Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Bills Bungalow Model Home – Jan. 31, 1953

When it comes to buying a home, one thing that hasn't changed over the years is that builders & developers like to build a model home to give prospective buyers a preview of what their home might look like (if they pay extra for all the bells and whistles).

I've featured many of these model homes here on the blog over the years, as it's fun to see what they look like now, and how the development panned out. Here's an ample sample, with most of them in Lorain and Sheffield Lake.

And here's another one in Sheffield Lake. The half-page ad for a model home known as Bills Bungalow ran in the Lorain Journal back on January 31, 1953.

The three-bedroom, Cape Cod-style home sounds pretty nice. It has all the modern conveniences, including ceramic tile in the shower, a full basement, gas furnace, automatic water heater, a modern snack bar for the kiddies, a garbage disposal, a roomy kitchen and lots of cupboard space. Add to that an eventually paved street, and beach privileges (a public beach I assume) and you have a pretty nice home.

Of course, today's home buyers (at least those that can afford to build) are more demanding; they'd probably snort at the idea of a knotty-pine bedroom. (No snorting here, I wouldn't mind knotty pine paneling in my condo.)
Anyway, today the Bills Bungalow house at 922 Warwick looks cozy from the street and is nicely shaded by a tree that has grown over the last seventy years.
Courtesy Lorain County Auditor

Monday, January 30, 2023

Restaurant & Movie Ads – Jan. 15, 1953

Here's the kind of page from the Lorain Journal of the 1950s that's a lot of fun to look at. It's the January 15, 1953 entertainment page of 70 years ago, with something for everyone.

I know I've been doing this blog for a long time, because I've researched and written about just about every restaurant or bar mentioned on this page, including Showboat, Lorain Diner, Vian's Barbecue, Gartner's Inn, and Stone's Grills

There are also indications of the booming economy at that time, with Help Wanted ads for Fruehauf and Thew Shovel.

There's also a large ad for the Brand Names Foundation featuring what I believe is an illustration of a cocker spaniel (remember, I'm a cat person).

I'll leave you to peruse the movie ads. There's some zany fare in there, including Bonzo Goes to College (at the Ohio), and Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla (at the Dreamland) with a comedy team – Mitchell & Petrillo – that's an unapologetic clone of Martin and Lewis!

Friday, January 27, 2023

Zehner's Roasties Ad – Jan. 22, 1953

Here's one more regional ad from the pages of the Lorain Journal in January 1953 to finish out the week. The ad is for Zehner's Roasties, which I assume is a brand of hot dogs (or frankfurters if you prefer).

The ad ran in the paper on January 22, 1953. I like the illustration of the enthusiastic kids, which reminds me of the work of artist Dick Dugan (mentioned on this blog many times over the years).

The ad indicates that 'Zehner Bel-Vue Brand Roasties' were produced by the Zehner Packing Company out of Bellevue, Ohio. 

The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museum website provides some history of the firm. It notes, "Established in 1884 in Bellevue, Ohio, brothers John and Charles Zehner specialized in selling wholesale smoked and salted meats and lard. They incorporated the business in 1894, and expanded with a second facility in Toledo, Ohio, in 1906. They established a reputation for excellence in processing Dresden ham under the name Bell Vue Brand. After the closing of the Toledo plant in 1922, The Zehners modernized the Bellevue operation. Zehner’s Packing closed in 1971."
You can find some vintage Zehner's Bel-Vue Brand items on eBay, such as this attractive lard bucket.
Hot dogs seem to be a recurring topic on this blog, with posts about Hot Dog Heaven (BTW I enjoyed a good meal from there last month), Frankies, and even an 8-cent hot dog promotion at Hills.
It's small wonder that I like to write about hot dogs, because chili dogs are one of my favorite guilty treats. I made some just a few days ago with Castleberry's Hot Dog Chili Sauce and they were great. The whole dinner might have shaved 36 minutes off my life, but it was worth it!

Thursday, January 26, 2023

A Better Phone System for Avon – Jan. 1953

Here's a quaint reminder of the days when everyone had a land line, and the Lorain Telephone Company had to construct these similar brick buildings to contain the dial equipment needed to improve or add service to a specific area.

