Monday, December 24, 2018

Happy Holidays from Road to Parnassus and from Painesville, Ohio!


  
After a long hiatus in posting, I want to wish you all a happy Holiday season!  As my gift, I am sending you all this cheery Holiday fireplace. Those in cold areas can use an extra one, and those lucky to be in warm places can regard this as a virtual fireplace. 

Here is the entire bag of fireplace fuel. You will notice that this comes from the Nickel Plate Coal and Supply Company in Painesville, Ohio. Some readers may remember an older post in which I visited the charming city of Painesville



The Nickel Plate Coal and Supply Company was presumably connected with the Nickel Plate Railroad, although perhaps in name only. The Nickel Plate was important to Ohio and Cleveland history. In the early 1900’s, the Van Sweringen brothers obtained control of the Nickel Plate because they needed its right-of-way into Cleveland in order to develop a streetcar line for the now-famous new suburb they were developing, Shaker Heights.

There was also a Nickel Plate Milling Company in Painesville, which produced flour.  Here is a vignette from one of their old envelopes:




They produced this lapel pin for a complicated promotion at the Lake County Fair (held in Painesville, where else?). They gave out these numbered badges to fair-goers, and if you found someone with the same number, you each got a free bag of flour. I have a few of these in my Painesville collection, but so far no matching set.





I realize that this fireplace gift is a rather ambiguous one. The bag presumably contained coal, and coal is the traditionally prescribed gift for naughty boys and girls. So you will have to decide for yourself how this applies to you. Of course, as fossil fuels get rarer, there is now an implied degree of generosity in a gift of coal.

Once again, let me wish you a very pleasant holiday, and a happy and healthy New Year for 2019!





(All photos and original objects collection of the author.)
 

17 comments:

  1. How wonderful to have a post from you again! And a seasonal one to boot! Merry Christmas to you and wishing you all the best in 2019!

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    1. Hello Debra, Thank you for your kind wishes. I know that I have been lazy, letting you and the other bloggers do all the work while I enjoyed all your efforts! --Jim

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  2. Look what your reference said. "The Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway, Pennsylvania Railroad, and the Big Four Railroad shared a crowded lakefront Union Station. The Erie Railroad, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Nickel Plate Road, and the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad all occupied separate stations on the north bluff of the Cuyahoga River, just south of downtown. The city also encouraged the railroads to build grade separation throughout the city". Now I am totally in favour of public transport, but what a mess that must have been!!

    Have a happy, safe holiday.

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    1. Hello Hels, Well, that was the day of the Railroad, when many lines large and small were in existence--later came the time for amalgamation of most roads. Now we have the same case with airports--many airlines, and big cities have multiple terminals, each with widely separated buildings.

      If you really like vicious political scandal, read about the development of streetcars and traction lines in most big cities--today usually combined into a single public transport line.

      One thing the Van Sweringens did was to build the magnificent Terminal Tower, the new hub of downtown Cleveland, which did much to unsnarl the train traffic and eliminate multiple stations, as well as herd the trains underground. The Terminal Tower is a truly beautiful building--I will have to go there my next trip and take some photos! --Jim

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    1. Hello Bazza, Thank you for the greetings. It is pretty warm now in Taipei--our coldest month is usually January, which can get a little chilly, but often by February Spring is in the air! --Jim

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  4. Dearest Jim,
    What a special post, as always. Interwoven with useful bits of history and information about times past. The Van Sweringen brothers no doubt had Dutch ancestry, one can always tell from the Dutch word 'Van'.
    Did read your interesting previous post as well.
    Interesting story about the Nickel Plate Coal & Supply Company.
    Like Pieter, I too remember the period of coal for burning in our stove and fireplace. Quite some dust at the time. Our next door neighbor was selling coal and briquettes.
    Sending you best wishes for Christmas and for the Year's Ending and wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year!
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Hello Mariette, Thank you for your special Holiday greeting, which I return for you and Pieter. I never used coal as fuel, but many of my favorite writers recall humorously the difficulties in keeping coal fires lit and running. I don;t know where the Nickel Plate Coal and Supply got its coal, but Southern Ohio was quite a coal mining region, similar to Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

      "The Vans" as they were called, were indeed important in Cleveland history, and had a rather bizarre business career. I hope to write an article about them perhaps next summer when I can take some good photos. --Jim

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  5. Hello Jim - I am very sorry that I am late here to return your happy holiday greetings as I have been away. However, I am now back in time to wish you a Very Happy, and let's hope, peaceful New Year 2019.
    Thinking about coal - at Hogmanay in Scotland (the name given to new year's day just after the strike of 12 midnight) is the time that Scots venture from their homes to go "First-Footing". To bring the best of luck for the following year, the "First-Foot" in the house traditionally is a dark, handsome male carrying a piece of coal.
    You may have had a long hiatus in posting but you are the most loyal of friends to many bloggers with your very interesting and erudite comments which are very much appreciated.

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    1. Hello Rosemary, Thank you for your very kind words and greetings, but while I have been lazy, others have been doing all the work with their intriguing and beautifully-illustrated blogs. I hope that you had a good break--perhaps we will see some pictures on your blog!

      I never knew about the interesting coal and new year traditions in Scotland. I suppose that a handsome man bringing a large bag of Painesville coal would be even more welcome on a cold January 1. I should have known that telling a story of American coal to my British readers with their deep history and lore would be like bringing coals to Newcastle. --Jim

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  6. Thank you very much for your timely gift. I've been freezing just receiving a big cold spell this winter. To prevent more global warming, many central and local governments have prohibited a bonfire. Your stove must be "sustaining".
    祝願你休假愉快! 你在台灣教英語嗎?

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    1. Hello rtc, I am sorry that you are so cold. However, temperate areas depend on an annual dose of cold. For instance, those beautiful apples you showed us probably require winter freezing in order to produce blossoms and fruit. To answer your question, year end is a busy work period for me, but I do not teach English. --Jim

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  7. Happy Holidays and thank you! So nice to see you.

    Jennifer

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    1. Hello Jennifer, I am glad to hear from you, and wish you a wonderful 2019! Your musings and talents are missed from the Internet.
      --Jim

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  8. Lovely to see another post from you. Your comments are always so interesting on my blog. I have been looking at your blog now and then and hoping you will return. And now I hope you will post some more of what ever occurs to you. As for the matching badges and bags of flour, that is one of those promotions where you can just imagine the boss saying, "Wow, I've had a fantastic idea!" and all the employees sighing and rolling their eyes. And at least one visitor to the fair entirely devoting themselves to searching for their badge "twin" to the exclusion of actually looking at any of the exhibits...and when they see two other people who are badge "twins" trying to introduce them to each other.... oh yes, I am getting into imagining this fair!

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    1. Hello Jenny, I like your fantasy of mindless fairgoers spending all their time searching for matching badges. I can further imagine the "lucky" winners weighed down with heavy sacks of flour, impeding their enjoyment of the fair even more!

      Incidentally, Painesville's Nickel Plate Milling Company may be gone, but they still have the Lake County Fair. For 2019, the 164th edition of the Fair will take place July 23-28th.
      --Jim

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