Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September 1, 1946 Back-to-School Ad

Here's another one of those full-page, sponsored Safety ads with lists of both well-remembered and long-forgotten Lorain companies. It appeared in the Lorain Sunday News of Sunday, September 1, 1946 – 68 years ago this month.

Happily, a few of the 1946 ad's sponsors are still around, including Griffith Black Top (now M. J. Griffith Paving), Lorain Glass, and Schwartz Home for Funerals (now Schwartz, Spence, Boyer and Cool Home for Funerals). But that's about it, that I can see.

The illustration of the pretty young mother getting her children dressed for school says a lot about how times have changed since then. Recently while driving to work on Route 6, I've seen lots of kids waiting for school buses in Avon Lake. Most of them (the boys, anyway) were wearing untucked T-shirts and long, baggy gym-style shorts – something that would have been unthinkable when I was a kid.

I guess I'm showing my age.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Have a Safe Labor Day!

It's Labor Day, so you know what that means here on the Brady Blog – yet another in my long-running series of ghoulish reminders to enjoy a safe holiday, whatever it may be.
This particular photo above feature ran on the front of the Journal on Saturday, September 2, 1961. The gruesome photo creatively depicts the normally unseen "hand of death" that rests on the shoulders of too many drivers during the holiday weekend.

By the way, the photo is identified as a Unifax photo. United Press International pioneered electronic transmitting of photos through the development of its Unifax machine, the first automatic picture receiver.

Anyway, the photo also appeared on the front page of the Mansfield News-Journal (below), which shared common ownership with the Lorain Journal at that time.


Friday, August 29, 2014

Domonkas Library Article – Sept. 20, 1963

The Domonkas Branch of the Lorain Public Library in Sheffield Lake (my town) is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Hard to believe it's been there that long.

Many people in Sheffield Lake may not know the story of Stephen and Ruth Domonkas and how their generosity and love for the city made the library possible. That's why I'm posting this article (below) written by Ron Royhab that originally appeared in the Journal on Friday, September 20, 1963. It tells the whole story of the "big reveal" of the previously unidentified donor.

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Library Benefactor Revealed
Stephen Domonkas Donates $100,000 To Sheffield Lake
By RON ROYHAB

SHEFFIELD LAKE – The "great mystery" of the unidentified donor who has offered to give $100,000 for the construction of a library in Sheffield Lake was revealed Thursday night at the Lorain Public Library.

The donor, Stephen Domonkas, 3719 Lake Rd., agreed to donate the money under two conditions – that the library be built on the Kennedy F. Green property, adjacent to the present Community Park, and be given his name.

In April Sheffield Lake City Council authorized the purchase of the Green property for $36,000 when it learned of Domonkas' offer.

At the meeting, C. Paul Stocker, president of the Lorain Library Board, gave the reasons for keeping the name of the donor unpublished.

"This pleasant occasion took months of behind the scenes work," Stocker said, "and there were so many things to settle before we could take this gift for the Sheffield Lake Library."

Monday night City Council passed an ordinance authorizing Mayor Frank Duguid and Service Director Jack Schaffer to sign and execute, on behalf of the city, a contract of lease with the Lorain Library Board.

The contract stipulates that the Lorain Library Board Trustees of the Lorain County Extension Center will lease the city-owned property for 99 years at the rate of $10 per year.

The library will be called "Domonkas Public Library."

According to Stocker, the library should be completed by next September. The donation should cover the cost of the building, but books and materials will be purchased by Lorain Library Fund.

Alfred L. Fauver, Lorain architect, drew up the master plans for the library.

The whole plan started when Domonkas contacted Stocker and asked, "How do you get a library in this town." Domonkas held a meeting of the board in his home and announced his donation to get a library in Sheffield Lake.

Domonkas, born in Hungary, came to the United States in 1896. He was the owner and operator of two car lots in Cleveland. One was on the East Side and the other was on the West Side. He was with the General Motors Co. for 42 years.

He and his wife, Ruth, have traveled the world six times. They have been in every country in the world. They just recently came back from Alaska.

This 75-year-old man told the group why he made this donation.

"I have always been interested in education. A library is the best medium for educating youngsters and adults – you're never too old to learn."

"Actually," he went on, "the motive in back of this whole thing is that I am glad to do this for the group of people I live with."

The Domonkases have lived in Sheffield Lake for 40 years.

Mrs. Domonkas said, "We don't have a family, we found Sheffield Lake, watched it grow and wanted to do something good for it."

She remarked that her husband always enjoyed reading. "When he was a boy," she said, "he would spend his allowance on books and pay for them but the week."

Mayor Duguid remarked, "There is no statement that could show our appreciation. This library will benefit our community – children and adults alike.

Miss Marion M. King, who has been with the Lorain Public Library for 26 years, said that the new library would be able to house 25,000 volumes, but would not be stocked with that many at first.

Sheffield Lake City officials including the mayor and Council President Earl Barnhart were present at the meeting.

