the Journal itself.

It was a great game too – the Indians versus the Boston Red Sox. The Indians and pitcher Early Wynn prevailed, winning 5-4.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Lorain Fight Party – July 26, 1928

Ticket stub from the fight
currently on eBay
It was back on July 26, 1928 that heavyweight champion Gene Tunney defeated New Zealander Tom Heeney at Yankee Stadium. The fight ended with a technical knockout when it was stopped by the referee in the eleventh round.

Although the fight did not draw as many fans as expected, it was a big hit in Lorain. 

As the article above from the July 27, 1928 Lorain Times-Herald notes, “more than 1,000 wildly excited fans milling around in Fifth-st with ears strained to catch every word broadcast of the thrilling encounter for the world’s heavyweight championship.”

“Shortly after seven o’clock the crowd began to gather.

“They were entertained with popular music furnished by the Wickens Furniture company until the preliminaries were started. 

“Shortly before the main bout started, police were forced to stop traffic between Broadway and Reid-av in Fifth-st when the huge crowd completely blocked the street.”

The photo accompanying the Times article features heavyweight boxer Johnny Risko of Sheffield Lake congratulating Tunney. The caption notes, “It’s a pretty good bet and the smile on Johnny’s face indicates it too – that the Risk will get a crack at the title ere long.”

But Johnny would not get another crack at Tunney, who announced his retirement five days after defeating Heeney. (Click here to read a great account of the bout written by author Paul Beston.)


Click here to read my past posts on Johnny Risko.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

New Design for Lorain City Hall – July 22, 1971

Fifty years ago this month, Lorain was in the process of reviewing the design and cost of its brand new City Hall, which would replace the aging yellow mansion that had been in use since the early 1900s.

Below is an article that appeared in the Journal back on July 22, 1971. The Journal’s J. Ross Baughman created the sketch of the building.

In the article, Architect Warren Finkel explains the various steps being taken to bring the cost down to  about $5 million (from the original $8.7 million). Cost-cutting measures being proposed include the elimination of underground parking and reduced space for various departments.


I was never a big fan of the current City Hall. Why? I guess it’s because I always thought that it was simply too big, and too pretentious, especially in view of what had been serving as city hall for decades (at right). The current City Hall just doesn’t have any heart, in my opinion. Plus, it wiped out a whole city block’s worth of businesses, stealing much of the character of Downtown Lorain.

And if you think about it, the city began its slow slide into decline within a few years of the new City Hall’s completion. Coincidence? I think not.

I think the current proposal about possibly moving to a new city hall somewhere else in the city is a good idea. Perhaps if it becomes a reality and the current City Hall is demolished, some demons would be exorcised and the city can begin a new path towards a rosier economic future.

Yessir, a demolition brick from a demolished Lorain City Hall would make a mighty fine addition to my collection.


The old Lorain City Hall has been a recurring topic on this blog since the beginning.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Vermilion to Buy L.S.E. Right-of-way – July 1938

Last week I posted a July 1928 newspaper article announcing that construction bids were soon to be accepted to replace the highway bridge over the Vermilion River.

Ten years after that article appeared in the Lorain Times-Herald, Vermilion’s main east-west highway through town (Liberty Avenue, U. S. Route 6) was in the news again. This time, the focus was eliminating the two crazy curves that the highway took at the western border of town.

The plan to eliminate these two turns, and create a straight route for Liberty Avenue through Vermilion, required purchasing the right-of-way of the defunct Lake Shore Electric. 

As you can see on this page from the July 13, 1938 Lorain Times-Herald, it was pretty big news.

As noted in the article, “the tracks of the now unused traction line go down the middle of the Main Street.” Acquiring the land on which the tracks were located and using the properties for a relocated Liberty Avenue made sense.

