Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Middle Ridge School Reunion – August 28, 1938

Although it has been the home of Workshop Players Theater for decades, the stone one-room schoolhouse on Middle Ridge Road has the honor of being one of the last ones in Lorain County still in operation at the end of the 1940s.

And like many schools, the Middle Ridge School hosted many reunions of its alumni over the years. The article below from the Monday, August 29, 1938 Lorain Journal tells the story of one gathering of former classmates.

As the article notes, “The little one-room stone schoolhouse at Middle Ridge, one of the two still in operation in Lorain-co, was the scene of great activity yesterday when a home coming and reunion was held.

Former teachers and pupils numbering 125 from Detroit and Clarkston, Mich., Cleveland, Oberlin, Vermilion, Grafton, LaGrange, Lorain, Elyria, and Amherst gathered at the home of Katherine Kolbe where a picnic dinner was served on the lawn.

“Following the dinner the school bell was rung and all went to the schoolhouse for a business session and program. The reunion was voted to be an annual affair.

“The school was beautifully decorated with flowers.”


The Amherst News-Times of October 1, 1942 included this charming look about the still-operating school, written by Mrs. F. R. Powers.

A Cherished Memory Remains

By Mrs. F. R. Powers

It’s always most gratifying, for one who often finds pleasure in looking backward, to come upon something that bears a marked resemblance to a cherished memory.

Such was my experience when I attended the Fall Festival at the Middle Ridge school a week ago and discovered with wistful satisfaction that the district school hasn’t changed much since the days when it constituted the test tube in which I wriggled, among sundry other green and frightened contemporaries, for pedagogical survival.

They were all there – the twin cloak rooms, the worn floor boards, the big, little and middle-sized desks and seats, their once shiny surfaces smoothed satiny soft by decades of leaners and sitters. I saw the rangy expanse of blackboards, too, and the patriotic pictures and the flag and the box of maps upon the wall.

Certain familiar objects were missing to be sure, but since my recollections of them were not tender and their absence from the scene was by way of being an improvement, I rejoiced within myself that they were not there. Foremost among them would be the heating unit, which was down cellar and not belching smoke and grime a few feet from teacher’s desk. The coal oil lamps had been replaced by cheery electrical ones, and I noted that the community water pail and dipper were missing from the bench at the rear of the room.

In the beginning, there were those among us who started out bravely enough to be school ma’ams, but fell by the wayside. I recall one girl who had everything it takes to make a good teacher except courage. She was scared half out of her wits her very first day of teaching when all of the big boys came in thru the windows. Another young lady of my acquaintance was affrighted by the quantity and the quality of the big husky males who presented themselves on opening day in overalls and boots.

“I never had trouble with the big boys,” a friend of mine who taught a country school, too, once told me, “I flirted with them and we got along fine.” Unpedagogical to say the least, but effective. And brother, when they take you, still in your teens, and put you to teaching a country school (forty-four pupils and all eight grades, mind you) you’re liable to do a number of things that are unpedagogical – but by trial have been proven effective.

As I observed Mrs. Smith, who has presided as teacher at the Middle Ridge School for some years now, the thought persisted that here was a woman for whom country schools have never held any terror. She has been so busy, teaching capably and well the fundamentals of a good education to the boys and girls who come to sit at her feet, that she hasn’t had time to recognize the unpleasantries that might have presented themselves. Therefor they do not exist for her. Surely this must be so, else how could she have weathered so well the years of teaching that lie behind her?

From the brief impromptu program that Mrs. Smith and her charges presented the evening I was a guest at the Middle Ridge school, I gathered that the pupils up here are learning the things you and I learned – the good old, songs, facts and stories every American child should know. There was “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean.” (Why don’t we sing this song oftener in these spirited times? The text is real poetry and positively thrilling!) The little ones warbled “Twenty Froggies Went to School” (good stuff here for the youngsters to know. Remember the line that goes: “We must be on time,” said they. “First we work and then we play.”)? And to my delight a group of Sixth Grade pupils recited “The Village Blacksmith” and told the audience something of the poet Longfellow.

It’s going on twenty years since our school buses started rolling, leaving in their wake a trail of abandoned school houses round the countryside. Centralization had become the order of the day, and it was high time, too. By virtue of a spirited parental petition the Middle Ridge District School was permitted to remain open. And wholly upon evidence gathered with my own eyes and ears, I would venture to say that this little hall of learning has since become a greater factor in the lives of the people who live up Middle Ridge way than it ever was before. The happy scene of harvest festivals and Christmas programs and pleasant family gatherings, the Middle Ridge school house has blossomed into a community center of the highest caliber. And now, with motor travel in its present state, it would seem as if this same little school house was destined to play a part of even greater importance in the lives of its people.

