The Alfred Hitchcock Tree
I was allowed to drive the family station
wagon the first night after getting my license. It was a yellow
"woodie." Shelia Hanrahan, Carol Kirby, Elaine Stecko, maybe Lori Popa,
and some other girls and I drove down to see the Alfred Hitchcock Tree.
Unfortunately the ground was wet and we got stuck in the mud. We had to
call a park ranger and a tow truck to get us out! As restitution we had
to come back the next day, haul dirt up from the river, and plant new
grass seed! Thanks to all my buddies who helped repair the damages.
Anyone else remember that night??
--- Dawn (Shepp) Cartwright, Bloomington, IN. 03
know of the Alfred Hitchcock tree? Lemme know. Wish I had a pic!
--- Joseph McDowell. 13 May 2008
Absolutely we know of the Alfred Hitchcock tree! Remember asking
girls if they wanted to go down the valley and see Alfred Hitchcock?
For those who don't know, there was once a
tree in front of the golf course at the bottom of Puritas Hill in
Metropolitan Park. There was a growth on the trunk of the tree that was
silhouetted in the light from the golf course at night. It looked
exactly, and I mean exactly, like the shadow of Alfred Hitchcock that
used to appear at the beginning of his TV show.
--- Gary Swilik, westparkhistory.com. 13
Asplin Basket Factory
location) I worked for the Asplin Basket
Company in Hartville, Ohio, for only one year before it was purchased
by Longaberger Baskets in 1982. I started as a braider and was then
trained on the banding staple machine. I then worked for the
Longaberger Company as a master weaver until 1996. I will never forget
the pinkish orange color mold that would grow on the veneer. I often
wonder what kind of harm that has done to my lungs.
Braiding was not as exciting as running the banding
machine. There was no safety on these machines and I was told stories
of people having staples run through fingers. We were paid minimum wage
plus a piece rate per dozen. We worked hard to get the few extra
dollars on our checks. The building we worked in was heated by the
boiler which was stoked with wood scraps we threw on the floors.
Needless to say the heat was poor and we worked with no
air-conditioning in the summer months. I remember once standing in a
puddle of water in the winter, my feet were frozen, but I kept on
I may have some memorabilia around the house. I used
to have one of my brother's business cards and my old time clock punch
card, both had Asplin Basket Company on them. Thank you for bringing
back the memories.
--- Vickie Black. 28 April 2009
location) Thanks so much for sharing your
knowledge of Asplin Basket Company. I was employed with the Hartville,
Ohio branch of the company from the time I was 16 in 1973 until it was
acquired by Longaberger Baskets in 1982.
Asplin Basket began at West 150th and Lorain Avenue
in Cleveland in 1914. I believe this location was closed in the 1960s
before I began working for the company. The Hartville operation was
owned by Charles T. “Kim” and Wilma Kimberly. Wilma was the daughter of
founder W.E. Asplin.
I have many found memories of the Hartville branch.
When I began work at the age of 16, I was a material sorter, sorting
out the good veneer for the braiders who did most of the work by hand.
Then they would proceed to a banding stapling machine. Then a “maker”
would staple the ends. If a handle was required there would be one last
type of stapling machine.
Later my duties progressed to a “buncher” who would
put the baskets into pods of four for shipping. Most of the baskets
were 16 or 24 quarts sizes but we also had 4, 8 and 12 quart sizes.
They were priced by the dozen and typically sold by the truck load. A
truck would hold approximately 175 dozen and I believe they were priced
at around $6.25 per dozen.
Still later I moved to the
warehouse and driving a truck. The baskets did not have the company
name on them. They were strictly working baskets, used for lettuce,
onions, peaches and other fruits and vegetables. "Asplin" was, however,
written on all of the trucks.
At the time most baskets were delivered to the muck
farms (the soil is pure black) in Hartville and Willard, Ohio during
the summer and to greenhouses in and around Cleveland in the winter
months. We really had a small customer base; I would guess less than 50
To my knowledge there was no advertising. Everyone
in the industry knew the three local manufactures (Asplin was the
largest). The other two manufacturers were MacIntyre Basket in
Crestline, Ohio, and Berlin Heights Fruit and Basket in Berlin Heights,
Other duties during the time of my employment were
working on the lathes and in the log yard. My parents could always tell
when I worked in the log yard because the odor that came from the
cooking logs stayed with you for days!
I believe Hartville was the largest Asplin operation
but we only employed around fifty workers prior to Longaberger
purchasing the facility. I remember hearing (not sure how true) the
plants were separated to keep the work force at each relatively small
to help keep union activity out. The working wage at Asplin for all but
a few was minimum wage. I remember working for $1.60 per hour!
Eventually, I became manager of the Hartville plant.
I really enjoyed my time at the Asplin company and the opportunity that
Charles Kimberly gave a 16 year old looking for his first job.
Longaberger bought the Asplin facility at Hartville
for their veneer capabilities. They did not have this equipment in the
1980s. Unfortunately, the Hartville operation closed a couple of years
After Asplin in Hartville was acquired by
Dave Longaberger, I relocated to Dresden, Ohio, to become the Executive
Vice President of Longaberger Baskets until I
left in 1986.
--- Raymond R.
Black, Lewis Center, OH. 24 April 2009
we used to always go to the Asplin Basket Factory as a family tradition
to choose our Christmas tree. (The large warehouse was used to sell
Christmas trees.) It was a unique place because their trees were on the
second floor of the large, chilly warehouse, and the trees were
suspended from ropes, not on the floor. That allowed we kids to race
through the suspended forest, spinning trees as we went. I never knew
the full name of that wonderful place until I read your article.
--- Michael McGannon, Aptos, CA. 31
My mother, Dorothy Erman Goodyear,
John Marshall High class of 1927, worked at the Asplin Basket Factory
in the middle 1920s. It was her first job. She used to say she had to
stand on her feet all day and it was awfully hot work.
My Uncle, William Deeks, drove a delivery wagon for Asplin and
delivered the baskets to local greenhouses. He did this for many years.
Personally I don't have any memories of the factory
except having it pointed out to me every time we drove past, so I grew
up hearing many stories about Asplin's and feeling I had a direct
--- Alma Goodyear Appelgate, Huntersville, NC.
20 January 2009
the Asplin Basket Company from the early 1950s and the awful odor that
occasionally would be generated from the plant.
Sheeley, North Royalton, OH. 3 January 2009
remember the Asplin Basket Factory. In the late 1940s and early 1950s
several Japanese families were employed there. "Gary K." was class of
54 or 55. Melvin Hiramoto(?) was class of 56 or 57.
Herrington, Clever, MO. 01 January 2009
The Asplin Basket Factory was owned by the
father of a former classmate. Sorry but I forgot his name.
He told me they were hiring for the summer of 1953. I went
to work there and somehow made it last for two weeks. There was
no air conditioning and it was 110 degrees in the loft of the main
building. Most of the workers were Chinese-born and we were
required to make 75 baskets per hour. My best was 37. So I
was demoted from basket making and wound up in the loft instead.
Since I was only 16 I could not operate any machinery and I was
not allowed to run the stapler. When I was let go, I felt
--- James Mokren, Jackson, OH. 29 December
Bearden's on Rocky River Drive
That was our hang out after going to the movies at the
Riverside Theatre. They had the best hamburgers ever. Our favorite
waitress (inside) was a classy lady named Hazel. We were just teenagers
but we're treated like VIPs!
(Vogelpohl) Gerhardinger Elyria, OH. 14 May 2008
future wife and I used to go to Bearden's on Rocky River Drive. We
really liked the hamburgers; they were nice and juicy. I especially
liked their sweet pickle relish. I liked it so much I asked for the
brand so that we could use it at home. The brand was not available at
stores, so I remember Bearden’s agreeing to sell me a jar. The jar was
huge, it probably lasted a couple of years.
I have one story always brings a chuckle to me. We
were there one evening when we were about 19 years old. As was our
custom, when the food came, we took the hamburgers, french fires and
ketchup from the window tray and placed them on the front seat between
us. We finished, and I was in the process of clearing things from the
seat. I took the first hand full of stuff and turned to my left to
place it on the tray outside the window, knowing all I had left to pick
up was the ketchup, in those little white cup-like containers they used
to use. Just then my wife scooted over to sit next to me, the way girls
used to in the pre-bucket-seat days. She didn’t realize it immediately,
but she had just sat on the ketchup."
--- Larry James, Dallas, TX. January 28,
(At Bearden's on Rocky River
Drive)....the carhops came out to the car as you ordered over your own
individual speaker. Most of the car hops were "foxes" and served
the best darn vanilla milkshakes, served in a tall glass like ice tea
or mint julep. Bearden's was the hangout for most John Marshall
High kids but others joined in too. Last time I was there was in
1960 with my hot black Chevy Impala, 8th fastest car at the Detroit
NHRA Nationals. I went to the original Bearden's in Rocky River a
couple of years ago, never knew it was there. Lots of fun . . . .
The 50's were absolutely great!
--- Jon Dolfurd, John Marshall High School,
Class of 1957, Longs, SC. 27 January 2006
I worked my way thru high school
working at Bearden's.
I was a car-hop at Bearden's on Rocky River Drive
from June, 1960 to January, 1962. We had dark green uniforms with
yellow stripes along the legs, and a dark green vest with a yellow
cummerbund. We also wore a small, dark green hat. In cold weather we
had dark green jackets.
Rocky River Bearden's had a 60 car lot with
automatic intercom speakers to take the orders, and you could signal
for pick up of the trays. Each car had a number and the car hops
carried their food on a tray that fit over the car window. The serving
trays we carried were able to attach to all car windows with little
problem but you had to be careful they weren't top heavy. It could only
carry two milkshakes per order otherwise it would tip over.
Most of the time we took orders from the speakers
but the staff took turns on busy days. . Bearden's was open 7 days a
week, usually starting at 11 a.m., till 11 p.m., and two hours later on
the week ends. Most days one girl took care of the entire lot but might
have more help on Friday evenings. Friday and Saturday nights were very
We also took turns in chopping up onions one day and
making onion rings on another day. We made more tips on "onion day"
because we looked like we were crying.
I only made $.55 an hour plus tips. All our food was
free but we had to write it up for their expenses.
Yes, I liked the food! People remember Bearden's
burgers were great and their onion rings were made fresh. One
other small burger was made with peanut butter grilled on the
burger. Only a few people ordered that but it smelled sooo good
when it was cooking!
The old Bearden's in Parma used the same recipes and
made their onion rings the same. Fast Eddies in Parma had the
same food for a while.
The first fast food to compete with us was "Golden
Point" with 25 cent hamburgers. They were not that good. Big Boys
opened after that but they were not any faster and I don't think they
hurt our business because we were in the same price range.
At Rocky River Bearden's they tried serving
breakfast for one year but they did not have the staff for it. I
think the Lakewood Bearden's had it longer.
Howard Hinton was the manager of the Rocky River
Drive Bearden's for many years. His red-haired wife was a
waitress at Lakewood Bearden's. I don't think he was related to
the Orange family, but the person that made the recipe for Bearden's
used steak burger suet for their good taste. The Orange family
opened many restaurants in Florida, and I think they used the same
suet. There might be some family members that I don't know about.
Of course all male customers were interested in
every good looking car hop! Although Bearden's uniforms were not low
cut and mothers did not object to them. Most car hops instinctively
knew how to handle wolves. If not they all knew local police! If older
men tried to flirt with young girls they usually called them "Grandpa!"
--- June Kreuzer, Cleveland, OH. 19 January
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Corner Food Store 3711 West 140th & San Diego Avenue
My mother worked at the Corner Store at West
140th and San Diego Avenue. My mom and Louise Yanesh were good friends.
That meant free penny candies! Stanley, Louise's first husband, used to
sneak me candy by the bag. "Shhh! Put it in your book bag" but my mom
knew. That all stopped when Stan died and she married Joe. Nice guy but
Parma, OH. 13
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Diney's Drive In
Drive-In was located on West 117th, south of Lorain. It was torn
down when the highway (I-90) was built. It was a very popular place for
muscle cars to go, almost legendary. I used to hang out there
with my muscle car in the early 70's. I had a 1969 black Camaro SS.
Also-known-as the blonde in the black Camaro, the only female on the
West Side with a muscle car. I heard stories of a female on the East
side with a pretty hot 'Vette but never saw her. As I recall, the
muscle cars at Diney's always backed into their spot. Some would
put money on the dashboard of the car, visible through the windshield
to passerby, and wait for a car to challenge them. Lots of
anticipation and excitement in those days! By that time Diney's
had been around for quite awhile. There was no dining room.
They served great cheeseburgers right to your car."
--- Jill (maiden name Henry) Fennessy,
Sand Lake, MI. 15 December 2007
had great burgers! I think it was the Velveeta that made them great. My
mom even went there back when she went to John Marshall. Her favorite
was the peanut butter burger. This is yet another great burger joint
that bit the dust."
--- David Rimke, Hesperia, CA. 8
memories come flooding back. When we were students at West Tech
High School (1957-60), my best friend Joy and I would walk from West
97th Street (where we both lived) along Lorain Avenue to West. 117th
Street. Then we would hitchhike to Diney's, telling the driver we
would buy him a cup of coffee just to take us there. Diney's was
a great place to go while out on a date. They had the BEST
burgers and chocolate malts. My husband and I went there a lot
and we continued to go to Diney's after we got married in 1961.
I hesitated about mentioning the hitchhiking in my
post but I've told my kids about it so the secret's out. My best
friend, Joy Clark Freda, and I used to hitchhike a lot back then,
mostly on Denison Avenue on our way to the tennis courts at Brookside
Park. We never got in a car with a bunch of guys (safety first).
We usually accepted a ride from a family, and since we were
carrying our tennis rackets, it was obvious where we were going.
We used to ride our bikes, but holding onto a tennis racket was
awkward while riding a bike.
Gollwitzer Dixon, Livonia, Michigan. 15 April 2007.
I sure remember Diney's! Spent many
Friday and Saturday nights cruising between there and the Berea
Manners. We used to drag race on the street just behind Diney's as well.
I had a 59 Impala convertible with a 348. Used to
hang out with Louie Wagner, Joe Siebert, and Dick Schurk. We were all
into cars back then. At that time, my 59 was the one with the biggest
engine of any of the other guys. They nicknamed me "Billy big motor."
It wasn't all that fast, but made great noise with the cherry bomb
Off to war in 1968, returned in 1972, and still made
the trip to Diney's occasionally, then with my 67 Impala SS427 that I
bought before going into the Navy.
Diney's closed sometime around 1975 if I remember
correctly. The word got out there would be a final cruise night there.
I went in my El Camino, and parked two cars deep. I saw cars from the
old days that night, still out running around. One guy even brought a
dragster on a trailer, parked across the street, unloaded it and drove
across the street to the restaurant. Someone took pictures and sent
them to Hot Rod magazine. A photo was put in the magazine, along with a
short article about Diney's. I had the magazine at one time, but lost
it over the years. Good memories of those days. I still haven't grown
out of the old car thing; I have had an Avanti for 20 years now. As in
the old days, it is the loudest car on the block.
--- Bill Chapo, Knoxville, TN. 6 June 2006
Originally posted on the
John Marshall Alumni Message Board. Edited and posted here with Mr.
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Dryer's Pond (Also known as Dreyer's Pond)
Dryer's Pond was a place
where the boys went but not the girls. It was mostly for guys and we
just didn't go there. We called it "Bare Ass Beach."
--- Peggy Patton, Cleveland, OH. 17
I found your site earlier this
evening and cannot believe I'm still studying it even at this late hour.
happened to locate the Dreyer's Pond info and I could go on for hours
about that place. My dad, Aloysius Baechle, was born in 1913 (God
rest his beautiful soul) in the area now known as Brookpark. When
he was still a baby his family moved into a home that stood right next
to Dreyer's Pond. He told me many tales about the pond and I've
got some, too.
was a supervisor at the old Agrico plant (American Agricultural
Company) and before that his father, Andrew Baechle, was a night
watchman there. As a child, my dad would meet my grandfather at
that bridge and walk home with him after work.
I would like to correct
an assumption concerning pollution of the pond. People think that
because of the location of the fertilizer factory it only makes sense
it was the cause of ruining the pond. While the factory may have
contributed in some minor ways, it was the Ford Motor Company on
Brookpark Road that was the main culprit. Dreyer's Creek runs
from the location of Ford, eventually crosses W.150 Street, and leads
to the old Dreyer's Pond. This creek, I learned, is what really
brought the "bad" stuff to a beautiful pond.
Also, a small tree-lined, dusty road,
which I believe was called Red Road in the old days, led from West
150th Street straight back to the pond. It was in a house at the
end of this road that my dad lived when he was child. As a matter
of fact, your great photo of the bridge over Dreyer's Pond would have
in its background the very end of the road where my dad lived.
Further, I feel that if studied carefully, the photo actually reveals
my dad's home, along with another that sat across the road. I have a
cousin who visited there often and she insists that is what's shown in
vivid memories of catching snapping turtles from below Dreyer's dam, as
well as hunting pheasants and rabbits all around the pond and along the
creek. That was as late as the 1950s and very early 1960s!
