Friday, November 17, 2017

Lake Erie Oil Anniversary Ad – Nov. 12, 1946

Here's a handsome ad for the Lake Erie Oil Company, which was located on Ohio Route 254 near the railroad tracks. It appeared in the Lorain Journal on November 12, 1946 – 71 years ago this month – and celebrated the company's first anniversary at that location. It also promotes Fleet-Wing gasoline being good at 20 degrees below zero.

I first wrote about Lake Erie Oil back in 2012 (here). I also featured some of the firms’ large, vintage holiday ads for  Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It's interesting to think that the company's plant there provided Fleet-Wing gasoline (later, Sinclair) for local gas stations. The firm also produced fuel oil for heating purposes.

Anyway, it looks like Fleet-Wing Gasoline kinda got the marketing jump on Sohio and its Double Ice Guard guarantee.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Lorain Telephone Company Ad – Nov. 13, 1956

Here's an ad that hearkens back to the days when utility companies used advertising mascots to pass along important information to their customers. It helped put a friendly face on what were otherwise soulless corporations.

The ad, which ran in the Lorain Journal on November 13, 1956, provided a handy tip to help its customers remember their new, longer telephone numbers.

Our telephone 3-digit prefix back then was AVenue 2 (282).

It sure was nice to able to tell just by recognizing a local telephone prefix where someone lived or a business was located. Nowadays – with landlines rapidly losing favor – a cell phone prefix can be associated with any location. They're harder to remember too.

Anyway, by 1961, the Lorain Telephone Company advertising mascot had been redesigned (below) to be a little cuter.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Ford Plant Groundbreaking – Nov. 1956 Part 3

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Ford Lorain Assembly Plant went off as planned on Wednesday, November 21, 1956, with Hayes B. Whittlesey manning one of the shovels. The above photo ran on the front page of the Lorain Journal that day.

The accompanying article written by Jack LaVriha noted, “A party of Lorain County business, civic and industrial leaders, public officials and representatives of families in the township braved a steady drizzle to be at the groundbreaking ceremony.

“Manning spades to turn over soil which became thoroughly wet by an all-night rain were James O. Wright, assistant manager of Ford Division; Ward Fulsom, general manufacturing manager of Ford Division, and Hayes B. Whittlesey, 80-year old Brownhelm Township farmer and member of a pioneer township family.”

In his speech at the luncheon following the ceremony, Thomas R. Reid, director of civic affairs for Ford Motor Company, stated that Ford believed in being a good corporate neighbor and citizen. Reid promised that in addition to “providing good jobs and the local purchasing power of a good payroll,” Ford Motor Company would assume its fair share of the community’s charity drives and local business contributions.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Ford Plant Groundbreaking – Nov. 1956 Part 2

On November 13, 1956, the Lorain Journal featured the above photo of the home of Hayes B. Whittlesey in its pages as a tie-in with the previous day’s account of Mr. Whittlesey’s planned participation in the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Ford plant.
Today the country road on which the house is located is no longer called Foster-Park Road. The new Route 2 constructed in the 1960s resulted in the rerouting of today’s Cooper Foster Park Road north of the highway. The portion of Cooper Foster Park Road south of the highway and east of Baumhart Road on which the Whittlesey farm is located is now called Whittlesey Road.

Courtesy Google Maps
The sign directs the motorist to head north on Baumhart
to access the eastern continuation of Cooper Foster Park
Here’s my shot of the former Hayes B. Whittlesey home from this past weekend (below).
I almost didn’t recognize the house when I went to photograph it on Saturday morning. A Google Maps “drive-by” showed the house as it looked in 2008, still with its whitewashed appearance (below).

Monday, November 13, 2017

Ford Plant Groundbreaking – Nov. 1956 Part 1

Back in November 1956, the Ford Motor Company was about to break ground on its new Lorain Assembly Plant.

Interestingly, Ford wanted to make it something special by involving Hayes B. Whittlesey, a descendant of one of Brownhelm Township’s founders, in the groundbreaking ceremony. Read all about it in the two articles below, which appeared on the front page of the Lorain Journal on November 12, 1956.

