Thursday, August 25, 2016
The steamer Chippewa served as a passenger boat in the Lake Erie islands region from 1922 to 1938, for the Sandusky and Islands Steamboat Company. From 1884 to 1909, the vessel was named the William P. Fessenden, and served as a revenue cutter for the United States Treasury Department.
During the 1924 tornado the Chippewa stayed afloat, but the Columbus sank into the waters of Sandusky Bay.
In an advertisement which appeared in the August 7, 1923 issue of the Sandusky Register, passengers aboard the Chippewa were treated to music by an orchestra on their return trip from Put in Bay.
Pictured below are passengers disembarking from the Chippewa in the 1930s.
The Chippewa offered “twilight rides” for those attending the state convention of the American Legion, held in Sandusky in August, 1934. In 1939 it was sold to the Peerless Cement Company, for use as a barge, and in 1943 it was scrapped in Hamilton, Ontario.
Here is a postcard featuring the Chippewa from its days as a passenger boat in Lake Erie on the Sandusky, Put in Bay, Lakeside route:
Monday, August 22, 2016
From 1930 to 1946 the Erie Isle, pictured above, ferried cars and passengers back and forth to the Lake Erie islands. This ship had originally been known as the Fredericka. In 1933 the Erie Isle docked at the foot of Hancock Street at the Schacht Fish Company dock. The boat left Sandusky at 2:30 in the afternoon, and left Put in Bay at 7:00 in the morning. From 1938 to 1941, a Canadian ship, also known as the Erie Isle, took passengers from Sandusky to Canada. This vessel had originally been named the Waubic.
An advertisement in the August 19, 1939 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal invited people to a lake excursion to Kingsville aboard the Erie Isle, departing from Sandusky on August 21.
Yet another ship named Erie Isle was in operation for the Erie Isles Ferry Company from 1951 to 1973, taking passengers to Put in Bay. Below is a postcard which shows several crew and passengers about the boat.
An interesting article by Gordon Wendt about the long tradition of passenger boat service to Put in Bay is found in the Sandusky Register of March 8, 1992, now on microfilm.
Friday, August 19, 2016
Former Sandusky resident Glenn Everett donated this envelope to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. It featured the first day of issue of the U.S. postage stamp that contained an image of an early Great Lakes steamboat, Walk in the Water, and was dated March 3, 1989.At that time, a book of twenty stamps cost $5.00. Five steamboats were included in this series of stamps.
In our historical files was a card that provided information about the stamp. Below is a transcription:
The U.S. Postal Service commemorated the Walk-in-the-Water, first steamboat on Lake Erie, when it issued a booklet of 25 cent stamps on March 3, 1989, picturing historic steam vessels. Built in 1818 at Black Rock, N.Y., she was 145 feet long, with a 27-foot beam, displacing 388 tons. She had two masts for sails in case her wood-fired boiler failed. Noah Brown, her builder, liked the wonderfully descriptive name given her by the Indians.
When the Walk-in-the-Water proved she could maintain a two-day schedule between Buffalo and Detroit with stops at Erie, Pa., and Cleveland and Sandusky, Ohio, she revolutionized transportation in this rapidly developing wilderness area. Soon other steamboats were being built. The Walk-in-the-Water sank in a storm near Buffalo in October ,1821, but her engine was salvaged and used in another steamboat, the Superior, and eventually was used to power the first steam –operated sawmill in Saginaw, Mich.
This first day cover was designed by Glenn D. Everett, a native of Sandusky and veteran Washington correspondent, who suggested that the Walk-in-the-Water be honored on a stamp.
To learn more about this historic steamer, read In the Wake of Walk-in-the-Water: The Marine History of Sandusky, Ohio, by Gordon Wendt (Commercial Printing Co., 1984.)
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Pictured above is a scene from 1949, when workers were placing the new sign for the Lasalle’s store in place. A crane was parked on Columbus Avenue, and a worker was high atop the Lasalle’s store, which had not yet opened.
In this closer view, you can see the Byer Brothers store, Caryl Crane, and the J.C. Penney Company, all in business on Sandusky’s Columbus Avenue in 1949.
Further down the block were the Montgomery Ward store and Gray Drugs.
An article in the March 30, 1949 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News stated that construction of the Lasalle’s store was ahead of schedule. The new store opened on October 28, 1949, right before the busy holiday season. Many of our parents and grandparents shopped in this block of Sandusky in the late 1940s.
Saturday, August 13, 2016
According to Hewson Peeke’s A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio, (Lewis Publishing, 1916), in 1843 a committee of three was appointed to “prepare and present a plan for the erection of one or more school houses in the town of Sandusky.” The committee members included Moors Farwell, Alexander M. Porter, and Zenas W. Barker. The earliest school buildings were the East Market School, pictured above, the West Market School and the Academy building. The East and West Market Schools, both constructed of limestone, were built in 1845. You can still see the East Market School building, behind Variety Village. This school served students in Sandusky throughout the late 1800s. The East Market School was built on Franklin Street near East Market Street. For a time the Waldricher Pump Works was in business at the former East Market School.
