Friday, October 21, 2016

Light’s Golden Jubilee in 1929

While Patent Number 223,898 was issued to Thomas A. Edison on January 27, 1880, the experiments done by Edison and his team in October of 1879 enabled the first practical commercial incandescent light bulb to become a reality. On October 21, 1929, Light’s Golden Jubilee was held in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Thomas A. Edison’s improvements to the incandescent light bulb.

Sandusky’s Division Manager of the Ohio Public Service Company, C. B. Wilcox, pictured above, announced in the July 23, 1929 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal, that Sandusky would pay tribute to the work of Thomas A. Edison by illuminating the fountain in Washington Park with a display of brightly colored lights. (This was before the Boy with the Boot made its home in Washington Park.) Employees of the Ohio Public Service Company were to install the special lighting display, which was to continue throughout the summer and fall months.

A floral mound in the park also paid honor to Thomas A. Edison in 1929.

The Sandusky Star Journal of October 22, 1929 reported that hundreds of Sandusky residents sat at home by candle light or gas light, as they listened to the radio program in which Thomas A. Edison recreated his electric light over NBC Radio, at Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan, where the Edison laboratory had been re-created. The reception during the program was exceptionally clear that October evening.

U.S. President and Mrs. Herbert Hoover as well as Henry Ford all took part in the Golden Jubilee of Light Celebration. Read more about Light’s Golden Jubilee at the websites of the Henry Ford Museum and the Library of Congress.

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Barker Family Left Its Mark on Sandusky

If you have ever seen Barker School (now a Day Care Center) or driven down Barker Street on Sandusky’s west side, then you are familiar with the surname of a family whose many members  have made contributions to the development of the city of Sandusky. Zenas Ward Barker, who served in the War of 1812, moved his family from Buffalo, New York to Sandusky, Ohio in 1834. He was one of several individuals who helped organize Grace Episcopal Church in Sandusky in 1835. He was Erie County Clerk in 1838-1839. In the early 1840s, he was one of the directors of Sandusky’s public schools, and was Sandusky’s Mayor in 1846. This Zenas W. Barker died in Sandusky in 1879. His father, also named Zenas Ward Barker (1765-1834) was a pioneer settler of Buffalo, New York. One of the sons of Zenas W. Barker (1818-1879) also named Zenas W. Barker (1834-1861), became a First Sergeant in Company E of the Ohio 8th Volunteer Infantry. He lost his life during military service on August 28, 1861. 

Another son of Zenas Ward Barker, the former Sandusky Mayor, was Jacob A. Barker.

Jacob A. Barker began working at the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad in 1846. He eventually became the freight agent for the railroad. From the early 1860s until he retired in 1891, he was the local agent for the United States Express Company. He was a member of the Sandusky City Council, the Board of Education of Sandusky City Schools, and he was a senior warden of Calvary Episcopal Church for several years. An article in volume 14 of the Firelands Pioneer said of him: “He was possessed of a generous, kind disposition and many instances of his generosity will be gratefully remembered by the recipients.” Jacob A. Barker died on December 22, 1898, and he was buried in the family lot at Oakland Cemetery. He was survived by his wife, the former Mary E. Paterson, and four sons. 

The son of Jacob A. and Mary Paterson Barker was George P. Barker:

He was born in Sandusky in May of 1852, and was associated with the United States Express Company in Sandusky for over forty years. From 1915 to 1929 Mr. Barker was storekeeper at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home. During the Spanish American War, he rose to the rank of Major. He began with Company B of the Sixteenth Infantry, and mustered out with the Sixth Infantry. For four months Major Barker held the position of military governor of the district of Santa Clara in Cuba. On January 24, 1930 George P. Barker died as a result of heart disease. Funeral services for Major Barker were held on January 27 at Grace Episcopal Church, and burial was at Oakland Cemetery following a military salute at the gravesite. Many other members of the Barker family are also buried in the family lot in the North Ridge section of Oakland Cemetery.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Walking in the Footsteps of Mary Cooke

Though we do not have a photograph of Mary Elizabeth Cooke (1857-1951), her life has been well documented in resources available at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. She was the youngest daughter of Pitt Cooke and his wife, the former Mary Elizabeth Townsend.  She was the granddaughter of Sandusky’s first lawyer, Eleutheros Cooke, and a niece of Civil War financier Jay Cooke. Mary E. Cooke’s maternal grandparents, William and Mary Townsend, were pioneer residents of Sandusky. After the Townsends died in the cholera epidemic of 1849, Pitt and Mary (Townsend) Cooke took in the orphaned Townsend children and raised them with their own six children.

In the 1860s and 1870s, the Pitt Cooke family resided in New York, where Pitt worked with his brother Jay Cooke in the banking business. Helen Hansen wrote in At Home in Early Sandusky that the Pitt Cooke family kept the former Townsend home at 515 West Washington Street as a summer residence.

