Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Big Snow – Jan. 16, 1968

The winter weather’s been in the news a lot lately, and that was the case back on January 16, 1968 as well. As the Journal reported that day, up to 13 inches of snow had fallen in Lorain – closing schools and bringing traffic on local highways to a crawl.

Relive those happy times with a glimpse of a portion of the Journal’s front page that day, shown below.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Run on the Lorain Post Office – January 1968

Former Lorain artist Stevan Dohanos designed this classic stamp,
released in January 1968
Back on January 7, 1968, the price of a stamp had finally gone up to six cents. This created a problem for many Lorainites who had a lot of old five-cent stamps.

This resulted in a run on the Post Office in Lorain for one-cent stamps, and a lot of postage-due letters. Read all about it in the article below, which ran on the front page of the Journal on January 9, 1968.

As the article notes in a sidebar, Lorain’s own Stevan Dohanos designed the new 6-cent stamp (shown at the top of this post) featuring the White House, with the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial in the background.

After his long and successful career as a cover artist for the Saturday Evening Post, Dohanos served as chairman of the National Stamp Advisory Committee. There he was involved in the design and selection of art for postage stamps. He himself designed more than 40 United States postage stamps (some online sources list the total as 46), and oversaw the design and art production of more than 300 other stamps.

The Postal Service’s Hall of Stamps in Washington was dedicated in his honor in 1984.

Friday, January 12, 2018

New South Lorain Branch for Lorain National Bank – Jan. 2, 1968

Fifty years ago this month, Lorain National Bank was making preparations for a brand new branch in South Lorain at Pearl Avenue and 29th Street. Temporary quarters at that location would be utilized until the new building shown in the ad was completed.

It looks kind of like a college building to me.

Anyway, the finished building looks only vaguely like the building shown in the architectural rendering.

Courtesy Google Maps
Today, of course, the former LNB location at 2850 Pearl Avenue is a branch of Northwest Bank.

A recent view

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Grand Opening of Bob's Donut Shop – Dec. 19, 1963

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 15 years since Bob’s Donuts closed at the end of December 2002. Judging by comments on the various Lorain social media websites, it’s still sorely missed.

Anyway, I found this the other day – the announcement of the grand opening of the new store. It ran in the Journal on December 19, 1963.

It’s interesting that the ad notes that Bob’s had already been serving Lorain County for twelve years.

You might remember that Bob’s was one of the businesses that was displaced when the John F. Kennedy Plaza public housing complex was built.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A Tale of Two Boston Stores

I’ve written several posts about Smith and Gerhart, the well-remembered Lorain store that was a mainstay in Downtown Lorain until it closed in 1980. As I noted before, when the store opened in 1893 it was originally known as the Boston Store.

Here's an ad from the early days of the firm. It appeared in the Lorain Times-Herald on May 16, 1901. Note that the names of the men behind the firm appear at the bottom of the ad.

By 1927, the firm had changed its name to Smith and Gerhart. The Boston Store name still appeared in the ads for a time, but it was severely downplayed. Here's an ad (below) that ran in the Lorain Times-Herald on August 26, 1927.

From a January 1, 1968 ad in the Lorain Journal
Well, did you know (or remember) that much later there was another store in Downtown Lorain that also had the Boston name?

Boston Vitamin & Cosmetic Distributors (later shortened to Boston’s Discount Centers) first showed up  in the Lorain City Directory around the time of the 1962 edition. It was a drug store offering discount prescriptions located at 362 Broadway.

The store later moved to 129 Fourth Street in the early 1970s.

I remembered the Boston’s store from my family’s weekly visits to Downtown Lorain each Saturday morning for trumpet lessons with Mr. Visci. I could see the store on Fourth Street (next to Ted Jacob's) from the upstairs window of Mr. Visci's studio at 356 Broadway.

Boston's continued to appear in the city directory until its listing disappeared in the 1975 edition.
From a December 19, 1963 ad in the Lorain Journal

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Hart’s Jewelry Ad – Jan. 24, 1947

Yesterday’s post about Muir's featured the store’s longtime Scottish mascot.

Well, in today’s post, Hart’s Jewelry muscles in on Muir’s racket with their own leggy Scottish lassie. The ad ran in the Lorain Journal on January 24, 1947 – 71 years ago this month.

Image from a 1956 Harry Volk
Clip Book of Line Art
It’s kind of amusing how “Scottish thrift” was used over and over again as an easy marketing theme through the decades. At right is an image from a Harry Volk Clip Book of Line Art that has been at my desk at work since the mid-1980s. That particular image is from a 1956 collection entitled MONEY.

The association with Scots and saving money seemed to reach its climax with the Sandy’s hamburger chain’s founding in the mid-1950s with its "Thrift 'N Swift" tagline and Scottish lassie mascot.

I guess the whole concept was finally deemed politically incorrect and insulting (or perhaps just lame and unimaginative) because I haven’t seen it in any recent advertisements for a long time.

The last instance I can remember in recent years is the Great Scot grocery store chain in western Ohio, which utilized a tartan pattern in its signage. Until as late as the 1990s there was an outlet in Port Clinton.

The chain is still around, although I think it is now co-branded with Community Markets.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Muir's Closes – January 8, 1964

Muir’s Scottish mascot frolicking in a Dec. 1946 ad
I look through a lot of microfilm for this blog, and get used to seeing ads for specific stores or businesses that ran over the span of many decades starting in the 1920s. These stores seem to have incredible runs, thanks to loyal Lorain shoppers.

Many of them were regional stores, rather than one-shot Mom & Pop endeavors, but they were still part of the fabric of the life of Lorainites.

And then, usually around the 1960s, they closed for various reasons or went out of business. It was part of an unfortunate trend that eventually helped put Lorain in its current dismal shape business-wise.

One of these stores was Muir’s Drug Store. (I profiled the company back here in October 2016.)

It was back on January 8, 1964 that the ad below ran in the Lorain Journal announcing its ‘Going Out of Business Sale.’

Apparently it was big enough news to warrant some news coverage since the Lorain store was the first in the chain. Here’s the story as it appeared in the paper on the same day.
Muir Announces Closing Of Drug Store in Lorain
Muir’s Self Serve Drug Store, 758 Broadway, original parent unit of the 30-store Muir chain, is closing shop about Jan. 15.
Charles White, field supervisor for the Grand Rapids, Mich., headquarters of the company, announced the decision to discontinue the 42-year-old Lorain store.
It was in 1922 that Boyce K. Muir and his father, John Muir, started the drug outlet, at that time located in the 500 block on the west side of Broadway.
Kenneth Muir, a brother, also worked at the Lorain store. A store was also established in Elyria.
Within a few years main offices, warehouses and a manufacturing plant were erected in Grand Rapids.
White said the Lorain store is being discontinued because the company is concentrating its operation closer to the main offices, and because the Lorain unit was the extreme eastern store, and off the main distribution routes.
In recent years, he said Muir’s has turned to larger sized outlets in Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and western Ohio.
In behalf of the company he expressed appreciation to the people of Lorain for their patronage over the years, and said the company is sorry to leave.
Mike Murphy, who has been with the organization for five years, has been manager of the Lorain store for the past year.
Persons who have brought in films for development are asked to pick up the finished pictures at their earliest convenience.
At one time there were four Muir stores in this area. The Elyria store was discontinued some time ago. The Lorain store has been at its present location for 12 years.
When established in 1922, Muir’s was known as the Muir Cut Rate Drug Store and was one of the first cut rate outlets.
The move leaves Lorain with three downtown drug stores, one at 8th St. and two in the Fourth-Fifth St. area.