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
--- Dawn (Shepp) Cartwright, Bloomington, IN.
03 July 2008
Do you 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
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 May 2008
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 working.
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
--- 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 customers.
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
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
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 ago.
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.
R. Black, Lewis Center, OH. 24 April
As kids 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
--- 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
My Uncle, William Deeks, drove a
delivery wagon for Asplin and delivered the
baskets to local greenhouses. He did this for
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 connection.
--- Alma Goodyear Appelgate, Huntersville, NC.
20 January 2009
I remember 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
Yes, I 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
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 relieved.
--- James Mokren, Jackson, OH. 29
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
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, 2007
(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
--- Jon Dolfurd, John Marshall High School,
Class of 1957, Longs, SC. 27 January 2006
I worked my way thru high school working at
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 busy!
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
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
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
Return to Main Page
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 no candy.
Parma, OH. 13 July 2006
"Diney's 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
"Diney's 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
The 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
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
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 mufflers.
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
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
Originally posted on
the John Marshall Alumni Message Board.
Edited and posted here with Mr. Chapo's
Pond (Also known as Dreyer's Pond)
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
--- Peggy Patton, Cleveland, OH.
found your site earlier this evening and cannot
believe I'm still studying it even at this late
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.
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 the
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 (updated
30 January 2021)
Top of page
(or Taffle's) Deli
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
--- Nicolas D'Amico, Cleveland, OH. 02 January
Top of page
in the spring or summer in the 1950s the Duncan
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
Top of page
Franklin Ice Cream - Puritas and West
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
Top of page
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,
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
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
Park: Puritas Pool
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 the pool.
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
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
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 sunny
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
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
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
Grocery and Meat Market
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
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
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
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
and Meat Market
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 dance contest.
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
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
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
to Main Page
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 wonderful
--- Brian F.
Moran, Fairview Park, OH. 13 June 2008
to Main Page
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
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,
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
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
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 to.
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
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
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 whipped
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.
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
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 to work.
--- 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
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
--- Lou Diamond, Garland, TX. 4 March
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
Castle's cheap, great hamburgers and
+ "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
+ Eddie the crossing
guard (See also 1,
(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 collected $20.25!)
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
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
photo. May, 1989.)
--- Joan Gulling Kolb. Whittier, CA. 5 March
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
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 a snack.
Fournier, Cleveland, OH. 28 July 2006
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
McGilvray Fischer, Toledo, OH. 20 August 2007
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!!!
Toth, near Crestview, OH
Marquard House page
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
McGilvray Fischer, Toledo, OH. 20 August
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.
D'Amico, Cleveland, OH. 02 January 2010
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 Aaron.
Peter D. Zwick, Columbia
Station, OH. 05 August 2010
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 sherbet.
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.
Papay, North Royalton, OH. 31 March 2007
on West 130th Street
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 mini-trucks!
Cremati, Cleveland, OH. April 2006
to Main Page
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
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.
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
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.
Kieffer, Lore City, OH. 7 April 2007.
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
Peggy Rieger Wagner, North
Olmsted, OH. 26 January 2010
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
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
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.
Swilik, Cleveland, OH. 9 March 2008
family 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
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.
McLaughlin, St. Cloud, FL. 8 March 2008
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
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
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 time!
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.
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
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 good
Dolfurd, John Marshall High School, Class of
1957, Longs, SC. 6 March 2006
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
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
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
George B. Dameron, Olmsted
Township, OH. 6 April 2010
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 selling it.
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
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
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 hot pursuit.
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
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
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 my house!
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.
Swilik, Cleveland, OH. 28 December 2007
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
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
(Curella) Cardillo, Philadelphia, PA. 28
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.)
Cleveland, OH, 23 April 2006
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 2006
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
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
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
I recall 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!
Chapo, JMH. Jan 66
the northeast corner of West 140th Street and
Demolished in 1978. (Photo, Jan. 1968)
Back 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 eyes
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
It was like a punch
in the gut when they tore down the old
Settlement School. I thought it was a historic
Polinski, Appleton, Wisconsin. 27 August
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
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 June 2008
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
Martineau, Milburn Valley, UT. 1 2March
saw many a cheap horror double feature at the
Variety Theater on Sunday afternoons.
THE TINGLER had to be the scariest thing
ever. My best moment there was when the Beatles
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
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.