Mary E. Cooke was age 22 at the time of the 1880 U.S. Census and was living in the large family home on Washington Street, along with her mother, cousin, aunt, siblings and two servants. By this time, her father Pitt had died. From 1919 until her death in 1951, she lived at 904 Wayne Street. Locally, her home was known fondly as “the house of a hundred windows.”


On the occasion of her 93rd birthday, Sandusky Register Star News reporter, Harry Van Stack, recalled that Miss Cooke delighted telling others of how she once shook hands with President Grant. An article in the June 21, 1929 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal stated that Mary Cooke recalled seeing the Gibraltar Island home of her uncle Jay Cooke being built.

Miss Cooke was an active member of Grace Episcopal Church. In March of 1934, she held a Recital-Tea at her home during the Lenten season. Wesley Hartung was the accompanist for several sacred musical numbers that were presented at the program. 

On August 15, 1951, Mary E. Cooke passed away at the age of 93. Funeral services were held at Grace Episcopal Church, with her nephew, the Rev. Rush R. Sloane officiating. Burial was at Oakland Cemetery. An article in the October 12, 1951 Sandusky Register Star News which reported on her estate sale declared that Miss Cooke was “the last link between early Sandusky and present Sandusky.”  During the nine decades of her life, Miss Cooke saw the development of many technological advances and changes in her hometown.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Charles E. Fleming, Sandusky High School Chemistry Teacher

Born on October 2, 1887 in Adams Mills, Ohio to J.D. and Alice Fleming, Charles E. Fleming was a graduate of Denison University and the University of Chicago. He moved to Sandusky in 1908, and was an instructor of chemistry at Sandusky High School from 1909 until the early 1940s. Mr. Fleming taught chemistry at Sandusky High School during the senior year of Norbert A. Lange, who would go on to become a chemistry professor at the Case Institute of Technology (now a part of Case Western Reserve University), and is still well known for writing the classic text Handbook of Chemistry

From 1909 to 1913, Mr. Fleming also coached the Sandusky High School football team. In an article in the May 28, 1955 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News, it was recalled that Mr. Fleming often told the story that one time SHS quarterback Leland Spore played almost an entire game with a broken arm.  

Charles E. Fleming is the person on the left in the back row.

 In the Sandusky High School faculty picture below, most likely taken in the 1930s, Charles E. Fleming can be seen on the far right in the back row.

He was active in the Masonic lodge and a member of the First Congregational Church.On May 5, 1942, Charles E. Fleming passed away at Good Samaritan Hospital, after having been ill for some time. Funeral services for Mr. Fleming were held at the Charles J. Andres’ Sons Funeral Home, and burial was in the Castalia Cemetery. He was survived by his wife, the former Catherine Winters (married in 1915), and a daughter, Mrs. R.E. Willison of Kentucky

Friday, October 07, 2016

Samuel Facer, Original Owner of the Building at 279 East Market Street

The building at 279 East Market Street, now home to Mabel and Ethel’s Quilt Shop, was built by Samuel Facer in 1883-1884. Facer had several business ventures in Sandusky, including a blacksmith shop and a hack and omnibus business. After he sold his hack business to the Goosman family, Mr. Facer carried mail for the U.S. Post Office, before the Post Office owned their own vehicles. In the 1880s, he leased the space on the street level of the building at the northwest corner of Market and Hancock Streets for a store, and he and his wife lived upstairs. 

Ellie Damm wrote in her book Treasure by the Bay that the building was built in the Italianate style, with an intricate system of cast iron columns and sandstone beams. On the east side of the building is a cast iron balcony.

Facer’s former store building has been named to the National Register of Historic Places.

A wide variety of businesses and organizations have been in operation at 279 East Market Street through the years, including grocery stores, a bicycle shop, a pool hall, dry cleaners, and an antique store. In the 1980s, Grace Church had their thrift shop at this location, and for a time the Maritime Museum was here. 

In 1892 Samuel Facer worked to protect land along the waterfront, and Facer Park was created.  In 2007 the “Path to Freedom” sculpture was dedicated in Facer Park.

A portrait of Samuel Facer is on display at the Follett House Museum.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

A Sanduskian at World War I Flag Raising at Angouleme, France

Capt. Ira C. Krupp is one of the individuals pictured in this photograph of a flag raising at Angouleme, France on October 4, 1918 during World War I. Capt. Krupp, who was with the 4th Corps Artillery, reported that it was a great ceremony, with a parade in which local residents and U.S. Soldiers participated. The United States entered the Great War on April 6, 1917.  By May of 1918, over one million U.S. troops were stationed in France. You can see a picture of Capt. Krupp, along with many other soldiers, officials, and local community leaders in the commemorative book, Honor Roll of Ohio, Erie County Edition.