Thanks for the memories.
--- Jim Baechle,
Westlake OH 26 March 2009
Ernie's (or Taffle's) Deli
The deli at the southwest corner of West 158th
and Lorain Avenue was owned by Ernie Chomos and was called Ernie's, or
Taffle's for some reason. (Today it is Charlie's Beverage at 15803
Lorain.) There was a four stool soda fountain in there and you could
get cherry, lime or lemon cokes. I remember they used to carry the
MIDNIGHT tabloid, and it always scared me as a kid because it had front
page stories like MOM COOKS FAMILY DOG AND SERVES IT FOR DINNER. Next
to that was a laundromat, a couple of other places I can't remember,
and of course the Far-Mor tavern. I also remember Wilkie's bakery
across the street and the Cork 'n' Bottle. I used to go to Wilkie's
every Saturday morning and get doughnuts and pastry for breakfast.
--- Nicolas D'Amico, Cleveland, OH. 02 January
Sometime in the spring or
summer in the 1950s the Duncan
YoYo Company would send a Filipino sales rep to Frankie's
Delicatessen (4444 Rocky River Drive just north of Puritas Avenue) to
perform tricks in front of the store to induce us to go inside and
purchase yoyos. I think Duncan sold 3 models; the Satellite, the
Butterfly, and the Tournament. All made of wood. If you bought a yoyo
this guy would expertly carve your name and maybe a palm tree on it. A
Duncun yoyo was out of my price range so I had a cheap imitation that
was ruined by my attempt at doing my own carving. But we would watch
this guy do all those incredible yoyo tricks and walk down Rocky River
trying to copy him. Years later Frankie's had a reputation for selling
beer to minors who had fake draft cards. I think I may have used this
service a few times.
--- Doug Viant, Galloway, OH. 25 February
Franklin Ice Cream - Puritas and West 140th
I remember Franklin Ice Cream in the
shopping center on W. 150th and Puritas. My girlfriend Bev Brown
and I used to meet there on Fridays and hang out. Of course you had to
get ice cream or a coke to sit there but we sure had some great times.
--- Sandy Shaw, Daleville, AL. 4 June 2007
Gray Drug Store
Gray's Drug Store, at West 137th and
Lorain, was our major hangout in the mid 1950s. After school the girls,
mostly from St. Joes, and the guys would meet for a coke or a
phosphate. Unless something else was going on, we would drift up there
in the evening and congregate. The fountain girls were really nice to
us, especially a middle-age woman named Mary and a small rotund lady
with a German accent. I get the warm fuzzies thinking about it. We were
not too unruly but every so often the pharmacist, who was the "muscle,"
would give us the heave-ho.
Shepley, Brunswick OH. 30 May 2008
Gray Drug's at West 137th and Lorain was
my comic-book-buying headquarters. I used to ride my bike up there
almost daily, leave it leaning against a pole outside, and run in to
see if any new issues had come out. The DC comics were my favorites. Superman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, and
especially The Atom,
who could go from full-size to microscopic at will. Comics were
displayed on revolving wire racks. There was a sign on top of the rack
that read "Hey Kids! Comics!"
Gray's also had a lunch
counter along the west wall of the store, with both a counter and
booths. A long, rectangular window behind the counter looked out on
Christ Methodist Church.
When my buddies and I
were little it used to be fun to ride past that winortldow on our bikes
at lunchtime, when the counter was packed with customers, and make
silly faces at them. Not real bright.
It was fun to get vanilla
and chocolate cokes at the counter when we were a little older, and
watch other stupid kids ride past the window and make faces.
--- Gary Swilik, Cleveland, OH. 28 November 2007
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Gunning Park: Puritas Pool
Does anyone remember the old open-air
pool at Gunning Park? To get into the pool you had to go
through those monkey bar turn-styles that were as tall as an
adult, run through a shower, and then put your feet up on a board, one
at a time, in front of the lifeguard. He or she would check between
your toes for fungus or athlete's foot, and give you the OK to get in
No matter how hot it was the water was always
freezing till you adjusted. Actually it was only half water, the other
half being chlorine. It smelled like a giant Clorox bottle!
I seem to always have memories of death but here
goes: The pool was usually packed full of people. All you could really
do was stand up because it was so crowded. Once a small girl jumped in
at the shallow end and hit her head on the side of the pool. No one
realized what had happened because of the crowded conditions. You
guessed it. She drowned! This put a damper on the whole summer and the
pool was not the enjoyable place it once was.
--- Doug Viant, Galloway, OH. 12 May 2009
I most certainly do recall the swimming
pool at Gunning Park. We always called it simply "Puritas Pool." It was
an open-air pool, not enclosed in a building like the pool in the
recreation center at Gunning Park today. So, of course, it was only
open in the summer.
We'd get to the pool by going south down West 140th,
then west along Puritas Avenue. The railroad tracks on Puritas, just
east of the pool, then crossed at street level. There was no underpass,
as there is today. You couldn't see the pool until you came up over the
tracks and, suddenly, there it was. It was always kind of exciting for
us little kids to get the first glimpse of the pool, shining blue on a
I remember the turn-styles, the showers, and the
foot inspections but you also had to walk through a shallow pool of
some kind of yellowish-green foot disinfectant. The lifeguard sat at a
wooden contraption that looked almost like a shoe-maker's bench, with a
place for you to put your foot. You had to carefully spread your toes
apart so the guard could look between them for signs of infection. I
think one of my buddies was actually denied admittance once, having
failed the foot inspection.
I wonder why no one has to have their feet inspected
before getting into a public pool today. Was it all for nothing?
I learned to swim in a series of early morning
classes at Puritas Pool, and since it was outside, it was often kind of
cold at that hour. We'd stand around hugging ourselves, dreading
jumping into the cold water. Then, once we were in the water, we didn't
want to get out and freeze in the cold air.
Yes, on really hot days Puritas Pool was absolutely packed. No room to
swim, just stand in the water and bob up and down! But these were the
days when home air-conditioners were only for the wealthy and even that
lukewarm water felt so good.
--- Gary Swilik, Cleveland, OH. 12 May 2009
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Herold’s Grocery and Meat Market
I went to Garfield elementary school
on West 140th and remember Herold's store across the street. We did the
penny candy thing, especially the red licorice sticks.
--- Bill Chapo, Knoxville, TN. 17 June 2006
I worked at Herold's grocery for two or
three years. I'd wait on customers and stock the shelves. Sometimes I'd
deliver groceries and Mr. Herold would let me use his car. I think I
started at ten dollars a week. Just before I quit to go into the army
in July, 1941, I think I was making twelve dollars per week.
Mr. Herold treated me nicely. I ate lunch there all
the time right in the apartment over the store with the family. It was
mostly sandwiches but they were good. Mrs. Herold was flamboyant and a
flashy dresser. When I worked there she would sometimes wait on a
customer but not often.
Mr. Herold was a very good meat cutter. He was
teaching me meat cutting when I went into the service.
He had a lot of customers that were on the tab. Each
customer had their own sheet kept in a drawer. I would just mark down
their purchases on a sheet. A lot of customers then came in and paid
their bills on Saturday.
As I recall the store was open about 8 in the
morning to 6 at night during the week, and until 8 in the evening on
Saturday. It was a busy place. Mr. Herold held his own against Fisher's
and Kroger's which also had stores on West 140th.
I knew the Herold girls, Zita and Dolores. I
remember when Zita got married Mr. Herold closed the store on a
Saturday for her wedding.
--- Richard "Dick" R. Morrison, Cleveland,
OH. 15 January 2007
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Grocery and Meat Market
Hullabaloo Teen Club
On Friday evenings I would get my
go-go boots and head to Hullabaloo Teen Club on Lorain Avenue where I
would do the latest dances: The Hully Gully, Twist, Shotgun, Swim,
Jerk, Watusi, The Stroll, Mashed Potato, The Pony, Four Corners, Dirty
Dog, and a host of others. Once I even came in second in a Hullabaloo
There was no entry fee and anyone could compete. The
winner won a motorcycle. We danced on the floor in front of the stage,
similar to the dance contests of the 1940s. They would tag those that
were disqualified. I wish I could remember the songs we danced to. I
know there was a lot of shimmying going on.
It came down to two of us, and the other girl won.
At the time, I felt overlooked. She was a sexy greaser and I was a
“Flower Child.” I have no idea if this played a part or not. They
totally ignored me. One minute I felt like a star and the next – I was
a loser. Poor soul!
Another time I remember walking down Rocky River
Drive going to Hullabaloo. I carried my shoes and walked barefoot. I
had the typical surfer hair style, long and blond. Someone driving by
stopped, jumped out of his car, took my picture, and sped off. I always
wondered what happened to that picture.
When I arrived at Hullabloo, I discovered I'd
forgotten either my money or my pass. My friend Sherry and I tried to
sneak in the back but the security guard caught us. He felt sorry for
us and let us in.
I actually still have an ashtray that I put on my
Christmas Tree every year. It says “Swiped from the Hullabaloo.”
--- Garland McFarland, New Castle, KY. 8
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I just ran across your web site on
West Park history. I haven't had time to view and read everything yet
but I see no mention of Jefferson Park. I grew up on West 132nd Street
and spent many a day in the park. The highlight was in the winter when
they flooded the park for ice skating and on Friday nights they would
leave the flood lights on until 9:00 p.m. Thanks again for such
--- Brian F.
Moran, Fairview Park, OH. 13 June 2008
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Kamms Corner Area
I remember the stores along Lorain Avenue
going west from West 165th Street. There was a Rexall pharmacy, next to
that was Baby Land, then a department
store called Red Robin. I got all of my Aurora monster models at Baby
Land and my copies of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine at Rexall.
As I recall, there was a Dodge dealer across the street from Rexall,
where the U-Haul place is now.
--- Nicolas D'Amico,
Cleveland, OH. 02 January 2010
policeman working Kamms Corners
For many years the police department had a foot patrolman working Kamms
Corners. His name, as I recall, was Eddie Trsek (Tree-sick) and
he was a nice man. He ensured that the school kids got across the
intersection without difficulty and occasionally directed traffic when
things got hectic. But he patrolled the neighborhood quite well
summer and winter and I am sure the merchants appreciated that because
at Christmas time he really made out.
All the merchants loaded him up with gifts in
response to his being around the corners day after day. He must
have looked like Santa at times on his way home. We don't have a
police presence like that any more.
--- Dan Weber, Rancho
Cordova, CA. 10 October 2008
More memories of
Eddie Trsek: 2, 3
The Home Team at Kamm's
In the spring of 1944, toward the end of World
War II when I was about 12 years old, my friends and I set our sights
on some vacant property where the Kamm's Plaza parking lot is today.
There was enough clear space there for a softball diamond. So, leading
up to the end of the school year, we got together and cut weeds,
smoothed out the field, and installed some white orange crates for
bases. It really looked good.
On the first morning of summer vacation I was lying
in bed when I heard a tractor nearby. I got out of bed and raced over
to “our” new ball field. My worst fears were confirmed. The owner had
decided to plant a Victory
Garden on the site! We were one despondent group. We vowed to get
even but, in the end, stole only a couple of tomatoes and a few ears of
corn that fall.
The next spring we decided to try again and this
time got permission for a diamond although it was a lot more work
smoothing out the ruts. We even built a backstop and scoreboard from
some scrap lumber and painted them green. It all looked very nice to us.
At our evening games some of our parents came over
and even our dads got involved. It was fun and we all enjoyed it.
Over the years our group went in different
directions. Only one stayed in the area so we pretty much lost contact
with each other. Several have passed on and I only really keep track of
one fellow who now lives in Oklahoma. Of course, I still see my brother
Roger who lives near San Diego. I often wish my own kids could have
lived in that era at a place like Kamm's Corners with valleys to
explore, lakes to swim in, rivers to fish, and so many things to do.
--- Dan Weber, Rancho
Cordova, CA. 95670. 5 February 2008
All-Stars vs. The West 159th Street Gang
I was born in 1932 and grew up in our family
home at 17504 Allien Avenue. Along with many of my friends, I attended
Our Lady of the Angels Elementary School on Rocky River Drive and hung
out around Kamm's Corners. In the era after World War II we played a
lot of softball on a ball diamond we made on what was then vacant land
but is now the northwest section of Kamm's Plaza parking lot.
One morning I was bragging we had some pretty good
players meeting on our ball diamond and, as a result, we were invited
to take on the "West 159th Street Gang." A challenge I readily agreed
I use the term "gang" because many of the players
lived on West 159th Street or close by.
The last names of some of these fellows were Birt,
Sammon, and Kramer but I'm not certain of the spelling after all these
years. They had built a respectable ball diamond of their own on open
land northwest of Five Points, where Ernadale, Granton, Tuttle, West
Park Road, and West 159th all come together. The neighborhood has
changed considerably but I believe the ball field may now be in the
area of Saint Anthony Lane.
So on a sultry Saturday morning my team, including
brothers Johnny and Jim Kolonick, (both have passed on) jumped on our
bikes and pedaled over to teach the West 159th Street Gang how to play
ball – or so we thought!
Due to the heat, we agreed to play only 5, possibly
6, innings. Besides, that was all I felt we needed to beat them.
As the visiting team, we batted first. The game
started off great. I hit a homer my first time at bat and we
immediately scored several runs. Then the roof caved in!
The 159th Street guys were slamming hits all over
the field. We were dropping pop flies, failing to tag runners, and got
only a few more hits. It was a disaster. They scored at will. We
couldn’t wait for the end of the game. The final score was something
like five runs for us and twenty or more for them. We had been
We sat around and chatted for a few minutes and
then, quick as we could, hopped on our bikes and got out of there. My
pals made me promise I would never again schedule a game like this. We
headed off to our dairy store hangout to soothe our egos and then, to
add insult to injury, I got a flat tire on Lucille Avenue and had to
walk the rest of the way back.
--- Dan Weber, Rancho
Cordova, CA. 95670. 10 February 2008
Just a couple of comments about the Rocky
River Drive 'THEN' photos . . .
was a small house with a long front porch, sort of a Western
motif. The south side of the house butted up against Vic Gates'
gas station. I see it is now a Shell station. I used to use
their air pump for my bicycle tires. It also backed up to the
Rini's Supermarket which was west of the gas station.
was an add-on building that came along much later . . . .perhaps in the
late 1940s Our family bought our first 8mm movie camera
there. Next door was the Kamm's branch of the local Post Office.
Number 3772 was a rather run
down house and at one time there were a slew of kids living there.
was a lovely old home and behind it was a small house with the address
of 3744. (The back house with the address of 3744 may have been behind
3740 rather than 3758. I am just not sure.) My mother knew those
folks, probably from church, and they had a daughter that was a
substitute teacher at Our Lady of Angels. Behind that house was
the ravine and creek which ran west, north of Allien Avenue (where my
family lived.) In the winter time we could see the back of that
was another rather stately home. In small towns it might be
referred to as the banker's house. I do not know who lived in any
of these homes, although my parents probably did. Following 3740
northward was a small apartment building and then Oxford Avenue.
The Kamm's store was
on the SW corner of Rocky River Drive and Lorain. It had been a
restaurant and bar for many years under various names such as
"Tony's". The right/west side of the building was a barber shop
for many years and when my Dad was too busy to give me a haircut I
would go there and have Mr. House cut it. Then next to that,
westbound, was Joyce's Bar which was as close to a neighbor pub as you
could find around West Park.
The northeast corner of Kamm's Corner was the
Cleveland Trust building with a number of doctors and dentists on the
second floor. The window looking out over the clock (which was a
late add-on) was Doctor Faus' office. My mother worked there as a
dental assistant and met my father there. He was a patient.
She lived south on Rocky River Drive at a boarding house for girls near
St Pat's and would walk or ride the streetcar/bus down to Kamms to go
--- Dan Weber, Rancho Cordova, CA. 95670.
12 June 2006
A place I remember very well is Leader
Drug Store located at Kamm's Corner. I worked there as a stock
boy, helped at the soda bar and delivered drugs for Mr. Harold
Resnick. I always laugh now as I look back and compare how far we
have come. I would sometimes deliver up to 20 different drug
prescriptions that contained who knows what, and I was only
17 years old. Helping out at the soda bar was always fun,
making sodas, banana splits and helping to grill hamburgers for the
lady who was in charge. I remember scrubbing the grill with I
believe it was a soap stone after heating it up and pouring water on it.
My wife and I used to bowl at Olympic recreation.
My wife was an excellent bowler and was on a bowling team at John
Marshall called the "Ten Pins". Mr. Barthelman ran the bowling
center which, if memory serves me right, had only 12 lanes. The
"Ten Pins" represented Olympic Recreation in the City Bowling Tourney
one year and won. I still have a picture of my wife taken at the
tourney which appeared in the newspaper.