In this case, the Avon building was getting an addition that would 'increase capacity of the Avon central office from 300 lines to 500 lines,' according to the ad copy. The ad appeared in the Lorain Journal on January 27, 1953.

Note the appearance of the little telephone mascot (the subject of many blog posts, including this one showing examples of him in ads over the years).

And here's a full-page ad showing the 13 Lorain Telephone exchange buildings in use ten years later in November 1963. The Avon one is shown, looking like the illustration in the 1953 ad, but not enlarged as shown.

Who could have imagined that Avon's population would explode from about 2,700 in 1950 to about 26,000 today – and that the historic Lorain Telephone Company name would be a dim memory? (Even dimmer now that the successor company CenturyLink has been taken over by Brightspeed.)


Those little brick exchange buildings have popped up on this blog several times, including this post (as well as this one) about the one on Meister Road near my boyhood home.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Regional Ads – January 1953

Lorain's relative proximity to many large Ohio cities resulted in a variety of regional advertisements appearing in the Lorain Journal in the 1950s and 60s. Brands such as Old Dutch Beer (out of Findlay), Carling's Black Label (out of Cleveland), Frankie's the Keener Wiener (out of Massillon) are good examples.

And here are a couple ads from the Lorain Journal in January 1953 with a regional connection. The first one is an ad for the Reidy Scanlan Company located on Broadway at 21st Street, featuring a White Dove Mattress Sale. The racy ad – with its well-rested, nightgown-clad model – ran on January 26, 1953.

White Dove was – and still is – located in Cleveland. Its website notes that it recently celebrated its 100th year in business, and that it was one of the first companies to introduce a one-sided mattress. (I like my one-sided mattress, because I could never remember to flip the other kind.)

That $39.75 has the same buying power as about $443 in today's inflated greenbacks.

And here's another ad with a regional flair. It ran on January 29, 1953 and promotes Grand Duchess Steaks

The comic strip style of the ad is somewhat unusual, as well as the rendering of the Grand Duchess as a princess type instead of a dowager.
Grand Duchess Steaks was located in Akron, Ohio.
So what's the story of these steaks? Here's a great article courtesy of the Canton Repository.

Grand Duchess Steaks were frozen in the '50s

'No Fat, No Bone -- All Beef!'

Gary Brown 
Repository editor at-large

"Fix 'em fast ... serve 'em proudly!"

The 1951 advertisement for Grand Duchess "Fresh Frozen" Steaks — beef at its frozen best — showed a hostess serving four steak sandwiches to guests at what quite obviously was a dinner party. Except words on the box in which Grand Duchess Steaks were packaged noted that there were five "Tender Tasty Steaks" — "Big Thick Steaks" — inside the container. Risk of a dinner table fight over the fifth steak was a reality. Frozen foods still were in their infancy early in the 1950s, and consumers may not have known how to handle a demand for hastily prepared second helpings. And that last steak — a single serving — no doubt was still in the kitchen, waiting to be thawed out and cooked for possibly multiple still-hungry people.

"It takes just 3 minutes to cook Grand Duchess Steaks — the really tender, jucier, tastier steaks," the ad in The Canton Repository said. "Serve them often — and always with pride — for Grand Duchess cost no more than ordinary brands, yet pay your guests a subtle compliment because they're the best you can buy!"

There was a reason for that claim at the bottom of the ad.

"No Fat, No Bone — All Beef!"

They Were New

The steaks apparently were introduced the prior year, according to an advertisement in The Canton Repository.

"New Fast Frozen Steaks" said an ad in the Independent for Grand Duchess Steaks published on Jan. 26, 1950. "Out of This World New Flavor."

The advertisement was accompanied by a story publicizing the product — an "advertorial" such stories now are called — that paid tribute to the frozen steaks in bold lettering across the top of the page. 

"NEW TENDER STEAK IS RAVE HIT!" said the headline over the story, which also carried a headline noting that the local Superior Provisions company was named distributor locally of the Grand Duchess Steaks.