During the 1900 U.S. Census, Ira C. Krupp was 18 years old and resided with his family on Wayne Street, at what is now the Follett House Museum. Ira’s father and grandfather, John and Charles J. Krupp, were in the furniture and undertaking business in Sandusky for many years. 

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Osborne (Seventh Ward) School

According to the book Treasure by the Bay, by Ellie Damm, the Seventh Ward School in Sandusky was built in the Romanesque Revival style by George Feick in 1890. Many of the students who attended this school were the children of railroad workers, as the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway depot was not far from this school. In 1908 the school was enlarged, with an addition that doubled its size. In the fall of 1912, the name of the Seventh Ward School was changed to Osborne School

Pictured below are several teachers from Osborne School about 1912.

Though not everyone in the picture has been identified, notes with the original picture state that these individuals are included in the photo: Emma Schleicher, Myrtle Coles, Edna Becker, Hattie Ehrhard, principal Winifred Light, Stella Horn, Lucy Day and Marie Weier. Miss Winifred Light was principal of Osborne School for twenty nine years. 

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to read more about the history of schools in Sandusky.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Ebert Siblings in 1864 and 1878

The three children of Mr. and Mrs. Conrad Ebert are pictured above in a picture taken by J.M. Frisbie in Sandusky, Ohio on September 28, 1864. Carl was age ten, Conrad was age four, and Margaret was age 7. Conrad Ebert, the father, and his wife Margaret, were both natives of Bavaria, but all three children were born in Ohio according to the 1870 United States Census.

Another portrait of the Ebert siblings was taken about 1879, at the A.C. Platt studio. By this time Carl and Margaret had married, and they posed with their spouses. Conrad Ebert is standing in the back, next to his brother in law Louis Duennisch. In the front are: Carl Ebert, his wife Caroline Ebert, and Margaret Ebert Duennisch.

The younger Conrad Ebert was a successful druggist in Sandusky for a number of years. Carl Ebert had a long career with the U.S. Post Office in Sandusky. Margaret Ebert married Louis Duennisch, who worked for several years with the Sandusky Sash, Door and Blind Company, later known as the George R. Butler Company. Because an Ebert family member donated these photographs to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center, we are able to see how the Ebert children changed over time. If you have vintage family photographs of people, businesses, or organizations from Sandusky or Erie County, Ohio, please consider donating them to the Archives Research Center so that future generations may enjoy and learn from them.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Charles Evans Hughes Made Campaign Stop in Sandusky

On September 26, 1916, Charles Evans Hughes campaigned for the U.S. presidency in SanduskyOhio. He had resigned from the Supreme Court to run for President. He is pictured above, speaking in front of the American Crayon Company, near the Hayes Avenue subway.  The factory was decorated with patriotic bunting and flags, and a large crowd came out to hear what the Republican candidate had to say.


Because the train was an hour late, Ackley’s band entertained the crowds that had come out to hear the candidate speak. Once he arrived, Justice Hughes spoke for fifteen minutes, speaking about the power of progress, social justice, and the conditions of the American worker. Governor Myron T. Herrick and Erie County Auditor Hayes Adams also gave remarks.  In the November 1916 election, incumbent President Woodrow Wilson, the Democratic candidate, defeated Hughes.

During his 1908 presidential campaign, William Howard Taft spoke at the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Home (now the Ohio Veterans Home), and Theodore Roosevelt gave a whistle-stop speech at the foot of Columbus Avenue to a large crowd of Sanduskians in May of 1912. Read an earlier blog post to learn more about other political campaigns in Sandusky

Friday, September 23, 2016

Wagenet & Davis, Insurance Agents

In the 1886 Sandusky City Directory, H. W. Wagenet and Josh B. Davis were listed as agents for over twenty five different insurance companies. Their offices were on the upper floors of the Cooke Block.  Their advertisement stated that they offered the lowest going rates, and that they offered insurance protection for fire, marine, accident, lightning, cyclone and plate glass damages. H.W. Wagenet had previously been in the insurance business with Bryon Gager at the same location. In the 1880 City Directory, Mr. Wagenet’s name was listed as H.W. Wagenknecht, but by 1886 he had changed the spelling of his name to Wagenet. 

The September 8, 1888 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that H.W. Wagnet was leaving Wagnet & Davis. His interests were taken over by his brother, John H. Wagenet, with the new partnership being known as Davis & Wagenet. You can see a sign for Davis & Wagenet, barely visible above the main front door in this image: 

The Cooke Block has been home to many different businesses in Sandusky throughout the years. Visit the Sandusky Library to view historic city directories to learn about the many different residents and businesses of our city.