Kamm's Corner was always a great area to hang
out. Many places to eat and such. As a matter of fact I
played on the muny football team called the Kamms Corner
Merchants. It was a 125 pound weight limit league, bantam weight,
and I was selected to the 2nd team all star team at the quarterback
position. Great memories. I really enjoy thinking back to a time that
was so important to all of us when things were more innocent.
--- Lou Diamond, Garland, TX. 4 March 2007
I have many many fond memories of...
+ Kamm's corners
+ Our Lady of Angels School and church
+ Taking the bus to the rapid transit station with a group of friends,
then to the baseball stadium to use the free baseball tickets that the
Cleveland Plain Dealer gave to "A" students. I was 8 through 11
+ "Down in the Valley"
+ Cutting through Alger Cemetery
on my bike to go to the library
+ Royal Castle's
cheap, great hamburgers and birch beer
+ "Kaiser's" Store, near the Fariview Hospital. Actually, it was
a liquor store that sold candy. Run in the early '60's by Mrs.
Kaiser, later by Alvin. We went there every day, if we could
scrape up a few pennies for Jawbreakers, licorice, gum or a nickel for
a candy bar.
+ Eddie the crossing guard (See
also 1, 3)
(A newspaper article appeared in the Cleveland Press or the Plain
Dealer circa spring 1966. There was a photograph of Eddie the
crossing guard with four girls. I was sitting on his lap!
Four OLA sixth grade girls took up a collection for our favorite Kamm's
Corner's policeman and crossing guard, Eddie, when he retired. We
The article stated that Traffic Patrolman Ed
Trsek had been a member of the Cleveland Police Department for 41 years
when he retired circa 1966. Since 1939, he had been assigned to West
Side traffic, particularly Kamms Corners. He had escorted two
generations of school children across the intersection at Lorain Avenue
and Rocky River Drive. Four sixth-grade pupils of Our Lady of Angels
School initiated a fund drive for a gift certificate for "Eddie the
crossing guard." Patrolman Trsek, a Strongsville resident, was
presented a $21.25 gift certificate at the school.
From birth to 1959 I lived
on Westport Ave, near Brysdale St. I noticed that street is now
gone! I lived at 17231 Bradgate Avenue from 1959 to May 3, 1966,
when we moved to California. (Click
for photo. May, 1989.)
--- Joan Gulling Kolb. Whittier, CA. 5 March 2007
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River Drive - Then & Now
The Salem Dental Laboratory (3873 Rocky River Dr.)
used to be a Convenient Food Mart. I stopped here almost everyday on
the way home from school. I remember comics were 60 cents and candy
bars were 40 cents. A dollar would be enough to get something
worthwhile. This was the first store I was allowed to go to alone on my
bike. I was about 11.
Now there's a Papa John's Pizza on the corner of Lorain and Rocky River Drive.
Something else was there first (bowling alley?) but it burned down. I
remember the black streaks on the wall which is now covered by a mural.
Later there was an empty lot with a big hole in the ground which I
always wanted to look at but my mom wouldn't let me get close. It
became a Dunkin Donuts by the time I was in high school. I went to a
father-daughter dance in my freshman year (1986) and stopped there for
donuts. When it first opened they had a guy dressed in a donut costume
dancing in the parking lot handing out coffee and donut coupons. He was
in a foam rubber suit in 90 degrees plus!
Tops in Kamm's Plaza used to be Pick-N-Pay. I
remember being little enough to fit in the seat on the shopping cart.
Mom would stop at the spinner rack of Little Golden Books and get me
something to read so I'd stay quiet while she shopped.
I was highly annoyed when the Riverside Theater closed
to build a drugstore. That's where I'd seen RETURN OF THE JEDI and
Steven King's CATSEYE,
the first movie I was allowed to see alone. This was also the first
theater where I went on a date to see a movie. The tickets were $3.50
and popcorn was $1.75 so five dollars was almost enough for a movie and
Lisa Fournier, Cleveland, OH. 28 July 2006
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Landphair Dry Goods store
My grandfather, Edwin Landphair, was originally a
partner in the Landphair Dry Goods store at Kamm's Corners with my
great-uncle William Landphair. I recall going into the store with my
Aunt Millie and her buying me Buster
Barb McGilvray Fischer, Toledo, OH. 20 August 2007
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Lorain Avenue in the West 120's area
I can tell you a lot about the before of the pics
on Lorain Avenue, W. 130th, etc. since I was born and raised at 3465 W.
129th. I worked for Bill Mather at the car lot and the West Park
Lanes was owned by Johnny Klares once BPA's doubles champion, Lunte
Drug made some great Malts, and the grocery store on the corner across
from Lunte was owned by Al Capp. Lloydas cafe made some darn good
hamburgers and had the first projection TV which folded up to news
paper size. You forgot the old A&P between 126 and 127th.,
south side. I could keep going and tell you about all from W.
116th. (Lyric Theater) all
the way to almost Kamms corners on Lorain. I remember the night
before I left for the USMC (1957 Sept.) there was a tavern called the
123 Bar on the north side of Lorain Avenue where the bikers hung
out. That night they had all the units lined up outside and they
kind of were leaning, well I helped them out and slightly pushed them
over just like dominos. Needless to say they were P___ed!!!
Alan Toth, near Crestview, OH
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Go to Marquard House page
Martin Jewelry Store
remember a Santa Claus figure that used to sit in the window during the
Christmas season at Martin Jewelry near the Riverside Theater. (Martin
Jewelry, 17021 Lorain Avenue.) He was a mechanical figure that
would play music while he rocked back and forth. He had a red velvet
suit and a long white beard. He was gorgeous.
Barb McGilvray Fischer, Toledo, OH. 20 August 2007
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The Orange Hut
Orange Hut was a great place! The best soft serve ice cream in town.
They had 10, 15 and 25 cent cones - the 25 cent cones were HUGE. The
Orange Hut had a walk-up window on the right front when you were facing
it and a water fountain to the immediate left. There was also a diner
inside with a counter and booths, although I almost never went in there.
Nicolas D'Amico, Cleveland, OH. 02 January 2010
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Ortli's Market on West 130th Street
Your Now & Then photos of
Ortli's Market on West 130th answered my question - (what
ever happened to the building?), and jogged my memory as well.
A year or two after your circa 1961 photo was taken,
I purchased my first pack of baseball cards inside. The outside of
Ortli's was two-toned green, as I recall. It was a common paint scheme
for the time: light green with dark green around the entrance and
windows. I remember the glass candy counter inside, and the nice lady
who waited on us.
It was the early 1960s , and I was about five years
old. I was familiar with the neighborhood because I attended
kindergarten at Nathaniel Hawthorne School on West 130th Street. My
buddy Timmy Gallagher, who was a few years older than I, walked with me
the ten blocks down Linnet Avenue from our homes on West 120th Street.
Along the way Timmy explained to me how my nickel would buy a pack of
cards, and how Timmy would receive the piece of bubble gum in the deal.
He could have it - that pink rectangular flat piece of gum turned out
to be so dry and hard it would crack apart in your mouth!
I distinctly remember that first pack of five cards:
No Cleveland Indians players but there was an outfielder from the
Milwaukee Braves that Timmy had heard of. The player's name was Hank
Peter D. Zwick, Columbia Station,
OH. 05 August
I have a nice memory of Ortli's candy store. My
older sister used to walk me to a barber shop on West 127th and Lorain
for an 85 cent haircut. Afterward, we'd walk down 130th and stop at the
Ortli's to blow the remaining 15 cents. If we decided to get ice cream
instead, we'd walk down to the Dairy Dell at the corner of West Avenue
and 130th. My favorite was a two scooper, one lime and one orange
David Shepley, Brunswick OH. 30 May 2008
We had a small candy store across from Nathaniel
Hawthorne Elementary on W 130th. It was called Ortli's. I can
remember some of the kids going there during lunch or after school to
buy candy. But I didn't have any money to spend on that kind of
stuff so I would just go in with my friends and look at the candy in
the display cases. Mrs. Ortli was up in years back then. I can
still see her face, a stern, no-nonsense woman with wire rimmed
glasses. The counter was to the right as you walked in the door. The
house still stands but there is no store there now.
John Papay, North Royalton, OH. 31 March 2007
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Market on West 130th Street
Post Office at West 132nd and Lorain Rd.
I'm sorry to
see some of these old places go. One building I really liked was the
post office at West 132nd and Lorain Rd. My dad (Bill Cremati) worked
there. Back then the mail men would take the bus to their routes and
then work out of boxes that would have all their mail for the day -
which they had sorted and cased that morning. The mail
was delivered to them by another driver. Some of the carriers
would take their cars but that was a big No-No! It was a lot easier to
do that than carry their full mail sack to the route. I guess they
finally figured out the cost of the bus, time getting there, the other
driver drop-offs, then coming back to the station, would pay for the
vehicles they now drive. Today of course they all have there own
John Cremati, Cleveland, OH. April 2006
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Puritas Avenue and Rocky River Drive area
grew up on Puritas Springs Rd. and used to go to the Park all the
time. All my friends in the neighborhood and myself would go to the
roller rink on Saturdays and rent skates and have a ball. The time
period was between 1955 and 1958. We were just around seven years old
but we would spend our time hiking all over Metropolitan Park and
fishing in Rocky River. It was a great place to grow up. Sometimes we
would ride our bikes down Grayton Rd. which was dirt and gravel at the
time, and watch the planes take off and land at the airport. Too much
fun!! I went to Puritas Springs Elementary School. At the corner of
Rocky River Drive and Puritas Rd. was a little store called "Frankies"
where we got our supply of wax lips, teeth, and licorice!! I loved it!!
--- James Martin, Morongo Valley, CA. 7
I was born on West 127th Street on April
10, 1917. My folks moved to Fairview Park when I was there months old.
My older sister, Eileen, and I used to go to Puritas
Springs to roller skate. We'd walk through the valley from our home
and climb up the side of the hill to the park.
We were walking through the park one Sunday
at the time the Cyclone roller
coaster was getting ready to open. I was about 11 years old. My
sister was older. They were hollering for volunteers to ride it. My
sister and I went on. There were about ten of us riding altogether. The
Cyclone went up the first hill and stopped. The brakes went on for some
reason. We all had to get out and walk down the catwalk along the track.
The Cyclone didn't open that Sunday but, I think, on
the following Sunday. (The Cyclone opened in 1928.) It was a month
after that I rode the Cyclone all the way through. It was alright but I
liked the Flying Turns at Euclid Beach better.
I don't recall buying food at Puritas Springs too
much. Ice cream sometimes. We used to take our own food when we went on
picnics. They used to have a little ice house right where you
went it and you could buy ice. There was a bowling alley, too. When
pins got chipped, they'd just throw them down into the little ravines
in the park. We used to go and pick them up. I thought Puritas Springs
was a great place and had a lot of fun there.
--- Lewis H. Clark, Cleveland, OH. 9
We lived right on Puritas Avenue. At
night if we had the windows open we could hear Jungle Larry's lions roaring. We
could hear the Cyclone going along the track, too.
We were at Puritas Springs one time and got
on the butterfly ride, and it went on and on. The poor little old gent
that ran it sat down and had a stroke I think. We were on that ride
about 20 minutes.
--- Nancy Clark Resendiz, Cleveland, OH. 9
I follow your recent additions to westparkhistory.com
with interest. I remember riding streetcars along Lorain and some of
the buildings you picture. As you have worked your way to Kamm's
Corners and then down Rocky River Drive, you are getting close to home.
The intersection of Puritas and Rocky River is ever so familiar for me
- beginning in February 1940. I lived on Flamingo Ave. and crossed this
intersection for seven years on my way to Puritas Elementary school. I
see there are many changes.
Puritas, of course, was a two-lane street then and
housing did not exist much beyond St. Patrick's Church to the west.
This intersection had a stoplight, and a church cemetery on the
northeast corner, but the other three corner lots were empty, except
perhaps for a billboard or two.
Frankie's Delicatessen existed but I do not remember
the name. It was unusual to go up steps into the store, and as I
remember, it was a very small neighborhood grocery, the forerunner of a
convenience store. Often, on the way to school or the way home, a
schoolmate by the name of Ron Thrasher and I would stop in the store
and buy a two-pack of cupcakes (Hostess maybe) to share. I think they
were a nickel.
As I mentioned, Discount Tile Mart didn't exist,
neither did the Gulf station, and the other corner lot was empty too. I
think Kroger's built a store there. Now it is a Discount Drug Store, or
was, when I went there for my father in the late 1990's.
Homes were few along Puritas from Rocky River to
Puritas Springs Park. Puritas was narrow and had dirt paths meandering
into fields and even a dump to the north of the street. I wonder if
those homeowners realize what exists beneath their home sites.
Flamingo Avenue to the west of Rocky River Drive was
a dirt path until the building boom following World War II. My father
pointed out, probably in the 40's, a vaguely visible right-of-way along
the western berm of Rocky River Drive heading south where there were
signs of the old interurban railway that went to Berea. This evidence
disappeared with the widening of Rocky River Drive and the developments
that took place to the west.
There was a street-car turn-around loop and terminal
just to the north of St. Patrick's. Streetcars also used to turn around
at Kamm's Corners but the extension south, down Rocky River to Puritas,
occurred within my memory.
Probably in 1946 or 47, I was handed a wooden pole,
with a cloth "STOP" sign attached, and did my duty to assist the
crossing guard at this intersection when school started and ended.
I think Kim's hardware was a grocery in the 1940's,
larger than the one near the corner of Rocky River and Puritas
(Frankie's). My mother gave me a grocery list and cash (and meat tokens
during WW II) and I would ride my bike there to shop.
Henry Kieffer, Lore City, OH. 7 April 2007.
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Rocky River Drive
My family moved from Ohio
City to Thornhope Road off Puritas Avenue in 1955, so I remember when
Puritas Plaza at West 140th first opened. Right next to the W. T. Grant
store was Crown Shoes, the first self-serve shoe store I had ever seen.
Then Young's Jewelers, which is still there. Then there was Joanne's
Beauty Parlor, A&P Supermarket, and Franklin's Ice Cream. I went to
Ascension grade school right across the street. We girls would go to
Franklin's after school and look at the teenagers in there with awe
Peggy Rieger Wagner, North Olmsted,
OH. 26 January
I remember the first stores in the shopping
center at Puritas and West 140th. I recall when W. T. Grant's opened
there in the early 1960s. They had a clown, balloons, and a piano
The property where Puritas Plaza shopping
center was built used to be the Peterjohn Farm. They had at least two
houses on the property, both now gone.
I also used to go to Jay Drug at the same
shopping center. They had a fascinating section with rather bizarre
jokes and novelties. For instance, they sold fake ears, noses, and
thumbs sealed in plastic jars in some kind of green liquid. They were
meant to look like medical specimens. When I was a little boy I was
thrilled to find them on sale locally because until then I'd only seen
them in the advertising section of FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND
magazine. I pleaded with my mom to buy me the ear, which she
finally did. It sat on a window sill in my bedroom for years.
In about 1961 a very unusual attraction set up
for a few weeks in the Puritas Plaza parking lot. It was billed as a
"petrified man." You paid a small entrance fee and walked through a
trailer. Lying upon a slab in the trailer, under glass I think, was
what appeared to be a man made of stone. He had a gash visible on his
forehead which was believed to be the cause of the man's death.
I recall asking my science teacher at Garfield
School, Mr. McCann, if he had seen the petrified man. He kind of
laughed at me and said a man would decay before he would petrify. I
don't know if that's accurate or not but I've never forgotten looking
at the petrified man.
Gary Swilik, Cleveland, OH. 9 March 2008
moved to West 135th and Puritas back in 1961 from West 58th and Bridge
Avenue neighborhood. I can still smell how fresh the air smelled back
then. It felt like we were moving out to the country.
I have fond memories of Baker’s Bakery in the
shopping center at Puritas and West 140th. It would smell so good to go
inside the bakery. They had the best Date Nut Cake that I ever had in
my life time. I have never ever had one since. On special occasions,
that was where we went. I do hope they are still in business.
I remember the W.T. Grant store well, too.
They had a Neanderthal man in a case on display out on their
sidewalk. It must have been in the early 1960s too, Maybe 1964?
He was a stone man on display. It was unforgettable.
FL. 8 March 2008
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My very first job was at Radtke's Delicatessen. I was
attending a Catholic Business High School which required tuition, books
and uniforms. In other words, at 16, I was old enough to earn my keep
and learn the value of a dollar.. so my parents informed me.
What? I asked ... Where? I asked ... "Look around
... apply in the neighborhood" was their response.
We had shopped at Radtke's for years, not for major
items but for fresh sandwich meat, bread, milk and the occasional item
we discovered we were out of and needed for dinner ... and, oh yes, the
ÒpennyÓ pretzels which were part and parcel of Radtke's.
I talked an idea over with a friend of mine who was
in the same boat. We knew the current cashier at Radtke's would soon be
graduating from our high school so the two of us decided to apply for
her position together. Mr. Radtke and Harold Radtke interviewed us and
said they would consider our concept of splitting the job. Shortly
thereafter we were both hired and hours were set. We could work
alternate shifts during the week (6 - 11 pm) as well as alternate
shifts on Saturday and Sunday (1-6 pm or 6-11 pm.) Which
nights/weekends to work was up to us as long as one of us was there.
