Pictured below is a portion of Washington Row around 1906. The Odd Fellows Hall was built in 1889, by members of Ogontz Lodge No. 66. Like other lodge halls of this era
the Lodge met upstairs, and businesses rented space on the ground floor. John J. Marquart’s Undertaking Business is seen at the left of the photograph. George J. Doerzbach and John F. Renner were dealers in Pianos, Organs, and Musical Merchandise. Each gentleman’s name was featured above separate windows.
To the east of Renner & Doerzbach, was the Central Union Telephone Company. A small bell is barely visible in the lower left window. The telephone company building had previously been the home of Lucas Beecher, a well known lawyer and abolitionist. This building has been identified as a station on the Underground Railroad. A “hair dressing parlor” was in operation on the floor level of the Sloane Hotel, immediately to the east of the telephone company.
Below is a page from the Sanborn Fire Maps containing the Washington Row block between Jackson Street and Columbus Avenue.
By gathering information from the Sanborn Maps, city directories, and local history books of the area, we can learn more about everyday life at the turn of the century in Sandusky, Ohio. The telephone was a relatively new device. Transportation modes included bicycles and the horse and buggy. The store selling pianos and organs lets us know that music was of cultural significance to community residents. A large hotel indicates that the city of Sandusky was frequented by out of town visitors.
Visit the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library to learn more about the people and businesses of Erie County. The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and Heritage Quest are two of the Research Databases which are accessible from home through the Ohio Public Library Information Network.