There are twenty-three pupils enrolled at the Middle Ridge school this year. The Mothers’ club an organization with objectives similar to those of our P.T.A. (and I’ll wager ten times more fun, what with meeting around at the various homes for tureen dinners and the like) has a membership of fourteen.

So long as the Middle Ridge District School maintains the high degree of efficiency and service that characterizes it today, its doors should not be padlocked. The fact that it is operating on borrowed time should make no difference at all so long as its existence is justified by a showing of good words. Q. E. D.

And this, I believe, is where I came in.


School was finally out for good for the Middle Ridge School by the early 1950s.

An article in the September 7, 1951 Amherst News-Times noted, “Closing of the Middle Ridge school house and transferring those pupils into the Amherst village school system effective this week brought forth vigorous complaints from six mothers living in the eastern part of the district affected.

“Closing of both the Middle Ridge and South Ridge schools, both one-room schools, was decided upon last spring by members of the Amherst Township local school board. Reason given for closing was the decidedly unsettled status of state aid for the schools and the distinct possibility that all aid would be withdrawn. Aid was being given for only one school and members pointed out that all aid might be withdrawn. Members also stated that the state board of education has very strongly recommended that all one-room schools in the state be closed.

“Complaints of the mothers this week were based on Clearview schools being closer to their homes than Amherst and also on their having to pay tuition to Clearview schools whereas the school board has already arranged to pay tuition to Amherst village schools from tax monies. They asked that either Middle Ridge school be re-opened or tuition charges to Clearview be dropped.”

But Middle Ridge School remained closed, and by late November 1952, the vacant building was leased by County Workshop Players for use by its theatre group.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Meyer Goldberg’s First Super-Market Opens – August 29, 1951

Seventy years ago yesterday on August 29, 1951, Meyer Goldberg opened his very first supermarket in Lorain. It was located at 3810 Broadway, just across the street from the brand new A&P that had opened just a little more than a month before.

Above is the full-page ad that ran in the Lorain Journal on Monday, August 27, 1951.

The Meyer Goldberg store on Broadway was the first in a chain that would eventually include two other locations in Lorain (Oberlin Avenue and Oakwood Shopping Center), as well as stores in Elyria and North Ridgeville.

Any Lorainite over fifty probably has fond memories of the stores and the personalized service they were famous for.

An article (below) that ran in the Journal on August 29th, 1951 provides a nice description of the open house held on the eve of the store opening.


Doors Open Today at New Supermarket

Throngs At New Store

Guests from as far west as Los Angeles, Calif., and as far north as Detroit, Mich., last night attended the open house at Meyer Goldberg’s super market, 38th and Broadway.

The open house, held for business people who played a role in construction of the new market, marked the culmination of two and one-half years of planning.

In this length of time, Goldberg and his wife, Mrs. Francis Goldberg have inspected outstanding markets all over the country. The best ideas of each have been incorporated in the new market.

The building, an 80 by 80 modernistic structure, contains refrigerated equipment which came from Los Angeles. Representatives of the refrigerating firm, contractors, businessmen, and others connected with the construction of the new market were on hand last night.

Guests came from Cleveland, all parts of Ohio and several from Michigan in addition to those who came from Detroit.

Today souvenirs and free samples were handed out as the market got off to its regular seven-day routine of 8 a. m. to 10 p. m. store hours.

Goldberg and his wife are directing the entire operation and have a staff of 25 to serve the public. The owners of the new market have a lengthy background of personalized grocery service in this area. Goldberg’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Goldberg, established their first store in Lorain on 13th-st. The family came to Lorain in 1921.

Goldberg, with the exception of his college years and four years of army service, has been in Lorain for the past 30 years. Since he graduated from Western Reserve pharmacist school and served as a pharmacist in the army, he has incorporated a large drug department in the new super market.


Meyer Goldberg Supermarkets have been a favorite topic on this blog. 

Posts include a 1962 Meyer Goldberg ad featuring Huckleberry Hound; an appearance by Ghouldardi at the Broadway and Oakwood Plaza stores in 1963; one devoted to the chain’s 15th anniversary in 1966; a then-and-now photo study of the store on Oberlin Avenue; and a few of my own reminisces about shopping at the Oberlin Avenue store.


Today, the original 3810 Broadway Meyer Goldberg store is home to Dollar General. The building has been expanded and remodeled over the years.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Ted Jacobs ‘Crazy Daze” Sale Ad – August 1971

Although mental illness is certainly no laughing matter, there was a time when being ‘crazy’ was considered somewhat amusing in the world of entertainment. The image of someone laughing uncontrollably while wearing a Napoleonic hat and goofy grin became a commonly accepted cartoon representation of madness.

