Wednesday, May 25, 2016

MacArthur Park and Fairlawn Court


In the collections of historical pictures from Sandusky and Erie County housed at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center are three photographs from MacArthur Park and Fairlawn Court, which began as federal housing projects during World War II.  The pictures were taken in 1955. The license plate of the car pictured above began with the letters YC. (Many local residents of a certain age will recall the popular YC and YE letter combinations used for autombile license plates in the 1950s and 1960s.) 

As World War II approached, the U.S. Government purchased land in Perkins Township for the construction of a munitions factory. The Trojan Powder Company operated at the Plum Brook Ordnance Works throughout the war, and provided jobs for hundreds of individuals. Sandusky faced a housing shortage as workers poured in to Erie County to supply manpower for the defense industry. MacArthur Park, located at the former site of the Erie County fairgrounds, at Camp Street and Perkins Avenue, was built to help curb the housing shortage. A local contest was held to select a name for the housing development, with Mrs. Bernice Jameson selected for her entry: “General Douglas MacArthur is the hero of the hour, and it seems appropriate to name a defense housing development in his honor as his name and accomplishments will be tomorrow’s history.” 

The Sandusky Register  featured two pages to celebrate the dedication of MacArthur Park on November 11, 1943.


The Trojan Powder Company ran this advertisement, which praised the community as well as the defense workers.


The Rev. J.A. Griffith gave the invocation at the dedication.  Public Housing officials gave remarks, as did Mayor George A. Apel. Musical selections were provided by Sandusky High School.


In 1943 another federal housing project, Fairlawn Court, was built to provide housing for African American residents of the south end of the city of Sandusky.  


Fairlawn Court had 104 family units on Buchanan Street between Carr and Shelby Streets. The development was listed as Fairlawn Park Apartments on this 1955 Sanborn Map.



Many Sandusky couples and families had their first home in MacArthur Park or Fairlawn Court, and then moved to larger accommodations as their families grew, or their economic circumstances changed. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Commercial Building at the Northeast Corner of Jackson and West Water Streets


The three story brick building at the northeast corner of Jackson and West Water Streets in downtown Sandusky was built about 1870, and has been a key commercial property in Sandusky for more than a century. For several years, Freeland T. Barney and Benjamin F. Ferris operated a hardware store at this location.


After Mr. Barney died in 1875, his widow, Mary Barney took over the business, with the help of a bookkeeper named Pierre VanAlstyne. Mr. VanAlstyne took over the business after the death of Mrs. Barney in 1881. 

The building underwent a major renovation in 1892, including the addition of a Romanesque Revival facade. Arches adorn the windows of upper levels of the building, and decorative brackets trim the upper most portion of the building.  The hardware store that had started as Barney and Ferris eventually became the Donahue Hardware Store. Below is a picture of the Donahue Hardware Store about 1900. In the early twentieth century, the Donahue Hardware Store occupied 735-737-739 Water Street. 


By 1915, the Donahues had moved the hardware store to Market Street, and Schnaitter and Bechberger Plumbing and Heating took over the location of the former Donahue Hardware, which was now known as 231-233 West Water Street.  Bender & Woodward Wholesale Grocers had temporary quarters at 225-229 West Water Street at that time.  In 1932, the Elks Hall was on the upper floor of 231 West Water Street. Later businesses in the large block from 225-233 West Water Street were Hessler Plumbing and Heating, Trophy Specialists, the Yankee Clipper barber shop, an art gallery and the Sandusky Athletic Club. To learn the exact years and names of businesses at this location in downtown Sandusky, see the historical Sandusky City Directories housed in the lower level of the Sandusky Library. 

The large 20 Mule Team Borax advertisement below was painted on the former Barney & Ferris building at the time of the 1913 Perry Centennial Celebration in Sandusky.


The side of the building which faces to the west is likely where the old Borax ad was painted.


More details about the businesses that have been located on West Water Street are found in an article by Helen Hansen and Virginia Steinemann in the January 19, 1992 issue of the Sandusky Register, now available on microfilm at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Willdred Apartments


The Willdred Apartments were constructed in 1906-1907, in the classical revival style of architecture. The Willdred Apartment building can be seen below in a Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, on Columbus Avenue, between Scott and Finch Streets.


