Mahoning Valley Podcast Episode 32

Bootlegger Edition

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Northeast Ohio is full of great entrepreneurial talent. If you have an idea and you want to make it happen, SunDown RunDown is the best place to showcase your idea and grab a beer while you’re there. Doors open at 5:30pm, pitches start by shortly after 6:00pm You have a little over a week to get your pitch in order to make a pitch as this will be occurring on March 22 at the Historic MVR.

Here’s how it works for those who pitch:

1) Before the event: Submit your idea to us on our site here. – you’ll actually hear back from us, no secret handshakes, no buddy, buddy shenanigans with us.

2) Register to Attend

3) We’ll schedule you to pitch at one of our events – and you better show up!

4) You pitch, get feedback on your idea, and maybe make a connection to help move your idea further. And we do this at night and we try to have 4 pitches during that time.

Here’s how it works for the audience:

1) Register to Attend

2) Give critical, but constructive feedback to the pitched business idea.

Sundown Rundown with the Mahoning Valley Podcast

A little about the Group who is sponsoring this event. SunDown Group has come a long way since it started offering business pitch events in Columbus in May of 2013. Our community has grown to over 1,350 individuals and our programs and services have expanded well beyond pitch events. We are helping entrepreneurs Connect, Do, Expand their businesses and Learn. Check out everything SunDown currently does to help out entrepreneurs everywhere.

This event is being held at the historic Casseses MVR on Walnut Street. This place is a landmark here in the Mahoning Valley. Started in 1927 by Carmine T. Cassese as a means of well, I am not sure exactly what they were doing there because I was not there. I could guess as 1927 was smack in the middle of the Prohibition Era in the United States and as soon as that failed experiment in representative democracy falied; MVR got one of the first Liquor Licenses in the State of Ohio.

Not that matters to me, but there is the possibility that Carmine was brewing up some fine beverages there at MVR. I know that we do not hear much about it these days, but there was a time when drinking was illegal. Can you imagine that? People having to break the law to drink?

Bootlegger Bust with the Mahoning Valley Podcast

Not only that, but there was quite a bit of drinking going on anyway. In fact, the term bootlegger was coined during this time. I am not alleging that anyone at MVR or anyone else did this. But, there were people here in the Valley who were so serious about getting drunk and getting other people drunk that according to Ohio History Central, “Many Ohio cities gained a reputation for lawlessness while Prohibition remained in effect. Toledo supposedly was a safe haven for mobsters and bootleggers from Chicago, Illinois, and Detroit, Michigan. Bootleggers from Kentucky smuggled alcohol into Cincinnati, Ohio, and then shipped the liquor to other communities in the state. It was rumored that law enforcement officials in Steubenville and Youngstown, Ohio, risked their very lives if they attempted to enforce Prohibition. Bootleggers did not exist only in Ohio.” That is a serious commitment to getting drunk there.

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Idora Park was created as a result of a Street Car Company wanting to expand their business and get more riders on the weekends and in the evening. According to Rick Shale writing for the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, “In the mid-1890s streetcar companies across America looked for ways to increase ridership in the evenings and on the weekends when the regular commuter traffic slacked off. Locally, the Youngstown Park & Falls Street Railway Company held the franchise for routes south of the Mahoning River, and it decided to build an amusement park in the largely undeveloped south side of Youngstown.

Idora Park (for its first season known as Terminal Park) opened on Decoration Day, May 30, 1899, and was an immediate success. Ideally located adjacent to Mill Creek Park and sufficiently far from the smoke and dirt of the mills that lined the Mahoning River, the new park was about 3.5 miles from Youngstown’s Central Square—far enough to convince most people to pay a nickel and ride the streetcar to the park rather than walk.

Back Wabbit at Idora Park

In 1902 Idora Park built its first roller coaster, a figure-eight toboggan slide, the first of three coasters constructed in approximately the same location on the western edge of the park. This coaster would be replaced by the Firefly in the 1920s and then by the famous Wildcat. In 1914 a second coaster, the Dip-the-Dips, built by the T. M. Harton Company of Pittsburgh, opened in the park’s southeast corner. It would be remodeled in the mid-1920s and renamed the Jack Rabbit.

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Music of all types played a significant role in Idora Park’s history, and the park’s success was due in part to its policy of booking top attractions. John Philip Sousa played at Idora in 1918, and by the end of the Big Band era of the 1930s to the 1950s, virtually every significant dance orchestra in America had played at Idora Park including Cab Calloway, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, and Guy Lombardo.

