Memories from the Lorain Station Historic District
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Charley Lupica was well known in the Lorain Station Historic District as an innovative grocery store owner that stayed open at nightwhen all other stores closed at 6pm, and utilized "center of the store merchandise display gondolas" to maximize his sales. His store, once located at 9425 Lorain Avenue, was destroyed by fire, and lead the building to be razed. It is now the site of the Veteran's Memorial Garden with a monument to Charley and to the soldiers from the community that have served our country.
However, many more will remember Charley for a much more public reason.
Charley Lupica was the Cleveland Indians Flagpole Sitter who spent 117 days in the sky waiting for the underperforming Indians to reach the World Series. In May of 1949, Charley and a few friends stopped for a drink at a favorite watering hole after a busy day of work. After overhearing slanderous remarks about his beloved Indians from a nearby table, the avid Tribe supporter Charley exchanged words with the offenders, who were coincidentally fans of the New York Yankees. A dialogue ensued, with Charley retorting, "If you hate the Indians and like the Yankees so much, why don't you move to New York?" To this, the table responded, "If you like the Indians so much, why don't you sit on a flagpole until they get to first place?"
Oddly enough, Charley Lupica accepted this challenge, and a sixteen-foot pole was erected in the neighborhood the very next day. Word spread instantaneously across Cleveland, receiving attention from Clevelanders and the local media. Even newspapers across the U.S. and Europe covered the story.
And Charley never came down from that pole that stood at East 108th and Wade Park. Not for food nor water, haircuts nor medical attention, or even the birth of his own son did Charley leave his post! Charley stayed loyal to the Indians and the very last game of the season, when the team and the public wanted him in the stadium. The renowned flagpole sitter was tied to his platform, which was then placed onto a lift truck headed to downtown to Cleveland Municipal Stadium. There, he stepped down from his home for four months to the applause of over two million fans. Charley, undoubtedly one of the Cleveland Indians' most devoted and loyal fans, will always have a place in the history of the team as well as that of Cleveland
Charley passed away in 2003, but his memory will live on forever.