The front steps lead up to an entrance porch. On either side of the porch are two columns which support balconies on the upper two levels of the building. Several sets of triple windows on three sides of the Willdred Apartments allow for plenty of natural light.




H. Roger Grant wrote in his book Getting Around: Exploring Transportation History (Krieger Pub. Co., 2003), that the three story apartment building was conveniently located near the lines of the Lake Shore Electric Railway. Anyone who resided at the Willdred could travel in and out of Sandusky easily on the interurban. An advertisement in the May 12, 1928 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal listed the rent at the Willdred at $25.00 per month. This included five rooms and a bathroom, which was “modern with furnace.”  Local newspapers frequently mentioned the Willdred Apartments, sometimes known as the Willdred Flats, in the society pages. In January of 1908, the Art Study Club held its first meeting of the year at the apartment of Mrs. E.W. Altstaetter in the Willdred. In 1920, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs Jay Cohn held a Japanese lawn party at the Willdred. Japanese lanterns decorated the lawn as several young people enjoyed the latest dance steps. On March 11, 1993, the Willdred Apartment building was named to the National Register of Historic Places

Monday, May 16, 2016

Eagles Carnivals in Sandusky


Milton Earle donated this souvenir badge from the Eagles Carnival Sandusky. The letters F.O.E. on the badge stands for the phrase Fraternal Order of Eagles. In 1911 the Eagles Carnival was held at Central Park, where entertainment included a high diver and a balloonist. Festivities took place from May 15 to May 20.  The Sandusky Register of May 17, 1911 described the Tuesday night’s festivities:

Yesterday’s balloon ascension was much better than Monday’s. The professor had soared high into the air when three shots, the signal for him to come down, were fired by a policeman on the grounds. The reports of the revolver reaching his ears, the professor cut loose his trio of parachutes one after another, and was soon on terra firma, uninjured, somewhere over near Campbell Street and Columbus Avenue.

In 1917 the Eagles Carnival was held from July 16 to 21 1917 at the Jackson Street Pier.


The Eagles Carnival in 1917 opened with a grand parade, and concluded with a fireworks show. Three hundred people from the DeVaux Greater Shows came to Sandusky on a special train to provide entertainment. The Sandusky Register featured  several front page articles about the Eagles when the Mardi Gras themed carnival was held in February of 1929.


The Eagles Carnival of 1929 was said to be “the greatest Lodge event ever staged.” Several cash prizes were to be awarded in a big contest, as well as free subscriptions to the Register. The grand prize was a Chrysler Plymouth sedan, selected from the Stroh Motor Company on Wayne Street.


To enter the contest, area residents had to take the February 10 issue of the Sandusky Register to the businesses whose ads appeared in that issue, and have the staff sign the advertisement. Papers with the completed signatures were then to be turned in to Mr. Oliver at the Bazar. Prizes were awarded to the first thirteen entries received. Below are just a few of the ads which appeared in the “Eagles Scream” edition of the Sandusky Register.


 The “Eagles Scream” edition of the Sandusky Register contained several articles which pointed out the activities of the local Eagles Lodge, including their aid to victims of floods and fires, and advocating for the enactment of an old age pension fund. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to read about the past Eagles Carnivals. Several decades of copies of local newspapers are available on microfilm. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Weldon B. Cooke, Aviation Pioneer


Weldon B. Cooke was born in California in 1884. After attending the College of Engineering at the University of California, he became interested in the automobile. He worked for a livery service in San Francisco, and eventually he became a race car driver. In 1911 amateur aviation enthusiasts L.B. Maupin and Bernard Lanteri hired Cooke to fly the airplane that they had built. He made numerous flights in California during the years 1911 and 1912 in the plane, known as the Black Diamond, and won a $7,000 prize for flight endurance  at the Los Angeles International Air Meet held at Dominguez Field in January of 1912.  In the picture below, L.B. Maupin is the fourth man on the right, and he is standing beside W.B. Cooke.



Charles E. Frohman wrote in his book Sandusky’s Yesterdays (Ohio Historical Society, 1968), that at the end of 1912, Cooke moved to Sandusky so he could build planes. Soon he formed the Weldon B. Cooke Aeroplane Company, along with E.W. Roberts, Frank Frey, James Flynn, Sr. and James Flynn, Jr. The company used space within the Roberts Motor Company. Cooke wrote a testimonial which praised the Roberts Motor Company, in a 1912 issue of the journal Aero and Hydro.