The ad, which also was published on the same day in The Independent of Massillon, called Grand Duchess Steaks "a sensational new packaged steak, rivaling the finest cuts of sirloin or porterhouse in flavor," and it quoted A. Genshaft, manager of Superior Provision.

"The latest triumph of the science of fast-freezing, Grand Duchess Steaks are ready to eat three minutes after they are removed from the freezing compartment of your refrigerator, Genshaft said. "And because these steaks are so full of natural juices, no shortening is required. The steaks are simply placed in their frozen condition in a hot skillet and cooked for a minute and a half on each side."

The steaks had been introduced in the Akron market to the enthusiasm of "homemakers and eating places," said the ad.

"Ever since we first heard that a fast-frozen steak had been developed that compared favorably with the better cuts of sirloin and yet was budget-priced, we have felt that Canton home makers would welcome it just as Akron women have," said Genshaft. "We have watched the progress of the steaks in Akron markets and have talked to meat dealers there. Every dealer reports unusually good repeat sales and many say they could sell even more if they had more capacity for fast-frozen foods."

Coming to Canton

The advertisement as it was published in 1950 included a note from Superior to "Mr. Retailer." 

"Get ready for the BIG DEMAND," said the ad. "If you don't already stock this new steak sensation in your frozen food department, phone your order to us first thing tomorrow!"

In an advertisement on the next page in the newspaper, Superior presented Grand Duchess Steaks to the Greater Canton area. It listed stores in which the steaks were available in Canton — 18 stores in the southeast section, 33 in the northeast, 43 in the northwest and 56 in the southwest. Consumers could buy Grand Duchess Steaks in five groceries in North Canton and in 22 locations in other Stark County communities.

"For more than 25 years Canton area residents have looked upon the Superior label as representing the finest quality in meats and meat products," Superior said. "You can place that same trust, that same confidence in Grand Duchess Steaks ... a product which more than fulfills our rigid standards for purity, quality, freshness and value!

"If your dealer cannot supply you with these new, tasty, tender steaks — ask him to phone ... The Superior Provision Co."

Then it listed the number to dial. It was 5-5327. Five numbers instead of 10. This was a different era in history. If the promotion of "new" frozen foods didn't tip you off, short phone numbers would be a pretty good clue.

Brochure currently on eBay

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Laundry Detergent Ads – January 1953

Are you loyal to one brand of laundry detergent – perhaps the one that your mother always used?

Mom used Cheer (in the blue box) over the years, but I usually buy all®. It claims to be a good choice if you have sensitive skin, so that's enough to sucker me in. But I've bought other brands too that were on sale.

Seventy years ago in the 1950s, there was a lot of competition for the loyalty of housewives when it came to laundry detergent. Below is an ad for Tide that ran in the Lorain Journal on January 15, 1953.

It's an attractive layout, with the ecstatic housewife neatly dividing the ad page into copy sections with her extended arms and legs. I also like the Tide package design, which reminds me of the concentric circles seen at the beginning of a Looney Tune.

As we all know, Tide is still going strong today, with the current packaging still hearkening back to the original box.
Since Mom never bought Tide, the first time I ever really thought about the brand was when it was lampooned as a Wacky Package (below). And I still associate Tide with the slogan, "Your Clothes Will Be Fit To Be Tied."
Another detergent advertising in the Journal back then was Surf. It was a new product at the time of the ad below, which ran in the paper on January 29, 1953. 

It's another attractive ad layout. What's interesting is that Surf was hoping to 'clean up' by borrowing the brand equity of another product, Lux soap.
It's funny how many of the names of these laundry detergents are 'tied' in with bodies of fresh water (which many of these products probably helped to pollute).
Anyway, Surf and Lux are still around today. 
But don't plan on scrubbing up with a bar of Lux anytime soon, since (according to its Wiki page) it's mainly marketed in Brazil, India, Thailand and South Africa.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Coffee Ads – January 1953

Coffee is something that many of us – especially those of us that are older – look forward to as soon as we wake up. We need it to get going in the morning. I actually get a headache when I don't drink it.

And a good cup of coffee at work is – sad to say – very often the high point of my day. 

