Monday, August 21, 2006

Our Ohio vacation, last one

I asked Angela to take a few snapshots on our way out of Lorain, and this drawing is adapted from the best one. Although to be fair, it just barely edged out the Wonder Hostess Bakery Outlet further down the road.

Falbo Construction is one of the few remaining industrial businesses I remember from when I was a kid. I think they sponsored a baseball team, or a soccer team. Or maybe both. Much of the docks, mills, and plants along the Black River have since been abandoned or replaced with new development.

When I was a kid I used to risk death to jump on the slow moving trains down the embankment east of Broadway. Now most of the tracks have been pulled up and replaced with gazebos for river-front festivals. Maybe someday there'll even be a fast and easy commuter connection with Cleveland.

For 20 years Lorain has been trying to make the leap from depressed steel, ship, and auto manufacturing into a kind of recreational suburb for empty nesters and the boating set. But it feels forced to me. It feels counter to the character and history of the city. This was a tough city, where you could make a good living if you were willing to work hard. Maybe that's why I was glad to see Falbo Construction. Not pretty, but tough.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Our Ohio vacation, day 8, part 2

This is Angela (with Felix in his sling) and Mom walking towards the Ohio Edison Plant in Lorain. For some reason I'm always surprised to see this huge electrical plant looming on the lakefront. When I was a kid it was so much a part of the landscape that I never thought about it.

The plant would vent its waste water at a nearby pier, which we creatively called, "Hot Waters." In the winter all the fish would gather at Hot Waters, which would never freeze. The place would be alive with these huge carp and sheephead. We would engage in a particularly unsportsmanlike type of fishing known as "snagging". You didn't need any bait, just a big treble hook and a strong line.

If you think it's hard to remove a hook from a fish's mouth, try removing one from their spine. And these were junk fish. You couldn't even eat them. OK, it was a loathesome activity. Welcome to Ohio.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Clark and Albion, stripmalls in the city

I'm finding myself interested in strip malls in my neighborhood. There's a real potential for a strip mall to become a plaza within the dense urban environment. It rarely happens because such little thought goes into the design of these places. Or the nearby buildings are torn down for similar malls and there's no longer the necessary sense of enclosure.It' doesn't help that corner lots lend themselves to this type of development.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Our Ohio vacation, day 8

K-Cream Korner was one of the institutions that defined my summers from ages 8 to 12. Before becoming a take-out ice cream shop it had been a vacant gas station. Before that I suppose it was an occupied gas station... Anyway, the owners hung a loud orange sign and never looked back.

I walked past this place every day in junior high. It may even explain my astonishing number of cavities. They sold packaged sugar in so many forms- Lemonheads, Redhots, Boston Beans. Nice to know some things never change.

K-Cream Korner is just far enough from my parent's house that it seems like you can walk off the calories on the way back. In reality, you would probably need a few more miles. This is my mom and Angela waiting for their soft-serve to be ready.

Friday, August 4, 2006

Our Ohio vacation, day 6

One of the nicest things about visiting Ashtabula is having breakfast at Squire's Bakery. We had donuts and coffee here twice. The first time I had an apple fritter so huge that I couldn't finish it.

I also like their coffee. It comes in little disposable cups that snap into a plastic frame with a handle. For some reason it reminds me of lunchtime at camp.

And what a great building. Too bad it isn't a little closer to the historic (but depressed) Bridge Street District. It would result in a nice influx of badly needed foot traffic.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Paleteria Monarcha, 6955 N. Clark

Angela has a big issues with signs in our neighborhood that over-use quotations marks. Do you really want to order a "Chicken" sandwich? This ice-cream shop on Clark joins that proud tradition with their "Nachos."

I'll be sad to see this place close down for the winter. They should switch to soup.