Rainy Day Cleveland, Ohio

A Shot in the Rain: Cleveland

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame through a rainy windshield. Photo by Kayte Deioma

Most visitors to Cleveland are traveling on business, visiting relatives, or headed to the famed Cleveland Clinic for medical procedures. On this trip, I fit in the middle category . My sister Ellie and her three kids live about 15 minutes from the Cleveland Airport. They came out to help me explore some fun things to do in Cleveland when it rains.

Cleveland tends to get a bad rap in the media, being the brunt of many jokes, so first time visitors are surprised at what a cultured and entertaining experience awaits them. Cleveland has great outdoor activities in the summer, including water sports on the lake and concerts and festivals in its many parks and public spaces, an excellent Zoo and not too far away in Sandusky, the top amusement park in the world, Cedar Point.

There are also plenty of great rainy day alternatives. Everyone knows about the Rock & Roll Hall of fame, so we decided to visit some less well know venues. My 14-year-old nephew Derick, who had been to both on school trips and only had time for one with us, voted to revisit the Great Lakes Science Center. Seven-year-old Becca was anxious to show her five-year-old sister, Sarah the Natural History Museum, especially the “dome” movie at the Planetarium.

My sister Carol drove up from Alliance to join me for a tour of historic autos at the Crawford Auto and Aviation Museum and to try out the flight simulator at the NASA Glenn Research Center. We also stepped out for a little Cleveland nightlife at Hilarities 4 th Street Comedy Club at Pickwick and Frolic. I hope you’ll enjoy reading about our experiences.
Kayte Deioma

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If Old Cars Could Talk: The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum

story and photos by Kayte Deioma

Cleveland ‘s University Circle is choc full of cultural icons like the Cleveland Museum of Art, Museum of Natural History and Botanical Gardens in Wade Park and educational institutions like Case Western Reserve, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Art around its perimeter. But University Circle’s best kept secret is the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum at the Western Reserve Historical Society.

A row of classic cars at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum.The thing that makes a museum or historical site stand out even more than the artifacts collected there are the stories that go with them and the way they are presented. Allan Unrein, Director of the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum is a great storyteller and a man who clearly loves his work. It shows in the brief written histories identifying each vehicle in the museum’s showrooms, but having a chance to hear the stories from Unrein or the docents he trains makes a visit to the Crawford more than just a great car show.

Museum Director, Allan Unrein regales visitors with the personal histories of the vehicles in his care at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum, Cleveland, OhioA lot of women think of car museums as a “guy thing,” all about model years and engines. At the Crawford, each car on display has a personality and personal history that makes it more than the sum of its parts. An engineer by training and many years of experience, Unrein can also tell you about the inner workings of each of the nearly 200 cars and planes in the collection. “Twenty-eight of our cars are 100 years old or older and we have 80% of our cars in working condition,” he says with pride.


Winton race cars 1902 Bullet #1 and 1903 Bullet #2, built in Cleveland. Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum, Cleveland, OhioThe collection leans heavily toward cars built in Cleveland between 1898 and 1931, when Cleveland was the automotive center of the nation, with 80 different car brands being built here. Among these is the first Winton ever built and two other Winton race cars. “Henry Ford applied for a job at Winton,” says Unrein, “but Alexander Winton says nah, you just don’t have it…so much for foresight.”

Museum Director Allan Unrein gives a lesson on how to drive a Model T at the Carawford Auto-Aviation Museum, Cleveland, Ohio.There are plenty of Fords in the collection as well, including several Model Ts, the car that put America on the road. Fifteen million of them were made between 1908 and 1928. “I can teach you everything you need to know to drive a Model T and fix it in about an hour” claims Unrein, and proceeds with some basic instruction in crank starting the car. The Crawford has one of the earliest prototypes, serial number 258 out of 15 million.

When I visited, Unrein was putting together a new exhibit called Millionaire’s Row. “I researched what everybody on the street drove in 1910. Eight drove steam cars, 145 drove gasoline cars and 137 had electric cars, mostly women,” he explains. “These were women’s urban social cars. You drive them from the back seat with a tiller, so women were backseat drivers. But you wanted to bring your lady friends with you to socialize with you. They sat facing backwards so they could talk to you while you were driving.”