Ford Motor Co. Plans 
To Stage Groundbreaking

Brownhelm Ceremony Is Scheduled

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held at the new multi-million dollar Ford Motor Division Lorain Assembly Plant site in Brownhelm Township on Wednesday, Nov. 21.

Two top Ford Co. officials and a direct descendant of one of the original families which settled in Brownhelm Township 138 years ago will take part in the ceremony.

James C. Wright, assistant general manager of Ford Division; Thomas R. Reid, director of the Ford Company’s Office of Civic Affairs, and Hayes B. Whittlesey, prominent 80-year-old Brownhelm Township farmer, will turn over the first spadefuls of dirt.

The groundbreaking will take place at the southwest corner of the Lorain Assembly Plant site on Routes 6 and 2 at Baumhart Rd., about four miles west of Lorain.

The site is now being cleared for the erection of the giant assembly plant which will contain 1,500,000 square feet of space and is scheduled for completion early in 1958.

The plant will employ 2,500 workers on a one-shift operation, or nearly double that number on a two-shift basis.

Ford officials said the groundbreaking will be held at 10:30 a.m.

Immediately after the ceremony, a press conference will be conducted in the recreation room of the Brownhelm Congregational Church by Wright for newspaper, television and radio representatives.

A 10-year veteran with Ford, Wright formerly was director of purchasing for the company and has had wide experience in the fields of company organization, finance and manufacturing. He is a member of Ford’s administration committee, the firm’s top policy-making group.

Wright assists Robert S. McNamara, vice-president of Ford Co. and general manager of the Ford Division, in the management of the company’s largest end-product division.

He has been with the Ford Co. since January 1946, and has held a number of important posts in the management of the company.

At noon, Ford Division will be host to about 100 guests at a luncheon in the church social room.

The guest list will include representatives of Brownhelm Township families and those business, industrial and civic leaders of Lorain County who played an important role in locating the new Ford Division assembly plant in the township.

Following the luncheon, Reid will express the Ford Company’s appreciation for the cooperation and warm-hearted support the company has received and will speak on Ford’s “Good Neighbor” policy and how it will apply in Lorain County.

Before joining Ford, Reid was a vice-president and director of McCormick and Company, Baltimore, Md.

In addition to his duties at Ford, he is prominent in the affairs of Detroit’s Board of Commerce, Michigan’s Economic Development Commission, the National Municipal League, the Citizen’s Research Council of Michigan, United Community Service of Detroit and the United States Chamber of Commerce.

Introduction of guests will be made by Robert H. Spaethe, executive director of the Lorain County Development Committee.

Descendant of Settlers To Help 
Break Ground At New Ford Plant Site


Hayes B. Whittlesey, 80, of Foster Park Rd., who will participate in groundbreaking ceremonies at the new Ford Division Lorain Assembly Plant on Nov. 21, is a lifelong farmer and member of one of the families that settled Brownhelm Township 139 years ago.

Modest, friendly and possessor of a keen memory, Whittlesey said he was looking forward to the groundbreaking ceremony “with some anxiety.”

Looking more like a retired business executive than a farmer, Whittlesey smiled as he said in a rocker in the comfortable hoe in which he was born, and said with pride:

“The new Ford Division plant is the real beginning of industrial and residential growth for Brownhelm Township. It took a long time to start, but it’s a great beginning.”

Whittlesey owns a 109-acre farm on Foster park Rd. near the north end of the township, east of Baumhart Rd.

The home in which he lives was built in 1836 by his grandfather, Solomon Whittlesey, who was among the first settlers who arrived in Brownhelm Township in 1817.

The settlers came from Stockbridge, Mass., a year after agents of the Connecticut Land Company had surveyed and laid out the township land.

Hayes Whittlesey said his grandfather lived in a log house he had built in the township only a short distance to the east of the present Whittlesey home.

“It was in the log house,” he said, “that a group of residents met in June, 1819, and organized the first church in the township.”

