Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Cheryl Yourkvitch Wins Miss Lorain County – May 1973

It seems like beauty contests are a regular topic on this blog, doesn't it? But it's not too surprising since they were once a popular form of entertainment. Plus this part of Ohio seemed to dominate that category back in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

Jackie Mayer's story of being selected Miss America 1963 has been well documented on this blog. And the Miss Vacationland competition (which Jackie won and used as a stepping stone on her journey) has showed up as well a few times (including this post).

And many of us still remember when Cheryl Yourkvitch was selected Miss Ohio of 1973. But before she could compete in that contest, she had to win a local one first  – and that was Miss Lorain County. 

Ad from the May 19, 1973 Journal
Here's the article from the May 20, 1973 Journal with the story of her victory.

And here's the front page photo from that same edition of the paper.
And this article (below) appeared in the paper on May 24, 1973.
You might remember that another Miss Lorain County, Irene Sidorowicz of Lorain, came very close to winning Miss Ohio of 1971.
From the July 16, 1971 Journal
From the July 18, 1971 Journal
Sadly, Irene passed away on October 20, 2022. Here is the link to her obituary.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

A Day in the Life of Lorain – May 30, 1963

Here's a nice feature that the Journal ran back on May 30, 1963 – sixty years ago today. It's a collection of seven photographs that nicely document the wide variety of activities that were going on in the city of Lorain at that time. You might even recognize a name or a face of someone you know!

Starting from the top left (and going clockwise) we have local artist Paul Henschke (who has been mentioned on this blog before) doing repair work on Lorain's Civil War statue that used to stand in the park across from City Hall. The statue has been the subject of blog posts as well. 

Next, we have a photo of the Polish Fishermen's Club of Lorain doing some renovation of their own of the launching ramp down at the Hot Waters municipal pier.

The photo at the upper right depicts a group of Troop 325 Scouts constructing a signal tower made of cut tree branches. The event took place at a Scout Exposition held at the National Guard Armory in South Lorain.

Below that photo is one of chemistry students at Admiral King High School; they're using ping pong balls, corks, rubber balls and styrofoam balls to make models that represent the atoms of molecules.

Down at the lower right we have a photo of a group of Ohio Fuel gas employees called the Dogpatchers (named for the hillbilly characters in Al Capp's Lil' Abner comic strip), who were to provide musical entertainment for the annual dinner dance of the Management Club of Lorain Works, National Tube Division, held at Aqua Marine.

At the lower left, we have the fifth grade class at Larkmoor School holding a Mexican Fiesta. The celebration included games, music, a bull fight skit, the Mexican Hat Dance and the breaking of a piƱata, along with Mexican refreshments.

Lastly, we have an American Legion Auxiliary group presenting a check to the Lorain County Cystic Fibrosis organization.

The photos really capture the essence of a vibrant city.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Memorial Day –1901, 1913 & 1950

It's Memorial Day – the day we honor the memory of those who gave their lives fighting for our country.

Originally conceived as Decoration Day to honor Civil War dead, the holiday's scope was expanded over the years with the United States' involvement with each additional war. 

This front page of the Lorain Times-Herald from May 31, 1901 (below) reflects that fact with the most recent war included. "With sincere devotion to a noble and patriotic purpose and honest respect for the memory of the dead heroes of the civil and Spanish-American wars was Decoration Day observed in Lorain yesterday," the article notes. "Never before in the history of the city were the exercises of the entire day carried out with so appropriate regard for the sentiment of loyalty and devotion to the memory of those who offered their lives for the preservation of the Union. Business and labor of all kinds were almost entirely suspended. Nearly every residence and business place showed the National colors in some form, and the people entered into the spirit of the day in its best sense. In every way the day was a credit to the community. By all means let us have more of the same kind. They are worth more than they cost."

