Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Kriss Auto Bus


In the 1920s and 1930s, Randall F. Kriss ran a trucking and moving business. The vehicle pictured above is a Kriss Auto Bus that was built by J.A.Loeffler. Mr. Kriss’s early advertisements stated that “auto busses” were available for hire for any occasion. In 1922 the Kriss Auto Bus took passengers from Sandusky’s Washington Park to the Rye Beach Dance Pavilion on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, with free rides for ladies on Wednesdays. The ad from the  November 2, 1922 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal indicated that the Kriss Auto Bus had had a heating system installed, for the comfort its pasengers.

For a time Mr. Kriss also operated an automobile garage and restaurant, but after 1936, he was no longer operating any businesses in Sandusky. 

At the time of his death in 1957, Randall Kriss had been been employed at Bargain Fair. He was married to the former Vera Starr, the sister of Beryl Starr.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Professor Ferdinand Puehringer, Conductor and Composer

Ferdinand Puehringer led a band at Cedar Point in the 1880s. He is pictured below with several  band members, including Fred Bauman, Maxwell Godfrey, J. Bolton, Ed Pelding, M. McAdams, Joseph Bock, and Max Wintrich. (Fred Bauman was a pioneer musician in Sandusky, having also been director of the Great Western Band and a member of Ackley’s Band. Read more about Fred Bauman in the 1922 Obituary Notebook, located in the Archives Research Center.)

Before moving to Cleveland in 1872, Ferdinand Puehringer was a professor at Wittenberg College. While in Cleveland, he was associated with many musical groups, including the Boys Band, a singing and orchestra school, and the Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1889, Professor Puehringer accepted a position with the S. Brainard Sons Company, a musical publishing house in Chicago. He wrote the Chicago Life Waltz in 1890, and also produced several operas, including The Czar and Zimmerman, and The Bohemian Girl.

Ferdinand Puehringer died in 1930, and his wife Mary Emich Puehringer died in 1938. They left behind a daughter Ritta Caldwell. 

(*Note: As often is the case in the spelling of surnames of European origin, Ferdinand’s last name was alternatively spelled Pueringer or Pureinger.)

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Enterprising Housekeeper

The 1897 edition of The Enterprising Housekeeper, by Helen Louise Johnson, was published by the Enterprise Manufacturing Co. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The 80 page booklet featured recipes for breakfast, lunch and supper. Also included in the booklet were advertisements for household goods that were manufactured by the Enterprise Manufacturing Company. Coffee mills, irons, raisin seeders, and ice mills are just some of the products which were made by the Enterprise Manufacturing Co.

Helen Louise Johnson was educated at the Philadelphia Cooking School. She wrote a chapter on “Cooking as an Art” for the Congress of Women which was held at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The Enterprising Housekeeper was printed in several editions between 1896 and 1906. Copies were carried by hardware stores and general merchandise stores all across the United States. The 1897 edition sold for fifty cents, and was carried locally by the J. J. Butts & Son Hardware Store.

The J. J. Butts store was on Columbus Avenue in Sandusky, Ohio from 1892 until May of 1920. Mr. Butts was considered a pioneer hardware merchant of Sandusky, having first worked for Barney and Ferris. His first business operated under the name of Butts and Whitworth from 1881 through 1892. Mr. J. J. Butts died on September 15, 1927, and he is buried in Oakland Cemetery.

A local resident donated a copy of The Enterprising Housekeeper to the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library. If you have vintage booklets or photographs, consider donating them to the Archives Research Center for future generations to enjoy.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Minna Von Barnhelm oder Das Soldatengluck, by G. A. Lessing

The German-language book, Minna Von Barnhelm oder Das Soldatengluck, by G. E. Lessing, was used as a textbook of German language and literature in the Sandusky City Schools in the first part of the twentieth century. The main premise of the story is that Major Von Tellheim is engaged to a woman of nobility during the Seven Years’ War. After the war, Von Tellheim is stripped of his title, and becomes impoverished. Minna refuses to let him go. The revised edition of the book, which was used in Sandusky City Schools, was a part of Death’s Modern Language Series. The book featured an introduction and notes by Sylvester Primer, a professor of Teutonic languages for the University of Texas. An edition of Minna Von Barnhelm oder Das Soldatengluck from 1898 is available full text at Google Books.

