Friday, May 30, 2008

Promising Young Men of Sandusky

The eight young men pictured below were photographed in 1861. While the exact reason for the photo is not known, the men may be members of a literary club or a church youth group.
Jay Smith, J. Edward Mathews, Harper Austin, and Charles B. Dennis all served in the 101st Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. Frank Pierce worked Sandusky in the hardware business before moving to Cincinnati. C. M. Thorpe was engaged in the coal business in Sandusky and Detroit. Henry C. Huntington was a successful local businessman in several ventures, and was president of the Men’s Literary Society. Charles E. Bouton became Mayor of Sandusky in April 1895.
All of these young men served their country and community well. The photograph above captures them in the innocence of youth before they had to face the responsibilities of work, warfare, and civic duty.

If you have historical photos of Erie County residents, consider donating them to the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Musicians in Sandusky

Music has been an important part of society throughout history. From lullabies, to work songs, to patriotic anthems and funeral hymns, music is associated with major milestones of an individual’s or a family’s life experiences. Before the time of television and radio, families would often enjoy songs together in the evening. Virtually all movies, plays, and television programs utilize some form of music to convey a message.

In Sandusky music has been performed by many community and school bands and orchestras. Musical performances at public events were common. Organized singing groups were very popular with the German immigrants. Additionally, the first known band in Sandusky was the Jaeger Band, comprised mainly of German immigrants (seen here circa 1851). A variety of bands appeared at Cedar Point throughout the years, including that of John Philip Sousa. When local piano teachers had recitals, the newspaper listed the names of the students as well as the pieces each student played.
Aimee Quinn is pictured with her violin in 1897. She later taught music along with her sister Jean in New York City. Aimee’s father was grocer in Sandusky.
Reber Johnson was a child prodigy. He is seen here at the age of 6 with his instructor William F. Peters. Reber Johnson taught music at Oberlin College for thirty years. He was the grandson of Leonard Johnson, who owned Johnson’s Island at one time. Reber Johnson’s aunt, Sallie Reber, was a well-known popular singer.

The Sandusky High School Orchestra of 1904 is pictured below:

Visit the Sandusky Library’s Archives Research Center to learn more about the music and musicians of Erie County.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Western Liberties

The “Western Liberties” was a section of lots in Erie County west of and adjoining the Sandusky tract (the original section of the city, what is now the downtown area), created in 1836. Mills Street was the western boundary of the Western Liberties and Camp Street was the eastern boundary. The Mad River and Lake Railroad’s engine house and shops were located in the northern section of the Western Liberties. It is not clear why this region was called the Western Liberties, but a possibility is that it was adapted from the name used by William Penn for land outside of the city of Philadelphia. (Certain tracts of land were called "the liberty land or free lots," because these lots were given free of charge to first purchasers of land in the colony. Whether this policy was followed in the Sandusky Liberties is unknown.) At the time of its creation, the Western Liberties were at the western edge of the city.

Early settlers in this portion of the city were predominantly immigrants, particularly Germans and Irish. The lots and houses were generally smaller than in other parts of the city, and thus more likely to attract those making a new beginning in a new land. An 1855 article in the Daily Commercial Register described the region as a "busy, thriving town, composed chiefly of a foreign population," and predicted continued growth from German and Irish immigration.

The first Catholic Church in Sandusky, Holy Angels Church, was established in the Western Liberties, drawing many of its parishioners from this immigrant population. Father Joseph Machebeuf (who was the inspiration for the title character in the Willa Cather novel, Death Comes for the Archbishop) was the priest when the first church building was completed in 1845. The Catholic cemeteries of Sandusky, at Mills and Seneca Streets, are near the southern boundary of the Western Liberties.

During the cholera epidemic of 1849, the August 3, 1849 issue of the Daily Sanduskian reported that a temporary orphan asylum was established in a frame cottage in the Western Liberties, near the Catholic Church. Contributions of money, bedding, and provisions were accepted by John M. Brown, F.M. Follett, F.T. Barney, Rev. Goesbriard, and David Souter.

By the 1890s August and Jacob Kuebeler had established the Kuebeler Brewing Company on Tiffin Avenue. Though the brewery is no longer in existence, the former home of August Kuebeler is still standing at 1319 Tiffin Avenue, located directly across the street from the spot where the brewery once stood. (A similar house, owned by his brother Jacob Kuebeler, was across the street.)
Two historical atlases of Erie County are housed in the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library, dating from 1874 and 1896. By browsing through these atlases, you can see how drastically Erie County has changed though time. Churches, businesses, government offices, and information about early area residents are all documented in the Erie County historical atlases.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Program Announcement: Strangers in Our Bay (Brown-Bag Series)

Bring your lunch and join us in the Library Program Room (Terrace Level) as we explore topics in local history. Our next Brown Bag Lunch will be held on Wednesday, May 21, from 12:00-1:00 p.m. The topic will be “Strangers in our Bay.” Neil Allen, Director of the Maritime Museum of Sandusky, will talk about the many ships who temporarily called Sandusky Bay home.

Registration is requested. To register, call 419-625-3834 and press 0 to speak with a switchboard operator (9-5, Monday-Friday) or press Option 6 to leave a message.

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For further information, please contact:

Maggie Marconi, Museum Curator
Sandusky Library

Monday, May 12, 2008

International Museum Day: Saturday, May 17

International Museum Day is Saturday, May 17, 2008 and nine local organizations are working together to mark the occasion. Sponsored by The Sandusky/Erie County Community Foundation, the Edison Birthplace, Eleutheros Cooke House, Erie County Historical Society, Follett House Museum, Maritime Museum of Sandusky, Merry-Go-Round Museum, Milan Historical Museum, Ohio Veterans Home Museum, and Sandusky Underground Railroad Education Center will celebrate from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and offer free admission, along with arts, crafts, and activities at each museum. For your convenience, the Sandusky Trolley will run between the four downtown Sandusky museums from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Hours for the event are 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You can visit any or all of the museums in any order.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Sandusky High School Class of 1913

Philip Weisberg is pictured below. Mr. Weisberg graduated from Sandusky High School
in 1913. He was an avid patron of the arts. Today, in the library, you will find his collection of art books, which he donated to the Sandusky Library. The Weisberg collection is shelved in the Lower Level of the library.

Two classmates of Philip Weisberg became authors. Corydon W. Bell authored several books, including The Wonder of Snow, Thunderstorm, and The Riddle of Time. In 1937 Emeline Baumeister was the co-author of a fourth grade reader entitled The King's Drum. A copy of this book is located in the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library.

In 1916 three members of the Sandusky High School class of 1913 were attending the University of Michigan.
In this picture of the Sandusky Club at the University of Michigan, circa 1916, Philip Weisberg is number 8; Wilbur Schoepfle is number 10; and Elmer Wirth is number 13. (Norbert Lange, who translated Sandusky Then and Now is number 15.)

In the early 1950’s the Class of 1913 had a reunion at Cedar Point. Pictured below are three members of the class, identified only by their first names: Gertrude, Verna, and Miriam, with their former teacher Miss Taylor.
The Sandusky High School Alumni Directory lists the maiden names of these 1913 graduates as: Gertrude Sartoris, Verna Payne, and Miriam Fitz.