The illustration of Lady Liberty standing behind the child who is decorating the grave of a fallen soldier is particularly poignant. Lady Liberty's headgear (not unlike what the Smurfs wear) is rather unusual. Here's a color illustration from roughly the same era giving us a better idea of what it looked like.
Courtesy The Graphics Fairy
Here's the front page of the Lorain Daily News for May 29, 1913 – just before the holiday. There's a nice photo composition of a soldier's memorial in a cemetery with an inset of a Civil War battle. Lorain's Decoration Day parade plans are detailed.
Fast forward to 1950. Here's the front page of the Lorain Sunday News of May 28, 1950. 
It includes an editorial encouraging attendance at the 19th Annual Lorain Memorial Community Service held in the high school auditorium. The editorial is accompanied by a nice illustration with representations of all U.S. soldiers from the Revolution War on. (The World War I soldier looks like Gary Cooper – Sergeant York of the movies – to me.

Anyway, here's hoping you have a great and meaningful Memorial Day.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Vermilion Loses Its Roadside Park – May 1963

While driving through Vermilion heading west, did you ever notice a small park-like property on the south side of U.S. Route 6, just before the Pit and the railroad overpass? It's right on the corner of Route 6 and Highbridge Road. (See photo at left.)

The reason it looks likes a park is because it was a park – a roadside park/picnic area maintained by the State of Ohio. The earliest mention of it that I could find online was from July 1949, when an Amherst group held a picnic there. 

By 1954, there were three such roadside parks in Lorain County: the one in Vermilion, one on Route 10 about a half mile east of Oberlin, and one in Sheffield Lake on Route 6 at Abbe Road.

But all good things must come to an end, and the State eventually decided to vacate these types of roadside parks that were within city limits. And so the park in Vermilion was closed, as noted in the article below, which appeared in the Journal back on May 29, 1963 – just in time for the summer picnic season.

What's interesting is that the State never owned the land, as explained in the article. It merely leased it from the owner, who continued to pay taxes on it during its time as a public facility.

There were a lot of improvements that had to be removed when the State vacated the premises: toilet facilities, a drinking fountain, pic-a-nic tables, bulletins boards and a flag pole.

I'm kind of bummed that the park is no longer there; I could have walked there in a matter of minutes from my palatial rustic retreat on Woodland Drive.
For a photo of the roadside park in its heyday, click on this link to Rich Tarrant's 'Vermilion Views' website.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

A HoJo for Sheffield Lake – May 1950

At one time, Howard Johnson's was the nation's largest restaurant chain, with its distinctive orange roofs dotting the roadside landscape from coast to coast.

Lorain had one down on West Erie Avenue that opened for business back in early November 1955 (which I wrote about here). But judging by the article below on the front page of the Lorain Sunday News of May 21, 1950, it was supposed to be in Sheffield Lake.

Unlike the final version that ended up in Lorain, the proposed Howard Johnson project in Sheffield Lake was going to include a motel in addition to the restaurant. (Lorain did have the Beachcomber Motor Lodge behind Howard Johnson's, but it was not affiliated with the restaurant.)

Anyway, as noted in the article, the Howard Johnson's restaurant/motel was opposed by Nicholas Vian, who owned a restaurant and cabins just west of where the development was to take place. The property would have required rezoning as it was currently restricted for residential building; the rezoning was eventually voted down by the village rezoning commission and – voila! – the restaurant ended up in Lorain five years later.
Today, the former Hojo building has been the home of Chris' Restaurant for many years, minus its orange roof.
Vian's has been a favorite topic here on the blog, having been the subject of an eight-part series back in 2016. I've also devoted several posts to Howard Johnson's, as well as Chris' Restaurant.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Barnaby Shills for Januzzi's Shoes – May 24, 1963

Thousands of Northeast Ohio Baby Boomers (like me) remember watching "Barnaby," the host of a children's show on Cleveland television played by the talented Linn Sheldon. Barnaby – who was originally conceived by Sheldon as a leprechaun character with pointed ears – showed Popeye cartoons and entertained kids in his gentle manner.