A 1904 Baker electric car at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.“This one is an early electric with a surrey.” He shows us a 1904 Baker. “This is an all original car, and the lady that bought it is a Baker. Baker was a car manufacturer over by where Voss is now… The lady liked it so much that she drove it back to the factory to tell Mr. Baker what a wonderful car he built. The vice president of the company came out of the building to acknowledge her and talk to her…well apparently he must have liked her, because they got married six months later.”

Mrs. Palmer's 1907 Studebaker-Garford in the heliotrope color she selected.Mrs. Palmer’s 1907 Studebaker-Garford was built in Elyria, Ohio. The wife of the owner of Chicago’s Palmer House Hotel chose the heliotrope color and plush furnishings herself and liked to dress to match her car. The steering wheel is on the right, as was the custom prior to 1908. “Henry Ford was a non-conformist and he liked the left,” Unrein explains. “He made 15 million with the steering on the left, so by 1915 everybody moved to the other side.”

Allan J. Unrein, Director of the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum with the 1909 Simplex he drove in a mock race with a biplane in the Cleveland Air Show.  The simplex was clocked at 91 miles per hour.Leading the way to the back of the showroom, Unrein indicated a polished gray and beige open-top roadster with a red interior and brass fixtures. “This is a Simplex,” he says. “This is my favorite car to drive. It’s the rarest brass era pre-1915 car on the road. There are only two of these in existence and it was the fastest car that you could drive on the road in 1909. Last year at the Cleveland Air Show,” he added, “I did a simulated race against a biplane with it and it clocked at 91 miles an hour and I still had throttle left.”

This 1911 Hupmobile drove 48,600 miles around the world in 18 months.The Crawford has many rare finds and colorful car stories, but the most unusual is the 1911 “Hupmobile.” In 1910, two employees from the Hupp factory in Detroit and a Detroit Free Press Reporter took off from the factory in this ordinary car and returned 18 months, 48,600 miles and 26 countries later from a trip around a world with no road maps, gas stations or motels. They had to carry everything they needed with them. The well-worn vehicle has “world touring” painted on its sides in Chinese and Japanese characters. The factory had the car on display until 1946 and then donated it to the museum. “This summer, after minimal work, we got it running again after 92 years,” says Unrein, beaming. “I’ll bet anybody that I can give it a couple of cranks and it starts right up and runs.”

This 1936 Ford Deluxe is part of a set of three stainless steel Fords at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum.The Crawford has a striking set of three stainless steel cars, a 1936 Ford Deluxe, a 1960 Ford Thunderbird and a 1966 Lincoln Continental. “We’ve got the only matched set that’s on exhibit,” says Unrein. “The stainless steal cars were guaranteed not to rust, bust or collect dust. Those were built specifically by Ford for their supplier Allegheny Ludlum in Pennsylvania who supplied their stainless steel. Those were their salesmen’s cars. They built them at the end of the year because stainless really messes the dies up for the sheet metal, so they could only make a few of them.”

A 1956 Mercedes-Benz "gull wing" SL300 at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum.Some other more modern items in the collection include a 1946 Volkswagen – one of only two brought into the country that year; a 1949 Bentley – one of only five built that year with left hand steering; a 1956 Mercedes-Benz SL300 with “gull wing” lift-up doors; Kenny King’s 1958 Chrysler 300 – “which will outrun anything they have today”; a 1966 American Motors AMX prototype; and the first DeLorean ever produced (1981) – serial number 1. The Museum also recently acquired a 50s Ford Anglia similar to the one featured in the Harry Potter movies. Only a portion of the collection will fit in the two floors of display area. The rest is in a preservation facility at 30 th Street and Chester, which can be visited only by special appointment.

Unrein believes in getting the cars out where people can see them. A couple years ago, he and his volunteers took seven of the 1920s models on a 43 city tour of Ohio. Photos of the trip are on display at the back of the museum. The cars make regular visits to local nursing homes and schools as well at to national car shows.

a 1929 Great Lakes 2T-1A Sport TrainerThe aviation portion of the collection is much smaller. Only four of the Crawford’s dozen or so aircraft are on display in the museum, including a replica of the Wright brothers’ original glider; a 1929 Great Lakes 2T-1A Sport Trainer; a 1910 Curtiss Model E Bumblebee “hydroaeroplane”; and a 1944 North American P-51K-NT-10 Mustang Second Fiddle. Most of the others are currently undergoing restoration.