Cifani, Fairview Park, OH. 26 February
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
02 May 2008
family and I lived only 3 houses from the
Variety and we saw lots of the cool movies back
then. Jerry Lewis, HOUSE
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!!
Bauhof, 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
Gibson, etc. This was before John Wayne
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.
J. Simone, Cleveland, OH. 7 December 2007
Oh, do I remember the Variety! I used to
go there almost every Sunday. I remember
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.
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!
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
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.
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
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
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.
Toth, near Crestview, OH. 6 September 2005
to Main Page
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
Fleig, Conroe, TX. 02 February 2010
to Gone Page
Brobst Elementary School
Brobst school (at West 192nd &
Maplewood) and the surrounding homes were
razed to create
a buffer zone for
the expansion of Cleveland Hopkins
The site now is the Verda
Brobst Playfield in the Riverside
My sister 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 years."
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 1990s.
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 West Park.
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
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
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
would swing on into the soft summer night,
safe and secure in my world.
Scott Ferrell, Cleveland, OH. 28 May
Grocers & Meats
Avenue 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.
(Clevenger) Grace, Sullivan, OH. 29
Grocers & Meats
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
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
Chuck Simak, Parma Heights,
OH. 27 April 2010
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.
Nichols Henninger, Brook Park, OH. 13
Park Branch Library
the Cleveland Public Library Image
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
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 day!
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 succumbed.
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
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
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 some chores.
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 whip you!'
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
Cordova, CA. 3 January 2008
Park Branch Library
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
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
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
Thank you again from my
sister and me for allowing us to pay tribute to
this very special man, and his beloved pharmacy.
Gilbert, South Euclid, OH. 15 May
(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, please email
us. We'd love to hear from you.
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!
Chapo, Knoxville, TN. 17 June 2006
to Main Page
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 time.
"Dick" R. Morrison, Cleveland, OH. 15
Side Drive-In Theatre
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
(Radtke) Boehnke, Strongsville, OH. 10
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
West's is just a
memory now . . . a good memory of growing up
in West Park.
Fran Hendren, Sylvania,
OH. 7 March 2010
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
Blazek, Elyria, OH. 20 September 2010
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.
Moody, Orange County, CA. 24 September 2007
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
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
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
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!
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
Patricia Forkapa, West Park, OH. Oct. 30,
I 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,
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 yard of cloth for a quarter.
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
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 hairdo.
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
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
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
Proud daughter of a
Korean War Veteran!
My dad, 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
Patty Biggs, Cleveland, OH. 16 December
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
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 occasions.
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!
Lowbridge, Olmsted Falls, OH. 22
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
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
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 prizes.
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 summer.
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
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, attended
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
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
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 patches.
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
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 Yo-Yos from
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
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 years old.
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
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
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
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
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 ten-lane
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",
Riverside Theatre where I had seen 2001:
A SPACE ODYSSEY, was gone.
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
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
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
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
Bill Schneider, Fairview
Park, OH. 28 April 2010
Agricultural Chemical Co - AGRICO
- at 4600 West 140th Street south of Puritas
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.
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.
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.
Rieger Hastings, St. Cloud, FL. 5 October
I 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
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 mind.
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
(Clevenger) Grace, Sullivan, OH. 30
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 occasions.
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!
Lowbridge, Olmsted Falls, OH. 22
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
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
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.
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
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!
(Hanacek) Friesznegg, Graz, Austria. 4
ONE JULY AFTERNOON
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
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
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
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.
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 Dorado.
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 lost forever.
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
Rene Rudd, Marietta, OH. 21 May
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
Cleveland, OH. 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
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
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 February 2009
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.
Weber, Rancho Cordova, CA, Feb. 2, 2009
My family 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
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
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.
Ashley, Beachwood, OH. 03 November 2008
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 a reunion.
--- Larry Phipps, Chico, California. 4
I 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 more
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 dioxide.
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.
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.
Shepley, Brunswick ,Ohio. 20 September
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
places near West Park
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 1961:
Robert Hall beats them
Shop and see
You get more, you pay
Shop and see
Look at all the clothing
values for your family
Robert Hall beats them
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
My parents 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
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 back!
Earl Maki, Largo, FL. 18 May 2007
The name "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 growing up.
--- Russell Kingery, Old Brooklyn, OH. 18 May 2007
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.