Who said job sharing was a new thing? The Radtkes were ahead of their
Here I learned everything about a grocery store on a
small scale. I ran the register, bagged groceries, was in charge of
penny candy, sliced sandwich meat to the customer's liking when Bob
(Mr. Radtke's son-in-law) and/or Harold (Mr. Radtke's son) were out
back taking deliveries, priced merchandise, stocked shelves, checked
the produce to see that it was always freshly displayed, occasionally
swept floors before closing and balanced out the register after the
store was closed. Harold Radtke would be there at closing to see that
we were safely headed for home.
Radtke's was a place where an honest day's work was
rewarded with an honest day's pay (50¢ an hour to $1.00 an hour in two
years). I had good people to work for and good people to work with.
Perhaps Radtke's was an omen of things to come? Perhaps my work ethic
was established at Radtke's, If so, it has served me well.
Radtke's is no longer there. It became expendable.
Delicatessens became large grocery stores, which became Super-Stores,
and neighbors changed their daily shopping routines to weekly shopping
routines. Another sign of the times.
Fran Hendren, Toledo, OH. 17 February 2010
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Reliable Drug was originally on the other side of
West 134th. The later location, across from St. Vincent DePaul, was
Fisher Foods before it was Reliable.
Reliable had the best vanilla milk shakes at the old
drug store in the whole world!
A lady named Irene, short, dark-haired made them. Then, when they
moved to the new bldg., a Jewish fellow from the east side, Morrie
Strauss, took over the huge soda fountain area. I won a
half-gallon of ice cream in an opening drawing. They forgot to take my
name off, so I went back again! Morrie served a super size sundae
in a Pyrex casserole dish for $2.50 If you could finish it, you got
another one free! What days those were! Brings a tear to my eye!
There were two brothers owned Reliable, Albert and
Charles Ruxin. Albert could be grumpy but Charlie was a pretty
Jon Dolfurd, John Marshall High School, Class of 1957, Longs,
SC. 6 March 2006
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Reliable Drug store
to Main Page
The Riverside Theatre
Great website! I grew up in the West
Park area and worked at the Riverside Theatre for many years, roughly
from 1974 to the early 1980s. Loews purchased the Riverside from
Community Circuit Theatres which was owned by Burt Lefkowich. At
the time Bill Helaney worked for Lefkowich. I left the Riverside
and managed the Berea Theatre and then the Loews West Theatre in Rocky
River. Helaney worked in the theatre circuit for many years.
At the Riverside I was also the marquee
changer. I would set up the new movie letters on Thursday night
for the Friday opening. In fact, the picture on your site shows
the "Omen II" on the marquee which was was set by me. Inside the
"letter room" were many scraps of paper, left there by me, of letter
lists. I would cross off letters already on the marquee so I
would not carry out duplicates. I would spell out our next movie
and, if space allowed, the star's name.
There is a statement on your Memories page
about the Riverside where it is mentioned that the light in the side
alley was always burnt out. It was not. It was turned out
or broken all the time by kids so they could sneak in the side
door. A friend inside the theatre would open the door for them
and the light would shine in, which we would see from the top of the
aisle. So if the bulb was out at night this would aid them.
I saw many movies at the Riverside. It
was a great place to work and many great people worked there. I
miss those times. We had Mel Brook's YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN at the
theatre in 1974, and if filled the place, even the balcony. The
laughter was so great it would shake the balcony and we were sold out
for four straight weeks. I may have some pictures. If I
find them I will send them. Thanks again for a nice website.
George B. Dameron, Olmsted
Township, OH. 6
I had some
involvement with the Riverside Theater when Loews operated it and later
when Bill Helaney took over and ran it as a $3 discount theater. I
believe Norm Barr of General Theaters had some dealing with it as well.
Norm Barr might have been partners with Bill Helaney but I do not
remember. I believe Bill Helaney was in charge when the theater was
sold and then closed. It is a shame Bill Helaney was not able to make
it work. Those old Theaters were so grand! I loved them!
I remember there was an art deco style
"penny scale" in one of the bathrooms at the Riverside. These scales,
the kind where you put in a penny to learn your weight, were common
during the 1930s to the 1950s. The scale was eventually stored behind
the stage, probably because it was no longer accurate. Later the scale
was given to me and I tried unsuccessfully to fix it. I ended up
I’m sure the air conditioning in the theater was
once a major draw. The AC compressor room was located in the back of
the building. It was forever breaking down and was a major expense to
maintain and operate. One of the two open compressors was replaced
under my watch.
There was a large water cooling tower behind the
building that was in need of serious repair. There was a huge blower in
an upper room behind the screen that was only accessible by climbing a
ladder attached to the wall. The room was at ceiling level as the
ventilation duct work system went thru the ceiling. The blower motor
went bad and it was a real chore hoisting a motor up into that little
room. The motor was about the size of a car engine. The equipment was
probably as old as the theater and may have been one of the reasons
Loews gave it up after their lease expired.
The neon marquee was also a major expense. Much of
the fabricated metal was rusted some thru in parts. I scraped and
painted the underside of the marquee one year and tried to get all the
neon and incandescent lights working, as many were shorted out on the
lower section. The vertical neon tower was a different story as a crane
lift had to be brought in to install the neon tubing, but after
replacing some of the large transformers I got most of it going. So
with out any major expense it looked pretty nice and most of it ran.
In the neon room located behind the marquee there
was a metal basket with balls in it. Apparently this was once used for
bingo. The electrical system in that room was in terrible condition. It
would cause different portions of the neon marquee to blink. Wires were
arcing, and sparks flying! I am surprised no fire had taken place.
John Cremati, Cleveland, OH.
23 March 2010
I well recall the Riverside Theater and the
alley that ran next to it. One Sunday afternoon in the summer, two of
my friends, John and Jim (both now deceased) and I were grounded for
some reason. The three of us badly wanted to see the film showing at
the Riverside. We wandered up there and read all the posters and were
very upset we would miss the film.
We then walked south through the alley and found
several bricks stacked up for some repair work. One thing led to
another and we decided we would throw a couple of bricks at the huge
metal door in the alley, and scare everyone in the theater including
our buddies. Then we would run like the devil for Alger Cemetery. I
guess we thought we could hide among the tombstones.
Well, as luck would have it, there just happened to
be a couple of ushers standing inside the theater by that door. They
were out of there in a flash and we three took off with the ushers in
The youngest in our group, Jim, was caught in the
cemetery and taken to the manager's office. His brother and I escaped.
The manager knew Jim and his parents, who were neighbors, so he got a
good chewing out and probably further grounding.
Our friends in the theater told us later that a huge
"boom" echoed in the theater, scaring many of the patrons. Jim's
brother and I stayed away from the theater for a long time after that.
We kids were not vandals and none of us in the
neighborhood ever had any problems with the police. This was a one of a
kind action that just suddenly presented itself to us.
Dan Weber, Rancho Cordova, CA. 24 May 2009
have fond memories of the Riverside Theater and hated to see it
go. I saw a lot of monster movie matinees there in the 1950s and
early 60s. I recall seeing HORROR OF DRACULA with
my sister in 1958 and GOLDFINGER
Remember those little balconies at the side of the
theater with regular chairs in them instead of theater seats? They
weren't really balconies, more like little theater boxes. They
were not far above the other seats, just separate. I've recently
learned some kids called them "boats." If you were lucky enough to
occupy one, you rearranged the chairs, put your feet up, and had a
private seating area just to yourself. The chairs were literally
like something you'd have at a kitchen table.
The drinking fountain had a softly lit glass panel
on the wall over it. There were fish and seaweed etched or
painted on different levels of the glass which gave a three-dimensional
impression. I thought it was the coolest thing and wanted one in
The Men's Room was in the basement with curving,
carpeted stairs going down to it. We used to push each other down
the stairs because the soft, thick carpet would cushion your fall and
make it fun.
Gary Swilik, Cleveland, OH. 28 December 2007
Kamm's Corners institution I miss is the ornate, art deco-era Riverside
Theatre, now unfortunately the site of yet another Walgreen's. I
understand the old-time movie theaters no longer make financial sense
for the operators but I hate that all we have left of most of them are
faded pictures and memories.
I thought the balcony had the best seats in the
house! We used to both throw, and get hit by, flying boxes of Raisinets,
Sour Balls, Goobers
and Milk Duds from that balcony. I forgot
about the men's room being downstairs, that's right. I also
remember a drinking fountain with a little light over it. In my
memory the Riverside was always pretty dark, almost spooky. But
it was cool, wasn't it? My kids can't believe it when I tell them my
parents used to get rid of us for a whole Sunday afternoon at just 50
cents a head: a quarter for admission, 15 cents for candy, and 10
cents for popcorn. The bargain was even greater as that got us a
double feature, a news reel, and a cartoon!
One of the last features I saw was BYE BY BIRDIE which I
still love to this day. Funny thing but I now live about three
blocks north of the house where Bobby Rydell (Hugo, in the movie) grew
up. South Philly but it is the birthplace of many pop stars from
that era: Chubby Checker, Fabian, James Darren, Frankie
Josephine (Curella) Cardillo, Philadelphia, PA. 28 December
The Riverside Theater was taken over by a man
named Bill Helaney who at one time was manager of that theater for
Lowe's. He ran the theater as an independent until it was forced
to close because of the property being redeveloped. It was Bill's
life's dream to run his own theater and he finally accomplished
it. He sold the tickets, ushered, sold candy, made popcorn and
did what ever it took to make it. He operated it as a second-run,
$3-admission, independent movie theater. You should really try to
look up Bill Helaney if he is still around. I am sure he would
have some great pictures as he was quite the promoter. I think he
went way-back as a theater manager in the area. (Note: Several
attempts to make contact with William Helaney have not been successful.)
23 April 2006
I like the website. For a
long time I'd been searching online for photos of the old Riverside
Theater on Lorain, which closed only a dozen years ago but holds many
memories for me. I was born in 1971 and too young to have ever gone to
the little theater
that used to be in Kamm's Plaza (World West) -- The) Riverside was
our theater--that was THE place where OLA kids would sneak into slasher
horror movies. Otherwise, parents would have to drive us to Loews West at Rockport.
Pete Roche, Cleveland,
OH. 28 September
Top of page
The Rocky River Drive portion of
your website is a trip down memory lane! You have a picture of
the Colbrunn Medical Building. I certainly remember that place.
Cyril J. Caldwell, who is listed as a dentist, was in fact an
orthodontist. (My mother went to work at W.T. Grants to pay for
my braces, costing $900.00 in 1961). I went to John Marshall High
with his son, Cyril Junior. His mother would drive him to school
in her Avanti.
I mentioned I played for the Valley View merchants
and there were pictures of the Valley View Market area! We had
Riverview Pharmacy, Huntley Hardware, and Martens Funeral Home on the
back of our shirts.
Having lived on Rockland Avenue, I certainly
remember the Charles Wood Hospital. I used to play inside it when
it was empty before it became a hospital. I could tell some sad
stories about what went on in there.
I don't remember Wilton Drug, we always called it
Homeway Drug. My dad and I would meet my tipsy aunt at Haburt's
Bar every once in a while. And Topps Beverage was where you could
buy "Little Tom's" soda, cheap stuff in tiny 6 ounce bottles, 24 in a
There was a gas station called Seeger's Service just north of St.
Patrick's on the east side of Rocky Drive. And in the Valley View
area was a shoe repair place called "Guardios" also on the east side of
the road. That was back in the days when you got new heels and
soles put on your shoes, instead of just throwing them away and getting
a new pair.
--- Doug Viant,
Galloway, OH. 6 March 2009
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riding bikes from home next to JMH
(John Marshall High School), to the Castle on 140 and
Triskett. There was a colorful character who worked behind
the counter, maybe in his twenties, and undeniably from the deep
south. He had a very pronounced southern accent, and the
usual order we placed was 6 royal castles and a birch beer. He
would declare in a loud booming voice to whom I have no
idea, "A BEER FOR HERE AND A SQUARE" !! A square
was 6 burgers, not exceptionally large order for a teen.
This fellow was always referred to by us as the "Hillbilly at Royal
Castle". Not very PC these days, buy quite funny back then.
Today living in east Tennessee, we enjoy a similar chain called
"Krystals". Not unlike "White Castle"
or "Royal Castle", the buildings are small and painted white, stay open
very late, and serve small burgers by the "sackfull". Close, but
no cigar, or should I say no birch beer. To have those small
burgers without birch beer is like eating hot wings without draft
beer. Its just not the same!
JMH. Jan 66
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on the northeast corner of West 140th Street and Puritas Avenue.
Demolished in 1978. (Photo, Jan. 1968)
in the 1960s I went to 6th grade at Settlement School at the
corner of West 140th and Puritas Avenue. My dad was the custodian at
Ascension across the street but I think the church leased Settlement
School from the Cleveland Public School system. It was always referred
to as ''The Academy." I've heard it was built in 1860.
Dad spent a lot of time getting Settlement
School ready for the fall classes with painting, electrical, and
plumbing repairs. I spent many days and evenings in the old school
while my dad worked on stuff. I was probably the only student who
thought the building was cool with tubular toilets that were always
flushing, old-fashion light fixtures, and desks with ink wells.
The old school had a different feel to it at
night. During the day it was an interesting old building but, after
dark, it was more like a haunted house!
The building made lots of noises after the sun
went down. The sudden bangs from the old iron radiators added to the
atmosphere. My dad told me the noises were the ghosts of bad children
thrown into the basement to be eaten by the rats, leaving only the
bones. Dad said the nuns used the bones for firewood to heat the
building and told me never to open the door to the basement. (Anyone
who knew my dad would say "Yeah, that sounds like Ed.") It was an
old steel fire door with weights that automatically closed it.
I never totally believed dad's tale but one
thing for sure -- he didn't want me to open that door!
Even so, whenever I could I would take dad's
flashlight and explore the old school, always one sudden noise from
jumping right out of my shoes! About two weeks later I was doing my
usual exploring and ''THE DOOR'' was suddenly right in front of me.
I stood there for a long time, feeling both
excitement and terror. Being the ''Devil Child'' my decision was
easy. I put my hand on the lever, gently pushed down, and pulled
slowly trying not to make any noise. The door was heavy but I got it
open and shined the flashlight in. It wasn't so bad. No spider webs or
piles of bones. I opened it a little more and shined the flashlight
inside. Suddenly there was movement all around me and bright little
I screamed, dropped the flashlight, backed out
of the door and slammed it shut, not caring how much noise I made. I
heard dad calling my name.
''Did you open that door?'' he yelled. "I've
spent three years sealing up all the holes to keep those damn rats from
getting up here and if that damn door doesn't stay shut those rats will
get in the classrooms. I don't want to get called in to smash a rat in
front of a classroom full of kids with a damn shovel! So just stay the
hell out of there!"
I was disappointed it was only rats and there
were no boogie men or ghosts in the basement.
Dad also told me about the bats in the attic.
I'd seen pictures of Halloween bats and was a big Batman fan but had
never seen a real bat. I pestered dad until he finally took me to up to
the attic one evening. It was approaching Halloween so this was going
to be way cool!
In the light of the flashlight I saw REAL bats
hanging from the timbers among the spider webs and dust. Some of them
took off and fluttered to the front of the building where they flew out
of a hole in the roof to feed on bugs, coming back in the morning. So
this really was like a haunted building!
It was like a punch in the gut when they tore
down the old Settlement School. I thought it was a historic building.
Larry Polinski, Appleton, Wisconsin. 27 August 2008
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Stroemple's hamburger stand
I remember Stroemple's custard and hamburger
stand (on the west side of W. 140th, just north of Lakota Ave) because
the milk and cream for it was first delivered by my dad, John Mokren,
who had the Dairyman's route around the vicinity of John Marshall High School. The Stroemple's were home customers,
too, and one of the reasons Mr. Stroemple opened was the delivery of
milk products guaranteed by my dad. I always stayed in school during
the lunch hour to see the movies but there was a stretch of time when I
went outside instead. Needless to say, guess where I headed?
Jackson, OH. 9
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I have some unusual memories of Tony's Diner. Usually
it was a late supper of watered -down spaghetti. For the life of me, I
cannot remember why we ate the stuff! It was the worse spaghetti but it
was cheap. It was a cool place to go since you could see out the
windows onto West 117th Street. The waitresses were patient. I don't
know how they put up with obnoxious teens. Of course, Tony's was a
Cleveland landmark that is still missed, especially by Dennis Kucinich
who was spotted there on numerous occasions.
Terri Martineau, Milburn Valley, UT. 1 2March 2007
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We saw many a
cheap horror double feature at the Variety Theater on Sunday
TINGLER had to be the scariest thing ever. My best moment there was
when the Beatles movie,
A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, opened on a weekday evening. It was the first
time I was allowed to go to the Variety at night. We had to buy our
tickets in advance. The girls were screaming so loudly I could barely
hear the music.
