Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Passing Scene – April 1968

April’s rapidly winding down, so here’s a round-up of Gene Patrick’s "The Passing Scene” comic that ran in the Lorain Journal this month back in 1968.

First up is the strip from April 6, 1968, in which Snoopy of Peanuts fame makes an unauthorized appearance. (Hey, where’s his collar?) We also get a funny cartoon about a pampered show cat.
Next we have the panel from April 13, 1968. Looks like Gene was doing his bit to promote the ‘Golden Crescent’ nickname. (I like how only the name LORAIN is readable.)
Lastly, we have the strip from April 20, 1968. I like the goofy expressions on the Art League women in the last cartoon, the idea for which is credited to Dave Wolfanger of Oberlin.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Restore a 1953 Lorain Crane!

I received an interesting email a couple of days ago from a gentleman named Guido.

No, he wasn’t threatening to break my legs over something I wrote. Actually, he’s associated with a transport company called G-Force Enterprises located in South Range, Wisconsin. The company has a variety of construction equipment for sale. Guido was inquiring if I knew anyone interested in restoring a piece of Lorain history.
He wrote, "I saw your blog. I have a 1953 Lorain Crane. It was an Air Force issue. It runs and works.

"I hate to scrap it. I was just wondering if you knew anybody that collected or restored them. Let me know if you do. Thanks for your time.”

I told him I would see what I could do to help. If you know of anyone that would be interested, Guido can be reached at gforce_enterprises@yahoo.com.

Anyway, Guido’s email was a nice reminder of the days when Thew Shovel products made the name “Lorain” known throughout the world.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Rotary District Meeting in Lorain – April 1968

Fifty years ago today, Lorain was hosting Rotary International's District 660 Conference. Approximately 600 Rotarians and their wives (known as Rotary Anns) came to Lorain for the service organization's two-day event, which took place at Admiral King High School.

The Journal included a special advertising supplement in honor of the event, a few pages which are reproduced here.

The page at the top of this post contains the Lorain Chamber of Commerce's well-written description of Lorain at that time, and all that the city had to offer.

Here's another page from the supplement. (Notice how I picked a page with an ad featuring our old pal Reddy Kilowatt.)

In case you're wondering, Lorain still has a Rotary Club. Here's the link to the official website.
Hey guys, maybe it's time to have another conference in Lorain. Lakeview Park looks better than ever, and Lorain now has an even more beautiful high school to host an event. Plus, the city is still only a stone's throw away from Cleveland and Cedar Point, making it the gateway to fun.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Lake View Park Allotment Ad – April 19, 1919

Ninety-nine years ago today, the above full-page ad advertising the availability of lots in the Lake View Park Allotment ran in the Lorain Times-Herald.

At that time, Lakeview Park was still in its early stages. The first bath house was still in the planning stage, and wouldn’t open until the following year. The fountain wouldn’t appear until 1936.

Nevertheless, the Lake View Park Allotment was being positioned as an elite address. As the ad noted, “Lorain’s best and most representative citizens have purchased lots in Lake View Park and are either building or planning to build this year.”

This group of citizens included Capt. Richard Thew, founder of the Thew Shovel Company, who lived at 1422 West Erie. (A house built in the early 1950s is located at that address today.)

A. H. Babcock is listed in the ad as one of the sellers of lots. He must have liked that area too, because he owned this well-known house at West Erie and South Lakeview Boulevard.

Here’s an aerial view of the Lake View Park allotment today.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Don't Badger the Mill Hollow Badger – April 1963

American Badger (courtesy of Wikipedia)
Mill Hollow (or more properly, the Vermilion River Reservation) has always been one of my favorite Lorain County Metro Parks – ever since I was a kid.

Camping at Mill Hollow in 1960s
(Courtesy Lorain County
Metro Parks)
There’s lot of reasons why. Maybe it’s the dramatic shale cliffs. Or the shallow river, ideal for stone skipping and fishing. Or the Benjamin Bacon Museum (which ironically was closed every time we visited the park).

I’ve mentioned before how you used to be able to camp at Mill Hollow. It’s where my family first learned how to camp, in preparation for our later cross-country trips.

Anyway, it’s always interesting to me to read something about the early years of the park.

Below is an article that appeared in the Journal on April 1, 1963. It reveals that the park’s animal collection included a somewhat cantankerous badger.

Until I saw this article, I had forgotten that there used to be live animals on display down at the park. Those critters were yet another reason why we liked Mill Hollow; we were sorry when they were no longer there.

Mill Hollow live animal exhibit
(Courtesy Lorain County Metro Parks)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Journal Photographers Ad – April 17, 1968

Here’s a nice promotional ad for the Lorain Journal’s staff of photographers, shown posing in front of the iconic Journal clock tower. It ran in the paper on April 17, 1968 – 50 years ago this month.