Elsewhere on that same page of the Lorain Times-Herald, the Lake Shore Electric was also in the news in Avon Lake. An article at the bottom of the page notes, “The stone waiting room at Stop 56 by the L. S. E. tracks was no sooner deserted by the commuters than its possibilities for a No. 1 clubhouse was realized by a group of boys who had just organized themselves into what the community now knows them by, the Doodtlebug [sic] club.
“Six boys who lacked an outlet for their ambitions now hold their meetings regularly in this exclusive clubhouse and have as their aim the spreading of happiness for some one else.”
Unfortunately, the Doodlebuggers couldn’t send any sunshine out to Vermilion to help expedite its road proposal.
As noted on this blog post, by 1940 the State of Ohio was still talking about and studying the highway plan. By March 1952, the two curves still hadn’t been eliminated and the Lorain Journal was calling it a deathtrap.
It wouldn’t be until November 1955 when the new 4-lane highway would finally open, providing a straight shot through town and ending the decades-old bottleneck.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Zelek Flower Shop Grand Opening Ad – July 19, 1951

Lorain is lucky to have so many family businesses that have been around for decades. 

It isn’t easy to sustain an independent store. You have to deliver quality products and services at a reasonable price consistently over the years, and build up a loyal customer base that wouldn’t dream of taking its business anywhere else.

One of those longtime successful businesses is Zelek Flower Shop at 1001 Reid Avenue. 

Here’s an ad showing the company at its very beginning, when it was at its original location at 12th and Reid. The three-quarter-page ad ran on the eve of the store opening in the Lorain Journal on July 19, 1951 – 70 years ago today.

And, here’s a great photo of the store at the time of the Grand Opening, courtesy of longtime blog contributor and good guy Jeremy Reynolds.

Jeremy sent me the photo back in the summer of 2016. At the time he noted, "Found this cool picture at work announcing Zelek Flower Shop grand opening in 1951 at their original location at 12th and Reid. I’m not sure of the exact date. It might make for a cool post if the newspaper announcement/ad can be found.
Well, it only took five years, but I found it – and it’s nice to finally be able to feature the photo here on the blog. Thanks, Jeremy!
And congratulations to Zelek Flower Shop for seventy years in business!
I wrote about the distinctive building at 12th and Reid before in this 2012 post.
And by the way, I’ve taken antique ceramic planters to Zelek Flower Shop a few times over the years (as recently as last summer) to have decorative flower arrangements put in them, and the Zelek designers always do a terrific, creative job.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Buy a Summer Cottage at Lake Breeze – July 8, 1921

Have you ever been the unwilling recipient of a sales pitch for a timeshare or some other investment? Perhaps you were bamboozled into this unfortunate scenario by accepting a free meal, or some other sneaky incentive.

Apparently this kind of thing has been going on for a long time. That’s what I was thinking when I saw this ad in the Lorain Times-Herald from July 8, 1921 – a hundred years ago this month. 

The ad promotes a “Free Prize Contest and Grand Picnic” at Lake Breeze at Stop 86 on the Lake Shore Electric. It promises 41 prizes to be awarded to winners of a variety of contests to be held at Lake Breeze. Prizes to be donated included a ‘gent’s suit,' ladies dresses, 50-piece dinner sets, one chest of silverware, boy’s and girl’s bicycles, an electric lamp, a coffee percolator, $25 in credit at The Bailey Company Stores, $10 in cash, a $500 lot, a set of cottage furniture, bathing suits, a Brownie camera, and more cash prizes.

The ad also reminds you to bring your bathing suit to enjoy the bathing beach at Lake Breeze. You are also encouraged to enjoy the 20 degrees cooler temperature there.

It isn’t until the very end of the ad that the ad notes, “You are sure to be delighted with LAKE BREEZE you will want to spend all of your summers here. We are making this possible for you. Without placing you under any obligation we will be glad to tell you next SUNDAY just how you can have a pleasant summer cottage at healthful LAKE BREEZE.”

