Monday, February 19, 2018

St. Joseph’s Hospital to Enlarge – Feb. 19, 1907

Although the oldest wings of the former St. Joseph Hospital building were torn down three years ago, it will remain a big part of many Lorainites’ collective memories.

One hundred and eleven years ago today, the hospital unveiled the architectural rendering of the new structure on the front page of the Lorain Daily News of Feb. 19, 1907.

Here’s the story as it appeared in the paper that day. (Part of the article was unreadable due to the age of the paper and quality of the microfilm, and I have indicated that in my transcription.)


New Wing, Nucleus of Future Enlarged St. Joseph’s Hospital

The accompanying photograph shows the new addition to St. Joseph’s hospital the designs of which have just been completed by Architect H. E. Ford. The building is the first of a group of four wings. It will be built on the north side of the present structure and will have a frontage of 100 feet on Penfield avenue and 40 feet on Kent street. It will be of brick, three stories high and will be absolutely fireproof and will cost $20,000. The building will be connected to the present building by passage ways nine feet in width.

The basement will be used for a clinic and free dispensary. The second floor will contain four large rooms with toilet and other rooms, including diet dining room. The upper floor will have thirteen small ward rooms with one or two beds each. There will be toilet rooms, linen rooms and diet dining rooms. Plans will be prepared so that the contractors can bid within two weeks and work will commence as soon as the contract [unintelligible].

As soon as possible another wing will be built on the south side of the present building which will connect the two front wings by an administration building. From the north and south buildings there will extend westerly two other wings so that the present frame structure will be completely surrounded.

The whole building, when completed, will have a frontage of 235 feet on Penfield avenue and will cost over $150,000.

I never realized that St. Joseph Hospital had been built in stages as described in the article.

You can see the transition as it unfolds in the vintage postcards below. (I’ve included postmark years when they were available.)


Friday, February 16, 2018

Grand Opening of Fisher Foods at Westgate – Feb. 1958

Well, it's Friday – and back in the 60s and 70s, that meant it was grocery shopping day in the Brady Household. (I still tend to do it on Friday.) So it's a good day to post this full-page ad.

It's the Grand Opening ad for the new Fisher Foods store that was located at the Westgate Shopping Center at 21st and Leavitt in Lorain. The ad for the regional grocery store giant with the longtime Lorain presence ran in the Lorain Journal on Feb. 19, 1958 – 60 years ago this month.

As the Wiki link above noted, Fisher Foods eventually merged with the Fazio’s chain of stores.

It’s strange thinking about how many big grocery store chains are either no longer in Lorain (Kroger’s, Sparkle) or kaput altogether (A&P, Pick-N-Pay, Finast, Fazio’s).

Back in 2011, I did a post about going grocery shopping as a kid with Mom back here.

Anyway, here’s a 2012 view of the former Fisher Foods location at Westgate.

And here’s an October 2016 view of most of the shopping center, looking somewhat worse.
And finally, here’s a recent view.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

A “Super" Way to Spend an Afternoon

Since I work in Cleveland, I’m usually loath to turn around and go back into town after work for any reason. However, a ‘super’ suggestion by a co-worker convinced me to make the trek into Downtown Cleveland on a Saturday afternoon.

What brought me back into town? The terrific exhibit at the Cleveland Public Library – Superman: From Cleveland to Krypton. It's on display through March 31, 2018. If you're a fan of the Man of Steel and want to learn about his Cleveland roots, it's an impressive exhibit not to be missed.

Here's the link to its page on the Cleveland Public Library website.

Large backdrops with er, super graphics tell the story.

The exhibit features tons of memorabilia and artifacts in display cases from several well-known collections. Just about anything related to Superman that you can think of is on display, including original comic strip art, original costumes from the TV series and movies, rare photographs, posters, toys, lunch boxes, cereal boxes, autographed items – you name it, it's there.

It's all methodically organized and displayed in a beautifully-designed setting that is almost overwhelming to a nostalgia buff. Music, clips and sounds from the TV series and movies play in the background as well. I found myself strangely choked up as I took it all in and confronted various pop culture artifacts that made me feel like a kid again.

The funny thing is, my introduction to Superman as a kid was only through watching the Adventures of Superman TV series that ran on one of the UHF channels after school. We never had any of the comic books. To us, the guy on TV (George Reeves) was Superman.