The most remembered aspect of the "Barnaby" TV show (which bounced around on different channels over the years) was the haunting theme song, A La Claire Fontaine. You can hear it on this post I did on "Barnaby" back in 2015. 

Anyway, by 1963, "Barnaby" had been on the air for about six years. The show was extremely popular and it's not surprising to see the character in an advertisement for Januzzi's in Lorain. The ad below appeared in the Journal on May 24, 1963 – sixty years ago today.

What's strange is that Barnaby isn't even mentioned in the ad – making me think that perhaps his image was poached from some other ad campaign or source. But no doubt any kid that happened to be perusing the Journal would know who he was.

Linn Sheldon's "Barnaby" straw hat sold for a whopping $830 a couple of years ago, as seen on this online auction website.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Employee Transit Lines 25th Anniversary – May 1963

It's hard to believe, but it wasn't all that long ago when you could get around Lorain by taking the bus.

Mom talked about it once in a while, and how convenient it was for her when she was going shopping Downtown. Unlike my father, she didn't remember the streetcar era too much, which immediately preceded the buses.

And sixty years ago this month, the Lorain Employee Transit Lines was celebrating its 25th anniversary of serving the city. As the article below notes, "The bus line received its franchise March 7, 1938, from city council with the stipulation that operation be instituted May 1, the day the street cars of the old Lorain Street Railway Co. stopped running."

"The buses first operated from a vacant lot in the 1900 block on Broadway, near Rudy Moc's photography studio. Later the present garage was built at 219 N. Broadway," according to the article.

As part of the anniversary celebration, the bus company was offering free rides on all city routes from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Merchandise certificates valued at $1 each for various stores were to be given out every ten minutes on the buses.

It was only about eight months earlier in Sept. 1962 that Employee Transit Lines had added eight new buses to their line (which I wrote about here).


It appears that in 1967, Employee Transit Lines was purchased by William W. Cumming of Indianapolis, a retired Cleveland district sales manager for Ford Motor Company. New management was installed at that time.

By the early 1970s, the well-remembered SBS Transit was providing some local bus service, making trips from the Loop in Downtown Lorain out to South Lorain and then to Midway Mall and Elyria, and then back.

Today, at least there is the Lorain County Transit, which I'm sure helps some people get to work or school. Its website includes information about its Fixed Bus Route Schedule here.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Death Records Can Be Fun: Don Hilton Talks About His Latest Book

You've read and enjoyed his humorous and whimsical comments here on the blog almost every day. But did you know that he's also a published author with eight books to his credit?

Of course, I'm talking about Don Hilton. He didn't grow up in Lorain County, but that hasn't stopped him from writing a few popular tomes with that theme, including Murders, Mysteries and History of Lorain County, Ohio 1824 - 1956 (which I wrote about here) and Dearly Departed Judges of Lorain County, Ohio 1824 - 2020.

Well, his seventh book came out last year, and I never got around to reviewing it. It's entitled (and it's a mouthful), "Early Death Records of Lorain County, Ohio: A Companion Guide • Probate Court: 1867 - 1908 • Coroner Inquests: 1878 - 1938."

As usual, Don and I met at the Lorain Public Library, so we could talk about the new book (and I could mooch a free, autographed copy).

So what was the idea behind this book?

"It was something to keep me busy during the Pandemic," explained Don.  "I hate to be bored. I had worked with the death records when I did the ‘Murder’ book, so I knew that they existed and how they were structured.
So Don had an idea. "To keep myself busy," he said, "I’ll transcribe the death records into an Excel sheet so that I, or anybody, could use it for research. And sort by what they died from, or where they died, or the location of their death, etc."
The probate records were available online, so he was able to work at home. Eventually, however, he needed to work with the original paper records – and that's when he realized that he had a lot of questions. As he explained in the Preface to the book: "How was it these records came to be? What was their reason for being? How was the data collected? Who was doing the recording? How were the records kept by the court and coroner related? How were they different?"
As a result, Don decided to write a book that would answer the above questions. Thus the book is a comprehensive guide to understanding the probate and coroner inquest volumes. For anyone doing family tree research in Lorain County, the book is an indispensable resource.
It's somewhat complicated trying to do research using Coroner's records and understanding them, and this book will help a lot. As Don notes, "Coroner’s records are kind of loosey-goosey – they might use ‘generally smashed’ as a cause of death; you’ve got to go look that up – someone was caught under a train."
I had two Brady relatives – my Great, Great Grandfather Brady, and one of his sons – that were both killed by trains in Ohio