Below is a picture of the former West Market School building, on Fulton Street, taken in 1990.
Below is a picture of the former West Market School building, on Fulton Street, taken in 1990.
Another early Sandusky school building was known as the Academy building. Though this structure was built as a school, it also served as the Erie County Courthouse before the present Courthouse was constructed in 1874.
The Academy building sat just north of the Emmanuel Church, as seen on page 19 of the 1886 Sanborn Map, which shows the “new” High School, which opened in 1869, as well as the old Academy building:
A previous blog entry reports on an antislavery meeting that was held at the Academy building in March of 1844.
To read more about the early public schools of Sandusky, read articles 48 and 49 in From the Widow’s Walk, by Helen Hansen and Virginia Steinemann (Follett House Museum, 1991.)
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
In the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center are two volumes entitled Appraisal of Erie County Properties at Sandusky, Ohio. The appraisal was done by the Warren S. Holmes Company of Lansing Michigan, and was dated June 26, 1933. Volume 1 of the set contains the appraisal of the Erie County Infirmary, including the main Infirmary building as well as several other structures on the property of the Erie County Infirmary.
The historic limestone Erie County building at 2900 South Columbus Avenue served as the Erie County Infirmary from 1886 until 1976, when the residents were transferred to the Erie County Care Facility at 3916 East Perkins Avenue in Huron Township. It began as the county “Poor House Farm” in the 1850s, and soon became known as the Erie County Infirmary. By 1919, it was known as the Erie County Home. The residents of the Erie County Infirmary or Erie County Home included those who were aged or indigent. You can read more about the history of this facility at the Erie County website.
Volume 1 of the Appraisal is over 200 pages in length, and contains photographs and blueprints of the buildings included in the Erie County Infirmary in 1933. At that time, the replacement value of the main building was $123,260.00 (more than $2 million in today's money). Other buildings included in the appraisal were the hospital, laundry and boiler house, barns, and outbuildings. There are figures for replacement value as well as for full insurable value of each line item.
The Appraisal includes thorough descriptions of the buildings and their contents. The exterior walls of the main Infirmary building (constructed in 1886, with the north wing added later) were made of Sandusky blue limestone. Exterior trims, window sills, and lintels were made from limestone. Most of the windows were double hung with weights. The interior walls were plastered on masonry and wood lath. The mantels in the superintendent’s rooms were onyx, while other fireplaces had cast iron fronts. The structure was heated by a two-pipe gravity steam upfeed system, with steam being provided from a central heating plant. The plumbing system included city water and sewer system. Water closets had oak seats and tanks. In 1933 the electric wiring had recently been updated. An Auto Call fire alarm system made in Shelby, Ohio had been installed in 1932 at a cost of $899.70. A Philco model 90 radio was housed in the Superintendent’s living room, and was connected to four loudspeakers throughout the facility. On page 17, a brief summary stated, “This building, while old, is sound and fairly well maintained.” Detailed listings of the contents of the Infirmary Building list how many doors, windows, screens were located throughout the building. The staff kitchen included a gas range, as well as a combination gas and coal range. There were also several coffee pots, kettles, pans, tables and elm and bentwood chairs. In the pantry were table service for 18 and inexpensive silver, as well as several pots and pans. The basement contained crocks, butter churns, a cooler, refrigerator and a cream separator. In storage under the porch of the Infirmary was a supply of toilet paper, corn brooms, and 4 boxes of soap, each containing 120 bars of soap.
Details continue to describe the contents of all the various rooms of the Infirmary, including bedrooms for men and women. A Victrola console BB100 with records provided entertainment for the ladies who resided in the Infirmary, in the women’s day room. A Bible was also found in the day room. In the attic, were extra chairs, dressers, and ten barrels of Mason fruit jars. Contents of the hospital, and a description of the two garages, brooder house, chicken house, corn crib, implement storage building, hog pen, slaughter house, tool shed, cow shed and storage shed are included in the Appraisal. In 1933, livestock on the farm included seven cows, as well as chickens and hogs. Page 210 features photographs of barns on the grounds of the Infirmary:
Below is a portion of a page from the 1905 Sanborn Map, which shows the layout of the Erie County Home around the time of the Appraisal.