It's funny, but most of the young people that I work with don't even drink coffee; they favor energy drinks. And when they do drink coffee, black coffee is out of the question; they prefer iced coffee, with flavored syrup – yecch. Just the thing to warm you up on a cold winter day.

Anyway, seventy years ago, coffee was very often the subject of national ads found in the Lorain Journal

Here's one for a coffee that I never knew existed: Borden's Instant Coffee. The ad ran in the Journal back on January 29, 1953.

I guess Elsie just wasn't satisfied producing the stuff that you add to coffee; she wanted a bigger piece of the action. 

Here's a 1946 magazine ad for the product.

I don't buy into the premise that the guy in the ad usually made bad coffee before he discovered Borden's. In the Brady household, it was generally accepted that the male of the species made better coffee (stronger at least).
Here's another vintage ad. I'm not sure if the old gent is smiling because of the coffee's taste, or the way it's being served by his, er, maid (?) or whoever.
And here's a jar that somehow survived all these years.

I'm not a big fan of instant coffee. I tried it a few times out of sheer laziness (anything to get me out the door quicker in the morning), but I always came back to the regular kind.
Speaking of regular coffee, and getting out the door quickly, here's a vintage ad for the preferred coffee of my parents: Hills Brothers. It ran in the Journal on January 22, 1953.
The ad is somewhat amusing. The woman is crestfallen because her husband took it on the lam rather than 'take a second cup' of her obviously bad brew. But was he supposed to take a cup and saucer on the bus?
At least Hills Bros. provides a happy ending to the proceedings, although the man seems to be more interested in his coffee than his pretty, adoring wife. 

Friday, January 20, 2023

LBJ, Howard Hughes & Lorain City Hall – Jan. 27, 1973

Here's a familiar sight to those of you who read the Journal back in the late 60s and 70s. It's a typical Page Three layout, with its unusual mixture of local, national and international news. 

This page, from the January 27, 1973 edition, has some particularly interesting bits. 

There's a photographic progress report of Lorain City Hall; an artist's rendering of what American Billionaire Howard Hughes was believed to look like at that time; "The World Over" column, with some Hollywood news, including Merv Griffin's impending divorce; a preview of Lorain's Peace Celebration in honor of the end of direct U. S. involvement in the Vietnam War; and perhaps most interesting, the story of how a former Vermilion man and his family met President Lyndon B. Johnson when they were forced to land on the private airstrip at his ranch due to inclement weather.

As the article noted, "The Texas rain pounded the light aircraft of Chuck Comer, a former Vermilion man.

"Comer, who had his wife and two sons aboard, decided it was time to get down. Spotting a deserted spot on the flat land below, Comer descended, coasting his four-seater Cessna to a halt.

"That decision probably saved their lives and it brought them face-to-face with Lyndon B. Johnson, just two weeks before the former President's death.

"A secret service car quickly converged on the plane as it taxied down the strip, but the family was unaware of who they were."

The Comer family was driven to a nearby trailer, and later ushered to the ranch house. "They were asked into an adjoining room where "low and behold, there stood L.B. J." according to Mrs. Comer.

The former President asked the Comer family about their trip and "apologized for the Texas weather." L.B. J. even passed out gold pens and autographs at the request of Norman Comer, 16, who said, "My friends will never believe this in school."

"The Comers had been flying back to their Spring Valley, California home after a week's stay in Florida," according to the article. "Comer earned his pilot's license while in the Navy. After 20 years of duty, including two stints aboard a battleship in Vietnam, he retired and now is a realtor and stockbroker."

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Lorain Police Dept. Drops Height Requirement – Jan. 1973

Being particularly tall has never been a trait of the males in my family. 

Why? I guess it's partially attributable to our particular ethnic mix (German and Irish). Neither my father nor my brothers made it to six feet tall. I was actually the tallest at five foot ten and a half. Not exactly tall, but I wasn't nicknamed "Shorty" either. Just average.

Now I'm going in the other direction, and have to goop up my hair to counteract the inevitable shrinkage.

Nevertheless, I've never lost any sleep over my lack of height (especially since being too tall for my bed was never a problem). 