This ‘crazy’ theme even made its way into advertising.

Remember Crazy Days Sales? Downtown Lorain seemed to have them at least once a year in the 1950s and 60s, with ‘crazy’ low prices that had to be seen to be believed.

And Lorain was still having them into the 1970s. Here’s an almost full-page Ted Jacobs ad from a Crazy Daze Journal sales supplement published on August 5, 1971.

The ad is somewhat amusing in that the ‘crazy’ angle involves poor Teddy, the Ted Jacobs parrot. As the ad copy goes, 'this sale is so wild that we had to put Teddy in a padded cage.’ 

What’s also crazy is the advertising layout, which squeezes the Holbrook & Smith ad onto the page, creating an odd arrangement. 
Anyway, here’s a saner Teddy with the boss himself.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Former Motel on the Road to Being Transformed

The view last week
Vintage postcard view
It's exciting to see the construction work begin on transforming the old Holiday Inn Motel property into the new Road to Hope recovery home for women and children.

The plan was announced back in 2019 (here), and work was supposed to have begun last year. But various factors (undoubtedly including the pandemic) resulted in the work only starting in the last few weeks.

The Morning Journal featured a nice article about the Road to Hope project on July 31st by Richard Payerchin here.

As the article notes, only the outer walls of the buildings will be retained. Everything else – the electrical, plumbing, roofs, pavement, landscaping, etc. – will be brand new.

Anyway, at a time when old, vandalized structures are routinely and automatically demolished, it’s nice to see some actually being rehabilitated for the good of the community, in both function and appearance.


(I did a multi-post history of the motel (which was not part of the national Holiday Inn chain) back here.)

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Ohio State Fair Ad – August 24, 1951

The iconic Ohio Gate entrance to the Ohio State Fair (1966 - 2002)
We should be pretty happy that the Lorain County Fair was back this year. For the second year in a row, there was no Ohio State Fair for the general public to enjoy. (It was cancelled last year, and limited this year to livestock and educational contests, all because of the pandemic.)

I haven’t been down to the Ohio State Fair for about five years or so. I hope to make it down to Columbus next year, when the Fair is scheduled for July 27 – August 7, 2022. For one thing, I still haven’t seen the new Smokey Bear over at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources area. 

Anyway, here’s a vintage ad for the Ohio State Fair. It ran in the Lorain Journal back on August 24, 1951 – 70 years ago this month.

As you can see in the 1951 ad, back then the Fair ran from August 24 through the 31st, which is pretty late compared to now.

An article in the Journal on August 23 noted that the 1951 Fair was expected to draw a record crowd of 500,000 people. It would be the first time that the Fair ran for eight days.
The article noted, “A galaxy of exhibits, events, contests, shows and demonstrations are promised to farmer and city dweller alike. Horace Heidt and his “Youth Opportunity Television program” will be featured nightly from August 25.
“Two new breeds of beef cattle will be seen for the first time at the fair and 29 classes of galloways will compete for $911 in prizes.
“The State Department of Natural Resources will have a four-tent exhibit, featuring a beautiful lake, a fast water stream, a 10-foot waterfall completely surrounded by a 90-tree forest of all Ohio trees. Visitors will pass thru the forest to view the exhibit. A simulated natural channel will form the stream thru which 84,000 gallons of water an hour will be pumped. Another tent will show an extensive wildlife display of mounted animals, birds and fish native to Ohio.”
You can visit my other posts about the Ohio State Fair (and my time as a member of the All-Ohio State Fair Band) by clicking here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Sohio at E. 30th and Pearl Opens – August 1938

I’ll probably never get used to the fact that British Petroleum (BP) got rid of the ‘Sohio’ brand name after the oil giant acquired Standard Oil of Ohio. Even though the ’Sohio’ brand disappeared in the early 1990s, I’m still not over it – almost 30 years later. 

BP did, however, bring back the well-remembered Amoco brand in 2017 (after getting rid of it twenty years ago). So maybe there’s hope for ‘Sohio’ being reintroduced at some point, if it makes economic sense to BP.

Anyway, back in 1938, ‘Sohio' was a well-established brand in our area, since its gas stations had been around since 1912. The opening of a new Sohio station was a big event, and that’s the subject of today’s post.

Below is the large ad that appeared in the Lorain Journal on Friday, August 26, 1938 announcing the official opening of a new Sohio station the next day. 

The new Sohio Servicenter was located at 30th and Pearl. The staff consisted of Michael Kocak (the Dealer), Michael Kertez and Pete Dobrosky.