Cooke was especially interested in building hydroplanes. Perhaps his best known hydroplane was the Irene. Weldon Cooke is seen below in front of the ship Irene which was being converted into a hydroplane. The hull had been constructed at the Davis Boat Works in Sandusky.



Ernst Niebergall took this picture of Weldon Cooke and his hydroplane in Sandusky Bay.




Unfortunately the Irene was not successful. Cooke left Sandusky in 1914, and he died in a plane crash in Pueblo, Colorado on September 6, 1914. 

You can read more about the Black Diamond, the plane flown by Cooke in 1911 and 1912, at the website of the Hiller Aviation Museum, where it is now on display. Several photographs of Weldon B. Cooke are housed at Lake Erie’s Yesterdays. (Search for Weldon Cooke in the search box at the bottom of the page.) Several early Ohio aviators, including Weldon B. Cooke,  are honored on this historic marker at Sandusky’s Battery Park.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Treasurer’s Book of the German American Brothers of Sandusky, Ohio


Donated by a member of the Armbruster family, the Treasurer’s Book from the German American Brothers of Sandusky, Ohio covers the years 1927 to 1942. (Due to the ongoing war in Europe, the organization stopped meeting in 1942.) The book contains a yearly listing of the names of members, as well as the amounts of dues that they paid. The original organization was known as the Plattdeutsch Verein, sometimes spelled Platduetscher Vereen.


The German American Brothers of Sandusky, Ohio was a group of men that were all from the Low German speaking area of Germany and neighboring countries. Frequently they had celebrations of dancing and drinking, which were sometimes held in the upper level of the I.O.O.F. (Odd Fellows) building in Sandusky. In the membership listing seen below are the names of Adolph and Martin Brodersen, who operated a grocery store at 1506 McDonough Street in the 1920s and 1930s.


The obituary of Carl Gast, whose name is also on the page above, stated that he had been a member of the German and American Brothers of Sandusky, Ohio. He also had been a member of Zion Lutheran Church, which had many members of German descent in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. You can see the name of Richard Lorenz on page 7 of the treasurer’s book, pictured below.



Eventually Richard changed his name to the Americanized version of his surname, Lawrence. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to browse through the Treasurer’s Book of the German American Brothers of Sandusky, Ohio. 

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Pictures of Mothers from the Archives

As we think about our mothers this weekend, here is a selection of images of mothers from the historical photograph collection of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. Below is a picture of Helen Wagner Frohman, the mother of local historian Charles E. Frohman, taken in the late nineteenth century.

        
Anna Hauser Lange was the mother of Dr. Norbert Lange, long time chemistry professor and one of the benefactors of the Lange Trust. The photograph was taken by the Lloyd Studio in Sandusky.

     

Pictured below is a portrait of Mary Ellen Johnston and her three children, about 1898. She was a librarian and educator, a graduate of Oberlin College and Kent State University.

          
 This charming vintage photo of a mother and toddler seated on a porch is a photographic print made from a glass negative. Unfortunately, the individuals have not been identified.    

       
Below is a photograph of Mrs. Louise Kuemmel at a work table in the former film department of the Sandusky Library. At one time the library had a collection of 16mm films. When patrons returned the films, Mrs. Kuemmel cleaned the film, so it would be ready for the next patron. The 16mm circulating film collection was popular with local teachers.



Mrs. Kuemmel’s daughter and granddaughter both had long careers in the Library field, following in her footsteps. The former film department was located in what now is the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Randall E. Schuck, Lumber Merchant and Banker


Randall E. Schuck, often known as R.E. Schuck, was born in Sandusky in 1843 to John and Louisa (Knerr) Shuck, who were natives of Germany. In 1863, he became the junior member of the lumber business Gilcher and Schuck.  In the picture below, you can read the name of the business on the building that once stood at the corner of Water and Jackson, which for a time had been the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad’s passenger depot.