Which brings me to today's topic: the height of Lorain policemen. A short (or average, if you prefer) article in the January 19, 1973 Journal noted that the Lorain Civil Service Commission had "wiped away all height requirements for safety force candidates." Previously, the minimum height requirement was 5-feet 9-inches.

The article by Staff Writer Greg Stricharchuk amusingly notes that the TV detective Lt. Columbo (played by actor Peter Falk), at five-feet, 8-inches tall, would now be eligible to join the Lorain Police force.

Lorain Police Chief John Malinovsky doesn't sound too happy about it in the article. "I'll just have to put up with them after they're here," he's quoted as saying, regarding the possible addition of what he must have considered a parade of pipsqueaks. 

The Lorain Civil Service Commission President helpfully notes that he "doesn't expect the police department to take on any "midgets." 


Peter Falk and his Columbo character were the subject of a blog post back here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Restaurant Ads – Jan. 20, 1973


Here's a mouth-watering serving of restaurant ads appearing in the Journal back on January 20, 1973. As you can see, the dominant ad on the page is for Sveden House and its Smorgasbord (although I'm not sure it was a good idea to break it into three lines, with the word GAS by itself).

Sveden House was the topic of four previous posts on this blog, with a two-parter (here and here) about its history and unique name; this post about its promotional postcard; and this final one about the restaurant's demolition (always a recurring theme on this blog).

Note in the collection of ads how Italian Gardens Restaurant on Cleveland Road in Sandusky tries to stomach-muscle its way on to Sveden House's turf with its own smorgasbord. Even its ad shows a Viking ship to add some authenticity to its culinary proceedings.

Other ads include United Polish Club in Lorain; O'Henry's Pub at Midway Mall, with its Filet Mignon Steak and all-the-tap-beer you can drink (making me think of the restaurant on SCTV called The Beef and Booze); Americana Inn on Route 57 in Elyria; and Polish Citizen's Club on Caroline at E. 28th Street in Lorain.


Here's a postcard for Italian Gardens Restaurant, courtesy of the great CowCard.com website.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Journal TV Page With Harmonicats – Jan. 31, 1963

Here's a vintage TV page from the Journal with plenty of things of interest.

First, it was a good day for Lorainites making news for appearances on television. There was Lorain native Don Les appearing with Jerry Murad's Harmonicats on Premiere that evening, headlined by George Gobel. Also, Lorain resident George Jabbusch was doing the square dance calling on Friday's edition of The One O'Clock Club
There are some great ads for the 333 Bar, Cotton Club Ginger Ale, Skylite Downtown Bar, Tic-Toc (now there's a trendy name) Lounge, Supper Club and H. D. Sloan Collections (with its little briefcase-toting mascot with the string on his finger).
"TV Tonight" listings include capsule summaries of that evening's episodes of many classic programs in first run at that time, including Mister Ed, McHale's Navy, Leave It To Beaver, and The Donna Reed Show.
The "Television Programs" grid of the three channels at that time is always fun to look at.  I remember watching Yogi Bear after dinner in those days and Captain Kangaroo in the mornings.
Speaking of the good Captain, here's his theme song – the full version of it too. See if it doesn't bring a smile to your face and visions of little boxes of Kellogg's cereals being pulled around by a toy train.
Speaking of that Kellogg's train, here's Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Moose peddling some Rice Krispies.

Finally, all this reminded me that we had this Captain Kangaroo Little Golden Book in the Brady Library Collection when I was a kid. I don't remember the plot, but I hope the Captain didn't have to sneak into Communist China to procure that panda.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Guide to Dining: Corinthian Family Restaurant

Here's yet another of those "Golden Crescent Guide to Dining and Dancing" features that appeared regularly in the Journal in the late 1960s and early 1970s. On the menu this time: Corinthian Family Restaurant. The feature appeared in the Journal on January 19, 1973.

When I saw that Corinthian Family Restaurant was the topic of this ad feature, I thought that it was the one on Broadway that I had written about back here. But this one is the restaurant owned by Pete Roubekas and located in the Sheffield Shopping Center,  in the space formerly occupied by an outlet of McGarvey's. 