By the way, we knew the old guy next door as
"Charlie." He never failed to chase us when we ventured into his lair.
He lived in "Charlie's Cave," as we called the cave-looking alley a few
doors west of the theater. I bet it was put there as a fire egress.
Sometimes for kicks on the way home from McKinley
school we would go down in there and, if Charlie was there, he would
scream and yell at us and chase us out. We were 9 or 10 so it was sort
of scary, but fun.
John Cifani, Fairview Park, OH. 26 February 2009
I can remember
sneaking into the alley next to the Variety Theater. We would get
enough money for one kid to get into the show and he'd open the alley
doors. We would all rush in and spread out. Some of us got caught but
most of us would hide and stay. Emanuel's candy used to be on the
corner. It was a great little penny candy store, much like the one
across the street from Nathaniel Hawthorne on West 130th Street.
Friends of ours owned the Variety Florist Shop and we bought our
wedding bouquets there in 1970.
02 May 2008
My family and I
lived only 3 houses from the Variety and we saw lots of the cool movies
back then. Jerry Lewis, HOUSE
ON HAUNTED HILL, beach movies, etc. I had to pay 35 cents to get in
when I was 11 years old. I was so tall they thought I was older. Wow!
A whole 35 cents!
When we kids were real young, we used to sneak in
and check under the seats for change people lost. I hope they do
reopen!! It would be great for the neighborhood wonder if the opening
day will only be 25 cents to get in? That'd be great!!
Parma, OH. 23
April 23 2008
I enjoyed the
article about the Variety Theater. I once lived on West 123rd Street,
the third house south of Lorain. As a teenager I spent many a matinee
at the Variety with my high school friends watching cowboy movies with Tom Mix, Hoot Gibson, etc.
This was before John Wayne days.
Did you know that on certain days the Variety
gave each patron a plate, soup dish, or cup free of charge? My parents
had quite a collection.
Variety admission was 25 cents. Yes, 25 cents!
How do I remember so clearly? Because the Almira Theater on
West 105th charged only 15 cents and, money being short in 1936, we'd
often walk the extra mile to save 10 cents.
The Variety justified their higher charge by
showing first-run movies, not re-runs like the Almira. Frankly we
didn't know the difference. The good guys in the white hats always won
in either case.
Frank J. Simone, Cleveland, OH. 7 December 2007
Oh, do I
remember the Variety! I used to go there almost every Sunday. I
remember watching THE
TINGLER with Vincent Price and how the seats vibrated. It brings
back so many memories. Remember the policeman that used to walk up and
down the aisles checking to make sure you were not causing any
trouble? Many a time I got kicked out for causing trouble. I
remember the popcorn and all the other stuff. Sitting up in the balcony
was a real treat. I moved from Cleveland 19 years ago and am now living
in a little town in lower Alabama but, I sure miss all the fun I had
growing up in Cleveland.
Sandy Shaw, Daleville, AL. 28 April 2007
At one time The
Variety Theater had live performances. They had a full stage behind the
movie screen. My mother, when young, gave a performance playing the
Hawaiian guitar there. There were some pretty fabulous art deco
dressing rooms in the basement.
I once tried to restore the neon marquees of both
the Variety and the Riverside Theaters. Neon was just a never-ending
expense for them because of breakage so eventually they just let it go
and maintained only the bare essential lights. The marquee wiring was
so bad in both places I can not believe they did not burn down!
I also took care of their heating and air
conditioning systems. To heat and cool those barns was an incredible
cost! Water towers had to be cleaned and maintained. Fifty horsepower
AC Compressors were old and needed to be replaced. Million BTU boilers,
steam coils and air handlers with 25 horsepower fans, all old, all
needing on-going work ......Big Bucks to run and maintain!
John Cremati, Cleveland, OH. April 2006
I was looking at the site a bit more, and
saw an article on the Variety Theater. I remember my Dad taking me to
see the original Star
Wars there in 1977. Very impressive!
A few years later I started attending the Variety to
see bands play. Some of the larger bands I remember seeing were the
Dead Kennedy’s, X, REM, Romeo Void, INXS and Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
We would “camp out” early in the afternoon on the
day of the show, waiting to get the best spot in front of the stage. It
was like a mini party. We had our portable tape players, so we
could listen to the tapes of the bands that we were going to see that
night. The theater was general admission, so whoever was first in line
got the best view!
As far as I knew.. it was the Motorhead show
at the Variety that caused the plaster to start to crumble.
Laura Howard, Cleveland, OH. 13 February 2006
I remember going
there as a child and seeing movies and at the time it also included 3
cartoons either before or after the main feature. We usually
would not be able to afford the refreshments though. Instead we would
stop off on the way at Kamms Rexall Drugstore at West 165th & Lorain
Avenue. There we would buy 5 cent candy bars for our
refreshments for the movie. There was a bonus in buying candy at that
particular store because we could get 6 nickel candy bars for 25 cents.
When we got to the theater I remember the Variety was the only place I
can remember where you went into the lobby and instead of walking
straight down the aisle to your seat you needed to go to the right
before you walked down an aisle. I also remember how fancy I thought
the theater looked and how unusual the water fountains were and howrl
the large circular shape designs were on each side of the stage.
Entertainment then was so much easier to enjoy and the candy twice as
large. Slo-pokes and Black Cow Suckers along with packages of Necco
Wafers and Caramel Cremes.
Tom McGlynn, Cleveland, OH. 6 June 2006
Was just looking
over the article on the Variety Theater at 118th. and Lorain Ave.
I worked there as an usher in 1955-56. Was a very interesting
place. Lots of interesting items in the back and behind
stage. I bet that was a wonderful place during the 30-40s.
I remember when the marquee was bent over and had to be torn down after
the tornado that hit the area. We got free passes for changing
lights on same. Good memories. My boss's name was Shelly
and he always wore a brown suit. Nice guy.
Alan Toth, near Crestview, OH. 6 September 2005
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There was a small ice cream shack called Vees
Freeze located right between the West 140th Street Shell gas station
and the U-Haul place. It was the best! Ten-cent cones and
seventy-five-cent banana splits. They also had hamburgers and other
foods but ice cream was king there.
Bill Fleig, Conroe, TX. 02 February 2010
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Go to Gone
Verda Brobst Elementary School
Verda Brobst school (at West
192nd & Maplewood) and the surrounding homes were razed to create
a buffer zone for the expansion of Cleveland
Hopkins International Airport.
The site now is the Verda Brobst Playfield in the Riverside
Vicki and I just love to stroll down "Memory Lane." The funny thing is
we're way more sentimental about our Cleveland past than about the
years we lived in North Olmsted. Maybe it's because Cleveland is where
we spent our most innocent years before we learned that not everything
is black and white. The west side of Cleveland will always hold a
special place in our hearts as it really is where we spent our "wonder
Some of my fondest memories occurred when I was a
student at Verda Brobst Elementary School from K through 6, '57-'64. I
loved that place and was heartbroken when it was torn down back in the
My family lived at 19007 Midvale Avenue. My younger
sister Vicki and I had only a five-minute walk from our house to
school. I remember going home for lunch every day, watching Captain
Penny while eating, and then eagerly running back to school.
I just hate that Verda Brobst school and that
community of little bungalows north of Brookpark Road was razed for an
industrial park. It was a wonderful place to live! I still have a
Plain Dealer article about the eminent-domain takeover of that piece of
Sweet Mr. Joseph DeLuca, who lived on nearby on
Forestwood Avenue, was extremely chagrined to be losing his beloved
home to a wrecking ball. He raised his family of eight kids in that
house. Before vacating the premises he actually buried a time capsule
in his backyard.
Before they demolished our block we visited our old
house which had already been burglarized, for scrap material I guess. I
pulled our address sign off the front of the house and it now hangs in
my walk-in closet. I also pulled a tile off the kitchen wall which I
use as a coaster.
(Curella) Cardillo, Philadelphia, PA. 01 May 2008
My family lived at 19106 Maplewood Avenue from 1958 to
1989. Wonderful street! I went to Verda Brobst elementary school from
kindergarten up to sixth grade. That was from 1963 to 1970. My brother
Jim went there from 1956 to 1962.T he school was located at 4840
West 192nd Street, west of Rocky River Drive, just north of Parkmount
Avenue. It had two halves to it. The old red brick part was built in
1954. Due to us baby boomers, a modern section was added in 1961. The
principal was Miss Daily and she was a dead ringer for "Aunt Bee" from
Mayberry on the Andy Griffith Show. A very nice lady.
My first grade teacher was Miss
Summerfield. She was twenty-two years old and drove a convertible. We
used to have recess and we would always play Duck, Duck, Goose. I
remember Miss Summerfield used to play with us while the other teachers
leaned against their cars smoking – yes, smoking. I always admired the
fact Miss Summerfield could play a mean Duck, Duck Goose in spiked
heels and a knee-length skirt! Again, this was 1963.
Verda Brobst had a playground with a large slide and
monkey bars made out of heavy lead pipe. If you fell and opened up a
wound, your parents would blame you for being careless, not the school.
It was a different time. The swings were bright orange and made out of
a combination of heavy wood and steel. If you got hit in the head with
those things, it was a ride to Fairview Hospital.
One of the best memories was on summer nights when
the little league was playing in the school ball diamonds. My parents
(Richard & Betty Ferrell) would run the concession stand which was
an ugly cinderblock building, painted an even uglier shade of bright
blue. I remember mom and dad selling Orange Crush and hot dogs while I
played on the swings, looking out over the parking lot filled with cars
from the 50s and 60s.
I would swing on
into the soft summer night, safe and secure in my world.
--- Scott Ferrell, Cleveland, OH. 28 May
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Wagenknecht Grocers & Meats
and West 134th Street. We kids could never pronounce the name so it was
lovingly referred to as "Waggies". I remember sitting on my front porch
waiting for the man to roll out the awning so we would know the store
was open. That store was magical, too, with beautiful woodwork
everywhere and shelves from floor to ceiling. They had to use a
"grabber" to reach stuff on the top shelves.
I remember the man in the store as very tall
with a belly. He never smiled. I always hoped his wife would be there
when I went in. She was very nice and I remember her looking like the
grandma on The Waltons. There were fresh fruits and vegetables in the
window displays and mom would send me there to buy a loaf of Wonder
Bread and a half gallon of milk. I remember 10 cent bags of candy, then
later 25 cent bags. Mom and dad would also send us there to buy them
packs of cigarettes. Then one day the man, "Mr. Waggie," said the laws
had changed and he could not sell them to kids.
We eventually moved away from the neighborhood
but I went back when I was 18. I just had to go into Waggies to buy a
pack of cigarettes because I was old enough then and the man couldn't
tell me no! LOL! That was my last purchase there because the next year
Mr. Waggie died. No more Waggies store! It was like someone in my
family had died. I look at the place now, with no awning, no display
windows, and it breaks my heart every time.
Vicki (Clevenger) Grace, Sullivan, OH. 29 October 2009
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Drug. 14026 Triskett. Hop In Beverage. 14024. Built
c1950. Photo 1960.
I was mesmerized by your website. It brought back many
memories for my wife and I. One place I would like to see included is
Walton Drugstore at the corner of Triskett and West 141st. Don Walton
was the owner and chief pharmacist. I worked there during my high
school years from 1962 to 1965. It was an independently owned pharmacy
competing with Gray Drug and other early chains of the times. I was
delivery boy, soda jerk, stock boy, and cashier - all at the same time.
Overpaid at $1.00/hour, I worked 35 hours a week after school and on
the weekends. It was the typical neighborhood drugstore with the same
customers coming in regularly to shop, get their medicine and medical
advice, and just to meet and talk with each other or hear Don Walton
spin some of his yarns.
My mode of transportation when delivering
prescriptions was a Chevy Corvair, with the name "The Medicine Dropper
" emblazoned on the door of the car. The combination of a hot midget
car, with the engine in the trunk and a glamorous he-man moniker on the
door, made it a real chick magnet. NOT!
Don Walton sold the store probably in the late 1960s
and it stayed a drugstore until someone fashioned it into a bar. I met
my wife there in 1983 when it was called the Caprice Lounge. So that
building holds a strong place in my heart for various reasons.
Chuck Simak, Parma Heights,
OH. 27 April 2010
West 130th Street - general
I can recall West 130th Street and Puritas
Avenue as it was before the railroad underpass. I remember when
construction was going on. I must of been around 4 years old. My
grandparents lived on Lena Avenue, the street almost directly across
from the intersection of West 130th and “old” Puritas Avenue; so we
passed through that location quite often.
We used to cut through one of the streets that run
south off Puritas near the construction site that led to what was
probably a temporary road that came out just north of the house
(rectory?) by the old church building next to the cemetery on West
130th St. I remember it was quite bumpy and dusty and/or muddy.
We then used Longmead Avenue, turning north at the first side street to
get over to Lena Avenue, which is now blocked at West 130th due to the
underpass. I don't know if this temporary road was used by north/south
traffic on West 130th Street because Puritas was the only route we used
to get to my grandparents' home. The old church isn't there any more;
but the cemetery can still be seen from the road when the grass is cut.
And old Longmead School, a neighborhood landmark for what seems like
forever, is gone now too.
Carol Nichols Henninger, Brook Park, OH. 13 November 2009
West Park Branch Library
from the Cleveland Public Library Image Collections)
What does a library look like
today? Picture it in your mind ... huge windows, bright lights,
banks of computers.
Then step back in time
to the 1950s. What did the library at West 157th and Lorain in
West Park look like then? A very different picture presents
Shelves and shelves of
books, not too many windows but what was there ran (from a child's
perspective) floor-to-ceiling, a huge area as you walked in the door
with signs reading RETURNS and CHECK OUT, big stand-up fans moving the
air in the summer heat, window seats, and the smell of the ink pads as
you checked out your book and the librarian stamped the "Return By"
card and inserted it in the book pocket. Fines? A penny a
I remember riding my
bike, rain or shine, from West 166th Street and Melgrave Avenue to the
library at West 157th, enjoying the ride on my used Schwinn. As I drew
closer, I could almost smell the wax on the library floors and see the
shine. If I got caught in the rain, my wet shoes made a squeaky sound
on those floors that seemed overly loud, especially considering all the
QUIET PLEASE signs at the desk. When the floors were dry (and so were
my shoes) and I thought no one was looking, the temptation to slide on
those freshly-waxed and shiny floors was too much; on occasion, I
But most of all I
remember the musty "book scent" at the library. Pick up a book
from a remote corner of any library, even today, and it will emit that
musty, much-used scent. Perhaps it is a little something retained
from each reader who had the pleasure of turning the pages.
Find a page with a faded
smear? What was it? Ketchup from some hasty lunch enjoyed
with a book? Coffee from a morning that was hectic save for a few
moments with a good book? A page turned down? Was it turned
down carelessly by someone who did not stop to consider others would
read that page? No matter. That page remains creased forever.
The atmosphere at the
library was a bit different then. Go there to study ...
yes! Go there to meet friends? Probably not since the QUIET
sign really meant QUIET and it was enforced!
The first time I
ventured into the adult section at the West Park Library, my stomach
churned! It was an entirely different room in the 1950's.
So you thought you could walk right in there and no one would
notice? Not so fast! You needed an adult library card and,
if you looked too young to be in the adult room, a librarian was sure
to ask "Do you have an ADULT library card?"
I had my adult card but
was sure I would get stopped. Fiction was my addiction! I
had graduated from Nancy Drew books and was ready for romances about
destitute governesses and southern belles. My first adult choices
must have been appropriate since I received no censuring looks as I
walked out of the adult section and presented the books at the front
desk for check out.
Memories of the West
Park Library also bring to mind the Summer Reading Club. "Read 10
books during summer vacation and receive a certificate," the banner
said. I loved being 'forced" to go to the library, pick out a book and
read it. I could lose myself in the book of my choice and escape
The days of the Summer
Reading Club are a thing of the past for me; however, my visits to
libraries are still something special. They provide a world of
knowledge, fantasy, and mystery which takes me beyond the hum-drum,
day-to-day occurrences and into a world that touches on the past and
looks into the future. Each book is an adventure to be enjoyed,
free-of-charge, from the library.
It's been said that "a
good book is a lifelong friend!" How true! I frequently
take along a "lifelong friend" to the lunch table, to an appointment,
in the car, on a plane or a visit to the park. My love of books
began at the West Park Library.
--- Fran Hendren, Sylvania, OH. 7 March 2010
In the early
1940s during World War II our West Park branch of the Cleveland Public
Library had what it called 'The Summer Reading Program.' I was a
student at Our Lady of the Angels elementary school on Rocky River
Drive and the nuns tipped us off about the program. I jumped on my bike
and rode down to check it out. If you joined, your name was added to a
large sheet of cardboard kept on an easel in the library. Every book
read was noted by a gold star after one’s name. The goal was 10 books
for the summer.
There were checks and balances. We were only allowed
to get credit for books assigned to our school year. We could not, for
example, read a third-grade book if we were entering the sixth-grade.
