The Herald Building [and The Big Three]

Last weekend, Marcin and I met Gary at the Herald Building, 734 Broadway.

The owner says, “It’s a really cool old building built originally in 1901 to house the News Herald with the second story added in 1905.”
The second story addition is most obvious when the building is viewed from the alley.

Gary sent some photos of photos – one of the original Herald Building and one of an Editor – that he found at the Lorain Historical Society. [I edited them a bit for clarity only. -lisa]

The caption under the building photo reads: “”Leather Lungs” Tommy Williams would shout elections returns from balcony. Bulletins were placed in windows. Election returns were published about 1 or 2 AM* Price 1[cent] each. Newsboys bought papers for 2 for 1[cent].”

I will never understand why The Powers That Be allow a beautiful facade like the original Herald to be lost forever, while just down the street a developer is being made to preserve the facades of some relatively nondescript and not historically important buildings. -lisa

Inside the Herald building, the walls have been stripped down to the lath boards, the interior windows [!] have been revealed, and evidence of the previous existence of skylights is visible. What the owners originally thought was going to be a quick fix has turned into a desire to discover the building’s secrets and former lives, as well as restore her original beauty properly but with a modern twist.

I found an interesting bit of history in the ceiling:frishmuths-green-goose-tobacco
The earliest mention I found for this product was in the April 5, 1905, edition of the “Tobacco Leaf” – a newsletter “Devoted to the Wholesale and Retail Cigar and Tobacco Interests of the World.”:
“The corps of men under John J. Batchelor are doing good work introducing Green Goose, a scrap brand made by Frishmuth, Bro. & Co., to the local consumer.”
Not sure what purpose this would have served tacked up in the ceiling between the rafters, but it was in a couple different spots.

Marcin scored the History Shot of the Day with this beautiful piece of Lorain history, “The Big Three” [or 4 or 5?] – Jack Yingling, Johnny Bruno Blackie, Bob Haley, “Louie” Vergari, and “Louie” Rango carved their names in a door for posterity’s sake:

The Big Three – Jack Yingling, Johnny Bruno Blackie, Bob Haley, “Louie” Vergari, and “Louie” Rango

[I edited the photo for clarity only. -lisa]
I found a 2-year-old Jack Yingling in the 1940 census. Also found his obituary – he died April 5, 2010. The family lived on Osborn Ave. and were known for their self-crafted SantaLand. I think I found at least one of the “Louie”s, too. These guys probably wouldn’t have been in the building until sometime in the 1950s-1960s-1970s.

I’m kinda new at tracking down people through genealogy searches, so please pardon my seeming inability to tell you each guy’s story at this time. I’m not always positive that I have found the right person and I hesitate to attribute something to someone without being absolutely sure that it’s them. In this case, the guys I have found with the names that match the door have quite a range of ages between them, so I’m not sure if I’ve found a combination of fathers and sons or cousins or neighbors. If you have any information to share, please leave a comment or email us at Lorain365[at]gmail[dot]com.

Much thanks to Gary for the invitation and taking time out of his busy day to meet me and Marcin at the Herald Building. It’s always nice to be able to indulge in a little legal and safe urban exploration. We are looking forward to seeing Gary and his associates bring this building back to life and become an important part of the reinvention and revitalization of Downtown Lorain.


  1. Hi Lisa

    An historic old building — I’m glad it’s being restored! The vintage photo of the “Herald” building from the Historical Society is interesting. Under magnification you can see several details that are not obvious in the original photo. First is the street address. The address 614 is clearly shown twice, once over the front door and also on the large window to the right of the door. An old ad from 1905 lists the Newspaper’s address as “Herald building, 614 Broadway”, so at some point the street was apparently renumbered. In 1905 F.A. Rowley was listed as Editor and Proprietor, so perhaps that is who is seated at the desk in the other historic photo — but who knows? The awning across the front of the building also clearly reads “Times – Herald”. Finally, just below the address on the window, it reads “Cigars, Tobacco”. Was there a second store in the building, or was the photo taken during a business changeover? The window ad would seem to explain the tobacco advertising signage you found inside the building. The photo you took from inside the building looking to the street, would seem to show a second entrance to the building at the extreme left of the photo — perhaps for a second business?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Rick! Lorain’s forefathers had a thing for renaming and renumbering streets way back in the day, so I’m not too surprised to see the Herald building wearing different addresses throughout the years. What’s got me perplexed is the entrance. Gary shared a photo of a Leiter photo dated 1906ish with the Lorain Times-Herald newsboys and FA Rowley, Fred Resek, and CA Rowley in front of the center entrance of the 614 building. It is difficult to tell if the door adjacent to the center door still exists in that photo, however, there is a window with lettering partially visible behind one of the people in the back row. I found a 1914 photo of the building at the Lorain Public Library and the only entrance at that time is on the north end. Dennis shared a photo of the building after it got hit by the 1924 tornado and the only entrance is still on the north end. Now there are two entrances – 734 and 732. When we were inside, Gary told us that the door off to the side [now 732 Broadway] had been a walled-off separate entrance to the upstairs when they got the building.
    [Please check your email for the photos 🙂 ]


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