There was an advertisement (below) featuring Superman (promoting the Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey) that ran in the back of the DC Comics (The Adventures of Bob Hope and The Adventures of Jerry Lewis) we did have around the house.
Anyway, if you're a fan of one or all of the various comic book, TV and movie incarnations of Superman, you won't want to miss this terrific exhibit at the Cleveland Public Library.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Corby's Whiskey Ad – Feb. 14, 1958

Whiskey ads ran in the Lorain Journal almost every day back in the 1950s, and consequently have been regular blog fodder for me.

I sure have done a lot of posts about whiskey, including Old Log Cabin, Schenley, and PM.

It's always interesting to see how the advertising plays up some aspect of their history or heritage to make the whiskey more desirable.

Above is an ad for Corby's that ran in the Lorain Journal on February 14, 1958 – 60 years ago today. In this case, Corby's Canadian heritage is revealed.

I really like the line art of the totem pole. The caption says, "This Indian totem pole stands in Vancouver, Canada."

The totem pole in the ad can be found on several vintage postcards.

It’s one of the totem poles shown on this postcard for Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Here's another vintage view.
To learn more about the totems, which are believed to be the most popular tourist attraction in British Columbia, click here.
UPDATE (2-14-18)
Apparently the totem featured in the Corby's ad is called the Chief Skedans Mortuary Pole. The original totem dates to 1870 and was eventually returned to its Haida village home. The one currently displayed at Brockton Point is a replica carved in 1964, with a new top face carved in 1998.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Grand Opening of Central Bank on Colorado Ave. – Feb. 13, 1958

Here’s a nice full-page ad announcing the Grand Opening of the Colorado Avenue branch of the Central Bank Company. It’s a reminder that the unsightly building at that location today once had a thriving and important business within its walls.

I’ve featured the building at 1443 Colorado Avenue on the blog before, including this post that revealed the original tenant, and included the story of a 1967 bank robbery.

That’s a nice line art illustration of the building in the ad, which ran in the Lorain Journal on Feb. 13, 1958.

Anyway, of most interest in the ad is the “all new coin-bank that works like a wall-safe.” The gimmick is that it was a coin bank hidden behind “a beautiful picture frame and print.” The sample had a picture of a vintage locomotive.

Alas, I tried unsuccessfully to find an actual photo of one of these things online. I had hoped that somehow one of them had survived for 60 years.

Perhaps a Lorain reader has one still hanging on the wall of their 1950s ranch, unaware of the potential fortune in coins that remains hidden from view.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Behind the Scene at the Blog: "So You Think You’re Not Guilty"

Sometimes, life makes you feel like a character in an old comedy short – in this case, Joe McDoakes. That's him behind the eight ball in the title card above from the same-named movie series.

Here's my self-serving story.

A few weeks ago, I was on my way to the Lorain Public Library (as I often am for this blog).

I was making a left-hand turn onto Broadway from West Erie after exiting the Bascule Bridge. Although the light was green when I entered the intersection, I was stuck there long enough (especially after two eastbound drivers decided to run the light – one driver, a full two seconds after the light changed) that the light changed to red before I could turn.

Over by Lorain City Hall, I saw a policeman turn on his red and blue lights, and I thought, “Good, he’s going to nail that driver who ran the light."

Instead, the cop ticketed me – for running a red light!

I stewed about it for a week. I told my story ad nauseam to everyone I work with, who all agreed that I had a right to enter the intersection, and finish my turn after traffic had cleared, even if the light turned red. I also did some online research (as you can see, no effort was spared), and decided to go to court, rather than just pay the considerable fine.

In court, I pleaded no contest and told my story to the judge. He was sympathetic and reduced my fine to fifty bucks. But with court costs, my fine was still enough to make a grown blogger cry. I also received two points on my license as a souvenir.

I still think I did nothing wrong and wished that I had pleaded innocent.

So, you're probably wondering – what does all this have to do with nostalgia?
Well, the whole story reminded me of a hilarious "Joe McDoakes" comedy called So You Think You’re Not Guilty (1950).

