Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Jackie Snips a Ribbon – Feb. 28, 1963

Sixty years ago, Miss Jacqueline Mayer of Sandusky was reigning as Miss America of 1963. As part of wearing the crown, she had plenty of duties and special appearances. That included the ribbon cutting ceremony shown above for the dedication of the new Springs Mills Building in New York.

The photo appeared on the front page of the Journal on February 28, 1963 – sixty years ago today.

According to this Wiki entry, the Springs Mills Building is a 21-story office building in Manhattan, New York City. "The company was the United States' largest manufacturer of bedsheets and pillow cases when the Springs Mills Building was built," the Wiki article noted. "The Springs Mills Building opened in February 1963, coinciding with the company's 75th anniversary. A ten-day celebration with a fashion show and an art-and-photography exhibit was held."

With a fashion show as part of the celebration, it sounds like it was appropriate to have Miss America there to cut the ribbon.

During her reign as Miss America, Jacqueline Mayer was so beautiful and classy. It's a shame that times have changed so much in the last sixty years that it's somehow inappropriate or sexist to celebrate those qualities in the woman chosen to be a goodwill ambassador of our country. 

Monday, February 27, 2023

The Pit's Closing is... the Pits

A 1969 Journal Ad
Thanks to a comment left on this blog by an anonymous reader a few days ago, I got to enjoy one last meal from The Pit on Saturday night. I had no idea that the beloved, iconic Vermilion restaurant was closing for good at the end of the day on Sunday. 

With all of the Pit's loyal customers stopping in for a final meal and heartfelt goodbye, it wasn't easy getting in my order. I had the honor of picking up the next-to-last takeout order on the next-to-last day of business, late Saturday night, several hours after the restaurant had closed. It was a pulled pork sandwich worth waiting for.

As I live just a few minutes walk from the Pit, it has been a favorite ritual of mine to take friends there for a memorable meal. The Texas Bradys ate there, and were able to compare the Pit's fare to what they were used to back home. And just about all of my Ohio State buddies enjoyed a ceremonial dinner there as well over the last few years.

I'm happy that the Pit's owners are looking forward to retirement and enjoying life. I've heard that the wheels are in motion for a new culinary endeavor at that location; I hope it happens. But for now, the Pit and its gracious hosts (and fine barbecue) will be greatly missed.

The dining rooms were deserted when I picked up my takeout late Saturday night
A view of the original counter area before the restaurant was enlarged

In addition to being my favorite restaurant, the Pit has been a favorite topic on this blog. Click here to visit all the past posts, including a four-part history of it that included an interview with the son of one of the original owners.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Restaurant Ads – Feb. 1973

The weekend is here, and for many of us it's time to think about eating out.

Fifty years ago, there was a pretty interesting selection of eateries and nightclubs to choose from advertising in the Journal of Feb. 2, 1973. While many of them are long gone, a few are still around.

In Downtown Lorain, there was the Angry Bull at 651 Broadway (not to be confused with the same-named restaurant out in Huron). Those 'Swinging Go Go Girls" Ann & Jan were hopefully cheering up the unhappy cattle crowd.

On the West Side of Lorain, there was Emerald Valley Nite Club showcasing the B&B Trio, featuring Harry Marrotti Playing 8 Different Instruments with Chuck Morgan & Bob Berstling. Bob was the father of my Admiral King High School classmate and Four Links bandmate Bob Berstling

Out in Avon Lake there was Tropicana Restaurant, with The Burlaps, featuring Janet Pryde as vocalist.
In Amherst, there was Angie's Coachlight Lounge on North Ridge Road, owned and operated by Angeline Wiegand in the 1960s and 70s.

Down in Oberlin, you could enjoy a fine dinner at Oberlin Inn.
You could also dine at Presti's, located on State Route 511. 
(Today the former Presti's building is home to Sterk's Brickyard Bar & Grill (where I enjoyed a great burger a few months ago).

Down at the corner of West Erie Avenue and Leavitt Road in Lorain, there was Manners Big Boy, subject of many posts on this blog. That's where my brothers and I took our all-A's report cards to get a free Big Boy. Today the former Manners building is home to Beachcliff Diner.
Going west towards Huron and Sandusky, there was the Twine House, Showboat and Sawmill Creek.
And lastly, in my current home – Vermilion – there was Wayside Inn. Amazingly, it's still around and appears to be thriving.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Who had Lorain Telephone Co.'s 28,000th telephone?

One of the interesting aspects of the Grand Opening of Willow Hardware in February 1953 was the fact that the store had the distinction of having Lorain's 28,000th telephone.