Now a part of the collections of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center, this textbook was once used by Erma and Bertha Jahraus, daughters of Sandusky residents William and Lena Jahraus. The book cover protecting the book was acquired at S.T. Lemley’s Bookstore in Sandusky. Mr. Lemley had a bookstore and stationery business in Sandusky from about 1904 to 1909.

In the 1800’s and early 1900’s, German was the first language in many homes in Sandusky. It was taught as a subject in school, and some Sandusky churches offered services in German. Soon after the United States entered World War I, the use of the German language in local schools and churches disappeared due to anti-German sentiment.

Friday, January 08, 2021

The Reminiscences of Herman and Hedwig Zistel

In Archival Box G-14, folder 14 at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center  is a wonderful piece of local history. The complete title reads: The Reminiscences of Herman Zistel: Memories of a German-American family in Nineteenth-Century Sandusky, Ohio to which are appended The Childhood Memories of Hedwig Zistel, edited by David P. Harris (2006, 2009.) The first part includes remembrances of Herman Zistel, who was born to Louis and Anna (Rosenkranz) Zistel in 1867. Herman’s parents were both natives of Germany.  Herman’s reminiscences were put on paper because his daughter, Era Zistel Posselt, wanted to hear memories of the older generations of her family. David P. Harris was a great nephew of Herman Zistel, and he edited the memories from a typewritten transcript of the original family letters. Herman tells about losing his mother at a young age, and having a new stepmother whom the children called “Grandma.” He described living in Sandusky, Ohio in the 1860s and 1870s, close to the waterfront and spending time at his father’s business known as the Atlantic Gardens. Herman survived an attack by the bear that lived in a cage at the Atlantic Gardens.

An interior scene at the Atlantic Pleasure Gardens in the 1870s

When he was old enough, Herman took one of his father’s boats out on Sandusky Bay for fishing parties. Then in the 1880s he left home on the train and headed west where he worked on a cattle ranch. Eventually he moved back to Ohio and married Mary Rodecker. They had two daughters, and resided in Cuyahoga County, where Herman worked in the shoe business. 

In the portion of the notebook which includes memories of Hedwig Zistel are Hedwig’s recollections of life in Sandusky in the 1800s. She recalled that the Great Western Band used to have a concert every Wednesday night at the Atlantic Gardens.

Stereographic Image of Great Western Band circa 1880

Her job was to clean the chimneys. Hedwig, also known as Hettie or Hattie, told about her father inventing a rustic cash register, and an ice elevator. She also recalled her brother Oscar’s inventions, especially the live fish car. Hettie became an apprentice seamstress, after leaving school at a young age. In 1891, she married Charles Schippel. Hettie lived to the age of 91, passing away in January of 1962. This notebook of recollections of Herman and Hedwig Zistel is fascinating to read. It takes one back to a day before television and automobiles, and gives details about what everyday life was like in Sandusky, Ohio from a long gone era.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Clarabelle Cayhoe’s Memory Book

Scrapbooking is now a billion dollar a year business, but it has been done in a variety of forms for centuries. Throughout history people have kept scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, funeral cards, photographs, and greeting cards to keep a record of special memories. Thomas Jefferson kept a scrapbook of poetry and prose. The Hayes Presidential Center has both diaries and scrapbooks of former President Rutherford B. Hayes. Often a grandmother’s clipping book is a prized family heirloom.

Clarabelle Cayhoe’s memory book is one of the many scrapbooks housed at the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library.

Clarabelle was the daughter of Charles G. Cayhoe, who taught writing and drawing in the Sandusky Schools from 1909 through 1919; he was also one the organizers of Sandusky’s First Christian Church.

Clarabelle graduated from Sandusky High School in 1922.  Some of the items which Clarabelle kept in her memory book are: grade cards, candid photos of her classmates, notes and photographs from trips, newspaper articles, mementos from parties, and several poems and autographs.

Charles E. Frohman, who later became noted as a local historian and author, signed Clarabelle’s memory book on page 42.

On June 29, 1921, Clarabelle and several family and friends went to Put in Bay.

Though she had many friends, Clarabelle Cayhoe never married. She worked as a bookkeeper for the Citizen’s Banking Company. She died the same year as her mother, Eliza, in 1947. Clarabelle Cayhoe is buried in Oakland Cemetery with her parents and brother.

If your ancestors lived in Sandusky, you can learn interesting details about their lives by looking through old yearbooks, city directories, and several histories of Sandusky and Erie County.