Also, we had to give an oral book report to a librarian prior to the
star being added after our name. But, oh the bragging rights we had!
We could not only race our buddies through the
summer but when school started in the fall there were nudges in class
along the lines of 'How many did you read?' Yeah? Well next summer I'll
I even remember one
book I read about Norwegian kids hiding gold bars from the Nazis. It
was a neat program but I suppose it faded away long ago because of
electronic games or other things kids now do in the summer.
Dan Weber, Rancho
3 January 2008
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West Park Branch Library
West Park Pharmacy
interest in my father's drugstore has afforded me the opportunity
to reflect upon memories, many of which were long forgotten. At
this time, I would like to share them with you.
West Park Pharmacy, located at Kamm's Corners
on the northeast corner of Lorain and Rocky River Drive, was part of
our family. Everyone called my dad "doc". He was totally
dedicated to his customers and his profession. He opened the
store at 8:00 AM and closed at 11 P.M. When my dad was home, we
were not allowed to talk on the phone longer than 10 minutes in case
"the store" needed him. Light years away from today's cell phones!
People loved to "hang out" at the store. Eddie "the cop" (See also 1,
2) (I don't remember
his last name) was always on the corner helping "us kids" cross the
street, but he took his breaks at West Park Pharmacy. Another
name that comes to mind is Mr. Betsicover, the manager of Cleveland
Trust Bank. I was employed there summers when I wasn't working at
My sister Carol and I were both "soda jerks" at the
wonderful soda fountain whenever school was on break. Milkshakes,
sodas, & sundaes were all 25 cents. During the Christmas
holidays my mother, Ethel Weiner Miller, pitched in and we all worked.
We believe our dad purchased the store around 1945
and sold it in the late 1970s. (City directories indicate Bob
Miller was managing the pharmacy as early as 1941.
The nuns and priests of the parish were his
customers, and he delivered their prescriptions to them. When the
discount stores came on the scene, they maintained their loyalty to
him. When my dad passed away in 1982, one of them wrote a letter
saying Robert A. Miller was a "gentle gentleman."
Thank you again from my sister and me for allowing
us to pay tribute to this very special man, and his beloved pharmacy.
Euclid, OH. 15 May 2008
(Photograph: Robert "Bob" Miller at the West Park Pharmacy, in
the bank building on the northeast corner of Lorain Avenue and Rocky
River Drive. Courtesy of his daughters, Nancy Gilbert and Carol Dorsey,
and his grandson Alan Gilbert.)
Readers: Have you any
memories or photos of Bob Miller's West Park Pharmacy? If so,
us. We'd love to hear from you.
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West Park Recreation
West Park Recreation, at West 128th and Lorain, had a
bowling alley in the basement. I worked there as a pin setter,
way before automatic pin setters, for ten cents a game. League
night was crazy, jumping between two adjacent alleys. If the
bowlers liked how fast you reset the pins they would throw a quarter or
two down the alley after a game as a tip. Very dangerous work with pins
flying all over the place. I saw many of my buddies taken out of
there after being beaned with a bowling pin!
Bill Chapo, Knoxville, TN. 17 June 2006
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West Park Recreation
West Park Theatre
I can recall going to the old West Park Theater up at
Kamm's Corners and seeing silent films. I remember when sound films
came out one of my neighbors commenting "talkies will never make it.'
When the Riverside Theater was built it seemed very modern to me at the
Richard "Dick" R. Morrison, Cleveland, OH. 15 January 2007
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West Park Theatre
West Side Drive-In
Side Drive In, Brookpark Road & Rocky River Drive. Photo
1955. Gary Swilik Collection.
I remember going to the West Side Drive-In
at the corner of Rocky River Drive and Brookpark Road by the airport.
You'd be watching the movie with planes going overhead and sometimes
you couldn't hear the movie. It depended on who you were with as to
whether you cared.
Erika (Radtke) Boehnke, Strongsville, OH. 10 January 2007
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West's Roasted Peanuts
At times, I
think I can still smell the peanuts. When I hear "redskins" it
definitely does not conjure up the Washington baseball team. It
conjures up West's Roasted Peanut store on the corner of West 162nd
Street and Lorain.
Redskins are large
peanuts with a crunchy red skin, covered with plenty of sugar roasted
into the peanut which comes off in your hands along with the
skins. Yes, it left a mess but was well worth it! Spanish
peanuts were almost as tasty but not quite, and they were my mother's
favorites. The selection at West's seemed enormous to me; freshly
roasted pistachios, sugar-coated pecans, macadamias, almonds, hazel
nuts, and cashews to choose from but I became a Redskin aficionado at
an early age thanks to West's. We stopped there at least once a
week. West's competed with nearby Wilke's Bakery for my attention
but West's almost always won.
Each and every day the
proprietor roasted, salted, and sugared those tasty morsels before
putting them into bins in glass display cases. Large scoops in
each bin were used to scoop up the warm nuts which were then "dumped"
(no other word for it back then) into small brown paper bags. It
always seemed funny to me that the amount you requested (1/2 lb. or 1
lb., etc.) was almost exactly what was scooped out with the first
dip. I'm not even sure there was a scale.
After our regular
shopping was done at the West Side Market and Wilke's Bakery we were
ready to head for home. It was then that the fragrance from
West's Peanut Store would call to us. We could not pass that
peanut store! And much to my chagrin I became an accomplice to my
mother's peanut addiction and became addicted myself. Our
Saturday nights really started on Saturday morning with our visit to
West's. It was never anything fancy, just something to look
forward to while watching TV in the evening. Pepsi and freshly roasted
peanuts were a big treat in the 1950s!
West's is just a memory
now . . . a good memory of growing up in West Park.
Fran Hendren, Sylvania, OH.
7 March 2010
World Theater West
The World Theater in
Kamm's Plaza seemed to always show off-the-wall movies. I remember
going there to see Monty Python's JABBERWOCKY, THE GROOVE TUBE, and
BEING THERE. They'd also show a lot of foreign films which weren't of
much interest to me. I remember how small the concession stand was. And
the ticket-taker stood only a couple of feet from the concession stand.
Jay Blazek, Elyria, OH. 20 September 2010
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World West Theatre
I used to live on West 137th Street. In those day
Zickes drug store (at 13504 Lorain Avenue) was my second home. It was
named after the owner I guess. (Paul Zickes.) Whenever I could scare up
a nickel for a vanilla coke, I loved sitting on a stool at the counter
and watching the guy mix the drink. The drug store was next to the
Catholic Church (St. Vincent DePaul) and I remember running to Zickes
to get prescriptions for the old priest, Monsignor Flanagan. He would
give me a nickel for the delivery. Guess what I did with the nickel? My
family and I moved away from West 137th to Columbus, Ohio, when I was
in the 4th grade.
Mike Moody, Orange County, CA. 24 September 2007
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Your website is great and I really like checking
back from time to time. Obviously memories are still being made.
Here’s some other places of interest I didn’t find mentioned on your
Kamm's Drug(?) at the NE corner of Lorain
Avenue and Rocky River Drive. It was truly an old-time drug store! I
can remember walking in and the bell above the door ringing. These are
childhood memories so what seemed like a very dark, unlit place, may
actually have been constructed of very dark wood from floor to ceiling.
It also had a telephone booth in the corner although I don't think I
had a dime. So why was I there?
Across the street, and a little west of the SW
corner, where Steak-n-Shake is now, was the El Dorado drive-in
restaurant. A great burger place and the “Home of the Biggie.” You
ordered by radio and car hops brought out your meal. El Dorado
was a great place to meet up, hang out, go out on a date and come
back after. We loved El Dorado and had many a fun time there.
There was a policeman named Officer Murphy who
split his beat between the El Dorado and Bearden’s restaurant over on
Rocky River Drive. Talk about a tough job! The man was amazing! How he
could even begin to manage half the West Park teenagers was beyond us
but he did his best to keep things cool so we had a fun place to go on
Friday and Saturday nights. If we got too out of line, he’d yell “yer
outta here.” Sometimes we’d try to be clever and run over to Bearden’s
from El Doradao, or vice versa. Only he would one-up us and be
there, too. That was it – night over!
Then there was Charlie Dunn's Pool Hall. A lot
of the guys loved shooting pool there. When our boyfriends went
missing, we kind of knew that’s where they might be. Best of all – for
them – girls would never ever go near there!
Finally, there was the intersection of West
Park Road, Tuttle Avenue and West 159th which we called Five Points.
There were a few little stores there but one that really stands out
was “Pop’s.” Kids came from all over to get their penny candies
from Pop's. It was a great place to meet your pals, get candy, and take
off on your bikes all day.
--- Sandy McNamara, Cleveland, OH. 8 July 2015
moved to West Park in 1955 when I was 5 years old. I remember so many
things which are gone now. I would walk to Omar’s Bakery for penny
bread. They would sometimes have samples of cookies you could take.
Omar’s was located on Rocky River Drive on the north side where I-480
Forkapa, West Park, OH. Oct. 30, 2014
remember picking berries in the fields. A group of
us kids would go
hiking to the Metroparks down Homeway Road and cross over to the next
street where there were open fields and tadpoles galore. Close to
Grayton Road there was a one room pioneer cabin which had partially
burnt down. Of course, this was taken away when they built the homes.
Now the homes are gone, too.
Homeway Drug Store was on the corner of Rocky River
Drive and Homeway
Road. And Haberts bar had the greatest fish fries! On the corner of
Puritas and Rocky River Drive, where Drug Mart is now, it
was first a
Kroger’s grocery and then Minnesota Fabrics. I remember getting a
of cloth for a quarter.
For elementary school it was Puritas School. I then went to Newton D.
Baker Junior High. About that time I started to going to J.C. Murphy's.
I loved their soda fountain. Then there was Royal Castle hamburgers at
Kamm’s Corners. And the Riverside theater was so much fun. A quarter
for the show! I once met Tommy Sands outside the theater. He was doing
a personal appearance for one of the beach movies.
When I was 17, Hullaballoo teen club on Lorain was
the place to be. My
husband told me he played in the band there but I didn't meet him till
years later. And then Manners Big Boy after a date. I loved driving up
in the car to eat. I remember them having a drink named for “Ghoulardi”
that was orange and purple. There were many shops on the same side of
the street where the Riverside was on Lorain Avenue. The late owner of
Goddess Elite had a head shop. My friends bought a waterbed there. We
did a lot of walking in those days. My husband and I moved back to the
neighborhood in "92" and have been here ever since.
I grew up in
West Park off of Rocky River Drive on Fairway Drive. I was the youngest
of four girls who all went to grade school at St. Patrick's. I
graduated 8th Grade at St. Patrick's in 1981. However, we all attended
kindergarten at Puritas Elementary School.
During our younger years our summers were sometimes
spent playing at Puritas Elementary. In 1970, one of my older sisters,
Megan, who was only 5 years old at the time, was with my mom swinging
on the swings when a woman came up and asked if she could enter Megan
into a beauty pageant. My sister only remembers the woman's name was
"Patty" and she had something to do with the summer arts and crafts
they did there. My sister spent a day at this lady's home swimming in
her big pool. My sister remembers the pageant took place outside on a
big stage but, she does not remember where.
There were several other girls in the pageant, all
around the same age as Megan. My sister ended up winning the beauty
pageant! She was crowned "Miss West Park." Megan still has the crown,
the trophy, and the three sashes that were placed on her along with a
photograph. It doesn't surprise us that Megan won the pageant since my
mom was a knockout and was quite the looker.
Does anyone remember the hot summer lunches they had
at Puritas School? At the time, we had no idea this was something for
those who were less fortunate than us. I remember seeing all of the
kids from the neighborhood walking down to the school at noon.
My sister and I can still see the face of an older
women who helped serve the lunch. She was extremely mean looking, at
least to us, in her all-white outfit and cap with a hair net. I
remember her like it was yesterday, with her light brown 1940s style
We would line up in the hallway outside the gym to
get lunch and then head into the gym to sit at one of several long
tables that took up the entire gymnasium. It was full of kids from all
over the area. It was noisy but everyone got along and it was, for most
of us, our first time hanging out with kids from the other side of
We would ask what the lunch was for the day, to make
sure it was something good. If we found out it was Salisbury Steak, we
would immediately run to the end of the line in hopes that they would
run out of it before we got there and switch to something else. The
smell of that Salisbury steak made us crinkle our noses and not want to
eat it. I won't mention what we thought it smelled like.
They always had the best tater-tots. And if I am
correct, pizza was always on Fridays. After lunch they had older
teenagers, or young people in their 20s, start a baseball game or
kickball outside. There was also a small room just outside the
playground where they had crafts. I have no idea what we made but I
remember being able to take it home.
One of the guys who got everyone together to play
games was named "Bill." He looked like one of the guys from a 1970s
teen movie. He was so nice and we would sometimes run into him during
the year getting on the number 86 bus.
I have so many great memories of growing up where I
did. Sometimes it is hard for me to drive thru the area and see the
decay of what used to be. Such as the apartment building on the corner
of Rocky River and Fairway Drive. That used to be one of the nicest
places to live. It seemed as if the classiest, rich people lived there.
We would often cut through that apartment complex and pass by the pool.
I always thought how cool it would be to live there. I helped a
neighbor boy deliver newspapers in there a few times. The neighbors
would sometimes come out of the door to pay their bill and they looked
like movie stars. At least through a young girl's eyes they did. Now it
is a Section 8 complex. How hard it is for me to drive by and remember
what it used to look like.
Melissa A. Mendise, Independence, OH. 01 June 2012
Proud daughter of a Korean War Veteran!
Vince Ruggerio was a musician who played night clubs in Cleveland, the
last being the Theatrical Grill. The Gaylord Trio was my dad's group.
He did all their arrangements and they sang all over in big cites like
Chicago and New York. I have pictures of them and old memorabilia from
the 1930s and 1940s. My dad also wrote the song for the Cleveland
Indians with Paddy Labatto. It was called "There's No Place Like First
Place". It was played at the old stadium in the 1950s and on the radio.
I have the sheet music with the old Indian chief logo on it. Dad was
also a piano teacher on West 127th Street, north of Lorain Avenue. I
can remember all the students coming to our home from 9 in the morning
until 9 at night everyday. Adults in the morning and later evening
hours, but kids the rest of the time. Our dining room table would be
surrounded by high school kids from John Marshall, St.
Ignatius, Lourdes Academy., St. Stephens, St. Joe's, Lakewood, etc.
Carla Wilke, daughter of the owner of Wilke's Bakery, took
lessons from my dad. Mrs. Wilke would bring us bakery every week. My 3
brothers and sister and I would love it. Mrs. Wilke was such a nice
lady. Memories that I will never forget.
Patty Biggs, Cleveland, OH. 16 December 2011
I was born
in 1955 and lived on Brysdale for my first five years. Then we moved to
Parma Heights but continued to spend time in the West Park neighborhood
because my grandparents still lived there. I remember getting ice cream
cones at Puritas plaza with my uncle and going to the butcher shop at
w. 140th and Puritas with my Grandma. She and my Grandpa
lived at 13603 Ellwood Ave. off Belleshire. Grandpa was a foreman at National
Metal. We would all attend church each Sunday at Puritas Lutheran
and then go back to their house for a big meal and billiards in the
basement. I attended kindergarten at Verda Brobst. My only
recollection of that was being the only one incapable of tying my
shoes. For that I was punished by having to sit in the cloakroom with a
big multi-colored shoe and practice until I got it right. I guess I
eventually figured it out. I remember going to Puritas Springs
Amusement Park and the fire that destroyed it. Years later I went
back and wandered through the woods where the park had been. It was
eerie walking through the trees and seeing sections of the roller
coaster track sticking out of the ground. I also remember Nagy’s
Town House restaurant at the corner of Rocky River Drive and
Brysdale. My mom and grandma would always buy me a peppermint patty
from a large jar they kept at the cash register.
Glenn Kolp, Sheffield Village, OH. Decembet 2011
I spent many
days reading and buying comic books at the West Park Pharmacy.
Also I would walk with my mother to pay the monthly house payment to
the bank on the corner. We lived on West 178th Street and
went to Our Lady of Angles and St. Augustine Academy in Lakewood. My
cousins went to John Marshall High.
Joycelyn Bossard, Panama City Beach, FL. 18 June 2011
I grew up in
West Park at 17302 Milburn Avenue and lived in the area for about 23
years, from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. I couldn’t have lived in
a better area than West Park! Spending time at Gunning Park or
walking to school at St. Patrick’s couldn’t have been better. I have
fond memories of going to Puritas Hill to look for remnants of Puritas
Springs amusement park, spending time at Hobby Castle, riding
my bike to Dairy Deluxe, and having a pizza at Dante’s.
I now live in Olmsted Falls but take my family to West Park on regular
Thank you for spending the time to build this web
page. While I am only 35 years old, I am very fond of my
oldneighborhood and love to see the preservation of the area's rich
history. Keep up the great work!
Jason Lowbridge, Olmsted Falls, OH. 22 September2009
West Park has endless memories for
all who've lived there. Both of the times, places, and unrepeatable
experiences that have shaped the lives of those who were lucky enough
to live there.
