Saturday, July 14, 2018

Lake Erie Island Pictures by Harley Hoffman

In the “Neighboring Communities” collection of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center are several photographs taken by Harley Hoffman, a commercial photographer who had a studio in Castalia, Ohio in the 1950s. Above is a picture of ferry boat passengers approaching Middle Bass Island. You can see the Lonz Winery on the shore. 

The picture below was taken at the Put-in-Bay dock. A sun bather can be seen soaking up the sun on the pier.

Vintage vehicles are visible along the streets of Kelleys Island in this picture of the business district. Businesses pictured include Matso’s Place and the Island Market.

Mr. Hoffman snapped this picture of someone standing by the sign at Inscription Rock along the lakefront at Kelleys Island.

The community oven at Kelleys Island allowed residents to bake bread in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

These men are enjoying an afternoon of fishing at Kelleys Island.

Harley W. Hoffman passed away in 1986. His obituary, which appeared in the May 28, 1986 issue of the Sandusky Register, stated that he had been a salesman for the Mr. Wiggs Department Store. In the decade of the 1950s, Mr. Hoffman is credited with dozens of photographs that appeared in the Sandusky Register Star News. Because of Harley Hoffman’s photographs, we have a better understanding of what everyday life was like in a by-gone era.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Vintage Views of Cedar Point Beach

The Sandusky Library Archives Research Center is fortunate to have in its collections several photographs and post cards from Cedar Point. Above is a scene featuring the boardwalk along the Cedar Point Beach in the early twentieth century. Below are three individuals watching the boats on Lake Erie as the waves roll in.

In the summer of 1914, Tony Jannus thrilled crowds by offering daily flights in a "hydroplane." The brief air flights were offered for a fee of fifty cents per person. (About $8 in today's money -- not bad!)

During the 1930s, several amusement rides were located very close to the beach.

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to learn more about the rich history of Sandusky and Erie County. Historical photographs may be viewed online at

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Annual Outing of Booth Fisheries Employees

Mrs. H.C. Lehman donated this undated picture postcard of employees of the Booth Fisheries on their annual outing. The manager of Booth Fisheries, J.J. Schrank, is the fourth individual on the left in the back row. The men are all lined up at the pier, waiting for the trip to begin aboard the Major Wilcox. While we are not positive which year this picture was taken, an article in the July 2, 1917 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal provides us with a vivid description of the annual outing from 1917. The headline of the article stated that the outing was a great success.

Over fifty employees of the Booth Fisheries, and some of their friends, left aboard the company docks, in spite of threatening weather. Louis Beverick served as master of ceremonies, and “Bumps” Biehl was the chef. The group was served turtle soup and fried fish. After dinner, the group returned to Sandusky to unload equipment, and they returned to the Major Wilcox for a boat ride around the Lake Erie Island, while another round of refreshments was served. If you would like to read the article in its entirety, visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center, to view the Sandusky Star Jounal of July 2, 1917, now on microfilm.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

A Popular Silent Film at the Schade Theatre in 1924

The silent movie George Washington, Jr. played at the Schade Theatre in Sandusky in July of 1924. The movie was based on a well-known musical play written by George M. Cohan in 1906.  Wesley Barry played the lead character in this film version. Cohan wrote the popular song You’re a Grand Old Flag for this musical comedy. The Schade Theatre (pictured below in 1918) featured air conditioning by 1924. The theater, on West Market Street, was later known as the Ohio Theatre until it was razed in the 1980s.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Earl Dean Alexander, Lawyer and Educator

Earl Dean Alexander (spelled Earle in the 1916 Fram) was born in Sandusky, Ohio in 1898 to Mr. and Mrs. William Alexander. Earl graduated from Sandusky High School in 1916. While in high school, Earl was a member of the debate team. He attended college at Ohio State University, where he was a member of the OSU debating team.

In 1918, he served in the Students Army Training Corps, a program similar to ROTC. He received an honorable discharge after only a few months service. He earned his law degree from the Western Reserve University Law School. In 1922, he married Catherine Thompson. Mr. Alexander worked as a lawyer in Cleveland, Ohio for two years, then he and his wife moved to New York City. 

An article which appeared in the  Sandusky Star Journal of January 26, 1924,  discussed three young African American men from Sandusky who were on their way to becoming a lawyer, a doctor, and a dentist. Earl Alexander was the Sandusky High School graduate who was determined to become a lawyer.