"There were tons of people killed by trains," said Don. "In the wintertime, the only places that were cleared to walk were train tracks. 

"And while roads in Ohio were notorious for zigging and zagging, the train goes from here to there – the shortest distance. People walked the tracks, as well as streetcar tracks."

Don's book explains why there might be a record of one of my relative's train-related deaths and not the other. I told him I could have used this book thirty years ago when I was doing my family tree research and having nothing but problems.

But the book is here now and would be helpful to anyone researching their Lorain County and/or Ohio roots. It's written in Don's trademark style – light and fun.

"It’s not scholarly, laughed Don, "but it’s fact based.

"It’s kind of cool."

And what about the Lorain County Death Records Spreadsheet that Don was compiling that triggered the book? The spreadsheet is downloadable for free on his websitewhich also has links for the purchase of all of his books – including his latest, The Vanishing of A. E. Lehman, which just came out a few days ago.

The attractive cover design is by Kat Sikord Hilton (Don's wife)

Friday, May 19, 2023

Mount Summit Hotel Ad – May 11, 1963

Before the internet, planning a vacation in the 1960s meant doing a little research. It required looking at ads in the back pages of magazines and the travel sections of newspapers for ideas; perhaps writing to an attraction to request a brochure; sending away for a directory of lodgings, such as campgrounds, resorts, hotels or motels; and making a lot of phone calls for reservations. 

Travel agents and organizations like AAA made it a little easier in many cases. But since you couldn't visit a website or read an online review, there was still a slight air of mystery about your vacation that made it an adventure. 

And that's what's going on here, with this ad for Mount Summit Hotel that ran in the Lorain Journal back on May 11, 1963. While the illustration gives the impression that it's a beachfront resort, it's actually a mountain resort, atop Mt. Summit.

As the ad copy notes, "This 1,000 acre Mountain-Resort provides golf on a challenging course, an olympic-size pool – with cabanas – tennis and hiking through mountain trails. Also, nightly dancing, famous for good food and a complete program of entertainment and social activities. Perfect for honeymooners. So why lose valuable vacation time traveling? Write today for brochure and rates or contact your favorite travel agent."

The ad helpfully points out that Mount Summit Hotel is only a four hour drive from Lorain, which is a nice touch. I also like the use of the U. S. Highway 40 shield in the road sign illustration, letting the potential tourist know which main route the resort is on.

Here are a 1960s brochure and vintage postcards of the hotel. It looks like quite a place.

And, happily, it still is today. 
Click here to visit the website of the Historic Summit Inn resort, now open for its 116th season.
I'm hoping that since the resort is in Pennsylvania – ancestral home of Don Hilton – that perhaps the author and blog commenter spent a memorable summer there in his youth, bussing tables or as a cabana boy, and collecting observations for a future, wistful 'rite of passage' memoir.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

American Ship Building Article – May 18, 1963

Yesterday in a comment left on the blog, my old Masson School classmate Mike Kozlowski mentioned that his father worked at American Ship Building. So this article from the May 18, 1963 Journal of sixty years ago today might be of interest to him.

It's a pretty well-written history of American Ship Building, featured as part of the "Perspective" series of articles presented by the newspaper. It covers the beginnings of the company in 1899 and proceeds through the decades, identifying the company's accomplishments as well as notable ships.

A nice sidebar by Ralph E. Neumeyer looks specifically at the history shipbuilding on the banks of the Black River in Lorain. It notes, "A rough count would show about 300 wooden steam and sailing vessels built prior to the American Shipbuilding Co. arrival in 1899, and a similar number of ships of all types in the next 60 years.

