Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Here is a picture from the library's photographic collections of the Cedar Point boat landing, circa 1900 (when virtually everybody who went to Cedar Point arrived by boat).Yes, believe it or not, those people in suits and floor-length dresses are going to the beach and the amusement park. (You always dressed up in those days.) But you'll notice that the dock itself isn't very "dressed up" -- you see the spare lumber and debris and the nearly-bare ground next to the boardwalk. Not very attractive; certainly not a scene you would want to put in a tourist guide.
But there is a solution to every problem. . . . In 1903 there was published a book, titled simply What, that was intended as a souvenir and promotional guide to the Sandusky area. It showed scenes of local interest, including, of course, Cedar Point. Here is a view from the book of the same photograph above, but with a little bit of editing:Notice the difference? The publisher decided to beautify the dock by adding some flower beds and making the grass a little fuller. Unfortunately, they had to do it with a little bit of paint and creativity. Looks realistic, doesn't it? (Well, maybe not.)
Sunday, July 20, 2008
“My First Dollar: How I Earned It” was title of a column by F. Holt for the Sandusky Star Journal in 1921.
Sheriff John B. Taylor, pictured above, went to work at a Sandusky wheel company at the age of 13, where he received payment of forty cents a day. Most of his money went to help support his mother and the rest of the Taylor family. Sheriff Taylor later introduced the science of fingerprinting to Erie County.
John Himmelein was Mayor of Sandusky in 1921 and owned three theaters. He told Mr. Holt that his first job was washing bottles for the Kelleys Island Wine Company. He spent his first dollar at the county fair. F. Holt reports “Probably it was the thrills he experienced in every show on the fair grounds that put the show business bug in his ear…”
G.A. Boeckling, who managed Cedar Point in the twenties, said his first dollar was earned in Michigan City, Indiana, where he was the bookkeeper and janitor of a dry goods store. Boeckling said that “the proudest moment of his life” came when he bought Mother Boeckling a kerosene lamp with the first money he ever earned.
You can read many more human interest stories about Sandusky residents at the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library, which houses several decades of Sandusky newspapers on microfilm.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
The New York Times carried an article about Kurt Aram’s visit to the United States. The editors of Die Gartenlaube pondered how German immigrants could manage to live in the United States of America without knowing the language and having very little money. They decided to fund a project in which Kurt Aram, a German writer, would go to America with only twenty five dollars, and then report to the editors about his experiences in the new land. Mr. Aram told how he found food and lodging, obtained employment, and even managed to find a German restaurant that served authentic German beer and sauerbraten. For a book which gives a thorough look at Die Gartenlaube from 1853 – 1900, read Kirsten Belgum’s Popularizing the Nation, available for loan through ClevNet.
Christian Stubig was born in Nassau, Germany in 1835, and came to the U.S. in 1861, settling in Sandusky. (He is probably the man standing at the back of the group of men in this photo; the photo was taken in Nauheim, Germany, at a reunion of schoolmates in 1900.) He had a shoe business which was later carried on by his son William. Another son, Carl Stubig, had a local newspaper in Sandusky from 1914 through 1918, and was active in local politics. Christian Stubig served as a guard at Johnson’s Island during the Civil War and later re-enlisted in the 5th Regiment, U.S. Veteran Volunteer Infantry. An obituary honoring Christian Stubig in the Sandusky Register, July 20, 1904 stated that “Sandusky loses a prominent citizen.” Christian Stubig became fully involved in every aspect of American life, but he also remained in touch with his family members who remained in Germany. The Stubig Family Collection contains several letters to the Stubig family, as well as financial documents, postcards, and business and legal papers.
Here is a photograph of the Stubig Shoe Store located at 754 Water Street around 1904.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Subscribers paid three dollars a year to belong to the Cosmopolitan Art Association. For this fee, they received an annual periodical subscription or an engraving, as well as a ticket for a chance to win a work of art in a lottery held each year.
At the end of its first year of operation, the Association had 22,418 subscribers, and had distributed over one hundred works of art. In 1855 the grand prize was a sculpture entitled “Greek Slave” by Hiram Powers. Mrs. Kate Gillespie of Brady’s Bend, Pennsylvania, was the winner of this sculpture. (Later, after touring the country with the sculpture, Mrs. Gillespie sold the it back to the Cosmopolitan Art Association.) The Association printed a list of the winners and their prizes in the local newspaper, as well as its own publications.
The third annual art drawing was held at Sandusky’s Norman Hall on January 28, 1857. The Honorable Eleutheros Cooke, then president of the Association, gave an opening address. Next, a poem by Metta Victor was read. The annual address was given by Ralph Waldo Emerson. His theme was “Beauty.” The Sandusky Daily Commercial Register had this statement about Emerson’s visit to Sandusky: “The undoubted and superior attainments of Mr. Emerson as a scholar and lecturer, is a sufficient guarantee of the rich intellectual treat which my expected, and the procurement of such an accomplished gentleman to pronounce the Annual Address is a strong testimonial of the high aim and objects of the enterprise.”
Eventually the Cosmopolitan Art Association moved its office to New York. By August, 1861, a local news article in the Sandusky Daily Commercial Register read “The Cosmopolitan Art Association in New York has been obliged to suspend its operations and discontinue its journal.”
A paper, titled A Study of the Cosmopolitan Art Association, 1854-1861, by Doris Preis Rubinow is available at the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library. There are also several articles and other primary sources related to the Cosmopolitan Art Association in the historical files.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
The Trojan Powder Company, the operating contractor of the factory, published a weekly newspaper for its employees. The PBOW News ran between July 1942 and August 1945, keeping readers abreast of the company’s most recent activities, like company softball and bowling stats, war progress, and production details.
But the paper’s pages provide more information than company endeavors. Attempting to keep its employees entertained, PBOW News editors filled out weekly issues with all sorts of cartoons. A look at these toons offers some insight into the attitudes and outlooks of Sandusky factory workers during wartime. The scope of these comics ranged from job safety to social commentary to mindless entertainment, all with an amusing edge. Editors arranged the cartoons alongside grim World War II news, demonstrating that a sense of levity was sometimes a necessary accompaniment to the serious nature of war.
Some of these strips come with messages to the workers. . .
Did people in the 1940s actually find these strips funny? Perhaps not. After all, how many of us split sides over Non Sequitur?
Now this one is funny, although probably not intentionally so.
After the war’s end, the facility sat idle. The U.S. Army decontaminated and decommissioned the buildings and structures associated with manufacturing the explosives. With the close of the munitions factory came an end to the company newspaper. Those interested the history of the facility can visit the Sandusky Library Archives and browse through the records. Past issues of the PBOW News comprise the bulk of the Library’s Plum Brook Ordnance Works Collection.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Visitors to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center in recent months may have noticed new map cabinets at the far end of the reading room. These cabinets, along with environmental monitoring devices (for temperature, humidity, and water leaks) for the archives storage room, were purchased with funds from a Preservation Assistance Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.