The ad copy makes a convincing argument to stop in: sanitary, sparkling-clean rest rooms; free, courteous services, including air for tires, water for radiators, windshield cleaning, road maps, touring guides; free battery service. The station also sold Philco Radios and Atlas Tires.

I like the tagline at the end: "Bring your car up to Standard!”


Today, the Sohio station’s old location at 2957 Pearl Avenue is the home of Roman’s Groceries. It looks like the same building as the gas station, just heavily remodeled.

Monday, August 23, 2021

It’s Lorain County Fair Week – at last!

Vintage ad from the August 17, 1951 Lorain Journal.
Shorter fair back then!
It’s Lorain County Fair time once again – my favorite time of year (and a favorite topic on this blog).

There was no Fair for the general public last year, thanks to the pandemic. Like many of you, I really missed it. Let’s hope that the various Covid strains eventually go away, so next year we can make it two Fairs in a row.

I’ll be out at the Fair later in the week. I can just taste that Rutana’s Hot Apple Dumpling (with extra sauce but no ice cream) already! And the skinny French fries in a paper cup, dripping with vinegar and coated with salt. And the hot Italian Eatery Stromboli covered with sauce, and enjoyed at one of the booth’s pic-a-nic tables.

I reckon I’d better start saving up calories now. Oh well, it’s only once a year – right?

The Fair runs August 22-29th at the Lorain County Fairgrounds in Wellington.

To put you in a nostalgic mood for some Fair Fun, here are a few items that ran in the Journal fifty years ago in August 1971. Here’s the full-page ad that ran on August 23, 1971.

Roy Clark and Jan Howard (who sadly passed away just last year) were the big headliners that year, as noted in this article that ran in the Journal on August 18th, 1971. 

Anyway, be sure to head out to the Fair and create some new memories. 

Friday, August 20, 2021

Reddy for a Dehumidifier – August 5, 1951

Since our pal Reddy Kilowatt’s appearances in the Lorain Journal were pretty scarce by the 1970s, I’ve had to reach back a few decades to continue to feature his ads on this blog.

This ad ran in the Journal on August 5, 1951 – a mere 70 years ago. But the message is still pretty timely, with the subject being avoiding mold and mildew by utilizing a dehumidifier.

What I like about the ad is the dehumidifier’s design. It appears to be the size of a tall wastebasket. The ones that I’m familiar with (the square ones) have always seemingly weighed a ton, making it hard to transport without risking a hernia. 

Reddy’s pretty loyal when it comes to brands. I’ve seen Frigidaire products featured in Ohio Edison (or its predecessor) ads going back to the 1920s. Maybe it’s because Frigidaire was a division of General Motors with its manufacturing and assembly plants located in or near Dayton, Ohio. The OhioMemory.org website says that the company was the world's largest producer of electric refrigeration equipment.

But this product wasn’t cheap. At $149.75, it would cost $1,564.86 in today’s inflated greenbacks.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Eva Gabor's Coming to Midway Mall – Aug. 1971

Were you a fan of the TV show Green Acres?

The 1960s rural comedy that starred Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor as the city couple that moved to a farm in Hooterville was one of the many shows we watched regularly. I remember how Oliver Wendell Douglas (Eddie Albert’s character) was perpetually frustrated in his illogical encounters with the rustics of Hooterville, while his wife seemed to fit right in with them despite her cosmopolitan tastes.

Green Acres had just gone off the air earlier in the year when the article below appeared in the Journal on August 24, 1971. It was announcing Eva Gabor’s upcoming September appearance at the Higbee’s at Midway Mall to promote her line of wigs.

As it turned out, Eva Gabor’s appearance ended up being rescheduled for September 29th. An article in the Chronicle-Telegram the next day noted, "With an entourage of hairdressers, models, wig carriers and security guards, screen star Eva Gabor sparkled by some of her fans on the way to a wig demonstration at Higbee’s yesterday. 
"When Eva Gabor, movie and television star and part-time wig salesman, sauntered through the door of Higbee’s yesterday, a handful of middle-aged ladies greeted her with a hesitant burst of applause. “Thank you, thank you,” smiled the Hungarian-born Gabor. 
"It was glamour come to the Midway Mall and Elyria ate it up.” 
Green Acres can currently be seen at 9:30 pm weekdays on the MeTV network
UPDATE (August 21, 2021)
Here’s the Lorain Journal’s coverage of Eva Gabor’s appearance at Midway Mall. It’s a great, funny interview.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