The ad above, which appeared in the Journal on Feb. 20, 1953, tells the story.

"It is a promise of success and profitable business for us that our telephone is connected with 27,999 other telephone users in Lorain," the ad notes. "That gives us the longest sales counter we could want, for it stretches the length and breadth of our market."

It was a pretty good little promotional gimmick. 

But the famous phone number – 34-251 – ironically didn't last very long. The growth of the westside (and Lorain in general) resulted in those well-remembered exchanges, new prefixes and many new numbers. Consequently, by the time of the 1964 Lorain City Directory, Willow Hardware had AV-2 5927 (282-5927) as a phone number.

By the way, the 'Mr. Hageman' mentioned in the ad was likely either Herman E. Hageman, Chairman of the Board of Lorain Telephone, or James C. Hageman, President.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Grand Opening of Willow Hardware – Feb. 20-21, 1953

It's hard to drive down Oberlin Avenue in Lorain and look over at the CVS drug store near the intersection with Meister Road, and not miss the business that used to be at that location: Willow Hardware

The Grand Opening of that iconic institution took place seventy years ago this week. Above is the full-page ad that ran in the Lorain Journal back on Feb. 19, 1953.

It's interesting thinking about how that stretch of Oberlin Avenue used to be all farmland, outside of Lorain city limits in Black River Township. Then, as it became apparent that single family homes were going to be replacing the farms, savvy businesses like Whalen Drugs, Jay's IGA Foodliner and Willow Hardware began to move in during the early 1950s.

The page of ads below, which also appeared in the Journal on Feb. 19, 1953, provided some nice publicity for Jay's IGA Foodliner, Willow Hardware's immediate neighbor.

This blog post covered the opening of Jay's IGA Foodliner in March 1952, as well as how the small shopping strip grew during the 1950s.

Journal Staff Writer Hank Kozloski wrote a great history of Oberlin Avenue back in 1989 that I posted here in two parts (here and here) that's definitely worth revisiting. It mentions all of the businesses noted above and many others.

My family had a ringside seat for all the growth on Oberlin Avenue. My parents built a house on W. 30th Street a few blocks from Oberlin Avenue in the mid-1950s, followed by one on Skyline Drive in the mid-1960s.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Lenten Fish Fry Ads – Feb. 19th, 1953

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of the solemn season of Lent.

Seventy years ago, Lent was roughly on the same schedule, with Ash Wednesday falling on February 18th, 1953. Consequently, the Lorain Journal was full of restaurant ads promoting their particular fish fry or Lenten specials on the very next day. 

Here's a sample of ads that ran in the paper on Thursday, Feb. 19th. First up is one for Lorain Diner, located west of town on West Lake Road. Today that stretch of U.S. Route 6 is known as West Erie Avenue.

I did several posts about Lorain Diner. The building is still out there today, trapped on an access road overlooking the relocated highway.

Next up, are a pair of eateries on Broadway: Stone's Grill at 818 Broadway, and Showboat nearby at Broadway & 8th Street. Both of these restaurants have been discussed on this blog. I like the fun fish graphic in the Stone's ad.
Note how the relatively new post-war craze – pizza – was served nightly at Showboat. And Stone's Famous Fish Fry featuring Lake Erie Pike sounds pretty good.

Just a little off Broadway at 3001 Elyria Avenue was the Hollywood Lounge, which was serving up its own Fish Fry. (I wrote about the opening of the Hollywood Bar back here.)
Lastly, we have an ad for a well-known restaurant east of Lorain out in Sheffield Lake: Vian's Barbecue (subject of a multi-post blog series back here). 
Vian's had its Fish Fry every Wednesday and Friday. Note it advertised pizza as well.
Today, Lorain's American Slovak Club has the most well-known fish fry every Friday – not just during Lent. 
A quick look at the online menu shows that things have changed a little over the years; you can't buy it by the pound (which we used to do) and you can't order take out over the phone (which we used to do as well).

Monday, February 20, 2023

Meyer Goldberg President's Day Ad – Feb. 20, 1963

Happy Presidents' Day to all my readers – especially if you have the day off (I don't).

And in honor of the holiday, here's another one of those early 1960s store ads that reduce the Father of Our Country to a mere huckster, hawking food items in this case. It's an ad for the well-remembered Meyer Goldberg grocery store chain and ran in the Journal on February 20, 1963 – sixty years ago today.