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To find out more about the history of the Domonkas Library, as well as information concerning some special 50th anniversary events, click here to visit the library's website.)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hoolihan & Big Chuck at Brookside High School – August 1975

Heather Feather
(Courtesy gulfcoast.prorasslin.net)
I already covered Ghoulardi's 1963 appearance in Lorain (back here) so it makes sense to do a post on a personal appearance of his late night TV successors – Hoolihan and Big Chuck. They appeared at Brookside High School as part of a night of big time wrestling action on August 24, 1975 – 39 years ago this month.

Headlining the show was Flying Fred Curry versus "Mad Dog" Zarnoff. Also on the card was "Wild Bull" Curry going up against former Ohio State football star Bob White.

A special tag team match featured female wrestlers teamed with midgets: 389-pound Heather Feather and Little Joe versus Marcia Rainbow and Pat Kennedy.

The McGuire Twins – listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the World's Heaviest Twins (each weighed more than 700 pounds) also made a special appearance, taking on The Assassins.

The McGuire Twins
Pound for pound, it sounds like quite a night of entertainment for a measly one dollar general admission ticket. Plus, you had the comic stylings of Hoolihan and Big Chuck.

Did anyone out there attend this gala event? If so, be sure to leave a comment!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Prehistoric Forest Revisited in Early 1960s Articles

Vintage postcard of Prehistoric Forest showing original building and tram
(Courtesy of ForwardLook website)
Summer is rapidly drawing to a close, and it's making me wax nostalgic (whatever that means).

It's hard to believe that it's been four years since Prehistoric Forest out near Marblehead closed. You might remember that back in 2010, I blogged extensively about both Prehistoric Forest and its companion attraction, Mystery Hill, back in this post, as well as my multi-part farewell series, and my postcard sampler.

Anyway, mentioning this gives me an excuse to post some vintage Sandusky Register articles about the late, great attraction. They provide a detailed history of the park that isn't available anywhere else.

First up is a short article that appeared in the Sandusky Register on July 13, 1963 – apparently shortly after Prehistoric Forest opened in May of that year.

Next is a collection of articles and photos that appeared about a year later in the Sandusky Register on August 22, 1964. One article introduces the reader to the wonders of Mystery Hill.

Lastly is an article that appeared in the Sandusky Register on October 8, 1965. It was written by Sue Hively, the newspaper's Women's Editor, and explains how James Q. Sidwell constructed and maintained the prehistoric "pets" for his park.


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Wonder whatever happened to all the dinosaurs? As recently as last week, I visited the Prehistoric Forest/Mystery Hill website in preparation for this post, and noticed that the owners were still selling off various dinosaurs and items from the park.

But today, the link is as extinct as their beasts.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Late 1960s Champion Map of W. Lorain County

Yesterday I mentioned how for many years, the new Route 2 freeway ended at Baumhart Road. Here's a page from a Champion Map Atlas map showing that area and much of the northwest portion of Lorain County.

It's a lot of fun to get lost in these old maps. This one includes some of my favorite areas, including Route 6 west of the undercut.

Unfortunately, the map has no copyright date. However, you can still kind of get a rough idea of the time period in which it was printed.

It has a zip code listing in the back, so that puts it after 1963. The map also has the Penn Central Railroad tracks on it, so that puts it at least around 1968, since that is when the New York Central and the Pennsylvania Railroads merged. Strangely, it still includes Black River Township, which ceased to exist as of August 1964 after its remaining portion was annexed to Lorain.

Nevertheless it looks like a late 1960s map, even if some out-of-date elements were retained from earlier versions. (By the way, I had to scan the map in sections, so there's a bit of a seam in the middle of it.)

The map shows why Cooper-Foster Park Road jogs around the way it does today. Another interesting element of the map include the old bypassed stretch of Lake Road shown winding its way through the Beaver Park area. The old roadbed is still there today (most of it, anyway) but you can't drive it. (Several years ago, I tried to drive down into Beaver Park on the old Lake Road alignment, but a nearby resident – anticipating my intentions – quickly cut me off on foot.)

Monday, August 25, 2014

August 25, 1975 – Section of Route 2 Opens

Although it might seem strange to someone too young to remember, there was a time when State Route 2 west of Lorain (the freeway, that is) was completed in various chunks over many years.

I can still remember when Route 2 ended at Baumhart and you had to get off.

But that era eventually ended. The photo and caption above – which appeared on the front page of the Journal of August 24, 1975 – announces the opening of the section from Baumhart Road in Lorain to State Route 61 (Ceylon Road) in Berlin Heights on August 25, 1975 – 39 years ago today.

As the caption notes, the section of Route 2 from State Route 61 to State Route 13 in Huron was not built yet. I can't remember what the delay was all about; I thought it had something to do with environmental issues or acquiring land or something. Does anybody remember?

According to this Wiki history of Route 2, the section from Huron to Ceylon was upgraded to freeway in August 1990. No wonder it still seems new to me.