Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Orra Jean Beauty Academy, Erie PA 1952

Chester Wasielewski and Ann Logan, June 1952. Photo ©Debbi Lyon.
The Orra Jean Beauty Academy was located in downtown Erie. Graduates of this school became beauticians, barbers and cosmetologists.

The school was located at 109 West 9th Street in Erie, PA when it was founded in 1941. It was in Rooms 201-207 of the Selina Bldg. The beauty academy was owned by Orra Bolkey, Jean Heubel and Winnifred Lyons.

Jean Heubel married John Foulk on July 4, 1942. Their son Bradley Foulk, the future District Attorney of Erie County, PA, was born in 1947.

Tuition at the Orra-Jean Beauty Academy was $250 for a 1,000 hour course in July of 1949.

Orra-Jean Beauty Academy was located at 107 West 9th St. in 1952, when it was owned by Orra B. Ames and Winnifred Lyons.

The Orra-Jean Barber School was also located at 107 West 9th. It was run by Otto Borgia, John DeBias and Peter Trimbol. Otto, John and Peter purchased the barber school in May of 1949. "The course costs $400 for 1,250 hours of instruction and practice, and usually takes about six months to complete...Students are carefully groomed for state examinations which they must pass in order to be licensed," wrote Howard Jack in the Erie Dispatch-Herald.

Otto Borgia had a heart attack at the Orra Jean Barber School, 1130 State Street, and died on January 6, 1965. He was born in San Lucido, Italy and was the owner/operator of the barber school.

107 West 9th St. is now a parking lot. The Erie Redevelopment Authority demolished all the old buildings on this street. Plaza 9 is just west of the storefront pictured above.

By 1968, the Orra-Jean Beauty Academy was located at 1028 Sassafras Street, and was run by Winnifred Lyons and James P. Rosetto.

Orra Bolkey Ames died April 11, 2003.

"The beauty school was on one half of the building, and the barber school on the other half," said Beverly McCurdy. "I went to Orra Jean Beauty Academy. I went for my operators license and back again for teachers and managers license. I also worked for Louie Rosetto, whose salon was down stairs from Orra Jean's."

You could walk in off the street and get a haircut at a price that was much less expensive than an established beauty shop, because students would cut your hair under the guidance of their teachers. Some were really good. Some, well....

Did you attend the Orra-Jean Beauty Academy? Please drop me a line at Dlyontamer@gmail.com and tell me your story.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, and thank you for the wonderful article. My name is Brenda Borgia, Otto Borgia's youngest daughter. This year is the 50th anniversary of his death. I would love to read more about the school or if any knew my Dad or even my beautiful mother Carmela Borgia! Thank you in advance❤️