In the 1950s and 1960s tastes shifted from Big Band to rock and roll. Dan Ryan of WBBW radio introduced record hops to Idora in 1953. Live music was not abandoned, however, and the park continued to book national acts such as the Eagles, Monkees, Bobby Rydell, Bobby Sherman, and many others. Polka bands also drew huge crowds to Idora.

Youngstownbaseball at Idora Park

Sports were popular attractions at Idora, especially in the 1920s when Major League teams would play exhibition games there. The Cleveland Indians and Pittsburgh Pirates played at Idora as did the Boston Red Sox, Brooklyn Dodgers, and many more. By 1920 Idora Park had the only fenced-in ball field in Youngstown, and the city’s premier semi-pro team, the McElroys, used Idora as their home field. In July 1920 the legendary John McGraw brought his New York Giants to Idora. Though the New York lineup included five future members of baseball’s Hall of Fame, the McElroys won 8-2 marking the first time a local team had ever defeated a major league club.

By the 1960s most visitors to Idora Park were teenagers, not families, and several changes reflected this new demographic. In 1967 Idora charged admission for the first time, inaugurating a Pay-One-Price policy that included unlimited rides for $2.50. The Rapids was re-themed as a jungle ride and renamed The Lost River, and the fun house became the Whacky Shack to reflect the psychedelic 1960s.

On April 26, 1984, a catastrophic fire destroyed Idora’s Lost River ride, part of the Wildcat, the park office, and most of the game booths on the lower midway. Despite the losses, the park opened on schedule for the 1984 season. But the loss of major attractions proved to be a fatal blow, and the owners announced that the 1984 season would be the last.”

Although the Park is long gone, the neighborhood still exists and the YNDC will be out there with volunteers cleaning up the Glenwood Ave this Saturday March 18. And of course they could use some help. Why not go ahead on click the link and let em know you can come out to help. And you can reminisce too about simpler times while you are there. Help us clean up Glenwood Avenue! We will be removing overgrowth and debris from vacant lots, cleaning up trash, shoveling sidewalks, and more! Meet at YNDC Office, 820 Canfield Road. Parking available around the corner at 822 Billingsgate Avenue.

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Meals on Wheels PSA with Mario Andretti. Head on over to their page and give em a like, then get in touch by calling 330-744-3583 and do lunch with some of our treasured seniors here in the Mahoning Valley.

The Fowler Market Spring Fling with Mahoning Valley Podcast

The Fowler Market will be holding it’s Spring Fling on Saturday and Sunday. We will be hosting a two day “Spring Fling” vendor event with TONS of local handmade crafters, homemade edibles like chocolates, breads, jams & jellies, and much more!

Break that cabin fever and come join us with all of your favorite local vendors! There will also be a Chinese Auction, 50/50 drawing, and of course our weekly Queen of Hearts drawing – plenty of chances to win some unique goodies and a little extra spending money!

Tickets for the drawings will be sold on both Saturday and Sunday, but drawings will not take place until Sunday. Winners need not be present to win!

Donna from Wooden Barn Shop will be hosting a Sip & Build from 12:00-2:00 on BOTH days. Cost will be $40 with all materials provided and Builders may bring their own beverages to “Sip” (let’s stay within reason though, please! Remember, it’ll only be noon. Please RSVP to Donna at 330-442-1722 or message Wooden Barn Shop on Facebook.

Free Shoutouts with Mahoning Valley Podcast

This is the Mahoning Valley Podcast and it occurred to me that there a plenty of people here who may want to do a segment. Who may want to have their voice heard on a Podcast. Maybe you have an event or cause or just want to say hi to the Valley. This podcast was never meant to be all about me. It has been a work in progress. Well, it is your turn. If you want to record a segment and email it to me, I will consider adding it to an episode.

Because this is a community project, you must be a part of the Mahoning Valley or have some connection to the Valley. If you want to talk about your grandma or how you grew up in Struthers or what you favorite restaurant is, or favorite gym, or favorite bar, or favorite band or anything. It just needs to be about something or someone in the Mahoning Valley.

You may be thinking, how much is this going to cost me. Nothing. Nada. Just record on your phone. Record with your friends. Record on your laptop or tablet. Save the file as an MP3 and send it over. Send it over with any links or pictures you want to include. This is all about everyone here in the Valley. So give it a try. It is easy and free and will get your voice added to the Mahoning Valley Podcast Archive. Send as many as you want. Any topic. BUT, no bad language. I look forward to helping you be a part of the Mahoning Valley Podcast.

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