Lake Breeze had been a resort area since the 1870s with the opening of the Lake Breeze House. (Click here to read about it on Drew Penfield’s Lake Shore Rail Maps website.) But by the 1920s, a summer cottage community with convenient access by the interurbans was planned and lots were being sold – the focus of the ad above.


I wrote about the Lake Breeze resort area before. 

This multi-post series entitled, “Dr. B. W. Donaldson’s Lake Breeze Memories” tells how the resort was popular with Lorain’s early steel plant executives via a series of reminisces. This post shows how the Lake Breeze cottage allotment was still being promoted in 1927, this time by the Sykes & Thompson Company. And this post shows how in 1960, the Lake Breeze Estates housing development was continuing the tradition of trying to get people to build in that area.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Clark Grand Opening Ad – July 15, 1971

Here’s an ad for a gasoline brand that’s still around in Northern Ohio, although it seems to have disappeared in Lorain County: Clark.

The ad announcing the Grand Opening of the Clark Super 100 Station at 1999 Cooper-Foster Park Road in Amherst appeared in the Journal on July 15, 1971. 

I like the ad. It creates a spirit of fun and excitement, with lots of freebies (glasses, balloons, suckers), an appearance by Bobo the Clown (hopefully not the one at the dunk tank at the Ohio State Fair) and a nice photo of James Manser, the Clark dealer in charge.

Back in the 1970s, Clark was one of the biggest independent oil refiners and marketers, even as it competed with the major brands of gasoline (such as Sohio, Sunoco, Texaco, etc.) that spent a lot of money on advertising.  

But while many major brands have simply gone away or abandoned Ohio entirely, Clark is still around. You can find stations in Cleveland, as well as smaller rural communities such as Shelby and Fostoria.

Today the former Clark station at 1999 Cooper-Foster Park Road in Amherst is one of those odd Pure Friendship stations I wrote about back here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Perry Centennial Celebration – July 14, 1913

Photo of the Perry Centennial Celebration in Lorain, looking south from W. Erie Avenue
(Courtesy Lorain Historical Society)
One hundred and eight years ago, Lorain was celebrating the 100th anniversary of U. S. Captain Oliver Hazard Perry’s victory at the Battle of Lake Erie. The Lorain festivities included a big parade, band concerts in Erie Park, a boat launch, an address by Governor Cox, motor boat and swimming races, a G. A. R. Camp Fire and an appearance by Aviator Harry N. Atwood.

A major part of the celebration was the arrival of the raised and restored Perry flagship “Niagara” in Lorain on Thursday, July 15, 1913.

Here are the front pages of the Lorain Daily News from July 14, 15 and 16, 1913. Click on each for a larger, readable version.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

New Bridge for Vermilion – July 13, 1928

Ninety-three years ago this month, the plans for a new bridge over the Vermilion River were in the bidding stages.

Below is the article that appeared in the Lorain Times-Herald back on July 13, 1928 announcing that bids for the various projects associated with the new bridge would be received at the office of the state highway department in Columbus on July 27th.

The article notes, “Bids of four different jobs in connection with the bridge will be received. The total work is expected to approximate $125,000.

“One proposal is for grading, widening and surfacing the new approach to the span. This improvement will be 984 feet in length and January 1 is the date for completion.

“Another proposal is for a new steel truss bride over the river to have a span of 243 feet with a roadway 36 feet wide and two sidewalks.

“The other two proposals are for the furnishing of brick and materials for the job.”

According to, Fort Pitt Bridge Works of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ended up building the bridge, which was completed in 1929. 

Here’s an early photo of the completed bridge, circa 1929, courtesy of Drew Penfield’s Lake Shore Rail Maps website.

Courtesy Lake Shore Rail Maps
(Pearl Roscoe photo)

Today, the still-charming bridge carrying U.S. Route 6 over the Vermilion River has long been a local landmark, featured on many postcards through the years.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Remorseful Reddy – July 12, 1971

Here’s something that you don’t see too often – an ad in which a public utility is expressing its regret for failing to meet its customers’ expectations. 