Besides the basic facts of construction and design of the property, what we can infer from this Appraisal is that while the County provided a place for needy people to reside, those who were able were expected to farm the land and participate in the day to day chores around the Infirmary and farm. Most likely the women assisted in the canning of the vegetables that were grown. Butter was churned onsite, and cream was separated by either the staff or residents. Eggs were gathered from the chickens on the farm, and pork came from the slaughter of hogs housed in outbuildings. The facility was constructed of raw materials that were available locally. Entertainment and news were available in the technology available to Americans in the 1930s. While it may be boring to some to go page by page through a 1930s era appraisal document, you can get a good understanding of the technology in use at that time, and a life style that was extremely labor-intensive. If you would like to see the Appraisal of Erie County Properties in 1933, stop by the Reference Services desk at the Sandusky Library.
Sunday, August 07, 2016
The building at 1002-1018 West Adams Street consists of nine separate residential units. It was built in the mid-nineteenth century to provide housing for employees of the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad. You can this structure on the 1886 Sanborn Map:
Each rectangle represents a dwelling, which all share a common roof. The building was constructed of brick, upon a stone foundation. There are stone lintels above each door and along the top and bottom of the windows.
Parapet walls are located at each end of the unit.
Prior to 1915, the addresses of the rowhouses went from 1202 to 1208 Adams Street. After 1915 the street numbers changed to 1002 to 1018 West Adams Street. The Mad River Block was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
Having the railroad run through Sandusky was very beneficial to the local economy. Goods could be shipped in and out of the area, travel was made easier, and hundreds individuals found employment as mechanics, painters, engineers, conductors, and ticket agents. Paul Laning wrote a history of steam railroads in Erie County in the Twin Anniversary Edition of the Sandusky Register Star News on November 24, 1947. This special edition newspaper is in the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center both on microfilm, and in a bound copy.
Like the person in the song “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” some of your ancestors may have been working on the railroad, too.
Thursday, August 04, 2016
While we do not know the exact date that “Professor Richard Wallace” appeared at 930 Adams Street in Sandusky, his poster proclaimed that he was a professor of occult science. He claimed to be able to foretell future spouses, locate hidden treasure, and help customers have success in business, love, and lawsuits.
The building's days as the center of occult science in Sandusky may have been short-lived: in the November 28, 1911 issue of the Sandusky Register, J.M. French advertised a two story house for rent at
Monday, August 01, 2016
In the Tom Root Aerial Photographs collection of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center are several images of the State Route 2 Bypass under construction. (Before this, Route 2 went through Sandusky.) The picture above was taken by photographer and pilot Tom Root on July 3, 1961. In the bottom right portion of the picture, you can see the on and off ramps being built. The large white rectangular object north of the ramps is the quarry just off State Route 250.
In this photo, taken September 1, 1963, the new highway was completed from the Route 250 exit to the Route 101 Exit. The highway is a distinct white line through the gray of the land around it. You can see the city of Sandusky in the upper left hand portion of the picture, and the coal docks jutting out into the bay.
This image was taken on June 27, 1964.
The railroad yards appear dark in this view, located close to the Ford plant (now Ventra Sandusky.) The State Route 2 highway can be seen along the bottom edge of the picture.
By 1968, when Mr. Root took this picture, the Thomas A. Edison Bridge was open, and a large portion of the State Route 2 Bypass was complete. Some sections of the highway were not completed until years later.
In the view above, the heavily wooded area on the bottom left hand part of the picture is the southernmost part of the Village of Bay View. You can see State Route 2 as it winds through Erie County, and heads out over the Sandusky Bay, enabling a swift connection between Ottawa and Erie County.
Governor James A. Rhodes cut the ribbon when the Thomas A. Edison Bridge was officially dedicated on December 17, 1965, though some of the exits were still under construction at that time.
Known fondly by locals as “the bypass,” the renovation of State Route 2 in the 1960s (and beyond) greatly assisted North Coast tourists to to travel quickly to the lake, Cedar Point, and on to Toledo and Cleveland, without a lot of stop signs and speed reductions through populated areas that they had encountered on old Route 2.
Friday, July 29, 2016
Owned by the U.S. Navy from 1918-1919, the steamer Theodore Roosevelt was part of the Cleveland-Cedar Point Steamship Company in the mid 1940s. You can see passengers on three different levels in this closer view.
This vessel was particularly busy during the Cedar Point season of 1945. From June through Labor Day, the Theodore Roosevelt took passengers from
to Cedar Point. The July 9, 1945 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News reported that these excursionists were
arriving at Cedar Point aboard the steamer: Cleveland Denison,
Brooklyn, Faith and Ellbrook chapters of the Eastern Star, Myrtle May Auxiliary
of Euclid Temple, Bikur Cholin Relief Society, Women’s ,
and employees of the Monmouth Products Company. At the end of July, 1945,
veterans from the Alliance First
boarded the Theodore Roosevelt for an outing at Cedar Point. See the Great Lakes Vessels Online Index for more details about this and other Great Lakes vessels. Crile