An incorporated community called “Homeville” sprung up in the late 1800’s near the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Home, now the Ohio Veterans Home. The area is located between Woodlawn Avenue and the Veterans Home, and is bordered by Columbus Avenue and Milan Road. Many streets were named for military leaders, such as Generals Grant, John Beatty, and Manning Force. Paxton and Dill Avenues were named after Thomas Paxton and Thomas Dill, both members of the first Board of Trustees of the Soldiers Home.
August Speir had a store on Dewitt Avenue in 1900, pictured below.
Later the Homeville Big Store was located at 113 and 115 Dewitt Avenue. It was owned and operated by Otto Luedtke in the 1920’s and 1930’s, and featured a barber shop in the rear of the building. The Scheid family operated a store and rooming house in Homeville in the 1920’s.
In 1916 Rev. Edward Burton and his wife Caroline began having church services at the Homeville Union Gospel Mission. The Sandusky Star Journal of January 6, 1917 reported on the new mission. There was to be Bible class, catechism, and Charley Tyree would provide mandolin music. After Rev. and Mrs. Burton died, there was a Pentecostal Mission in Homeville.
The local newspapers frequently ran articles about events in Homeville, usually in the same column as news of the Veterans Home. There was news about weddings, funerals, and social affairs. On January 15, 1901, the Sandusky Daily Star had a story about a medium who conducted seances. There were frequent articles about new homes and businesses, and the population increasing. A 1919 article stated that the residents of Force and Dill Avenues in Homeville “will soon be putting on city airs as wires are now being strung in those avenues by the Sandusky Superior Electric Company.”
By the 1920’s and 1930’s a large percentage of the population of Homeville was African American. Other areas of Sandusky where African Americans settled were Searsville, in Perkins Township, as well as a section of town from Hayes Avenue to Camp Street, known as the “South Side.” The February 8, 1998 issue of the Sandusky Register ran a feature article about Searsville, which was named for Rev. Sears, a minister who lived at Carbon Avenue, and lived to be a reported 102 years of age, after having been born into slavery in 1854. Rev. Silas Sears died in 1956, and you can read his obituary in the August 21, 1956 issue of the Register Star News.
Sandusky is rich in its history, and can truly be considered the proverbial “Melting Pot.” Visit the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library to learn more about Sandusky and the wide variety of individuals who have made Sandusky their home.