In this case, Ohio Edison was the utility that was apologizing. The ad ran in the Journal back on July 12, 1971.

Back in July 1971, the area had just experienced a massive heatwave, resulting in some widespread power outages.

As the ad notes, “Heat records were broken day after day. More than 50 neighborhood distribution transformers failed in our Lake Erie Division alone because of being overloaded. These overloads were caused by the effect on these transformers of the combination of intense heat and your greater use of electricity, perhaps for air conditioning units or electric fans.

“We know it is small consolation to know that our customers on the average have dependable electric service 99.9% of the time. We’d like to make it 100%, but that isn’t yet possible. And when outages do occur your cooperation, your patience and your understanding are greatly appreciated.”

It’s a well-written ad, subtilely pointing out that consumers did share a wee bit of the blame.

Our old pal Reddy Kilowatt looks pretty remorseful. I’m not sure whether he’s crying or sweating. The sun – drawn in a rather menacing style – is obviously depicted as the villain in this case.

Anyway, in the 2020s we seem to lose power a lot. The difference from fifty years ago is you never find out why.

And Reddy’s retired, so he can’t even say he’s sorry.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Jack Webb’s Views on TV Crime Shows – July 1971

Jack Webb
is one of my all-time TV favorites, with his long-running Dragnet series. That’s why I had to post this article from the July 5th, 1971 edition of the Journal.

In it, Webb theorizes about the growing popularity of law and order TV series coinciding with the rise in crime in the country at that time.

With 20 law and order TV series in the 1971-72 lineup, Webb notes that “viewers are finding some semblance of order in the shows that can’t be detected in the warped sociological scenes this country is enmeshed in today.”

Ironically, Webb had just pulled the plug on his Dragnet revival at that time after four seasons. Contrary to accounts that the show had been canceled, NBC had wanted to keep the popular show going. But Webb had run out of steam, choosing to produce TV shows rather than continuing to play Joe Friday.

Today, I don’t think there's any correlation between the popularity of TV shows with a law and order theme and the current attitudes towards crime in society. Crime shows just seem to be most popular type of entertainment with the public.


Jack Webb has showed up on this blog before.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Lorain Gets an A&P Super Market – July 1951

A&P has a history in Lorain going back to July 1919, when the first two stores in the city opened – one at 859 Broadway and the other at 500 E. Erie Avenue.

Over the years, the chain had outlets all over Lorain. During the 1920s, thirteen A&Ps opened in Lorain. But these were the small, old-fashioned neighborhood stores that competed with the independent Mom-and-Pop grocery stores and small chains like Food Fair.

The first, modern A&P supermarket in Lorain was at 3809 Broadway, the subject of the teaser ad above. It ran in the Lorain Journal on July 12, 1951.

The ad is quite charming with its use of illustration. It has a children’s book vibe to it; you half expect to see Curious George floating over the building, holding a balloon.

It’s interesting that A&P selected that location for its first supermarket in the city. I guess the decision makers thought that it was centrally located, and would draw customers from the East side as well as South Lorain. 

Eventually, A&P opened more stores in the area, including the one on the East side on Kansas Avenue (1957), Shoreway Shopping Center in Sheffield Lake (1959); the main West Side store at Lorain Plaza (1960); and Vermilion (1961).

Perhaps because the chain became so ubiquitous in the area, the Broadway location was unable to attract enough customers. It was closed by the early 1970s. 

And today, the mighty Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (or A&P for short) is no more.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Own the Windmill on Kolbe Road

Courtesy of Howard Hanna
Want to own a longtime Lorain landmark? 

Here’s your big chance. The well-known windmill located on Kolbe Ro, converted to a residence as a labor of love by Tom Philipps, is currently for sale. It's listed with Howard Hanna Real Estate Services. Alicia Parkinson, ABR, CNE, HOD, RRS is the listing agent.