I was born one of nine children in a "starter home"
on Barbara Ave in the horseshoe off of Puritas Avenue. The house on a
slab, had no upstairs, no basement, and no garage. It was a new
neighborhood where my parents bought the house in the 1950s. My parents
still live there and will be celebrating their 60th anniversary on
October 7th, 2010. There is still no garage.
It was a unique area to live. We were in the direct
flight path to Hopkins airport and the planes were so low you would
swear you could throw a rock and hit the roaring DC-10s as they flew
over, sometimes every four minutes. You would not be able to hear each
other, the TV, or transistor radio as they flew over. Somehow, everyone
was just used to it.
Also within sight past the west end of the street,
behind Eleanore Drive, was the railroad and rapid tracks with a creek
running along side. It had open access at that time and no fences. Many
coins were flattened on the tracks by the trains flying down the
tracks. We also picked wild black raspberries which my mom made into
delicious pies or we just let soak in sugar in the fridge before eating.
Behind the tracks was the hill we would climb to
cross over I-71 (which was not yet opened) to get to Gunning Field,
which was indeed a field back then filled with grasshoppers,
butterflies, toads, praying mantis and the like.
The ball fields were there, as well as the pool
(with 2 diving boards, low and high dive), playground equipment, and a
cement wading pool. During the summer, The Traveling Zoo would come to
Gunning with animals. The hill behind the tracks was also used for sled
riding in the winter.
If you walked or rode your Spyder bike to Gunning by
way of Puritas Avenue, you had to cross the railroad tracks which were
then at street level and had no gate. Apparently living dangerously, in
those days kids simply just looked and didn't cross if there was a
train coming on any of the tracks. Imagine that! In 1969 a bridge was
erected there. Walking under the bridge, one would see many toads that
came from the adjacent Gunning Field.
Ours was definitely a children's neighborhood. The
only way in and out of our neighborhood, the horseshoe, was back to
Puritas Avenue. And that definitely had it's advantages for us kids.
It was made up of Eleanore Drive, Mina, Leigh Ellen
and Barbara Avenues, and West 156th Street. There were close to 40
school age kids to play with at any one time, even in the summer when
friends were gone on vacation. We had 8 kids in our family at the time
and the family directly behind us had 8 kids as well.
The whole neighborhood was made up mostly of
families with kids, a lot of kids! We all came out to play games.
Whether it was Flashlight Tag, Capture The Flag, Spud, Red Rover, Kick
the Can, Four-Square, Kickball, Dodgeball, street baseball (with tennis
ball or wiffle ball), street football (even tackle in the street at
times), Ghost & Goblins, and even a few made up games. Skating and
skateboards were a past time. The younger kids played Mother May I,
High Water/Low Water, Hopscotch, etc.
There was always activity. We used walkie-talkies.
We made homemade go-carts. My brother made a mini bike with a bike
frame and a lawnmower engine. The kids had neighborhood type fairs
where we'd make and sell things such as sno-cones and had games with
When the kids slept out there, they ALL slept out.
Tents filled with kids in EVERY yard. There were night games as well.
The kids ran the streets at night but in quite a different way then
they do today. Back then it was all in fun, enjoying each other and the
And no adults complained or worried about what we
were up to. They all knew when something was going on and took turns
keeping tabs on us. Pools were really tested with all those kids
packing in, diving in over the sides, cannonball contests, etc., but
none of the parents ever seemed to mind. It was more like one big
family than a bunch of smaller ones.
Like I said, it was a very unique neighborhood, one
I doubt could ever be recreated. Sometimes we'd have homemade street
parties where the residents would just decide to block the streets off
themselves. And no one ever complained. We played in the Riverside Park
Projects as well and it was no different then in our own neighborhood.
Basically all good people.
We walked and rode our bikes to the valley in the
MetroParks. I used to hike and sleep there with a sleeping bag and
radio by the wading pool at the Cottonwood Picnic Area, although my
parents never knew. Guess I could tell them now, huh?
I knew the park opened at 5 am and even though the
rangers drove through, by the time it was light enough for them to see
that far, it was past 5 am.
I delivered the Cleveland Plain Dealer at 4:30 am to
about 200 customers. I walked to Dairy DeLuxe to get my papers which
actually was very quiet and enjoyable. The people up at that time would
stand at their door waiting for their paper, which was kinda amazing to
me. I also delivered the weekly West Parker on Thursdays which was free
back then (it's called the West Side Sun).
I attended R.G. Jones for kindergarten and still
remember my teacher, Ms. Prucia. From there, I attended the now
unfortunately defunct St. Patrick W.P. grade school until the 8th grade.
Most of us attending public school in West Park,
Clara E. Westropp Junior High which had a huge aviary with
free-flying birds and a unique round library among other things.
Likewise, at John
Marshall High School, we had the underground track, indoor pool,
gymnastic and weight rooms, The Marshall Room - a school restaurant, a
senior lounge, and many other great things which were under-appreciated
at the time.
Even people like myself, who didn't not know anyone
living there, still miss Riveredge Township, which was on about 50
acres at the corner of Old Grayton and Brookpark Roads just north of
the airport. It had about 200 residents in mobile homes and its own
police officer. I still have one of the Riveredge Township Police
The Dairy Deluxe Ice cream stand on Puritas Avenue
with its sit-down counter was always a great place to go. I'm happy
when I see it still open every year when I'm in town. In fact, I pass
by specifically to look, just to make sure it is.
I guess I'm afraid it will go the way of other
memories and businesses such as Lawson's, W. T. Grant's, J.P. Snodgrass
( a great place selling only jeans and records), A&P, Pick-N-Pay,
Marshall's Drug Store (with their soda fountain & jukebox),
Kresge's with their dining area, and Leader Drug with their food area,
and so many others.
Neighborhood people and kids would enjoy spending
their time together in these places, not just shop. It's something
important that is missing these days and quite a different environment
than mall food courts or Mickey D's.
I remember rocket model kits, model cars, and Duncan
Hobby Castle on Rocky River Drive On the other side of the street
was Bearden's and Dante's Pizza. Simply the best pizza! I even used to
buy them frozen and then keep them in the freezer until I wanted one.
We saw the last of the outdoor Talking Christmas
Trees on the strip at Great Northern Shopping Center. We saw the end of
Mr. Jing-a-ling on TV, but my kids did get to see him several times
downtown in Tower City.
As a teenager I first rented the downstairs of a
house by the month at 3977 West 157th Street. When I finally stopped
renting monthly and moved, I was married with two children, 10 and 8
The kids and I took many walks and bike rides in the
neighborhood and to the library, Drakefield Park, and Kamm's Corners.
We also used to stop at the mom-and-pop store one street over. My
daughter would talk me into buying an instant scratch-off lottery
ticket and several times she won $50. She was always very lucky. Me,
not so much.
The kids and I belonged to the West Park Indian
Guides/Princess program through the YMCA at West 159th and Lorain
Avenue and we would march in the 4th of July parades.
Along with outside activities such as camping, we
enjoyed events such as sleepovers and the Pinewood Derby at the Y. The
kids belonged to the Four Corner's Baseball League and played baseball
at Mohican, Tyler, Impett, and other areas parks.
It reminded me of when I used to play for Hollywood
Cleaners as a kid at Maplewood Diamonds near Verda Brobst School, both
of which are sadly no longer. Verda Brobst even had its own outdoor
swimming pool with slide.
When we moved, it was only streets away, and
ironically to the same address, now 3977 West 165th Street. I was
visiting friends and someone from across the street had mentioned to
them that they were thinking of selling their house in a year or so. We
walked through it, went home and called them back with an offer. We
hired an attorney to write a contract and that was that. The street has
about 10 houses and Alger
Cemetery is at the end on Bradgate Avenue.
I've always enjoyed Cleveland cemeteries. So much
history and one can find all the street names there and see who they
are named after. Many interesting headstones in Alger Cemetery,
especially the first one, Nathan Alger's, which is inscribed stating
there is room for more, and another one inscribed for someone killed by
lightning at age 29. There is only one mausoleum in this small cemetery.
This also a monument to four children who all died
in the 1800s, from some plague I believe. There is a little known
baby-children area in the southeast corner with small markers.
We used to walk and drive through the cemetery a lot
to get to Lorain Avenue via West 164th Street On the back end where
164th Street was, there was a U-Haul on the east side of West 164th
Street which also parked some trailers on a small strip of land (which
I guess they owned) on the west side of the street.
One day the rear gate to the cemetery on West 164th
Street was locked and the U-Haul was repaving its lots. Then it paved
over the street and connected the lots, the street sign disappeared,
and our strolling street was no more.
We continued to enjoy the area including the
Olympic Bowling Alley. I had kept a bowling pin from the alley when
it closed. By that time, the last of the "big 80MM screens", at
Riverside Theatre where I had seen 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY,
My children attended Our Lady of Angels School and
my daughter attended St. Joseph's Academy. My daughter now teaches at
Our Lady of Angels and her first assignment was teaching in the same
room where she once attended kindergarten.
My son wrestled for the St. Mark/OLA team as OLA had
discontinued its wrestling program by then. They enjoyed that same
family West Park-neighborhood-type experience that I had and, although
we moved to Eaton Township in Lorain County when they were in high
school, and they are now 29 and 31. Just like the rest, they treasure
the relationships they developed with their friends from West Park.
West Park is its own never-ending story where "it's
a small world" refrains with regularity whenever the talk turns to the
subject of West Park. And out roll all the enjoyable memories and
stories. Those lucky enough to have experienced living in this special
area have memories for a lifetime. More than anyone could ever write
Jay Blazek, Elyria, OH, 28
I thought I would add a little history to your excellent
web site. My parents and sister moved from West 52nd and Denison Avenue
in June, 1948, to a brand new house at the corner of Rosemary Avenue
and West 152nd, just off Warren Road. I was born on December
7th, 1948. Thus I am a true West Parker.
The earliest story which has been told to me
was my mother's refusal to get my curly blond locks cut. When I was two
years of age, in about 1950, my father had taken me into Smick's Bar
and Bowling Alley at West 50th and Storer Avenue at lunch time. One of
the patrons told my father what a cute little girl I was! Being
embarrassed my father took me to a beauty parlor, owned by Herb
Hegewaldt and his wife, which was located next to the Riverside
Theater. He got me a haircut without my mother's knowledge. Did he get
hell when we arrived home! As I remember that beauty parlor remained
next to the Riverside through the 1970s.
Remember Riverside Hardware a few
doors west of the theater? I still have a clambake steamer that I
bought there in 1972 which has a shipping label on the carton with the
hardware's name and address.
Remember Sam Crimaldi's barber shop at
the intersection of Warren and Munn Road?
When the Warren Village Shopping Center
opened in the early 1950s the major tenants were A&P, Neisner's
Five and Dime, Scott Ladd Foods, and Ohio Savings. Scott
Ladd Foods gave away S & H Green
Stamps with each purchase and that's how I got my first fishing
pole and reel. My girl friend worked at the Montgomery Ward Mail
Order store at Warren Village in the 1960s.
Howard Schreibman and his father had the
jewelry store next to Royal Castle across from the Riverside. I
also recall a men's store at Kamm's Corners owned by Bruce G. Morris. I
thought these memories would help.
Bill Schneider, Fairview Park, OH.
28 April 2010
American Agricultural Chemical Co - AGRICO
- at 4600 West 140th Street south of Puritas Avenue.
cJuly 1961. Barbara Unterzuber Collection.
I grew up on Carrington Avenue and at the end of the street
was the Agrico Company. It was a dark red presence that caused
rainy days to smell a certain way. Do you have any photos of it to put
on your site? Now that it's gone, I wish someone had taken photos of
it. When my sister and I were very young we would pull a wagon down to
Agrico and try to sell lemonade to the men on their break. I think we
sold a couple glasses, not much more than that. But there were a lot of
wild strawberries along the tracks and we'd pick those to take home.
Gayle Wohlken, Burton, OH. 19
I remember when the West Park
World War I Memorial (now located in front of the Veterans of
Foreign Wars Post on West 150th Street south of K-Mart) used to sit on
the front lawn of George Washington elementary school on Lorain Avenue.
The trees that were along the circle walkway in the front of the school
were planted on Arbor Day. That was in the mid 1960s. So long ago.
Jim Hasselbrack, Bristow, OK.
24 January 2010
I remember Leader Drug store at Kamm's corner.
I worked behind the soda fountain in my senior year. I also
remember when they use to freeze some of the area at Jefferson Park
(at West 133rd and Lorain Avenue) for ice skating. Later they built the
ice skating rink at Halloran Park. I also use to hang out at
Herzog's restaurant after school and have a coke and sometimes fries,
with Diane Rogers, Marsa Stofcheck and Rick Forrester.
Laurel Rieger Hastings, St. Cloud, FL. 5 October 2009
lived at 13417 West Avenue for the first 15 years of my life, from 1971
to 1986. Mom worked at the Lawson's (no longer there) at the corner of
West Avenue and West 130th Street, across from the First District
Police Station. Later she also worked at the Lawson's (also no
longer there) on Lorain Avenue near West 138th Street. Dad worked
down at Republic Steel and part time at Joe Fox's Garage at the
corner of West 130th and Lorain. I just drove through my old
neighborhood on Sunday. It was not as pretty as I remember but I still
love it. I'll always consider it “home.” I miss the good old days.
I remember Fazio's grocery store and
Hough Bakery on Lorain at West 139th. I thought I'd be grocery
shopping there when I grew up but it closed and became Marc's.. Hough
bakery was the best! We'd take home cakes and cookies in a paper box
tied with string.
We never would have moved from the neighborhood if
Cleveland hadn't started busing. When I was little I dreamed of the day
I'd walk down the street and go to John Marshall High School,
but that would never happen. The school district wanted us to go to
Kennedy School. So we moved to the Medina area. In my mind busing was
the worst thing to happen to Cleveland.
I also have fond memories of Santa Claus at
the Sears store on Lorain at West 110th. That whole building was
magical to me as a kid, with lots of different aisles, staircases, and
escalators. I keep trying to redraw the interior of the building in my
I recall hopping on my bike and riding to the Rockport
Library. I even remember going there for free square-dancing
lessons. We'd ride our bikes everywhere, for blocks and blocks! We'd
leave from home on West Avenue, go up to West 134th, turn on Cooley,
and then up West 133rd to get to Jefferson Park. I played
tennis there with the National Junior Tennis League for three years,
from about 1981 to 1983.
When I was a kid, I remember waiting in my front
yard every year when the high schoolers from John Marshall would
drive down the street on their last day of school. We'd wave at them as
they passed and they'd honk their horns.
I wish everyone could share the wonderful childhood
I had growing up on West Avenue.
Vicki (Clevenger) Grace, Sullivan, OH. 30 October 2009
grew up in West Park at 17302 Milburn Avenue and lived in the area for
about 23 years, from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. I couldn’t have
lived in a better area than West Park! Spending time at Gunning Park
or walking to school at St. Patrick’s couldn’t have been better. I have
fond memories of going to Puritas Hill to look for remnants of Puritas
Springs amusement park, spending time at Hobby Castle, riding
my bike to Dairy Deluxe, and having a pizza at Dante’s.
I now live in Olmsted Falls but take my family to West Park on regular
Thank you for spending the time to build this web
page. While I am only 35 years old, I am very fond of my
oldneighborhood and love to see the preservation of the area's rich
history. Keep up the great work!
Jason Lowbridge, Olmsted Falls, OH. 22 September2009
I went to Valley
View School and lived on Rocky River Drive across from a
laundromat. It was next to a Dairy Dell (now Brown's
Flowers at 4202 Rocky River Dr) where I picked up Laub's bread and
Colby cheese. The laundromat later became Kentucky Fried
Chicken. There was a utility pole next to KFC. I used
to shimmy up it to the roof and look out at the people going by.
One time WIXY 1260 radio
came to the parking lot and tried to give away a car. We each got a key
and tried to open the door.
Later I would run down to Kamm's Corner to a local
drug store where I would test my TV tubes, buy a gross of Beatles
trading cards and stock up on my favorite candy: Zero, Bun, Laffy
Taffy, Black Cow, Walnettos and some Teaberry and Blackjack gum.
For lunch I would go to Beardens, at the corner of Sedalia
Avenue, for baked beans. That's all I could afford.
On Saturdays it was up to Gunnings Pool on
Puritas Avenue or down to Kamms for the Saturday double feature at the Riverside
Theatre. One time the Mouseketeers came, Annette and the
whole group! That's also where I saw the THE BLOB and A HARD DAYS NIGHT.
One time they played the film ZOTZ and gave each of
us a magic coin.
Garland McFarland, New Castle, KY, Sep. 7, 2009
I used to
live at 17413 Bradgate Avenue from April 1969 to July 1972. Our side of
the street (south) belonged to St. Pat's parish while the other side of
the street was OLA's parish. The Weber family used to live in the house
at the end of the street near Rocky River Drive. Next to the Weber
house there was a giant tree and a field we used to play in.