The original sailboat, Tinkerbell, that Robert Manry sailed across the Atlantic in 1965.As its one piece of aquatics history, the Museum has the original “Tinkerbelle” on display. Robert Manry hand-crafted the small sailboat and in 1965 successfully sailed it from Falmouth, Massachusetts to Falmouth, England. The original craft in which he spent 78 days and nights is on view upstairs with some other related memorabilia. A replica is displayed downstairs where children can take a closer look.

Frederick C. Crawford, president of Thompson Products (which became the T in TRW in 1958), started rescuing old cars from potential destruction in the late 1930s. In 1943, the collection went on exhibit as the Thompson Products Auto Album in a former Cadillac showroom at East 30 th and Chestnut. In the The Hay House Mansion at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio.early 1960s, Crawford arranged to donate the collection to the Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS). A new building was added at their Cleveland headquarters to house the new Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum, a new Archives Library and Gift Shop. The Library’s Automotive Marque Files include pamphlets, user’s manuals and schematics for many of the cars in the collection and others.


The Hay House Mansion at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio.The WRHS Library is the largest archive of information and artifacts on Northeast Ohio history and includes extensive genealogical information. Adjacent to the Crawford Museum, the WRHS operates the Hay House, a mansion built in 1911, and the Chisolm Halle Costume Wing with rotating special exhibits.

Other WRHS properties include Hale Farm and Village (Civil War Era living history museum) in Bath, Ohio; the James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor; Shandy Hall (1815 home) in Geneva and Loghurst (1806 log dwelling) in Canfield.


Museum hours are Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. For more information on the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum and the Western Reserve Historical Society, call (216) 721-5722 or visit their web site at www.wrhs.org, which includes catalogues of their collections and unique online exhibits.



Dinner and Laughs at Pickwick & Frolic

story and photos by Kayte Deioma

I wanted to treat my sister Carol, who is expecting a baby in November, to a night out in Cleveland (while she still can), but we didn’t want to have to drive back to her house afterwards, so we got a room downtown at the historic Renaissance Cleveland Hotel on Public Square. The stately old hotel is linked to the Tower City Center, Gund Arena and Jacobs Field by indoor walkways and has an indoor swimming pool, fitness center, bar and restaurant, so you could actually find plenty to explore in the complex on a rainy day without ever stepping outside.

Pickwick and Frolic Restaurant and Club on East 4th Street in Cleveland, OhioIt wasn’t raining, but we had another good rainy night destination in mind. We were headed for Pickwick & Frolic, an original Cleveland venue where we would find dinner, a comedy club and martini bar all under one roof – even on a Tuesday night. Located just a couple blocks from our hotel on East 4th Street, Pickwick & Frolic occupies the bottom two floors of the former Kresge Building, which was built on the foundations of the old Euclid Avenue Opera House. As a historic renovation, many of the buildings original features have been maintained. One of the few remaining historic streetscapes downtown, this block of East Fourth Street is also home to the recently opened Cleveland House of Blues.

Pickwick Restaurant and Bar at Pickwick and Frolic, Cleveland, Ohio.Pickwick and Frolic is four different venues in one. You enter into the Dickens-inspired Pickwick Restaurant, where “rustic American cuisine” is prepared in an open kitchen and a bar runs along the left side of the room. Around the other side of the bar, another dining area overlooks the Frolic Cabaret, where an all-women revue performs “Cabaret Rock” Thursday through Saturday. A stairway at the end of the open kitchen leads down toward the back of the building to Hilarities 4 th Street Comedy Club, which can seat over 400 with tiered tables, booths and skyboxes. Another ornamental curved stairway leads from the restaurant down to the cabaret area and to the adjacent red and white nouveau-deco Kevin’s Martini Bar.