In it, Joe McDoakes gets a red light ticket as the result of a malfunctioning traffic signal. He’s really innocent, but the policeman doesn’t believe him and gives him a ticket anyway.

That’s actor George O’Hanlon (the voice of George Jetson)
behind the wheel as Joe McDoakes.  
Joe fights it in court, creates several outbursts at his arraignment, and ends up receiving contempt of court fines of over a thousand dollars.
He gets his jury trial, but the deck is stacked against him. (One of the prosecution’s eyewitnesses is a blind man with a seeing eye dog.) The traffic light is set up in court as an exhibit as well, and works fine now. As a result, Joe is found guilty, and sent to city jail. There, his cellmate forces him (at the barrel of a gun) to participate in a jail break – and he is sentenced to prison for ten years!
In prison, in an effort to look tough to the other convicts, he brags that he did run the red light and would do it again with no remorse.
Strangely enough, the warden decides that since Joe finally confessed, he is now eligible for parole – and released.
Back at home with his wife, Joe is happy that life is back to normal. Unfortunately, he ends up driving through the very same intersection with the malfunctioning traffic signal that switches to red immediately after turning green!
Once again, Joe gets pulled over for going through a red light. This time, though, he immediately confesses his guilt to the policeman and frantically tries to pay the ticket right there.

Thus, Joe McDoakes learned that life isn’t always fair, and it’s best to just accept it.

I decided that was a good lesson to remember, lest I end up escalating my traffic case to some similar comic conclusion.

But in the future, I’m not entering any intersection for a left hand turn until I know I can make the light with time to spare.

So be forewarned if you have the misfortune of ending up behind me on one of Lorain’s potholed streets, and I'm getting ready to turn left at a traffic light. You might want to have a magazine handy.

Lakeview Park Bath House Plans – Feb. 1919

In 2017, Lorain celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Lorain Lighthouse. Looks like 2019 might be the 100th anniversary of another Lorain landmark.

The article below from the Wednesday, Feb. 5, 1919 Lorain Times-Herald tells the story.


The Lakeview Park bathing beach, equipped with a $25,000 bath house and dancing pavilion, will be thrown open to the public early in July, Walter A. Pillans, service director, announced today.

Plans for the improvement of Lakeview park are rapidly assuming definite shape and the construction of two jetties in the lake laying of drives and sidewalks and planting will be undertaken as soon as weather permits.

Council Monday night passed an ordinance providing for the issuing of $56,000 to improve the park.

The bath house and dancing pavilion will be a two story fire proof affair. The ground floor, which may be below the level of the ground, will be used as a bath house, and the second story for the dancing pavilion. It is planned to have a number of refreshment booths on the second floor.

According to present plans, a portion of the bath house will project out over the bank and will be held up by a huge supporting wall. The exact details, however, must be worked out by an architect.

The two jetties will extend 250 feet, out in the lake. The water at the northern end of the jetties will be about ten feet deep and will afford the better swimmers ample opportunity to exhibit their prowess, while nearer shore, the water is shallow.

The bathing beach, bath house and dancing pavilion, it is hoped, will be ready for use by July 4th.

A big drive, it is planned, will run from Erie-av to the bath house. Space near the bath house will be reserved for parking automobiles.

Sunken walk in the gully that now traverses the northern portion of the park is something that will be undertaken at a later time. In order to do this it will be necessary to divert the present course of the water. The expenditure involved in this project is too large to warrant its being done this year.

After the original bathhouse (except for its foundation) was destroyed in the 1924 tornado, two more bathhouses served Lakeview Park visitors, before the present structure was built.

I wrote about the first, second and third Lakeview Park bathhouses back in 2014. I also featured a 1916 article about the planning of Lakeview Park here, and a few photos of the bathhouse that Lorain Baby Boomers remember here.

UPDATE (Feb. 18, 2018)
I guess I spoke too soon about 2019 being the 100th anniversary of the original Lakeview Park bathhouse.

While searching microfilm for the actual opening of the bathhouse – originally planned for July 2019 – I found out that this was not the case. An August 23, 1919 article on the front page of the Lorain Times-Herald stated, “Materials for Lorain’s municipal bathhouse in Lakeview Park were being placed on the site for the new building today. Work will start as soon as possible.

“City officials have given up hope of opening the new bathhouse this year."