The staff at that time consisted of Chief Photographer Norm Bergsma and Photographers Bob White and Terry Thomas. 

Terry Thomas has left a comment or two on this blog over the years, since he worked with Journal cartoonist Gene Patrick, the subject of many blog posts. Thus I felt comfortable reaching out to Terry recently at his photography studio in Atlanta, Georgia to see what he remembered about this ad.

Terry graciously responded with the behind-the-scenes story.

“Boy oh boy, does that Journal advertisement bring back memories,” he wrote. "I used to have a copy of that page taped to my darkroom door which was in the basement of my parents home on Idaho Avenue.
“I don't remember whose idea it was to do this, but the three of us wanted to show off our collection of photography equipment in which we had invested. The only cameras that the Journal owned were a couple Yashica 120 twin lens reflexes that had some Honeywell strobes attached; the reporters used those."
Terry explained the paper’s “rules” regarding the photographic equipment.
“The Journal's position was that we *could* use the Yashica roll film cameras for our work,” he noted. "If, however, we wanted to use our own gear, such as 35mm Nikons, we were on our own. But if anything happened, the repairs or replacements came out of our pockets. We didn't want to use the roll film cameras because they didn't have a variety of lenses, motor drives or work fast.”
The Journal’s position about the cameras, etc. apparently was unique among newspapers.
As Terry noted, “Other newspapers, such as the Akron Beacon-Journal, owned and supplied all of the photography equipment that their photographers used. All of the awards that we won were created with our own equipment.”
But getting back to the story of the ad.
“So one sunny day, Norm Bergsma, Bob White and I hauled our gear up to the roof of the Lorain Journal building and posed for the photo,” reminisced Terry. "I am fairly certain that the late Gene Patrick created it. Gene was a very talented photographer, as well as an artist.
“Norm passed away a couple years ago down in the Arizona or New Mexico area. I once found his obituary on the web. 
"I have no idea about Bob's whereabouts these days. He married Kathy, one of the Journal's lovely reporters and the last I heard years ago, they were living in Sheffield Lake.”
So what is Terry doing these days? He’s still working and doing what he loves.
"These days, at age 73, I am still a working professional photographer," noted Terry. "I photograph food for restaurant advertising. I also work on the sets of films and television shows as the Director of Photography or Unit Stills Photographer, creating publicity photographs which are used to advertise and publicize the productions. From time to time, I can also be found in front of the camera as an actor. You can spot me in many scenes of Stranger Things - Season One.”
Special thanks to Terry for sharing some of his Journal memories! You can visit his Facebook page here.

By the way, I noticed earlier this year that Global Plastics Technologies, the company leasing the former Morning Journal building, erected a new sign on the clock tower.

Monday, April 16, 2018

In Search of a Ford GT-40

Near the end of March, I received an interesting email from a gentleman named Mark Johnson. (Not the WEWS-TV chief meteorologist.)

Although Mark currently lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he owns a graphic arts company, he grew up in Bay Village in the 1960s.

Mark has an interesting quest. He’s trying to locate a car.

But not just any car. This is a Ford GT-40 that he sat in at the Marshall Ford car dealership on Mayfield Road in Cleveland in early May 1966.

Here’s the photo from that day, showing Mark and his brother sitting in it.

Mark says he was a big Ford fan in 1966 and sitting in the car was a big thrill. “I think I was star struck, he noted. "Now I need to figure out who owned the car. Whoever it was, was nice enough to let my brother and I sit in it. That is what started the search 50 years later."

Mark believes that the same Ford GT-40 that he sat in at the auto dealership was also on display at a car show held at the O’Neil-Sheffield Center back in early July 1966. Erie Shores Sports Car Club was the sponsor of the show.
Journal ad from July 8, 1966
Here are some of Mark’s photos from that O’Neil-Sheffield Center car show. "I wish the quality was better, but I was just a kid with a Brownie, he noted.

It’s fun seeing the O’Neil-Sheffield Center as it used to look in the background of these shots. As for the bottom shot, Mark noted, "As I recall, the timed one-at-a-time car races (a parking lot “gymkhana") was held around the back of the shopping center.”

Here's a small photo and caption that ran in the Chronicle-Telegram promoting the show.

(Courtesy Rick Kurish)
Anyway, Mark is trying to trace the owner of the Ford GT-40 and he needs some help. "Now I need to see if I can find any members of the Erie Shores Sports Car Club to see if they know anything about the entrants or have any other photos.

"So the chase continues.”
I asked Mark what message he would like to give my readers, and here is his reply. 
"I’m interested to hear from anyone who remembers, or has photos of, the car shows and races at the O’Neil-Sheffield Shopping Center, especially the show from July 9 and 10, 1966, where a Ford GT-40 was featured. 
"Or from anyone that was a member of the Erie Shores Sports Car Club. Thank you!” 
You can reach Mark Johnson via his email at: MSJandA@comcast.net