Courtesy Bing Maps
Here's the link to the Howard Hanna listing. It includes some fascinating photos of the rarely seen interior.

As it notes, the 1.5 acres property (with an additional two acres available for purchase) "gently slopes to Beaver Creek, where you can enjoy fly fishing or hiking through the wooded 30-acre Kennedy Park. 

"Beautiful views of FoxCreek Golf add to its awesome location, about a mile from the shores of Lake Erie. 

"Set back off the road, an inviting herringbone brick walkway and circular drive bring you across a mill stone threshold, where you step into the fairytale tower and first floor living room, with gas fireplace and full bath. 

“Floor 2 houses a huge kitchen with custom cabinets, porcelain floors, tile counters, stainless appliances, and glass table looking down into the first floor. The second floor also offers a half bath, laundry, and French doors to balcony. 

“Floor 3 is master bedroom and bath, with outdoor deck encircling entire windmill. 

Courtesy Lorain County Auditor

“Floor 4 is a second bedroom with full bath and French doors to balcony. Floor 5 is a third bedroom or bonus room, with French doors to balcony. The attic is the roof, designed to rotate to keep the blades facing into the wind. 

The windmill's conversion to a home began in 2005, as seen on You Live in What? in 2015 (below).

The windmill has been the subject of two blog posts, including this one from 2012, and this post about its construction by Joe Ule in 1950. (There’s also an additional post about Joe Ule's Storybook house nearby, from when it was for sale in 2016.)

A recent view of the windmill from Kolbe Road

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Lorain International Breaks a Record – July 3, 1971

Although Lorain canceled its International Festival early this year on account on the pandemic, it’s a good time to remember the "good old days" when the event was held in the May Company parking lot at the Sheffield Shopping Center. It was a huge event back then, and to miss it was unthinkable. Sometimes we went to the festival all three days. (It was free admission, too.)

Above is a nice reminder of those days. The article, written by Journal Staff Writer Marsha Nutter, ran in the paper back on July 3, 1971 – fifty years ago this month. It notes that the opening day crowd of 30,000 people was a record setter.

But it was a different Lorain back then. There were still many thriving ethnic organizations and clubs, so there really were authentic foods at the once-a-year bazaar that you looked forward to. I still remember getting great egg rolls at the Golden Dragon booth. And there was an out-of-town (I think it was in Lakewood) bakery that had a booth at the festival each year, with genuine German pastries and goodies. I remember that the family who owned the bakery all wore German outfits (including the cute daughters).

There were other differences between the International Festivals of the past and the current version. There was plenty of nearby parking at the Sheffield Center. The huge festival tents there insured that rain or shine, the show would go on (although it could get pretty hot in there). The picnic tables were a convenient place to take a break; there was also the grassy hill overlooking the festivities where you could catch a breeze and relax under the trees.

The Admiral King Marching Band used to have a booth selling pop, and it was fun to work there during the weekend and people watch. It was always a bummer when a syrup tank was empty and we’d have to have it replaced.

Anyway, I haven’t been down to the modern Festival at the riverfront for years. The last time I went, the festival weekend coincided nicely with the annual arrival of the lake flies. 

But I’ll give it another try next year.


I wrote about the very first Lorain International Festival back here.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Lorain Contractor Builds City’s First Bomb Shelter – July 1951

Civil Defense has been a regular topic on this blog since its launching in 2009. 

Why do I find it interesting? Because I was born at the end of the 1950s and civil defense was still very much on the minds of Lorain’s citizens. 

I’ve mentioned many times how my parents came very close to building a fallout shelter in our backyard in collaboration with some neighbors.

Anyway, I’ve devoted many posts to civil defense as a topic, including (and most recently) a 1956 comic book featuring “Mr. Civil Defense” (with a cameo by Al Capp’s beloved Li’l Abner character); Lorain’s air raid signal test (May 1951) as well as a new civil defense siren (May 1954); Lorain’s Civil Defense tower that used to sit behind the old City Hall; a 1968 Emergency handbook; a 1961 Fallout Protection book; and two September 1961 articles about area fallout shelters (here and here).