So what's the story?

An article in the November 17, 1974 Journal profiling Pete Roubekas revealed that he had bought the Corinthian on Broadway in Lorain in 1966. 

March 19, 1967 Journal ad

It's unclear if he still operated the original after he opened his outlet in the Sheffield Center in November 1971. But by the time of the 1974 article, he had sold Corinthian Family Restaurant and opened the Farmer Boy Restaurant in South Amherst.

April 20, 1980 ad from the Journal


Past "Golden Crescent Guides to Dining and Dancing" candidates posted here on the blog included Elberta Inn (Feb. 1969), Presti's of Oberlin (Feb. 1969), McGarvey's (March 1969), Saddle Inn (March 1969), Ponderosa Pines Park (May 1972), Elberta Inn again (September 1972), and Amber Oaks (September 1973).


A quick Googling reveals that June Alexander (mentioned as performing with her Trio at Corinthian Family Restaurant in the 1973 ad) studied at Oberlin Conservatory of Music. She released at least one album with her trio entitled June Alexander Presents Her Men in 1972. 

The back of the album notes that it was recorded in a one room schoolhouse; the photo looks a lot like the old Hickory Tree Grange Hall in Amherst.

That makes sense because in 1954, June Alexander wrote an article about the Hickory Tree Grange Hall for the Journal. (Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here.)

Friday, January 13, 2023

Reddy for the New Year – 1963 & 1973

You might have been shocked that I hadn't posted any vintage Ohio Edison ads featuring our old pal Reddy Kilowatt around Christmas, wearing a Santa cap or pushing electrical gifts. Well, that's because the only ad I could find from Christmas 1962 wasn't exactly crackling with holiday cheer.

Here's the ad that ran in the Journal on Christmas Eve 1962. Reddy's there, but the focus is on the smartly dressed woman adjusting the thermostat (no doubt turning it up).

Reddy would be happy to know that my condo has a few of those baseboard units, in addition to my electric heat pump. 

A few weeks later, Reddy made another cameo appearance in an Ohio Edison sponsored ad. This one ran in the Journal on January 8, 1963.
The ad seems to be designed to evoke feelings of nostalgia. Rather than feature a young, hip mother, a grandmotherly type is shown cooking on her electric range. Meanwhile, the granddaughter attempts to keep a tray of food away from the hungry family dog. Perhaps the goal of the ad is to win over the skeptical older consumer.
Fast forward to January 1973, and Reddy was well on his way of losing his power as an advertising mascot, with very few appearances in ads. But he did kick off the New Year with this simple ad, which appeared in the Journal back on January 15, 1973.
Reddy would be pleased that recently, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission is considering taking regulatory action regarding the health hazards posed by gas stoves. Here's the story.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Kroger Ad – January 28, 1963

Do you still buy most of your food at a grocery store or supermarket? Or do you shop at places such as Walmart or Costco that sell groceries in addition to many non-food items?

I still go to the traditional grocery store. In Vermilion, that means Giant Eagle or nothing. But I occasionally make the pilgrimage into neighboring cities to stop at Marc's or Apples.

But when it comes to old-time grocery stores, there aren't a lot of choices in our area like there were sixty years ago, when you could choose from big chains such as A&P, Fisher Foods, Kroger, Pick-N-Pay, and IGA stores; local and/or regional chains such as Meyer Goldberg, Eagle Markets or Food Fair; or the single, independent stores such as Bazley's and Fligner's.

With all those stores competing for your food dollar, it's not surprising that the big boys such as Kroger would launch contests to try and attract customers. And that's what we have below in this full-page ad that ran in the Journal back on January 28, 1963.

It's an odd ad. The contest theme is "Instant Bucks," but we don't see a sample image of a contest ticket. Instead, most of the ad is taken up with the stock photograph of a woman chef. The words ADULTS ONLY (reminds me of VL Cinema ads) and NOBODY LOSES add to the intrigue.
What's also strange is how you play the game. To find out whether your "Instant Buck" ticket is a winner, you have to "wipe off the 3 black squares with tissue or cloth using any household oil, butter or margarine." Sounds kind of messy.
So how is that nobody loses? I guess it's that fact that you could get 100 extra Top Value Stamps by asking the store manager for details. You could get another 25 stamps by purchasing one of a variety of specialty cakes or rolls, and yet another 50 by buying a twin pound cake. 
Hey, why didn't they put Toppie in the ad?