The Hot Line Joins the Sunday Journal – August 1971

As someone who spends a lot of time looking at 1960s and 70s editions of the Journal on microfilm, I’m often reminded of all the great little features that made the newspaper special back then. These include “Today’s Chuckle,” “Tell Me Why,” “Dick Shull’s TV Mailbag,” “Mahoney’s Memos,” and perhaps the most important of all, “The Hot Line.”
“The Hot Line” was a popular column designed to help Journal readers get solutions to a variety of problems. It might be as simple as providing an answer to a question like, “Was there ever a place called Gore Orphanage in this area?” or as complicated as interceding on behalf of a reader to try and cut through some government red tape.
The column had first appeared in the paper in January 1966. Joanne Deubel began writing it in February 1969.
Anyway, as noted in the article below from August 8, 1971, the Journal decided to include “The Hot Line” in its Sunday Journal edition. (It was already appearing on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.) 
If I was the Editor of the Morning Journal today, I’d bring back this feature. There are a lot of seniors in our area who aren’t internet-savvy who would probably welcome a helping hand in solving some problem. Readers who remember the original column would enjoy its comeback, and it would be one more component to differentiate the Morning Journal from its competitors.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Stoney’s Rainbow Lanes Formal Opening – August 24, 1951

Although I was aware that it was out there on Oberlin Road, south of Elyria, I don’t remember ever bowling at Stoney’s Rainbow Lanes. It was just too far away, compared to driving to Avon Lake or Vermilion.

But perhaps some of this blog’s readers remember Stoney’s Rainbow Lanes, and might enjoy seeing the full-page ad for its formal opening, shown above. The ad ran in the Lorain Journal on August 24, 1951 – 70 years ago.

The ad lists Mr. M. Stone and Mrs. A. Stone as the proprietors of the business, which boasted 12 Brunswick deluxe alleys, as well as a lounge room and cocktail bar.

I’m not sure when the bowling alley closed, but I found online mentions of it on the C-T sports page as late as 2008. The building is still out there on Oberlin Road. (See comments below.)

Monday, August 16, 2021

Ponderosa Steak House Opens – August 1971

For those of us that grew up on the West Side of Lorain in the 1960s and 70s, it’s hard to drive by Rag’s Wine and Beverage at 4743 Oberlin Avenue and not feel a little wistful.

That’s because the building that now houses the popular liquor store was once the scene of many a good meal and family gathering, back when it was the Ponderosa Steak House.

The photograph above, showing Manager Al Cooney in front of the recently opened Ponderosa Steak House appeared in the Lorain Journal back on August 7, 1971.

Ponderosa has an interesting history. 

Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright on TV’s Bonanza, started the Bonanza Steakhouse chain in 1963. The Ponderosa Steak House restaurants were launched around 1968 as a competitor. The two separate companies, both with their roots in the popular TV Western, battled it out until they were finally united under one corporate brand in 1997. (Here’s the link to the corporate website.)

Lorain’s Ponderosa Steak House on Oberlin Avenue was a topic on this blog back in 2011. At that time, the building was home to Eastern Buffet.

Anyway, it's pleasant to remember all of the good meals and good times at the Ponderosa. 

Remember watching your steak being grilled to order? The smoke and flames, not to mention the aroma, added an element of excitement. The casual cafeteria style dining was no-nonsense and efficient. The Western theme made it fun for kids, and the ice cream sundae bar waiting for you at dessert brought the dinner to a great finish.

Today you have to drive all the way to Elyria to go to a steak house. But it’s nice to remember when one was less than five minutes from our house.

The building today, home to Rag’s Wine and Beverage

Friday, August 13, 2021

High Rise Apts for Lorain’s West Side – August 1970

A 1969 view of the area
Here’s another one of those interesting ‘what might have been’ scenarios that are so much a part of Lorain’s history.

Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were still large undeveloped properties on the West Side of Lorain in the Masson School area. One of these big chunks of land was south of W. 40th Street, bordering on Marshall Ave. to the east, Temple Ave. to the west and Tower Boulevard to the south.

Developer Anthony Murello hoped to get part of this land rezoned so that high rise apartments and townhouses could be built. The architectural renderings of the proposed buildings were quite nice; naturally, however, the homeowners in that area were not crazy about the idea.

The article above from the August 7, 1970 Lorain Journal tells the story of the developer’s presentation of the proposal to the community, and the expected resistance that was encountered.

As we know, the rezoning ultimately didn't happen, because W. 41st Street was eventually extended through that area, populated with single family homes. 

South of W. 41st Street, however, things get a little odd, with the various churches and their parking lots eating up much of the real estate and preventing W. 42nd Street from going through to Temple.

Ironically, with the Lighthouse Village Shopping Center nearby, as well as ongoing redevelopment of the old Emerald Valley Golf Course and surrounding area, the proposed high rise apartments would not have looked out of place there today.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

100-Year-Old Amherst Home – August 1971

Here’s yet another blog post about a house. But unlike the subject of yesterday’s post, this house is not a new one; it was one hundred years old back in August 1971.