Roasted Lamb Shank with Roasted Root Vegetable Risotto at Pickwick RestaurantSince it wasn’t a Cabaret evening, we dined in the restaurant. On the appetizer menu (prices from $2.50 to $10.95), I was tempted by the Wood Grilled Portabello Mushroom Cap Stuffed with Roasted Peppers, Goat Cheese, Eggplant & Roasted Pine Nuts, with Sweet Onion Dressing, but knowing that I never have room for an appetizer AND an entrée and I have no place to keep the leftovers, I decided to stick with just an entrée. Carol agreed. She chose the Pan Seared Sea Scallops with Butternut Coulis, Roasted Tomato-Spinach Ragout and Risotto. It was extremely difficult to choose from so many delectable-sounding oven-fired and wood-grilled selections (prices $12.95 to $28.95), but I finally opted for the Roasted Lamb Shank w ith Roasted Root Vegetable Risotto.

Pan Seared Sea Scallops with Butternut Coulis, Roasted Tomato-Spinach Ragout and Risotto at Pickwick Restaurant, Pickwick & Frolic, Cleveland, OhioThis may not be the place to go if you’re counting calories. Most menu items are quite rich and portions are generous. My dinner came with two thick lamb shanks beautifully seasoned and nicely presented on a bed of risotto. But I have to admit that Carol’s sea scallops, which she generously let me try, were even better. The tender scallops were nicely seared and cooked to melt-in-you-mouth perfection. The blend of roasted tomatoes, spinach and squash was a heavenly complement to the shellfish.

Having dinner at Pickwick entitled us to upgraded priority seating for the general admission price downstairs at Hilarities 4 th Street Comedy Club. I hadn’t planned on dessert, but the cobbler of the day was peach blueberry and our server, Shonta (pronounced Shontay), offered to bring it to us downstairs, so we decided to split a piece with coffee at Hilarities.


Hilarities 4th Street Theatre at Pickwick and Frolic, Cleveland, OhioOn this Tuesday night, since it was a smaller crowd, only the area immediately around the stage was open for seating, giving the club a very intimate, café feel, despite the size of the room. Many of the patrons who had skipped the restaurant and come straight to Hilarities were enjoying drinks and bar snacks from the bar menu. Servers continued to circulate throughout the performance. This was not one of the regularly scheduled smoke-free shows (Wednesdays at 8, Fridays at 7:30), but either smoking was at a minimum or the special air filtration system that was airlifted onto the roof of the building to keep clean air circulating was working really well, which I appreciated.

Chris HegedusJohn WellingtonLamar WilliamsTommy BlazeThe lineup included host, Chris Hegedus, popular Cleveland area comic John Wellington and Lamar Williams from Rochester, New York, who recently returned from entertaining the troops in Iraq. Headliner, Tommy Blaze, formerly of the 1994-95 comedy sketch series, The Newz, kept us rolling in the aisles with his take on gender differences and the challenges of single parenting. His Spiderman interpretation was also quite striking.

Kevin's Martini Bar at Pickwick and Frolic, Cleveland, OhioAfter the 90-minute show, Kevin’s Martini Bar is open late for your choice of high-end cocktails. It was reasonably well-populated for a Tuesday night, but since the expectant mama wasn’t drinking, we decided to head back to the hotel.

Hilarities 4 th Street Comedy Club tickets range from $10 to $18 depending on seating and day of the week. Special events can be more. Comedy shows run Tuesday through Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday there are two shows at 7:30 and 10 p.m., Sunday, one show at 7:30 p.m. Starting Monday, October 17 th, 2005, Hilarities will feature the variety show “Toga” on Monday nights at 8:00. The Wednesday night show and Friday at 7:30 are designated non-smoking shows.

Frolic Cabaret at Pickwick and Frolic, Cleveland, OhioPickwick & Frolic offers Dinner and a Show specials Thursday through Saturday that include a buffet dinner prepared by the Pickwick kitchen, the Frolic Cabaret show “Cabaret Rocks” and the Hilarities comedy show for a flat rate. Prices range from $34.95 to $41.95 per person depending on the day. The Dinner and a Show buffet can be arranged on other nights for groups of 20 or more. For business travelers, Pickwick and Frolic offers a wide array of meeting, catering and entertainment options.

Pickwick and Frolic is located at 2035 East 4 th Street in downtown Cleveland. For more information visit www.pickwickandfrolic.com or call (216) 241-7425.