A U. S. Great Lakes registry chart reveals that at the time of the 1963 article, 85 vessels of the Great Lakes ore fleet were built in the Lorain Yards


I devoted several blog posts to the Roger Blough.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Lorain City Hall/On Area Screens – May 1973

Lorain was really on the move in the early 1970s, with various urban renewal projects getting underway, as well as the construction of the new City Hall.

In my own mind, I seem to mark the transition of 'old' Lorain to 'new' Lorain with the demolition and replacement of the old, decrepit City Hall. I've written about it many times here on the blog, initiating several debates as to its attractiveness and whether or not it was too big.

The above page from the May 11, 1973 Journal shows the old City Hall literally in the shadow of its replacement. The irony mentioned in the article is that the new one wasn't quite ready for the city officials to move into at the time they were being booted out of the old one.

I've included the whole page since its always interesting to see what else was going on – in this case what movies were showing on area screens. The one that leaps out to me is The Poseidon Adventure, an early disaster film, showing at the Tower Drive-in.

We saw The Poseidon Adventure at Amherst Theatre, naturally. I remember the movie was kind of depressing since so many of the main characters in the movie perished while trying to escape the overturned ship. (I also recall the hilarious Mad Magazine parody of the movie, which you can read here.)

I can see that about that time, there really weren't too many family movies to see, except for the latest sappy Disney fare. Camelot was in re-release at Midway Mall, and I remember seeing it there a few years later on one of my first dates. Some of the tunes got stuck in my head, and I was shocked to discover one of my Ohio State roommates was similarly (and unfortunately) afflicted, and only too happy to start singing, "C'est Moi! C'est Moi!"

Other than that, the 1973 movie page is a real grab bag of flicks that reflect the times, including 5 Fingers of Death at the Lorain Drive-in; The Mack at the Palace; 1776 at the Tivoli; Lady Sings the Blues at the Ohio Theatre; and The Legend of Boggy Creek at the Avon Lake Theater.

The only movies that have any star power (in my humble opinion) would be Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw in The Getaway at the Amherst Theatre, and The Wild Bunch, the bottom half of the double feature at the Lorain Drive-in. Believe it or not, I never saw The Wild Bunch until recently, on either GRIT-TV or the 'Movies' channel.
Anyway, I'm not a big fan of 1960s and 70s 'revisionist' Westerns, unless they star Clint Eastwood.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Old Dutch Beer Ad – May 17, 1963

Regular readers of this blog know that – like Reddy Kilowatt – Old Dutch Beer will show up sooner or later on a post.

And here's a huge ad for my parents' favorite beer that ran in the Journal back on May 17, 1963. 

The brewery in Findlay, Ohio had merged with International Breweries of Detroit around 1957. The merger resulted in the decision to redesign the classic Old Dutch label featuring the elderly German couple to bring it under the International banner. The result was a rather bland design with none of the charm or heritage of the original label.

Fortunately, in 1966 the corporate owners realized their mistake and restored Old Dutch's original label design (which I wrote about on this post). 

Anyway, the 1963 ad is interesting because it stresses quantity over quality, with the introduction of an 8-pack. The copy is a little offbeat, referring to the new "handiest, dandiest" way to enjoy Old Dutch in those "shorty, sporty, space-saving bottles."

Talk about lame, tame, copy.


Elsewhere on the page, as usual, there's plenty of fun stuff: an ad for Putt-R-Golf on Oberlin Avenue; an ad for Cloverleaf Speedway where Dennis Thompson was no doubt tearing up the track; and an ad for Welch's Sport Shop on Broadway, specializing in fishing tackle, rod & reel repairs, Coleman camping equipment, guns, ammo, and archery supplies.

Isn't it great to be reminded of the days where the Journal printed all of the bowling and golf league scores? Lorain was a real community back then. It's also neat to see all of the racetrack results; it makes me imagine a bunch of Damon Runyon characters on Broadway, crowded around a pay phone, waiting to call their bookies.