Local grocery store chains like Meyer Goldberg are pretty much a rarity now. We have Apples in Lorain, Sheffield Lake and Elyria; that's one of the few examples I can think of. Marc's is another, but it's more regional, with 61 stores throughout Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Youngstown and Columbus, according to its website.

Anyway, the meat of the Meyer Goldberg sales ad is, er, meat. There's a nice, beefy line-up of round steak, club steak, chuck roast and sirloin steak. For pork lovers there's (if you'll pardon the expression) butt roast.

There are a few odd brand names in the ad. If you weren't insistent on Heinz Tomato Ketchup (I'm not), there was Snider's Catsup – which started out in Ohio and used to be a huge brand.

Another offbeat brand was Krunchee Potato Chips, which was based in Detroit, Michigan. Here's a vintage tin that's fairly easy to find online.

And don't be checking to see if Oreos were on sale. Meyer Goldberg had Hydrox - the original cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookie that predated Oreos by four years. Click here to visit the Wiki page to learn more about this cookie, which is often thought to be a rip-off of the more popular cookie made by Nabisco (part of Mondelez International).

Friday, February 17, 2023

Jupiter Discount Presidents' Day Ad – Feb. 1963

Presidents' Day is this Monday, February 20, 2023 – so it's a good time to post this ad. It's for the well-remembered Jupiter Discount Store located at 630 Broadway (next to Kline's). It ran in the Journal back on February 20, 1963.

These vintage George Washington sales ads almost always depict him in the hoariest manner – chopping down a cherry tree either as a kid or adult (which lends itself to a price-chopping theme) or as refusing to tell a lie (which fits in nicely with the notion of how unbelievable a store's prices are).

What's interesting are the very common items chosen as Jupiter sales items: baked ham, toilet paper, napkins, Dutch Maid Sugar Wafers, etc. 

Dutch Maid? Hey, I believe that was the same company that made the well-remembered Yes Yes Cookies (subject of one of this blog's most popular and most visited posts).

Anyway, if I remember correctly, Jupiter Discount was one of the stops on our weekly Saturday morning pilgrimage to Downtown Lorain. It was right next to Kline's, where we also shopped (and where Mom would say hi to some of Grandma Brady's old co-workers, since Grandma worked there for almost her entire working career).

Here are a couple of photos (courtesy of Lorain Historical Society) showing the Jupiter store. The photos might bring back a few memories of Downtown Lorain's waning heyday in the 1960s.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Lorain County Day at Barons Hockey Ad – Feb. 22, 1963

For several years, the Lorain Journal had a great tradition of sponsoring an annual trip to see the Cleveland Barons Hockey team play at the Cleveland Arena. It was a nice package deal, with the price covering a reserved seat ticket to see the game, as well as round trip bus transportation.

Below is the ad which ran in the paper on Feb. 22, 1963 for the Sunday, March 3rd outing. The game against the Pittsburgh Hornets was designated as Lorain County Day.

I've written about these Journal – Barons promotions before. This post featured the 1970 excursion, with the game against the Montreal Voyagers, and this one was for the 1972 event.


Hockey has shown up on this blog quite a few times, with posts about a Barons vs Buffalo Bisons game (1949); an ad for P.O.C. Beer sponsorship of the Barons Hockey Casts (1949); a hockey stick sale at Van Wagnen's Hardware (1950); some hockey sports cartoons (1950); a vintage Toronto Maple Leafs program (1967); and how Lorain almost had a hockey arena (1968).

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Long's Airport Hangar Donated – Feb. 1973

Courtesy Bob Kovach

When pioneer aviator Bill Long passed away in February 1971, it set into motion a controversy as to what to do with the 120-acre property. Many area residents wanted the city to purchase the land for use as a park, civic center or International Lorain center site. In the end, however, the Clarkins Discount Stores won out with a generous offer for the land. The Lorain Clarkins store opened at that location in April 1973.

So what became of the former airport buildings on the property – specifically the hangar (shown above)?

The article below, which appeared in the Journal on Feb. 2, 1973 reveals that it was donated by Clarkins to the Experimental Aircraft Association of Lorain County, who hoped to move it out to the Lorain County Regional Airport on Russia Road.

So it is out there at the county airport today? I had to find out.

I called the airport, hoping (naively) that the person who answered the phone would matter-of-factly point out that yes, the old hangar was out there and still in use. 

But no such luck. It was suggested that I contact the Experimental Aircraft group directly – so I did.

Jim Griner, President of Chapter 127 of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) was kind enough to quickly respond with an offer to investigate the matter by bringing it up at the next Chapter meeting out at the Lorain County Airport that weekend.