“The church was the forerunner of the present Brownhelm Congregational church,” he added.

Cyrus L. Whittlesey, father of Hayes B., was born in the log house Aug, 8, 1832.

Cyrus Whittlesey married Lucy Bacon, daughter of Samuel Bacon, another early Brownhelm Township settler.

Hayes B. Whittlesey, who still enjoys working on his farm and abstains from drinking and smoking, said, “Brownhelm Township is full of colorful history.”

“I have always had confidence in the growth and expansion of our township,” he declared. “And I had an idea that when it did happen it would be in a big way.”

Whittlesey said he recalls the operation of a stone quarry in the township more than 50 years ago “which was really the first industry in the township.”

He said there were two or three cheese factories, all small operations, which soon disappeared.

Asked how he keeps in good physical condition, Whittlesey said, “It is work on the farm that has done it. Hard work never killed anyone.”

Whittlesey and his charming wife, the former Elsie Cooper, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on Nov. 7 of this year.

Mrs. Whittlesey’s grandfather, Anson Cooper, was also a pioneer settler of Brownhelm Township.

The Cooper farm is located on the west end of Cooper-Foster Park Rd.

The Hayes B. Whittleseys have two daughters, Mrs. Lucy Straley, wife of Dr. J. W. Straley, a member of the faculty of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N. C., and Mrs. Ruth Hite, whose husband Howard operates the Whittlesey farm.

The Straleys have two sons and a daughter and the Hites have a son, Clayton, a junior at Ohio Northern University, Ada.

Mrs. Whittlesey has two brothers, A. J. Cooper, who lives in the Cooper homestead, and E. G. Cooper of Lorain, retired president of Central Bank Co.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Blue Bonnet Margarine Ad – Nov. 14, 1957

I couldn’t help posting this ad for Blue Bonnet Margarine that appeared in the Lorain Journal on November 14, 1957 – 60 years ago this month. The ad is fun to look at with a lot of stuff going on.

A vintage Blue Bonnet package features a similar pencil promotion
There’s the ahead-of-its-time promotional gimmick of ordering pencils engraved with a name or wacky saying. Suggestions include the now politically incorrect “Date Bait Dotty,” “Two-Gun Max,” and "Return This You Cheap So and So.” (We had these types of pencils as stocking stuffers over the years, although I think ours came from the Miles Kimball catalog.)

Anyway, the ad layout is nice and clean as well, with great curved typography (done the old-fashioned way without Illustrator software) and cute drawings of the type that were later parodied on Ren & Stimpy.

The Blue Bonnet box is there too, giving us a glimpse of Blue Bonnet Sue, its well-known, comely advertising mascot.

While the Blue Bonnet brand seems to date from the mid-1940s judging from available ads, Blue Bonnet Sue began appearing on the package in the early 1950s. She's undergone subtle changes over the years. Originally she looked like she'd be right at home on the frontier; eventually she evolved to a more glamorous look.
A 1953 Ad
These days, Sue is still on the package, but sadly, she plays second fiddle to a stack of flapjacks.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Carl Johnson’s Restaurant Ad – Nov. 2, 1957

Directly across from the Lorain Drive-in movie theater in the late 1950s was Carl R. Johnson’s Restaurant. The restaurant fronted Lake Road, with a trailer court behind it.

I first wrote about it back here.

The ad above promoting chicken dinners ran in the Lorain Journal on November 2, 1957 – 60 years ago last week. It depicts a rather serene Sunday scene, with dear old Dad reading the Sunday paper with Junior in his lap, while Mom sits adoringly at his feet. Sister indifferently peruses the funny papers.

By the time of the 1957 ad, the restaurant was being managed by Florence and Ben Millen. The business would soon have a new name: Lakeshore Drive Inn.

In recent years, the restaurant had been the home of Jack and Diane’s Lounge.

There's no more chicken dinners being served up at 5100 West Erie Avenue these days; today, the address belongs to Healing Wings International Ministries.