The full-page article above is another of the charming home stories written by Hermaine Speigle, and it appeared in the Lorain Journal back on August 22, 1971. It profiles Mr. and Mrs. Alfred J. Kreeger and their beautiful home located at 792 South Main Street. 
As noted in Ms. Speigle’s article, “The white frame house, now nearly 100 years old, was Alfred’s birthplace. He brought his bride, the former Emma Brill of Brownhelm, to it in 1929. Since then, everything in the home and much of the house itself has been restored, refurbished, remodeled or designed by its owners.
“They have scouted antique shops and auctions to find furniture which Alfred repaired and refinished. Every piece in their dining room, including a large walnut, carved chest used as a sideboard, was acquired “beat up,” and made useful and beautiful in Alfred’s basement workshop.
“Unique in their living room is a rocker which was a wedding gift to Alfred’s parents, and a marble top table which dates from the birth of Lincoln.”
Alfred was quite a craftsman. The article notes, “Alfred generally prefers to take these pieces down to basics, removing paint and varnish and separating the parts to re-glue them before sanding, staining and varnishing. His pieces are renewed, inside and out, before he’s finally ready for buffing down the gloss with ground pumice stone and boiled linseed oil.
“My furniture never needs wax or polish, it’s perfect as is,” he says proudly.”
The house – now one hundred and fifty years old – still looks perfect too.
Courtesy Google Maps

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Avon Lake Model Home – August 11, 1951

Longtime readers of this blog know that I like to post vintage newspaper ads of new/model homes for sale. They're a great representation of what was trendy at the time, and what people wanted.

Over the years, there have been a lot of them featured on this blog, including a house in Lorain on Park Drive (1931); the Master Model Home on Hawthorne Avenue in Lorain (1931); a house in Sheffield Lake on Dillewood Avenue (1941); new homes on Root Road (1950); one on West Erie Avenue in Lorain (1954); the House of Harmony in Sheffield Lake (1955); one in the Sherwood Allotment in Lorain (1957); a home in Lorain on G Street (1961); one in South Lorain (1963); one in Amherst Township on Oberlin Road (1964); and the infamous House of Enchantment on Leavitt Road (1964).

Of course, the fun is going out and seeing what the house looks like today to grab a photo. (In the homes I select for this treatment, I make sure that they are still in good shape before making them the subject of a post.)

Anyway, here’s yet another new home for sale, this time out in Avon Lake on Moore Road. The ad ran in the Lorain Journal back on August 11, 1951 – 70 years ago today.

The house (built by Trivanovich) is interesting, because of its unique proportions. It’s obviously not a cookie-cutter design.

The ‘outstanding features’ of the house include: Large living room with Thermmopane picture window; 2 large bedrooms; dining room gliding window; ultra-modern tiled bath; copper plumbing and hardwood floors throughout; spacious basement with provisions for a bar; large double garage; two big shade trees in front.
The ad noted that the house was located only a short distance from Lake Road, so it was easy to find.
Courtesy Lorain County Auditor
The ’two big shade trees in front’ must have been getting too big, or were past their prime, because they were recently removed.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Rajahland Opens – August 1971

Ad from the August 19, 1971 Amherst News-Times

Do you remember Rajahland?

If you do, then your family must have been a camping family like ours. Rajahland was a campground/resort located out on Portman Road, south of Vermilion. 

Rajahland opened back in early August 1971. It was the brainchild of brothers Rolland and John Angersbach, who decided to fulfill a dream by converting their successful dairy farm into a resort for campers.

The article below, which was written by Journal Staff Writer Dick Hendrickson and appeared in the paper back on August 1, 1971, explains how the brothers came to open the resort.

As the article notes, “We thought about it quite a few years ago,” explains John, the younger of the two at 38. He and Rolland, 41, had milked cows from their school days and had 130 head until last November. “We were mighty proud of those girls,” says John. “We felt we’d made a complete success in the dairy business, so we wanted to try another business.”

The two brothers were campers themselves. As noted in the article, “Rolly and I’ve been camping for quite a few years,” says John. They’ve tried to make “Rajahland” fit some of the best things they’d found in other places.

How did the resort get its name? As pointed out in the article, “The name, “Rajahland,” is drawn from the two names, Rolland and John, with a few extra letters to make it spell right, says Rolland. The camp's emblem is tear-shaped, with symbols of a tent, a trailer and a tree.”

The Vintage Aerials website includes a few views of Rajahland in its collection, with descriptions written by historian and longtime blog contributor Dennis Thompson. Here’s one from 1978.