By the following Monday, he had my answer. "The hangar was given to EAA Chapter 255," he noted. "They took it down and sold the materials to provide funding for their Chapter."

My thanks to Jim Griner for his assistance. You can visit the EAA website by clicking here, and the Lorain County Chapter 127 website here, which provides information about attending their monthly meetings.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Reddy for Valentine's Day 1953

Seventy years ago, our old pal Reddy Kilowatt was doing his bit to, er, spark some ideas for special Valentine's Day gifts. Our favorite electrical sprite thoughtfully suggested a wide variety of Westinghouse Appliances designed to "help her work with greater ease" in the ad above, which ran in the Lorain Journal back on Feb. 5, 1953.

There's some great items there, but they weren't cheap when you compare their 1953 price to what they would cost in today's sad, inflated greenbacks. The Westinghouse Roaster Oven sold back then for $42.95. Today, that same roaster would burn through your hard-earned cash to the tune of $470!

But there's good news tonight if you wanted to cook a meal retro-style in the very same roaster that Reddy was recommending. It's on eBay right now for only $60!

Eldred's Stationers Valentine's Day Ad – 1953

In honor of Valentine's Day, here's a cute Valentine-themed ad for Eldred's Stationers, which was located at 375 Broadway. The ad ran in the Journal on January 27, 1953. Its 1950 City Directory listing includes "Books, Stationery and Office Outfitters." 

I like the bespectacled dog in the ad, helping to trim out the Valentine heart. (But I'm not sure why the artist is flashing us.)

According to an article in the Journal by Ron Vidika from August 16, 2014, the company was the first stationery store in Lorain, having opened its doors on March 17, 1889.

And my own research noted that Eldred's became Trotter's Office Supply around 1957, moving to 515 Broadway by 1960. It's not surprising, since the Trotter family had been involved with Eldred's.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Lorain City Directories: 1891 vs 1952

Here's an interesting article that ran in the Lorain Journal back on February 24, 1953. It compares the 1891 Lorain City Directory with its 1952 counterpart.

"The 1891 directory, a copy of which is retained in The Journal's files, was the first ever published for Lorain and was issued by the firm of Mains and Disbar," the article noted.

"The 1891 directory is a paper backed pamphlet type of publication – that for 1952 a hefty book.

"Way back there before the Spanish American War, Lorain had only 43 businesses, professional men and firms. Today it has 48 full "yellow" pages of ads for merchants. And it has 59 pages of businesses, three pages of businesses for every single business firm or professional man in Lorain in 1891!

"In 1891 there was only one attorney in Lorain, W. B. Thompson, who had Room One in the National Bank Building. Today's directory lists more than half a hundred.

"The Lorainite in 1891 didn't have much choice either, when it came to getting a haircut. There was just one barbershop in town, that owned by H. J. Groene at 227 Broadway!

"In 1891 there were two hotels, the Mentel House and Schoff House, to cater to travelers. Today there are nine listed in the directory, eight of which are in Lorain proper.

"There were two dentists, one baker, two boot and shoe stores, two coal dealers, one clothing store, two hardwares, one jeweler, one laundry, two meat markets and one tailor in 1891."

The rest of the article examines other categories, including banks, insurance men, millinery stores and churches. Not surprisingly, there were no auto sales or repair shops in Lorain in 1891 – just a livery stable.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Kellogg’s Sugar Frosted Flakes Ad – Feb. 19, 1953

Seventy years ago this month, Kellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes was just being advertised as a new cereal in the Lorain Journal. Above is the ad that ran in the paper on Feb. 19, 1953.

What's interesting about the ad is that Kellogg's was basically staging a tryout to see who would secure a place on the Sugar Frosted Flakes box as its mascot: Tony the Tiger (and son) or Katy the Kangaroo. It would seem that Tony had the advantage, since the ad copy was already stressing the clever G-r-r-reat tagline.

Anyway, the ad directed the Journal reader to "ask your grocer for a free sample," and then to "get ready to buy whole box featuring Tony, the tiger, or Katy, the kangaroo."

Obviously, Tony won the gig and Katy hopped right out of the picture.


I've written a lot about cereal on this blog. There have been several posts dedicated to Kellogg's and one post specifically about Tony, which included a Journal ad that appeared a month after the one shown above.

I still start my day with a bowl of cereal. Currently I'm working on a box of Rice Krispies, as opposed to my normal geezer diet of Spoon Sized Shredded Wheat.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

The Woman on the Cavalier China Sign

When you're a kid, you see a lot of things from the vantage point of the back seat of the family car. 