Anyway, sixty years later, contests such as "Instant Bucks" have been phased out by grocery stores. Customers now earn 'loyalty points' via rewards programs that offer dubious discounts on purchases.

Unfortunately, it's less fun than the zany contests offered sixty years ago.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Vine Avenue to Get Modernized – Jan. 1973

For many years, Vine Avenue, south of West 28th Street, was very important to the Puerto Rican community in South Lorain. 

During the early 1960s, there were a half-dozen blocks of thriving businesses, including restaurants, a pharmacy, taverns, several pool halls, three or four small grocery stores, a shoe shine stand, a tailor, churches, a dress shop, a hardware store, the Sheffield Dairy, a Lawson's, the old Hogar Puertoriqueno Club, and Chapel of the Sacred Heart.

But by January 1973, Vine Avenue in South Lorain was a sad sight. 

As the article above, which appeared in the Journal on January 19, 1973 noted, "Windows are broken or boarded up in the few buildings which have not caved in on their own accord. Men amble aimlessly in the dusty afternoon sun toward one of the darkened bars still open on the otherwise deserted street. The scene is Vine Avenue today, six blocks of desolation in Lorain."

Why was it deserted? Two words: urban renewal.

According to the article, "The Vine Avenue area was bought up by the Lorain urban renewal project which purchased huge tracts of land in Lorain under a federal grant. For more than two years now, the urban renewal project has forced businessmen and homeowners on Vine Avenue to move or relocate. Some have never financially recovered."

But it was all done with the goal of improving the area, including the construction of a large modern shopping center right on Vine Avenue. The Lorain Business Development Company laid out its ambitious plans for the area in the 1973 article. 

Today, fifty years later – it's obvious that things didn't work out the way it was planned. 

Sadly, Vine Avenue is largely vacated. The shopping center didn't happen, and there's not a trace of the small family businesses that once made up the heart of the Puerto Rican community

I don't know exactly what happened. But it's another example of how well-meaning Urban Renewal plans robbed Lorain of much of its character. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

A Gene Patrick Cartoon and the Hot Line – Jan. 1973

It's been quite a while since we last saw Gene Patrick's The Passing Scene on this blog. Gene served up two editions of his weekly comic in the Journal in July 1969, and that was it for the 1960s.

While the comic eventually returned some time in the 1970s, there were none in 1970, 1971, or 1972. Of course, Gene opened his Hobby Hub store in April 1972, and was no doubt a little busy.

But apparently he still was trying to maintain some kind of connection with the Journal. The illustration below by Gene appeared in the paper on January 12, 1973. (By the way, the article about burglaries that the cartoon accompanies is pretty interesting.)

I couldn't resist posting the whole page since it includes an ample sample of the popular "The Hot Line" column. This one has some goodies, including a person seeking advice on how to rat out his neighbor, who apparently was running a business out of her home, as well as where to buy a singing canary.

Also on the page are two of those distinctive drawings of Journal columnists, as well as a typical "Below Olympus" cartoons by Frank Interlandi.

Monday, January 9, 2023

Lawson's Krazy Kow Karton – January 1973

Back in November on this blog, I featured the Jerzee Moo Cow Creamer – a cow-shaped container that the Ohio-based Defiance Milk Products distributed as a promotional item in the fall of 1972.

While the idea of pouring milk out of a cow's mouth might be udderly disgusting to some, Lawson's must have thought it was a good idea. Why else would they come up with the Krazy Kow Karton, a carton with little fold out ears and horns, for their chocolate flavored skim milk?

The ad below (from the January 17, 1973 Journal) shows a disembodied hand (not unlike the Thing on The Addams Family TV show) pouring the Krazy Kow Karton. 

I can't tell if the little boy in the ad is giddy with excitement, or ready to barf.