The park encountered some financial difficulties in the early 1980s, but appears to have stayed open and retained the Rajahland name through most of the decade.

Today the park is known as Timber Ridge Campground. (Here’s the link to its website.) 
When I drove by Timber Ridge on Sunday in preparation for this post, the park was doing a booming business. 
The Angersbach brothers’ vision lives on.

Monday, August 9, 2021

103rd O. V. I. Camp Week 2021 Wraps Up

If you happened to drive through Sheffield Lake last week, you might have noticed all the cars parked on the grounds of the 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. That’s because it was Camp Week 2021, which wrapped up yesterday.

Here’s hoping the organization had a lot of fun and fellowship at this year’s annual reunion, which had a Halloween theme. (Note the word ‘Haunted’ added to their sign on U. S. Highway 6.)

It’s still incredible that this one-of-a-kind Civil War organization is located right in Lorain County, where the descendants of the soldiers honor them 365 days a year in their unique community overlooking Lake Erie.

Did you know that there’s an excellent Civil War museum located right on the 103rd O.V.I. grounds? It’s open during special events (like the Pancake Breakfasts) and by appointment.

To learn more about it, here’s an article that I wrote for the Black Swamp Trader & Firelands Gazette back in July 2009. It appears here through the courtesy of that publication.


103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Museum Keeps Their Memory Alive

By Dan Brady

There's a popular movie series in which the artifacts and displays in a museum magically come to life and as a result, make history interesting and exciting. Well, at the 103rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Civil War Museum in Sheffield Lake, it's the tour guides who provide all the magic that is needed to achieve the same result. That's because the guides are direct descendants of the Union veterans being honored. Let's find out how a group of Buckeye soldiers not only helped to preserve the Union, but a precious Civil War legacy in Sheffield Lake as well.

It was back in August and September 1862 that the 103rd Regiment O.V.I. was organized in Cleveland, Ohio to serve in the Union army. Approximately 1,000 men enlisted from Cuyahoga, Lorain and Medina counties to form the regiment, which was under the command of Colonel John S. "Jack" Casement.

The 103rd O.V.I. fought in several major engagements, playing an important part in the battle of Kennesaw Mountain and several others, including Resaca, Georgia.

After three years of strenuous service in the war, the men of the 103rd became very close. Thus when the war ended, a group of the men decided to hold an annual summer reunion to renew their friendships. The first reunion was held in 1866.

Early reunions were one and two-day affairs with only the veterans present. Eventually, the wives and families of the men were invited, and the reunions evolved into weeklong camps. Tents were erected to sleep and cook in, and rousing campfires were enjoyed at night with songs and skits.

Eventually, the surviving members of the 103rd realized they needed to plan for the future. An organization known as the Sons and Daughters of the 103rd was formed. As described in the August 27, 1898 Lorain County Reporter, the Sons and Daughters of the 103rd "are taking upon themselves the responsibilities of the older generation little by little. For they realize that the time is coming when there will be no reunion except they perpetuate it.

Another important step taken for future generations was to buy land for a permanent reunion site. Four acres of lakefront property were purchased in Sheffield Lake in 1907, with the first reunion at the new location in 1908.

At first, the 103rd O.V.I. grounds were a military-style camp with tents. In order to make the families more comfortable during the reunions, permanent structures were added in subsequent years. These included barracks, a mess hall, a dance hall and cottages. These are the handsome white buildings that are still visible today from U.S. 6, attracting the attention of passers-by.

Today, the 103rd O.V.I. lives on through its descendants, who continue to hold its annual reunion each August on the grounds at 5501 East Lake Road in Sheffield Lake. Membership in the Sons and Daughters Association is limited to the descendants of the soldiers. Many of these descendants live in the cottages year-round.

It's this group of dedicated descendants who volunteer as guides at the 103rd O.V.I. Museum, which is housed in the former barracks. The guides have a unique historical perspective as they proudly talk about their ancestors and present a wonderful collection of artifacts, including Civil War uniforms, shells, bullets, rifles, revolvers, caps and swords. 

Photographs of past 103rd reunions line the walls. There's even a Civil War cannon on display outside.

While touring the 103rd O.V.I. Museum, I spoke with Deborah Wagner, the curator, and asked her what it was like to live on the grounds with so much history of the 103rd surrounding her. "I wake up every day and can't believe I'm so lucky to be a part of this," she replied. "I'm so proud of what they accomplished."

The 103rd O.V.I. Civil War Museum is open by appointment only and during certain special events. For more information or to schedule a tour, call (440) 949-2790.

Friday, August 6, 2021

New Job for Johnny Risko – August 1928

When I last mentioned heavyweight boxer Johnny Risko (on this post), he was congratulating fellow fighter Tom Heeney on his victory over Gene Tunney in late July 1928.