In 1938, Earl Dean Alexander earned a Master’s Degree in Education from the College of the City of New York. He taught at Seward Park High School, the alma mater of several celebrities, including Tony Curtis, Walter Matthau, and Estelle Getty. 

On April 15, 1983, Earl Dean Alexander, Sr. passed away in the state of New York.  He was buried at the Long Island National Cemetery. An obituary for Mr. Alexander was carried in the April 27, 1983 issue of the Sandusky Register.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Tornado of 1924

On June 28, 1924, a deadly tornado struck Sandusky and Lorain. Over eighty people lost their lives and hundreds more were injured. In Sandusky, over one hundred homes and twenty-five businesses were destroyed. Those killed in the Sandusky area included R.F. McKee, William Hampton, Howard Van Blarcum, Jacob Schaefer, Minetta Margard, and Howard Wobser, age 14, from Castalia. Mrs. Julius Kardatzke of Vickery, John Hinton, a native of Kentucky, and Mrs. Eleanor Stacks, from Cleveland, later died from injuries sustained during the tornado. 

The standpipe at the Water Works was crushed by the tornado:

The roundhouse at the B & O Railway was destroyed. R. F. McKee and Jacob Schaefer, who lost their lives during the tornado, had been employed by the B & O Railway.

The Kilbourn Cooperage on East Water Street was destroyed, along with much of its stock:

Area residents viewed the damages at  on Market Street:

The National Guard was brought in to assist in the clean up following the devastating tornado:

These are just a sample of the photographs and postcards in the holdings of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. Visit us to view these and hundreds of other images from the 1924 Tornado. Extensive coverage of the 1924 Tornado was featured in both the Sandusky Register and the Star Journal, both available on microfilm at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. Jack Vance, an Associated Press operator working at the Register on June 24, 1924, was hailed as a hero for his coverage of the tornado. He was given the distinction of “breaking” the big news story.  Mr. Vance was in his office at the Sandusky Register as the tornado hit Sandusky. In the darkness of the storm, debris hit Vance’s window. He took his copy about the tornado over to the Western Union Telegraph Company, but there was no wire. He rushed to the telephone, only to find that there was no connection. There was an automobile outside the Register’s building. Jack Vance jumped into the car, and drove to the New York Central Railroad office, where the story was transmitted over the railroad wire.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Sandusky Chamber of Commerce in 1919

 On June 25, 1919, members of the Sandusky Chamber of Commerce posed in front of the old Sandusky High School with their hats on. The picture was taken by photographer Ernst Niebergall. Mr. Niebergall also snapped a picture of the group after the gentlemen took off their hats.

According to an article in the June 8, 1919 issue of the Sandusky Register, George A. Boeckling served as the president of the Sandusky Chamber of Commerce at that time.

Mr. Boeckling gave a very thorough report on the activities and accomplishments of the Chamber of Commerce from June 18, 1918 through May 31, 1919. Some of the things that the Chamber of Commerce had accomplished during that time were: purchasing necessary street signs; improvements to Venice Road and other roads in Sandusky; improvements in telephone service; cooperated with the Department of Health to fight the influenza epidemic; improvements to the harbor of Sandusky; compilation of information on the building of a bridge across Sandusky Bay; and using every means possible were used to call attention to the “opportunities and advantages of Sandusky.”  If you would like to read the complete report by G.A. Boeckling on the activities of the Chamber of Commerce from 1918-1919, visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center, where historical copies of the Sandusky Register can be found on microfilm.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Streets Near the Sandusky Post Office

Have you ever wondered for whom the streets near the U.S. Post Office in Sandusky were named?  The Post Office sits near the corner of Parish and Caldwell Streets.

Samuel B. Caldwell was once the Mayor of Sandusky, and he served as an Associate Judge of the Common Pleas Court in the 1800s. His portrait is now housed at the Follett House Museum.

F. D. Parish was an early Sandusky lawyer. He became well known as an abolitionist and was an active agent of the Underground Railroad.

To the north is the intersection of Follett and Caldwell Streets.

Oran Follett was active in the railroad, politics, and he published the Lincoln-Douglas Debates with Frank Foster. You can tour the former home of Oran Follett, which is now the Follett House Museum, located at the corner of Wayne and Adams Street.

Cowdery Street is one street south of Parish Street

M.F. Cowdery was Sandusky’s first Superintendent of Schools. His brother and brother-in-law were key developers of an improved chalk for use in school classrooms, which eventually led to the formation of the American Crayon Company.