If you grew up in Lorain County, there were a lot of unusual things to gawk while driving past the city parks: giant Easter baskets; a steam locomotive in Oakwood Park; a huge letter V with a statue of a sword-wielding angel nearby; a fountain that changed colors. But most of these (except for the train) are still around today.

And then there were the commercial signs that indeed are no more: the old-style McDonald's sign with the walking Speedee mascot down at the restaurant that was located on West Erie near Leavitt Road; the animated bowling sign for Broadway Lanes on the back of the Broadway Building; the sign for Oakwood Shopping Center on Route 254 with Pearl the Squirrel (clutching her purse) advising you to "Shop at the Sign of the Thrifty Squirrel; the women's heads on the front of the Northern Institute of Cosmetology building.

Add to this list the sign for Cavalier China out on Route 6 (Liberty Avenue) in Vermilion. When I moved to Vermilion in 2018, memories of this sign on the store building (with a woman gesturing as if to say, "Pssst, look at this!") were rekindled – and I wished that I could see a photo of it.

Well, I no longer have to wish – I scrounged up a photo of it just a few nights ago while using the Lorain Public Library's online Journal archives. Here it is, from the pages of the May 1, 1965 Journal, accompanying an article about the store's move from Lorain to Vermilion.

Here's a closer look.
I guess my memory isn't too bad. On a previous post about Cavalier China, I mentioned that I remember her looking something like this (below).

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Oberlin College Landmark Endangered – Feb. 1963

Throughout the 1960s, the Lorain Journal seemed to regularly feature photos of fine old homes and other buildings that were scheduled for the wrecking ball. In some cases, there was a public outcry from citizens who wanted to save the historic structure, but their efforts usually failed, because it's difficult to fight progress.

But sometimes the citizens win – and here's just such a case. The article above, entitled "Apartment Now Faces Opposition," which appeared in the Journal on Feb. 19, 1963, tells the tale of Barrows House, the former home of Oberlin College President John M. Barrows. The Oberlin College building was slated to be demolished to make way for a proposed retirement center.

And then a funny thing happened. As the article noted, "City Council was presented with a petition Monday night bearing the signatures of more than 160 citizens who object to the destruction of Barrows House, 207 S. Professor St., to clear the two-and-a-half acre site for the proposed retirement center."

From the article, it also sounds like there were critical variances that were needed to make the project happen. 

The petition accomplished its goal. According to oberlinlibstaff.com, "The house was threatened with demolition, averted in 1963 when Professor Warren Taylor led a community campaign to prevent the Firelands Retirement Center from rising on the site."

Happily, Barrows House is still there on South Professor Street, sixty years later. Click here to visit its page on the Oberlin.edu website.

Courtesy Google Maps

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Formal Opening of Candle Lite Park – Feb. 9, 1963

Sixty years ago this month, Candle Lite Park housing development was formally opened. Above is the ad that appeared in the Lorain Journal back on Feb. 9, 1963.

Where was it located? Since I had never heard of it, I assumed it was in Amherst or some neighboring community. Surprisingly, it is out in South Lorain. It's a little hard to tell, but it looks like the model homes were located on E. 41st Street, just west of the street's intersection with Clinton Avenue. Spot checking a home or two on the Lorain County Auditor website shows 1963 as the year constructed, so I think I have the right street.

Interestingly, two of the three model homes shown in the ad are named for businesses in some sort of promotional sponsorship deal: T. N. Molas & Sons, and O'Neil's.

A Google Maps 'drive by' shows a very nice neighborhood. 

I think I found the three model homes. The three homes shown below were all built in 1963, and are on the same side of the street very near Clinton Avenue – two of them right next to each other.

I've posted many of these types of ads for model homes and new developments before. 
Besides the one for Bills Bungalow last week, there was 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); an Avon Lake model home (1951); one on West Erie Avenue in Lorain (1954); Knickerbocker Knolls in Sheffield Lake (1954); the House of Harmony in Sheffield Lake (1955); Oberlin Estates (1957); one in the Sherwood Allotment in Lorain (1957); Rock Creek Run with a second post here (1960); Lake Breeze Estates (1960); a home in Lorain on G Street (1961); Laurel Oaks (1961); a house on Colorado Ave. (1962); Kimberly Oaks (1962); Skyline East (1962); Valley View Estates in Vermilion (1962); one in South Lorain (1963); Skyline Park (1963); one in Amherst Township on Oberlin Road (1964); the infamous House of Enchantment on Leavitt Road (1964); and Skyline Park again (1965).