And at the top of the page is Jack Nicklaus' "Tip a Day" sports feature. Those are some pretty good illustrations of the Golden Bear. I saw him on TV a few weeks ago, with Lee Trevino (one of my Dad's favorites) and Annika Sorenstam, who I used to love watching play. It made me feel good to see them all.

That's Lee Trevino at left, then Annika, Gary Player, and Nicklaus

Monday, May 15, 2023

Midway Mall Sports Show – May 1973

It's strange to drive by Midway Mall these days, knowing that the property is going to be redeveloped by its new owner, the Lorain County Port Authority. Possible plans include transitioning it away from retail and towards health and wellness, with Cleveland Clinic as an anchor tenant. We'll have to wait and see.

In the meantime, it's fun to look back at the Mall's heyday of the 1970s when there was always some kind of show or exhibit going on. Below is an ad for just such an event : Midway Mall's Sport Show. It ran in the Journal back on May 17, 1973.

Hey, Boo Boo!
This drawing is a boo boo!

It's a fun ad. You have a great French-Canadian lumberjack character, "Paddling Pierre," drawn by none other than Bob Lynch, the Chronicle-Telegram's resident cartoonist and creator of Petey the Pioneer, the Elyria High School sports mascot. On the other hand, you have a lousier-than-the-average drawing of the smarter-than-the-average bear, Yogi Bear, apparently at the Mall to plug his Jellystone Park Resorts.

There's something for everyone: an appearance by former Ohio State Football player and Cleveland Brown Dick Schafrath; square dancing; a fishing rodeo for the kids; a first aid demonstration; a free putting green; a swimming pool exhibit; taxidermy demonstrations; a backpacking demonstration; and a canoe exhibit.

Yup, this show seems to have been designed for a manly, rugged woodsman like myself. I mean, how could I pass up a chance to meet Yogi Bear?

I just hope Yogi's costume was more bearable than the unreasonable facsimile of him in the ad.


Midway Mall and its special events have been the topics of many posts on this blog.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Grand Opening of Sunshine Farms Restaurant – May 10, 1963

While it probably doesn't invoke the same nostalgic pangs as Lawson's, Convenient Food Mart is still well-remembered in Lorain County by those who shopped at any of their ubiquitous stores.

One of the main reasons to shop there is the fact that the chain carried milk and dairy products made by Sunshine Farms of Elyria. Remember the dairy's distinctive packages featuring a smiling sun?

And sixty years ago, Sunshine Farms opened its own restaurant at its headquarters in Elyria. In 1963, the company had a Lake Avenue address. Today, it's 123 Gateway Boulevard North.

Here's the ad that ran in the Journal on May 10, 1963.

Judging by the menu (with pancakes, sandwiches and businessmen luncheons) it sounds like it was a full-service restaurant. There was also a 'Dairy Superette' on the premises to sell ice cream cones and soft drinks.
In business since 1911, Sunshine Farms later became a unit of ConSun Food Industries, which operated the local Conveninent Food Mart stores.

It's kind of sad what happened to Sunshine Farms. In March 2007 it was purchased by Smith Dairy of Orrville. Smith Dairy then became the dairy supplier to the Convenient Food Marts operated by ConSun, and dairy productions on Gateway Boulevard ceased. 

Here's a Google Maps view of the building today.

Today, the Convenient Food Mart chain is apparently no more in Lorain County. Its website is down, and the one or two remaining stores have been rebranded with new names that are just similar enough to the old name as to be confusing. 

Like Lawson's and Open Pantry, we can only visit the stores in our memories.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

George May Ford Ad – May 2, 1963

The process of buying a used car sure has changed over the years.

For many people looking to buy, the newspaper was always the first stop – checking out the listings in dealer ads, as well as combing the classified ads. And then, just as now, you could go over to a used car lot and look around, knowing that you were going to get swarmed by the sales staff. And for those who preferred the serendipitous approach, there were always the cars parked in driveways with a sign taped to the window with a phone number.