Anyway, a quick search on the internet reveals that apparently none of these things still exist, fifty years later. It's not hard to understand why, since it's the thing that nightmares are made of.
Yes, if I have to remember a Lawson's milk carton, I'd much rather think of this non-bovine one, (courtesy of Worthpoint.com). It's like an old friend.

Friday, January 6, 2023

Harmon's Beach in Winter – January 1963

Harmon's Beach has washed ashore on this blog as a topic a few times.

Back here, I posted a Journal article and photo from March 1956 showing the huge buildup of sand that had accumulated, creating a hazard to boaters as well as swimmers. And this post presented the August/Sept. 1970 debate about whether Harmon's Beach should be closed to the  public because of the actions of a few. (It was, in April 1972.)

But all that controversy was in the future when the photo below appeared in the Journal on January 1, 1963.

The caption reads, "Gray and white predominate the wintry landscape in this photograph taken at Harmon's Beach, at the foot of Brownell Ave. At the upper right, the lighthouse keeps a cold and lonely vigil and near the center of the photo a sign warns needlessly – "Private beach – violators will be prosecuted."

I'm not sure how Harmon's Beach went from being a private beach to a public one, before eventually being closed.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

First Lorain County Baby of 1963

We're still toddling along in Babyland here on the blog...

For many years, the Journal's "First Baby" contests celebrated the first baby born in Lorain's St. Joseph Hospital after the stroke of midnight on January 1st. St. Joseph was the only hospital in town then.

But Lorain County is a pretty good sized county, and everybody loves babies – so the newspaper realized that there might be some interest in other 'first babies.' Thus we have the short article below that appeared in the Journal on January 2, 1963.

As the article notes, "Little Miss Shirley Green, a five-pound, 10-ounce bundle of joy, won the honor of the first baby born at Allen Hospital in 1963."
Born at 1:05 a. m., Shirley had "the distinction of being the first child born in Lorain County in the new year."

"Mrs. Green, a 24-year old native of Frankfurt, Germany has been in the United States only eight months," the article continued. "The Greens were married in Germany while he was stationed there during an assignment in the U. S. Army."
Interestingly, new father Mr. Green was a Fuller Brush salesman.
It is unclear if Shirley received any goodies and/or swag.
So is the Fuller Brush Company still around today? Sure it is – and here's the link to its website. Be sure to visit the "Our Story" page, where you can learn about its interesting history.
It was also the subject of two movies – The Fuller Brush Man (with Red Skelton) and The Fuller Brush Girl (with Lucille Ball).
We watched The Red Skelton Show (with his "May God Bless" goodbye catchphrase) regularly in our house. Although I saw him in person at the Ohio State Fair, I was never a big fan of his old movies. I just couldn't equate the frantic young guy in the movies with the older guy hosting the weekly TV show.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

First Baby of 1973

By 1973, the prizes in the Journal's First Baby Contest had been scaled back to a baby-sized portion, relative to the generosity of the merchants back in 1963.

Citizens Home and Savings Association was still awarding the new baby a saving account in the amount of one dollar for every pound of his or her weight at birth. And there was still chicken as a gift (a 20-piece chicken feast from Mister S, as opposed to 1963's barbecued chickens from Dewey Road Restaurant).

But otherwise, the rattling sound coming from the contest wasn't from a baby rattle – it was more of a death rattle. The other gifts consisted of a gift certificate from Gaylord's, baby's first pair of shoes from Januzzi's, and $10 worth of 'baby needs' from National Pharmacy. That's it.

So was the lucky winner of those "20 Tender golden JUICY PIECES of Chicken cooked to perfection" and other goodies? Douglas James Finlayson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Clare Finlayson of Lorain.

And here's the front page of the January 2, 1973 Journal with the scoop.

Of course, overshadowing everything on the page is the death of baseball great Roberto Clemente in a plane crash while he was traveling with others on a mission to provide relief supplies to victims of the Nicaraguan earthquake. It was a stunning loss, especially the people of Puerto Rico, who idolized him as the 'first great Latin American baseball player.'

I recently found the baseball bats that my brothers and I played with as kids, and none other than Roberto Clemente's name is the inscription for one of them.