Well, less than two weeks later, Johnny made the papers again – because he was about to start a brand new career, one of particular local interest.

So what was his new job? Read all about it in the article below, which appeared in the Lorain Times-Herald on August 7, 1928.



Mayor Decides Heavyweight Boxer Would be Good Man to Quiet ‘Drunks’ Around Summer Resort

Johnny Risko, claimant of the world’s heavyweight boxing crown recently vacated by Gene Tunney, now has another title other than that of a “pug.”

For the erstwhile Cleveland baker boy is now a marshal in his home bailiwick of Sheffield Lake, a small village on Lake Erie a couple miles east of Lorain.

That is, he was appointed marshal Monday by Mayor Fred Hosford, and his appointment is expected to be ratified by councilmen when the village solons convene Tuesday night.

Hosford pinned a big gold shield on Johnny’s coat Monday afternoon, and with no little ceremony put him through the official hand-raising, oath-taking ritual. Johnny accepted the appointment with a big smile on his face.

It seems that the summer resort which is located near Johnny’s home on the east Lake-rd is the "hanging-out” place for a gang of “drunks” as the mayor termed them, and he expects the appointment of Risko as marshal of the village to scare them out.

The Risko name continues to live on in Sheffield Lake,
at the location of Johnny Risko’s home

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Lorain Lighthouse Vandalized – August 1971

Although it’s nothing to be nostalgic about, the vandalism of the beloved Lorain Lighthouse was making news back on August 1, 1971. Above is the article that appeared that day in the Lorain Journal.

Apparently some modern day pirates had been busy. According to the article, “The U. S. Coast Guard reported that on July 9 someone broke into the lighthouse, smashed several windows, broke the lenses on the floodlights that light the building, and took expensive lighthouse equipment.

“The thieves took two brass diaphones (the sounding parts of foghorns) and without them the foghorns won’t work. They also took a $200 chain hoist which is used to lift equipment to the lighthouse and a trolley chain.

“This incident is only one of several cases of vandalism to the old lighthouse that has lighted Lorain’s harbor for the last half a century.”

It’s all pretty shocking. The article notes that the lighthouse was on federal property, and that entering it or damaging it was a federal crime. Even the FBI was called in to investigate.


If you’ve never seen it before, click here to read Valerie Smith’s comprehensive history of the Lorain Lighthouse. It’s extremely well-researched and includes some great photographs (as well as some Passing Scene cartoons).


Hey, is that a drawing of John Travolta in the Penneys ads for the kiddies to color?

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Oldest Book at the Lorain Public Library – August 1938

Do you ever reread a book every so often?

I do. It’s like watching a favorite movie over and over again. Even though you know what’s going to happen, it’s fun to revisit it.

I have several favorite books that I pull off the shelf every few years to enjoy all over again. But sometimes the shelf they're on is at the Lorain Public Library.

One of these books is – or was – Groucho and Me (1959), the autobiography of comedian Groucho Marx. I say, ‘was’ because even though I borrowed it from the Lorain Public Library every couple of years, it finally disappeared from the library’s collection.

Now, I've been borrowing Groucho and Me from the Main Library since I was in high school in the 1970s, back when library books still had the little card in the pocket on the inside back cover that kept track of when it was due. So I was pretty annoyed when the book disappeared from the shelf, leaving a hole right next to the other books about famous Marxes. (Strangely enough, Harpo Speaks – the autobiography of Harpo Marx, one of Groucho’s brothers – made the cut, although it might be gone by now too.)

When I asked one of the librarians why the book was no longer part of the collection, I was told that any book that doesn’t get borrowed very often is gotten rid of. That’s their policy.

But when I inquired as to why the Lorain Public Library couldn’t spare two inches of shelf space for the autobiography of one of the country’s best-known humorists, I received an icy glare. I’m lucky I wasn’t ejected from the premises like some unpopular book.

Anyway, apparently this ‘thinning of the herd’ has been going on for a long time at the Lorain Public Library. But according to the article below, which appeared in the Lorain Journal back on August 24, 1938, one book (actually a set of three) has made the cut for decades, making it the oldest book in the collection. The book? History of the Conquest of Mexico.

So is History of the Conquest of Mexico still on the shelf at the Lorain Public Library? It doesn’t look like it, according to the library website.

But not to worry. Even though History of the Conquest of Mexico probably ended up in a Lorain Public Library Book Sale, selling for a penny, you can still find a copy of it. There are several editions of it on biblio.com, and at least one on eBay.

I might just buy one of these sets and donate it to the library – and start the cycle all over again! But I gotta remember to borrow it more often than I borrowed Groucho and Me.