Saturday, January 02, 2021

Display from a Career Day at Sandusky City Schools

The undated photograph above was given to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center by the Board of Education of Sandusky City Schools. We do not know the exact location or date of the event, but judging from the styles in the display (labeled Careers), it looks to be from the 1930s. 
 The career-themed display seems to suggest that one could leave a small town, and find a career opportunity in a big city. 

Several forms of transportation are featured in the display. 

At least a portion of the display was created by Wayne Braun. His name appears at the left side of the image below.
 Wayne K. Braun was listed in the 1994 Sandusky High School Alumni Directory as a member of the class of 1932 and a retired Architect. 

In the 1940s and 1950s (and possibly earlier), Sandusky City Schools, in cooperation with the Ohio Apprenticeship Council, offered several adult education classes in a variety of skilled trades. Banquets honoring the students were held each year. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Pipe Creek Bridge at Oakland Cemetery

Now in the historical collections of the Follett House Museum, this iron plaque once marked the old bridge over Pipe Creek, just north of the residence at Oakland Cemetery.

The Erie County Commissioners in 1907 were: J.L. Rieger, Lewis Neill, and David Riedy. (John L. Rieger may be best known in Sandusky for the Hotel Rieger, which he founded in 1912; the former hotel has since been repurposed as the Rieger Loft apartments.The surveyor for the bridge was R.B. Smith Co. and the contractor was L.P. Battefeld. You can see where Oakland Cemetery borders Pipe Creek in the map below, taken from the 1896 Erie County Atlas.

Pipe Creek runs through Erie County from Groton Township to Sandusky Bay, and is often mentioned in local county histories as being a site where pioneers first settled. It is believed that the name Pipe Creek came from the clay found in the creek bed, from which Native Americans made pipes. Today there is a Pipe Creek wildlife area at the mouth of the bay. 

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Moving Companies on Maple Avenue

In the picture above, a vintage vehicle is parked in front of the Sprow Moving Company on Maple Avenue in the 1940s. The street is paved with bricks at this time, and a Sohio gas pump is visible behind the car. On the right side of the picture is an older model automobile beside a garage and a trellis.

In the 1941 Sandusky City Directory, Charles J. Sprow had a cartage and storage business at 1000-1002 Maple Avenue. Sprow’s also handled heavy hauling, hoisting, crating, forwarding and moving. They were agents with Allied Van Lines and Nationwide Movers, and provided fireproof storage for area residents.  By 1946, Charles J. Sprow was at 1000 Maple Avenue and the Standard Improvement Company was in business at 1002 Maple Avenue. Millott Transfer and Storage and Mayflower Transit Company were located at 920 Maple Avenue. In 1948, Millott Transfer and Storage Corporation occupied all the lots between 902 and 1002 Maple Avenue. This advertisement for Millott Transfer and Storage appeared in the classified business directory of the 1948 Sandusky City Directory.

An article about Lawrence Millott, which appeared in the October 18, 2003 issue of the
Toledo Blade stated that the Millott Transfer and Storage Corporation had been run by three different generations of the Millott family before the business closed in 1986.  Several other businesses have been in operation at 1000 Maple Avenue, which is now a commercial warehouse owned by a realty company. Check the historical city directories to learn about the past locations of our area’s former residents and businesses.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

James D. Lea, Lumber Merchant


James Davis Lea was born on July 21, 1817 in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. He moved with his family to Ohio when he was a young man. After working for a time as a school teacher and then as a carpenter, he established himself as a lumber merchant. Below is an advertisement from J.D. Lea’s business, from the 1855 Sandusky City Directory.

Through the years, Mr. Lea had several different partners in the lumber business, including Lewis Moss, Frank Sloane, and finally his son in law, Mr. William H. Herbert. In 1897 Mr. Lea retired from the lumber business, and in retirement devoted his time to real estate. The Lea Block, at the southwest corner of Wayne and Market Streets was named for James D. Lea.


His wife was the former Caroline Mackey, and together the Leas had six children, three of whom survived to adulthood. On  January 8, 1901, James D. Lea died at his home on Wayne Street. An article in the Sandusky Star of January 8, 1901 reported that Mr. Lea had been “one of the most prominent and respected citizens of Sandusky.” He was remembered as someone who was honorable and fair, and was missed by a wide circle of friends. Mr. Lea had been a trustee of the Sandusky Water Works, and was a member of the Science Lodge, Sandusky City Council, and the Knights Templar. Funeral services were held at the family’s residence on Wayne Street, under the auspices of the Science Lodge, and burial was at Oakland Cemetery.