…AND LORAIN SAID- “NO” !!!!!…… Admiral King – Lorain Ohio

December 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm 7 comments


As readers interested in Lorain’s Admiral Ernest J King will recall I have covered some of the highlights of his career. Charleston Village and Black River Historical Society and the City of Lorain paid him homage in 2011.

I must admit, I had to wonder when researching this man of importance, why it had taken so very long for his birthplace to recognize him as they were even doing away with the high school named after him? I suppose, coming from a country and culture which holds history and heroes of ” cherished importance”, it was a bit of a culture shock arriving in Lorain and seeing the throwaway society of history at its finest.

Even the new builds are only built with a life expectancy of 40 to 50 years. Thank heavens that wasn’t the case when they built my old house.

We are only all too aware of government not listening to citizens – until it is too late- but government not listening to their own experts such as Admiral King and the warning of Pearl Harbor – well what can one say?

But Admiral Ernest J King did not forget his birthplace and sent the signal mast of the USS Arizona home to Lorain.

The battleship USS Arizona (BB 39) was sunk at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The superstructure above the waterline was removed soon after the attack. Admiral Earnest H. King, Chief of Naval operations, sent the signal mast to his hometown of Lorain, Ohio. Commander Edwin C. Keyes, a close friend of Adm. King commanded that naval armory in Lorain. He had the mast modified and erected at the armory to be used for training purposes. The Navy added the yards (cross pieces). Allen Permach of Lorain Steel Fabricators, made the other modifications including the 36 ft. length added to the bottom of the Arizona’s original 26 ft. mast. The vertical shaft represents the 1177 crewmen who gave their lives on the “Day of Infamy.” The yard stands for all those who served aboard.

So what happened ? Where is the mast ? Was it used as part of the Admiral King Tribute space- this piece of United States history? This remaining part of what is probably the world’s most iconic war memorial the USS Arizona?

NO! you see LORAIN REFUSED THE OFFER – so it was stored for 10 years

The Arizona’s modified signamast mast was used until the armory was razed in 1980. It was offered to the city of Lorain, but was refused. In order to save the mast from destruction, Cdr. Keyes obtained authorization from the Navy for Brenne H. Donofrio, a naval engineer to take possession of it. Nick A. Donofrio, the father of Brenne H. Donofrio was a close friend of Adm. King and Cdr. Keyes, and had been honored by the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Navy for having donated several important inventions to the Navy during World War II. The mast
was moved to Brenne H. Donofrio’s property where it was stored for 10 years

Then what ? Even though there are a plethora of Veterans Groups who cherish the memories and valor of their compatriots with ceremonies and memorials this” icon of a day of infamy ” – how did this special symbol of bravery leave this place called Lorain this symbol of “remembrance and reverence” – It seems others recognized its worth but not Lorain.


Robert Manzetti, a retired railroad engineer from Ohio, learned of the mast while visiting his daughter who lived near Lorain. Mr. Manzetti and Dr. Earl L. Field, a professor at Arizona College of the Bible and both residents of Glendale, Arizona formed the U.S.S. Arizona Signal Mast Committee. The Committee purchased the mast, transported it to Arizona and erected it here in Wesley Bolin Plaza. It was dedicated and donated to the State of Arizona on December 7, 1990. All funds and work on the mast came from private donations.

AHHHHHHHHHH Lorain words fail me – vision does not mean ‘HINDSIGHT”!!!
City  of Lorain
There were two Mayors in the time frame of 1980 –

January, 1972 -January 1980 -Joseph J. Zahorec
January, 1980 -January 1984 -William Parker

and in 1990 when the mast left Lorain

January, 1985-January 1996- Alex M. Olejko

And one has to wonder where was Lorain’s favourite Veteran – Jack LaVriha- what were they thinking?

LaVriha had been president of the Lorain Memorial Association for over 5o years, sponsoring annual Lorain Memorial Day parades, annual Community Memorial Services at the Lorain Palace Civic Center, memorial outdoor services at four area cemeteries and the placing of American flags on the graves of veterans. He was past president of the Lorain Veteran�s Council, serving as its secretary for 22 years. He spearheaded the placing of granite monuments at Veterans Memorial Park and area cemeteries in memory of all Lorain men and women who died in all American wars.

You can find the information of the USS Arizona’s Mast here:

Thanks to Lisa Miller – Lorain 365 for the link and initial information

Entry filed under: a Cow -elle opinion, Charleston Village, city of lorain, history, Lest we forget, men of substance, war and peace. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

Trash to the “treasure(y)”- “Time to Pay for your Garbage” ” The Shadow – Knows”-

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mark Teleha  |  December 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    As each day passes, I lose more and more respect for the people in this city, and that run this city. Lies, dishonesty, bullspit, theft, rudeness; all run rampant in this city in the name of getting what you want, regardless of the cost. It’s no wonder most of the good folks can’t wait to get out.

  • 2. Loraine Ritchey  |  December 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    and lets us not forget……………… and lack of vision………. still we get what we voted for…. and whom the administrations ( all of them ) decide who is to be on their staff……

  • 3. Lisa  |  December 10, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Thanks for the link and for sharing the story. It was a totally accidental find while on the search for more about the history behind what I (apparently mistakenly?) thought was a Pearl Harbor memorial in South Lorain.

  • 4. Renee  |  December 11, 2012 at 3:37 am

    This is a story I had not knew of before today. Too bad the mast didn’t stay here. I could go on tonight but won’t-the story says enough. Renee

  • 5. Dennis Lamont  |  December 12, 2012 at 1:06 am

    Just another of the things that wouldn’t work in Lorain, but managed to flourish somewhere else. A natural for Black River Landing, too bad there was no such thing.

  • 6. Loraine Ritchey  |  December 12, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    well BRL yes….

    but at the time 1980 when they refused the Vets Council etc were all about changing Washington Park into Veterans Park and getting that recognized and re vamped…… can you imagine the addition of the very mast from the USS Arizona.. what were they NOT thinking…. it was a no brainer…….of course after all that renaming and ampitheatre etc. the same people involved ( Jack LaVirha for one then 25 years later did all they could along with Veard and co to MOVE to the Veterans monuments to BRL…. off with the old on with the new- didn’t matter that the park was a monument to Lorain in and of itself .. and we the “history boneheads” were publically chastized on the front pagesof the mj by John Cole…. but I certainly can understand how the ships mast from probably the most iconic memorial in US history ended up a couple of thousand miles away and treasured………..

    I am still trying to find out who refused …. Maybe Bill Parker would remember – I believe it was Frank Mason ( the father of Leon Mason our new deputy Service Director) who was the Community Development Director at the time …… just curious…… being a history bonehead 🙂

  • […] ” The battleship USS Arizona (BB 39) was sunk at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The superstructure above the waterline was removed soon after the attack. Admiral Earnest H. King, Chief of Naval operations, sent the signal mast to his hometown of Lorain, Ohio. Commander Edwin C. Keyes, a close friend of Adm. King commanded that naval armory in Lorain. https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/and-lorain-said-no-admiral-king-lorain-ohio/ […]

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December 2012

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