         
For several years, Mr. Schuck served as president of the Third National Exchange Bank in Sandusky. He was married twice. His first wife, the former Rebecca Neil, died very young in 1869. She left behind a young son, John E. Schuck. In 1883, Mr. Schuck married Marie Landgraf. Mrs. Marie Schuck was on the Board of Trustees of the Sandusky Library from 1885 until 1910.

     
Randall E. Schuck was the namesake of the steamer R.E. Schuck, which was built at the Lorain plant of the American Shipbuilding Company in 1903, for the Gilchrist Transportation Company.



After having been ill for more than a year, Mr. Shuck died at his home in Sandusky on March 17, 1910. An article in the March 18, 1910 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that he had never been himself, after his only child John died in 1908. Funeral services were held at the family residence at 924 Washington Street. The offices Third National Exchange Bank and the Hinde and Dauch Company, in which R.E. Schuck had been a stock holder, were closed while the funeral took place. Burial was in the family lot at Oakland Cemetery. Sadly, Mrs. Marie Schuck passed away shortly after, in the fall of 1910. 

You can read much more about the background of the Schuck family in Sandusky Then and Now.    

Sunday, May 01, 2016

When Home Economics Classes Were Held at the Follett House


From the 1940s through the mid-1950s, Sandusky High School Home Economics classes were held at the Follett House. Janet Judson wrote this introduction to the April, 1939 issue of the Fram:

For Gracious Living
In illustrations and in text The Fram wishes to call attention with this number to another milestone in the history of our school. As keeper of the archives we are glad to present herewith a brief history of the Follett House. The purchase of this house by the Sandusky Board of Education may be regarded as the crowning achievement of Mr. F. J. Prout, as Superintendent of our public schools, before leaving us to assume his duties as President of Bowling Green University. The Follett House will offer the opportunity to all of us for practical experience in homemaking and broader social contacts. With our academic and industrial studies we shall now have a well rounded preparation for this important matter of living. We are very happy that this hospitable home has once again become a center of fellowship and gracious living.
The April, 1939 Fram featured an article entitled “The Throng in the House,” by Lois Zank and Florence Thayer. The students reported in their article that the Follett House had been purchased by the Sandusky Board of Education on March 1, 1939. While the most recent residents of the home had been members of the Krupp family, the builder of the house was Oran Follett.


The home was constructed of stone in the 1830s. The authors of the article which appeared in the Fram stated that the Follett House had “an air of mysterious interest” with its ivied walls, high steps, and deep-set windows. Mr. Follett’s library once had books that lined the walls all the way to the ceiling. Mrs. Follett was known as “the original hostess.” It seemed most appropriate that the home again will be used as a social center for the Home Economics students.  Today the Follett House is a museum that is open to the public from April through December. Admission is free, and visitors are invited to tour the home which features hundreds of historical artifacts from Sandusky and Erie County. 

Visit the Sandusky Library Research Center to view the April, 1939 issue of the Fram, to read this article in its entirety. Pictured below are students of Home Economics sitting around a fireplace at the Follett House.

               

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Cartes de Visite of Tom Thumb and Company


Mrs. Inez Koch donated several cartes de visite of Tom Thumb, his wife, and others who appeared with him in the 1800s, to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.  The picture above was originally sold by John W. Pittock of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Tom Thumb’s real name was Charles Sherwood Stratton. He was born to normal size parents, but as a youngster he stopped growing. In 1842, under the management of the famous theatrical promoter P.T. Barnum (a distant relative), he began a show business career as “Tom Thumb.” In 1863 Charles Sherwood Stratton married Lavinia Warren, who was also of short stature; the wedding was a major news story of the time. On their wedding trip, the couple met President Lincoln.


Between 1869 and 1872 George Washington Morrison Nutt, known as “Commodore Nutt” toured the world with Mr. and Mrs. Tom Thumb and Minnie Warren, the sister of “Mrs. Tom Thumb.”



Hewson Peeke wrote in his book A Standard History of Erie County that General Tom Thumb appeared at Norman Hall in Sandusky on April 27, 1869. When the General and his “troop of little folks” appeared in Cleveland in May of 1868, the Plain Dealer reported that Commodore Nutt was “the life of the whole party.” The article continued, “There is more fun and mischief in his little body than is usually allotted to a whole family.”  Mr. and Mrs. Tom Thumb and Commodore Nutt and Minnie Warren achieved fame and financial success in their interesting career.