Sadler Street is a short street that runs between Cowdery Street and Perkins Avenue. It was named for E.B. Sadler, who served as a Judge in the Common Pleas Court in the 1840s, when the 13th Judicial Circuit included several counties, including Erie County. He was so popular, it was said that he lived his life without an enemy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Convention of the Funeral Directors’ and Embalmers’ Association at Cedar Point in 1919

Sandusky undertaker Charles J. Krupp, was in charge of local arrangements when the 89th annual convention of the Funeral Directors’ and Embalmers’ Association of Ohio was held at Cedar Point in 1919. The convention met from June 18 to June 20. About 300 members attended the convention, along with several exhibitors of coffins, funeral cars, burial garments, burial vaults, and other items related to the funeral industry.

In preparation for the convention, a large number of coffins were transported to Cedar Point on board the G.A. Boeckling.

Meetings were held in the convention hall at Cedar Point. Rev. C.J. Alspach gave the invocation when the convention opened on Wednesday, June 18.

A reception was held on Wednesday evening in the Exhibit Hall, which allowed attendees to visit with the various manufacturers represented at the convention. Due to the large number of representatives, several exhibits were on display in the former Crystal Rock Castle, which had ceased serving food and beverages due to prohibition laws.

On June 19, Clifford G. Askin of Indianapolis gave an address entitled “Methods of the Funeral Director,” during which he encouraged members of the association to use better quality goods and adopt a stricter credit system. An article in the June 18, 1919 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that the convention featured one of the most extensive exhibits ever on display at any convention held at Cedar Point. The coffins, funeral cars, and other products on exhibit were valued at $100,000 (well over a million dollars in today's money).

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sandusky’s Baseball Stadium on South Columbus Avenue

This image of the Sandusky Baseball Field is from page 72 of the 1905 Sanborn Map, which was added as an additional page in January, 1911. The Sandusky Base Ball Park was then located at South Columbus Avenue, adjacent to the old interurban car barns. From about 1907 to 1912, the ball field at this location was known as League Park. An article in the March 19, 1907 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that John H. Smith was the contractor for the grandstand. It was built in three sections, and could hold 1200 people. The roof of the grandstand was to be patterned after Cleveland’s League Park, with the slant in front to keep water out. The bleacher section could seat 2000 people. There were to be no horses on the grounds, but automobiles were allowed. The Lake Shore Electric Railway Company built a spur track to the ballpark, so that anyone who wanted to attend the ball games could arrive on the trolley. Box seats sold for thirty five cents. 

The first game at League Park on April 22, 1907 was between the Detroit American League team and the Sandusky Schlemans. Ty Cobb was then relatively unknown, playing in right field for Detroit. Detroit beat the Sandusky team 18 to 1. The Sandusky Schlemans went on to play several semi-pro and minor league teams from throughout the midwestern U.S.  

In early November of 1907, the Sandusky Athletic Club defeated the Toledo Colts on a muddy field at League Park.

By 1912, League Park, Sandusky’s only enclosed athletic grounds were being dismantled. In 1931, the Sandusky Merchants amateur baseball league had a team that played baseball on the site of the old League Park, then known as Esmond Athletic Field. Below is an advertisement for a doubleheader between the Cleveland Rosenblooms and the Sandusky Cloverleafs in August of 1931.

A news article in the sports section of the April 3, 1936 Sandusky Register reported that the Esmond Athletic Field was to be the home to the Sandusky baseball club of the Ohio State League. Plans were made to renovated the stands, and have night lighting to allow for evening ball games. Baseball and football games, as well as boxing and wrestling matches were all held at the Esmond Field. Notes in our historical files indicate that there was a large Esmond Dairy sign painted on the wall of the grandstand.  By 1938, the field was known as Medusa Park, and eight class A and B teams played under the auspices of the Sandusky Baseball Federation. This article from the Sandusky Register of August 30, 1938, reported about an exhibition at Medusa Park  in which Jesse Owens ran hurdles, while locals Geno Balconi and Jim Rosemund ran without jumping hurdles. Jesse Owens beat all the competitors.

It is believed that the grandstand at the former baseball field on South Columbus Avenue were torn down in the 1940s. By the mid-1950s, there were circuses held on that site. The many different baseball teams throughout Sandusky’s history played in a variety of locations, and were affiliated with many different leagues through the years.  

To learn more about baseball in Sandusky, see the Charles E. Frohman index to the Sandusky Register and Star Journal housed on microfilm at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. The heading “baseball”will lead you to dozens of articles about baseball games played in Sandusky. Stop by the Reference Services area for more information.