And all that's changed. People are very willing to buy cars on the internet – without even driving them! I guess the convenience of has revolutionized the industry. Plus Carvana bought up all the used cars!

Anyway, sixty years ago, car dealers still took out huge ads in the newspaper with eye-catching graphics – like this one for George May Ford (an occasional topic on this blog over the years). It ran in the Journal back on May 2, 1963.

I like the fun Western theme. Isn't it funny how it's been used by so many Lorain County businesses, like Heilman's Ranch House, Johnny's Country & Western Bar, as well as the Saddle Inn in Avon Lake? There was also the Westgate Shopping Center, which took the same marketing approach. And don't forget Wild West Sarsaparilla, Pardner!

George May even provided free pony rides for the little buckaroos with a souvenir photo to (cowboy) boot.

Surprisingly, there's quite a selection of non-Ford vehicles in the ad: Chevies, Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs, Volkswagen, etc. And each is 'branded' with a special price.

A few years later, George May aimed for an older crowd, with his 'Champagne Weekend' promotion featuring Jackie Rancourt of WEWS TV.


The Bradys bought a lot of used cars over the years. Dad had an arrangement with Joe over at Milad's in Amherst to give him a call whenever a really good used Cutlass showed up. We bought a few that way. There was also one bought from a high school kid (the Cutlass with mag wheels, and a driver's door filled with broken glass that leaked out a hole at the bottom) and one bought from one of Mom's U. S. Steel co-workers. We had quite a fleet of them in the driveway at one time (which I wrote about here). 

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Jay's Sparkle Anniversary Ad – May 2, 1963

April 1962 photo from the Journal
Here's a full-page ad from the May 2, 1963 Journal promoting the one-year anniversary of Jay's Sparkle Market at its location at W. 38th and Oberlin Avenue in Lorain.

Previously, Frank J. Jursinski's grocery store was one of the pioneering businesses on the corner of Meister Road and Oberlin Avenue. It's been the subject of many posts on this blog.

It's unfortunate that even as the store was celebrating its anniversary at the new location, it was being picketed (as noted on Monday's post). 

The store didn't last long at that location, becoming part of the Meyer Goldberg chain in 1965.


As usual, it's interesting to see what products were on sale.

Right away, I saw "3-Lb. Can of SPRY," which I'd never heard of. A quick Googling revealed Spry was vegetable shortening – a Crisco competitor. I'm not sure what the name signifies.

I noticed the illustration of the jar of Kraft Miracle Whip, a key ingredient in our Brady homemade sandwich spreads that we made with ham, baloney (or bologna if you prefer) and tuna fish. There's also Hills Brothers – the Brady favorite coffee. 

Lastly, the ad included a small blurb about Sparky the Clown making an appearance, apparently named for the store. I guess they forgot about this guy (below).

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

North Ridgeville Historical Article – May 1963

The City of North Ridgeville doesn't get too much attention on this blog, so here's a historical article (above) related to that city. It's from the May 2, 1963 Journal and tells a little bit of the history of the Gilder family's business, and how it evolved from a blacksmith shop to a modern Shell service station (that at that time was located on the northeast corner of Center Ridge Road and today's State Route 83).

It notes, "Gilder's Shell Service, one of the oldest surviving businesses in North Ridgevlle, has undergone several changes since the turn of the century.

"Charles Gilder, after an apprenticeship with his brother at Field's Corners, started his own blacksmith business in 1900 when he bought the property across from the present high school.

"He shod horses and repaired wagons and carriages for residents and travelers on the Cleveland road."

The article points out that the coming of the 'horseless carriage' meant the transition of the blacksmith shop to a garage. Over the years the Gilder family kept the business going, and the 1963 version of it was the aforementioned Shell station.

What's interesting is that the house shown in the photo – referred to as the Humphrey House, the first brick house built in North Ridgeville – was razed to make way for the Shell station.