Well, here’s another article about Lorain’s preparation for a nuclear attack. This one is pretty interesting, because it features Sam Pavlovich, a contractor who apparently built “Lorain’s first atom bomb shelter.” 

The article ran in the Lorain Journal back on July 2, 1951.

It’s interesting that the article points out that “The shelters are being built, not because customers have ordered them, but because Pavlovich thinks it is time someone took some precautions.”

How big was the shelter he was building at the time of the Journal article? The article notes, “Approximately five feet by 11, it has ample space to accommodate an average family, according to its designers.”
As for construction, Pavlovich was “insulating his bomb room with concrete on all sides, installing a steel door opening onto the basement and a steel-shielded window for ventilation. The window will serve as an exit, if necessary, in case the door is blocked by the ruins of the home collapsing into the basement.” A cheery thought indeed.
What’s really interesting is that the article provides an address for the home Pavlovich was working on at that time: 2112 W. 11th Street. According to the article, the shelter “lies under the front porch in order to get topside protection from the porch’s concrete floor.”
I wonder if the family living there now knows about the bit of Lorain history right under their front porch?

Friday, July 2, 2021

Ohio Edison Ad – July 4, 1951

Here’s an interesting ad from Ohio Edison from the pages of the July 4, 1951 Lorain Journal with a theme that probably resonates with many people: limiting the powers of our government.

The ad beseeches Americans to think about the words of the Declaration of Independence and answer them with a declaration of their own: to declare that government is responsible to its citizens (rather than for them); to declare that freedom is more important than survival; and to declare that our God-given rights may not be taken away by our government.

It's hard to imagine such an ad running today, when corporations are focused on protecting their bottom line and avoiding controversy. 

But for many Americans, the thoughts and beliefs outlined in the ad ring just as true today as they did in 1951.

As for me, I’m surprised Ohio Edison didn’t feature our old pal Reddy Kilowatt in the ad, dressed up like a Minute Man.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Vacation Spots – July 1, 1938

July 4th is only a few days away. 

And if you were wondering how to have fun on that holiday, eighty-three years ago today, you might have taken a look at your edition of the Lorain Journal for ideas. That’s where you would have seen the above group of advertisements under the banner of ‘AN ARRAY OF VACATION SPOTS FOR HAVING WONDERFUL TIME OVER THE FOURTH.’

There are some familiar suggestions: dining at Pueblo; having dinner followed by dancing at Helfrich’s (operated by Charlie McGarvey); enjoying the fireworks at Crystal Beach Park; dancing at Elberta Beach in Vermilion; taking in a movie at the Warner Brothers Palace Theatre.

And there are some new (at least to this blog) establishments listed as well, including two in Lorain: Silver Grille at 1726 Broadway, and Blue Grill at Oberlin Avenue and 8th Street. Nash Boat House in Vermilion, where you could rent canoes, row boats and cabins, completes the roll call of where to have fun.

But what about Country Home Tavern, shown above in its Grand Opening ad?

I had never heard of it before. According to advertisements found on one of the newspaper archive websites, it was located on Elyria Avenue at Dunton Road. 

Based on those vintage ads, Country Home Tavern seemed to be around from 1938 until about the summer of 1947. Since it was located between Lorain and Elyria, it was not included in very many city directories, and it had no numerical address.

Joe Celano was the manager, with his home phone number matching that of the business. A later city directory revealed the Celano address was 4597 Elyria Avenue, and vintage aerials shows only one building has ever been at that spot. So I have a hunch that the home at that location today was Country Home Tavern.

4597 Elyria Avenue today

It looks big enough, and somewhat special; more than just a house. Does anyone know for sure?

Vintage aerial photos also show a possible parking area in front of the building as late as 1952.