On the satellite map I see that two houses have been
built into the space we used as a playing field. It seems the big tree
is still there, too.
There was a corner house and, maybe a year before we
moved away to Europe, they built a car shop. Its parking lot made
cutting through the field on our bikes a difficult job because it was
higher than the old path. (I notice there was a house built in between
since then!) My five younger brothers used to play a lot of baseball
there with the other kids of the neighborhood.
My brother used to deliver the Westside Sun
newspaper every Thursday morning. We started out about 4:30 a.m. so the
200 copies were delivered by 7 a.m. when we had to leave for school at
St. Pat's. We serviced Chatfield, Larchwood, Naomi, Sheila, and Susan
Avenues, Riveredge Road, West 176th and West 179th Streets.
I remember Dairy Queen, Baskin-Robins,
Lawson's, and going to Gunning Park
and Wilke's Bakery – delicious! Do kids still go down into the
"valley" by the Metro golf course to go sledding? That was a
lot of fun!
Keep up your work on local history. Time flies too
fast and one day we will regret not having asked or written down what
our elders know. Hello to all those who knew me and those who don't!
Bernadette (Hanacek) Friesznegg, Graz, Austria. 4 August 2009
My friend Larry and I were always making things,
such as wooden go carts, scooters and the like, down in his cool
basement on hot summer afternoons. Larry, a couple years older than I,
was not a craftsman by any stretch and I recall seeing him pound in
screws with a hammer. But the wood was soft as it was probably orange
crates made of pine from Rini’s Market at the corner of Rocky
River Drive and Lorain Avenue, known as Kamm’s Corners. That Rini
location is now a parking lot for Kamm’s Plaza...
On this particular construction project Larry
decided to put lights on whatever it was and that we would require an
electric soldering iron. My Dad had one, but I wasn’t about to let
Larry borrow it. I knew better. But Larry remembered that the Scott’s
Five-and-Dime had them and they would be just fine for our project.
So we hopped on our bikes on this hot afternoon and rode up to the big
store. This one was located across the street from the Riverside
Theater. We purchased the iron and returned home.
But for some reason Larry decided that this iron was
not heating up fast enough and of course I did not know the difference.
So he decided to take it apart and see what, if any, problem there was.
He soon became exasperated and finally jammed all the wires and
insulation back into the handle and announced that he would get his
money back. So, back on our bikes and off we went to Scott’s
The same young clerk was there and Larry told her
the problem and she decided to check it out by plugging it in to an
outlet by the cash register. Simultaneously in the store there was a
huge blue flash, a very loud pop and a scream from the clerk as she was
knocked back on her butt. Larry and I both froze not knowing what had
happened. All the store lights and ceiling fans quit leaving us all in
the dark and frightened customers heading for the door.
In just a few seconds the panicky store manager
started running through the aisles asking everyone in a loud voice what
was going on. Finally our clerk called him over and explained in a very
shaky voice what had happened. Quickly the manager yelled that she
should refund the money and pointed us to the front door. We were happy
to leave and as we got on our bikes we heard the siren from the first
responding fire truck.
Larry, being a good friend, then decided he would
buy us both an ice cream at our hangout, Blain’s Dairy. (17439 Lorain
Ave.) I suppose he thought he had put me through enough for the
afternoon. It was several weeks before I even went past Scott’s
Five-and-Dime and a very long time before I went in there again.
Dan Weber, Rancho Cordova, CA. 9 July 2009
At one time
I did some research on West Park bars that dated back to the end of
Prohibition in 1933. I believe I found our six oldest bars. Three of
them are now gone. The Little (?) Bar on West 130th between the
tracks was the first to go and may have been the oldest. The Impala at
West 119th and Lorain is also now gone. Loyda's Café at West
127th burned just a few years ago. This leaves Daily's at West
143rd and Lorain, The Far Mor at West 127th and Lorain, and
the Public House at Kamm's Corners.
Other reminiscences: Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy,
and Clinton have paraded through West Park. Someone has to have
pictures. That would make a good story.
Most know about San Francisco and the "summer of
love" in the late 1960s, and the Coventry area on the east side. But
how many people remember that every Sunday hundreds of teens from all
over Greater Cleveland would gather at Tyler field here in West Park.
How about the El Dorado Drive In at Kamm's
Corners where Steak N Shake now stands? Later it became Manner's Big
Boy. West Tech kids had Diney's but John Marshall kids had the El
I seem to be one of the few people who remember when
you used to be able to drive your car right into Rocky River and wash
it. Someone needs to tell these stories, and others, before they are
Ross Bassett, Strongsville, OH. 17 June 2009
What a great
site! Talk about memories!
Kenny Kings and their cole slaw, Tony's
diner and their spaghetti. My older brother proposed to his wife at
Diney's. The 1953 tornado photos are something else, too. I grew up on
Summerland Avenue so I always heard about it.
I saw STAR WARS at the Variety Theater, and
my best friend and I sat through six hours of GONE WITH THE WIND there.
Do you remember the old Wards gas station
that sat on the corner of West 130th and Summerland? It was ran by the
Ward brothers and torn
to build the police station. When I was a little girl I would ask
my dad how the moon got broken when it wasn't full. He would say, "I
don't know but I bet Wards could fix it!"
Thank you for all the wonderful memories.
Rene Rudd, Marietta, OH. 21 May 2009
for the kind comments, Rene. And thanks for sharing your reminiscences
of West Park.
We don't personally remember Ward's gas station but
we do have a photo of it. Apparently it stood at the corner of
Brooklawn Avenue and West 130th Street. It was built in about 1947. We
assume someone named "Ward" once owned it but for many years it was run
by Arthur E. and Edward A. Zeinert. They may be the two brothers you
remember. ---- Gary Swilik]
I grew up in
West Park and have very fond memories of it. I worship the Kamms Plaza
area and have shopped there forever, and still will. My father, David
Schroth, owned the Shell Gas station on Rocky River Drive next to
Marten's funeral home. I went there a lot when I was young and helped
my dad. We also enjoyed the very best pizza in town from Dante's.
Unfortunately it caught on fire right after I ate there one week
before. I was so saddened by the story of what happened that I actually
walked by the place and cried. My best times were in West Park. I
loved the Riverside
Theatre where I saw many movies. I can’t tell you enough about West
Park, although you already know with your wonderful stories and great
2 May 2009
In 1958 or
1959 I played Little League for the Valley View Merchants team. I was
the only left-handed third baseman in all of organized baseball! Back
then the sponsors would support both a minor and major team. You played
on the minors and moved up with age. Minors wore colored t-shirts and
caps. Ours were dark blue. When you got to the majors you wore a real
Geiger's Men's Wear was one of our opponents. Some
of the other teams were sponsored by Hollywood Cleaners, Corrigan's
Funeral Home, the George Blaha Insurance Company (he was our
councilman), Kamm's Merchants, and Homeway Drug. There may have been
one or two more.
We played at Gunning Park on Puritas Avenue, behind
the projects on Rocky River Drive, and way back behind Puritas Springs
Park after it burned down. We played on fields without outfield fences
so if you hit it far enough you had to run like hell for a home run. I
only did this once, against the Kamm's Corners team.
Once a guy had a
heart attack and died behind me when I was playing left field. I think
the game he was watching had ended and he was walking to his car. The
ambulance had to come all the way thru the remains of Puritas Springs
Park to get to him. That didn't help. I have no idea who he was. Just
remember all the commotion. Too bad there were no cell phones back then.
Galloway, OH. 26
We Kamm's Corner
kids were very familiar with "Hogs Back" hill in the middle of Little
Met Golf Course, at the foot of Old Lorain Road below Fairview
Hospital. Our interest in the hill was sledding in the winter time.
This was done on the northern end of the hill.
There was more sledding available in the valley on
the other side of the river, at the south end of the golf course, just
below present Golf View Drive. Those kids had a steep, fast hill for
sledding. The Hog Back runs were lower and not as steep, meaning not as
fast. But the advantage of the Hogs Back was that it was so much closer
to home. It was a long cold hike from Kamm's Corners down and back to
the Golf View Hill.
Dan Weber, Rancho Cordova, CA, Feb. 2, 2009
lived at 19702 Elsmere about two blocks from Verda Brobst
Elementary School. The street is long since gone as, of course, is
the school. I went there for kindergarten and first-grade with a
teacher named Mrs. Male. I remember playing on the school fields in the
I've lived on the east side for 35 years and almost
never get back to that area but, once in a while if I'm waiting for
someone to arrive at the airport, I'll drive by the old neighborhood.
It's so sad the school is gone.
For second to fourth grades I went to St Pat's
at Rocky River Drive and Puritas. Then we moved but, when I was in the
tenth-grade, we moved back to the West 150th-Puritas neighborhood and I
went to John Marshall High. I graduated from JMH in 1972.
I have such wonderful memories of those years!
You have done fabulous work with your website.
I love the old photos, with the old cars. Thank you so much.
Victoria Ashley, Beachwood, OH. 03 November 2008
I lived in
West Park most of my life until I was married. My dad still lives
there. I am only 35 but remember so many of the great buildings that
have come and gone.
My grandpa used to work in the Ohio Bell building.
My greatest memories, however, took place in two buildings not
One is the G. C. Murphy Company at Kamms
Plaza where my grandma used to take us to their lunch counter for hot
dogs and floats "like in the old days."
The other was the airport Brown Derby. I'm
not sure if that was West Park or just outside of it. Our neighbor used
to work there so we got to go out one Friday per month for the salad
bar and French bread pizza on the kid's menu. We would eat at the salad
bar and take the pizza home for Saturday night. Thank you for the
memories in these money-grubbing times. I wish I had pics but I hope
you can find some and add them to your site.
--- Tina Combs,
Parma Heights, OH. 30 April 2008
Sure like your website as it
reminds me of the days growing up as a teenager and hanging out around "Hank's"
delicatessen and Garfield School. I understand the school
is gone now.
I went to Garfield in 1951 before going on to
Marshall High. In fact, it was on the steps of Garfield that some
friends and I tattooed ourselves using a sewing needle wrapped in
thread and dipped in India ink. I was 16 at the time. I still have my
initials tattooed on my left arm.
I attended Boy Scout meetings in the basement at
Christ Methodist Church on the point at the intersection of West 137
and West 138th.
My crowd did get around town and we didn't spend all our teenage years
in the immediate neighborhood. As we grew older we went to places like Bill's
Bar on Lorain near West 143rd Street. We also frequented Bearden's drive-in and Kamm's
Corners, too, along with occasional outings at Rocky River Park and
late nights at Royal Castle or Manners Drive-in restaurant.
When some of us got cars it expanded our horizons
and we ventured far and wide around Cleveland, even going out to
North Olmsted where one of our buddy's parents owned a farm. We had
many parties in the woods out there.
Just in case there are some visitors to your site
that may wonder who's who, I'll include a few names of the old gang and
see if that stirs up any interest. This is pretty much the local gang
that hung around Garfield School and Hank's Delicatessen at the
northeast corner of Lyric Avenue on West 140th:
Myself - Larry Phipps,
of W. 137th Street, Dave Shepley, Frank Savel, Tom Cleary,
James and Pat Patton, Jack Kilbane, Art Yurek, Lee Calbrunner, Bob
Farrell, Louie Reese, John (Yohan) Petrilla, Bob Onicilla, Jim Ravotti,
Jerry Knipper, Tom Daly, Tim & Tom Terry, Bill Vanderlind, Charles
(Butch) Miller, Bill Burke and Ron Fuller.
AND THE GIRLS: Patti Abel,
Carol Zietz, Carol Leitz, Joanne Szpak, Margaret (Cookie) Walsh, Mary
Ellen Joice (Or Joyce), Sarah Cormier, Patty English and Sally McNally.
were around from time to time. Forgive me if I left anyone out. It's
purely the passage of time that leaves the memory vague.
By the way, "Hank" (Henry S. Kurzynski), of Hank's
Delicatessen, died in an airplane crash. He had a pilot's license but I
never heard what went wrong with his flight. I had left to go into the
Navy by then.
That's when everything started to change. One by one
we entered the military and began to lose touch with each other. That
and marriage was the end of "Our Gang".
Soon we were all scattered to the wind. It was only
a few years ago that some of us, through the internet, re-established
contact. A few remained in touch throughout the years but most had left
Cleveland for other places. Florida, Tennessee, California, etc.
I'm hoping to get back to West Park next summer for
--- Larry Phipps, Chico, California.
4 December 2007
remember a swamp just west of West 137th on the north side of Lorain
Avenue. I think a building supply was eventually built there. My
friends and I loved to explore that swamp. We'd bring home frogs
and clams. Can you imagine clams in a swamp in the city? I wonder
how clams got there. In fact, I wonder how a swamp got there.
Do you remember when the streets were all
brick? Can you imagine how labor intensive that must've been to
build? The wet bricks ere so slippery. Funny we didn't see
I also recall the little 'woods' that existed on
West137th at Lorain. It later became a big phone company
building. I believe there was a small phone building there
originally, but it didn't affect the woods.
How about the ice man? It was the '50's, and
some people still had their old ice boxes. In the summer, I'd
stand at the curb and wait for the iceman to drive up. Before he'd hook
the blocks with his tongs and make his delivery, he'd lift the
tarp off the load of giant ice cubes and, without a word, chip off a
big chunk of ice and toss it to me to eat. I think we kids were much
easier to please in those days.
I remember ice cream man, too. The ice cream
trucks were kind of unique, with the open cab and dry ice box in the
back. Apparently refrigeration wasn't in for the frozen section, so
they loaded it with dry ice. Crazy as it sounds, we would put our faces
inside the freezer box and get dizzy. The dry ice was carbon
Mike Moody, Orange County, CA. 24 September 2007
We loved growing up on West Park Road because
we had so many wonderful neighbors! Many of us walked to school
together to Our Lady of the Angels. I remember so many wonderful
families and I hope they are all doing well: The Connors, the Ryan's,
McNamee's, the Gallaghers, the Schwinn's.
--- Mary Jo Wagoner. 23 September 2007
My friends and I are
really enjoying your website.
A couple of things to pass along. First of all, Garfield
Elementary School, West 140th, is now history. It was recently
razed and is totally gone.
The article about Herold's Store was
fun to read. As teenagers in the mid-50's, we spent countless hours
sitting on the steps of the store just talking.
One store I spent a lot of time at was Hank's
Delicatessen on the corner of Lyric Ave. and West 140th. The owner
Hank, and his wife and two children lived in the back of the store.
Hank was killed in a small plane accident in the 60's. Hank had sold
the store and it became Lally's.
Relative to the 1953 tornado, I was at a Boy
Scout meeting at Ascension Church, at West 140th and Puritas,
when a report of serious weather approaching sent us all home. I was
terrified as I rode my bike home as fast as I could. Luckily I was
heading north on West 140th and was going way from the tornado. It was
certainly the most horrific rain and thunderstorm as I headed home. The
next day, my friends and I headed back to the school and viewed the
damage. (three snapshots)
--- David Shepley, Brunswick ,Ohio. 20
We used to
have a deli at the corner of West 140th and Lakota called Racer's.
All the school kids knew the owner because he was selling them
cigarettes at a penny a piece.
--- Kenneth Weiss,
Cleveland, OH. 29 March 2007
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of places near West Park
Robert Hall Clothes
I remember the summer of 1969 when EASY RIDER came out,
and I wanted a buckskin fringe jacket. My parents bought me a suede
jacket with lots of fringe at Robert Hall. I had it for about a month
when one day I took it out of the closet and found my mother had cut
all the fringe off! She said it would make a nice car coat. I was 12
years old, what did I need a car coat for?
Here's another Robert Hall commercial jingle from
Robert Hall beats them all,
Shop and see
You get more, you pay less
Shop and see
Look at all the clothing values for your family
Robert Hall beats them all,
Shop and see.
--- Scott Ferrell, Cleveland, OH. 8 August 2009
My husband, Don Dixon, remembers his mother shopping there
for new Easter suits for her sons. I think that's where he bought his
suit for our wedding in 1961.
--- Lois Gollwitzer Dixon, Livonia, Michigan.
5 December 2007
bought a First Communion suit at Robert Hall for my oldest brothers. It
was stored and used as a hand-me-down for 5 additional First Communions!
My one and only Leather came from Robert hall! It
took forever for me to save the 67 Dollars to buy it! It disappeared
after I wrecked my car at W. 117th and Detroit in early 1968! I sure
missed that coat! I left for Florida in April of 68 and never looked
--- Earl Maki, Largo, FL. 18 May 2007
"Robert Hall" sure bought back memories of the past. At Easter time and
the beginning of the school years we would make the trip there for
clothes. I remember going there and buying suits. Yuck! I wasn't a suit
person back then, and some things never change. LOL. I was over in that
area about a week ago. It's sure a lot different than when we were kids
--- Russell Kingery, Old
Brooklyn, OH. 18 May 2007
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Memories and/or photographs that you
wish to contribute would be appreciated. Please try to include as
many details as you possibly can.
Send them to The West
Park History website.