Here's a photo (looking east) showing the Humphrey House as it looked in 1905 at its location on Center Ridge Road, courtesy of the North Ridgeville Historical Society's Facebook page. It's the house on the far right.

The caption accompanying the photo notes that it was a stagecoach hotel and tavern known as the Farmers Inn, built by Joseph Humphrey in 1830. It was torn down in 1962.

The former Shell station as it looked in Sept. 2021
Click here to read about the "Gilder Anvil" from the family's blacksmith business on the North Ridgeville Historical Society website.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Journal Front Page – May 1, 1963

It was nice over the weekend, but it was only a week or so ago that a little snow fell in Northeast Ohio. 

While the concept of the weather being completely nuts seems like a relatively new trend, it's something that's been happening for a while. Case in point: check out the front page of the Lorain Journal from May 1, 1963 shown above, to revisit kooky weather from sixty years ago this month.

"Howling winds and snow squalls blasted Lorain County Tuesday night jarring spring with subfreezing temperatures and whitening the ground," noted the article. "Ohio Edison officials said today service was interrupted in Lorain and Sheffield Lake when winds gusting to 40 miles an hour played havoc with the electric wires.

"A mass of cold air moving across the Buckeye state late Tuesday sent readings below freezing in all except the extreme southeast counties.

"Snow was seen this morning on the roofs of many Lorain cars and houses.

"Hot wires popped and sizzled for about two hours shortly after 10 p.m. Tuesday at Lake Rd. and Irving Park, Sheffield Lake.

"Sheffield Lake police reported large plate glass windows were blown out at Brownie's Market, 5260 E. Lake Rd., and at the Lawson store at 4282 E. Lake Rd."

Well, at least Brownie's is still around.

Elsewhere on the front page: a woman flies her small plane from California to Hawaii alone, making history; Cuban prime minister Fidel Castro visits Soviet Premier Khrushchev on May Day and watches the annual parade on Red Square; two Cleveland labor unions picket in front of Jay's Sparkle Market at 3817 Oberlin Avenue in an effort to organize the store's 22 employees; and the Employees' Transit Lines, Inc. celebrated its 25th anniversary of providing bus service to the community.

Friday, May 5, 2023

Polansky's Market Article – May 6, 1973

Lorain County is lucky to have so many great meat markets.

No, not that kind of meat market. I mean the type where you can get beautiful steaks, chuck or (if you'll pardon the expression) rump roasts, pork shoulders, etc. – all custom cut and wrapped for you with care by people who want you to be satisfied with your purchase.

Fligner's, Polansky's, Vermilion Farm Market, McConnell Meats... the list goes on and on. I'm sure everyone has their favorites.

Speaking of Polansky's (a favorite topic on this blog since I shop there occasionally), here's a nice article from the May 6, 1973 Lorain Journal that profiles the couple that started the business: Steve and Sophie Polansky. 

It notes that they first "took charge of an anemic meat market at Long Avenue and 14th Street in the 1930's." From that one store they built a small empire consisting of three stores. But in the late 1950s they decided to consolidate their efforts at the Dewey Road location, where the store continues on to this day.

In the article, it is noted that "They buy only local beef, lamb and veal, and purchase as much local pork as the market allows."

Veal is one meat that never crosses my mind when I'm planning my meals for the week. It should, because Mom made a few veal dishes as Sunday dinners when I was a kid. Veal birds and city chicken are the ones that come to mind. (I always used to get them mixed up because of the 'bird/chicken" thing.)

Good thing I have my trusty Better Homes & Gardens Meat Cook Book, which has color photos of each.

Veal Birds
City Chicken
In the mid-1970s, Mom used to buy big boxes of frozen veal cutlets. (I think it was somehow related to her taking a cooking class from a gentleman named Otto, who was the chef who ran the executive lunchroom at U. S. Steel. We ate a lot of those veal cutlets when I was in high school.

And it's probably been forty years since I ate any veal at all.