Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays


We are on hiatus during the library's shutdown. Have happy holidays -- Merry Christmas, Happy New Year. See you next year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sandusky Library Christmas Decorations in 1948

While we do not know who created the decorations, the photographs below picture holiday decorations from the Children’s Department of the Sandusky Library in December, 1948. A snow person and reindeer are found in the windows facing east onto the corner of Adams Street and Columbus Avenue.


The trio of bells decorates a window which faces north towards downtown Sandusky.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The “Tourist” Gets Trapped in an Ice Floe


On December 20, 1929, the Tourist, a 78-foot steel boat powered by oil engines, got stuck in an ice floe, shortly after leaving the dock from Sandusky. A sudden northeastern storm contributed to the hazardous situation. The boat was carrying several residents of Kelleys Island, many of whom had come to the mainland to do Christmas shopping. The steamer Messenger and the tug Gillan were unable to free the Tourist from the ice. Captain John Gilbert ordered all aboard to walk on the ice from the trapped boat to the Messenger. Many of the passengers had several packages to carry with them on the ice, in the cold and windy weather. All but three of the boat’s passengers made their way to the Messenger, and then to Sandusky.

A front page article in the December 20, 1929 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that Mrs. Charles Martin had to carry her ten week old infant in her arms across the ice, while her husband wheeled the baby carriage. Mr. Martin said, “Wheeling that baby carriage across the ice was worse than being without a cigarette and having to walk a mile.” Mr. and Mrs. Martin and baby Elaine spent the night at the Hotel Rieger. Mr. and Mrs. Walter Elfers also had an infant to carry across the ice. The Register reported that the most unfortunate person on the boat was Mrs. Paul Nemethy of Kelleys Island. Mrs. Nemethy had just had six teeth pulled, and it was terrifying for her to think of spending the night on a boat in the bitter cold.

On Sunday, December 22, two airplanes took the stranded Kelleys Islanders back home. Arrangements were handled by the Parker Airport, and the pilots were Milton Hersberger and Joe Esch. The Kelleys Island landing field was blocked with snow, and a crew of island residents worked frantically to get it cleared. It took several flights to deliver the passengers and freight. The bulk of the freight was merchandise for Charles Martin’s store. Four school teachers and three others were transported from Kelleys Island back to Sandusky. The December 22, 1929 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that both Hersberger and Esch were highly complimented on their ability in handling the planes.

Visit the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library to read more about the “Tourist” being trapped in the ice in 1929 on microfilmed copies of the Sandusky Register. To learn about the vessels of the Great Lakes, see B.G.S.U.’s Historical Collections of the Great Lakes website.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sunyendeand Club


During March 1890, a group of Sandusky men met to discuss establishing a club “of social character for gentlemen.” The second meeting was held March 29, 1890, and the club was officially formed. The club’s objective was to “promote social intercourse among its members, and to provide them with the convenience of a Club House.” Thomas M. Sloane was elected chairman. The men leased club rooms in the Masonic Temple, on Wayne Street at the corner of East Washington Street.

The club’s name was chosen based on accounts that Sunyendeand was the name given to the first settlement on the site of present-day Sandusky. According to Colonel James Smith’s description of his captivity by Native Americans, he visited a Wyandot village and French trading post between 1756 and 1758. Smith indicated this area was referred to as Sunyendeand. The men’s club wished to carry on the historical name.

Membership was limited to males, 21 years of age or older, residing in Sandusky or within two miles of the city. Perspective members were elected by club members and owned one share of stock (no member owned more than one share). Non-residents of Sandusky could become members but could not be stockholders or voting members of the club. Some well-known club members included G. A. Boeckling, W. A. Bishop, T. Pitt Cooke, and members of the Sloane family.


In 1910, the club needed a larger club house, so property on the corner of Wayne and Jefferson streets was purchased, remodeled, and furnished. The new house provided dining rooms, bedrooms, writing rooms, a billiard room, and meeting areas. It was designed to meet the needs of business men. The club house was open daily from 7 a.m. to midnight and from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays. Visitors could be invited into the club house, but residents of Sandusky who were not members of the club were not permitted to use the club rooms. Because it was a social club, an Entertainment Committee was responsible for various activities including lectures, music, and family events. “Smokers” were also a part of the club’s activities and involved speakers.

Although it is not clear exactly when the club disbanded, it was probably around 1930, as the last Sunyendeand document in the library's collection is dated from that time. The club had voted to dissolve in 1924, but this vote was rescinded after a group of members voted to purchase the club property and continue operation.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

“Bells of Victory” Temperance Songs


The Good Templars had a lodge in Bloomingville, Ohio in the late 1800’s. The International Organisation of Good Templars was founded in the nineteenth century as a fraternal organization which promoted temperance. The Bloomingville Lodge was Number 156.

The Sandusky Register reported on December 11, 1894 that the Good Templars of Bloomingville were to hold a “Conundrum Supper” on December 13. A prize was to be awarded to the person who gave the correct answers to three conundrums.

“Bells of Victory” was a songbook written by J. H. Tenney and E. A. Hoffman. Here is a song from the “Bells of Victory” songbook:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Judge Thomas M. Sloane


Thomas Morrison Sloane was the son of Rush R. Sloane and his wife, the former Sarah E. Morrison, born in Sandusky on July 28, 1854. He graduated from Harvard University in 1877. After he studied law with Homer and L. H. Goodwin, he entered law school at the University and Michigan, where he received his law degree in 1880. He was associated for a time with Judge E. B. King. On June 22, 1881, Thomas M. Sloane married Sarah Maria Carswell Cooke, the daughter of Pitt Cooke, and his wife, the former Mary E. Townsend. Sarah Cooke was a granddaughter of Eleutheros Cooke, the first lawyer in Sandusky, and a niece of Jay Cooke, the Civil War financier. Mrs. Thomas M. Sloane is pictured below with sons Rush Sloane and Thomas M. Sloane, Jr. about 1893.


Judge and Mrs. Thomas M. Sloane and their family lived at the lovely home located at what is now 1415 Columbus Avenue. The home was originally built for Eleutheros Cooke in 1843-1844, and stood at the northwest corner of Columbus Avenue and Washington Row. Rush Sloane acquired the house in the late 1870’s, and he had the house taken down, and rebuilt at 1415 Columbus Avenue. It was given to Thomas and Sarah Sloane as a wedding gift. Pictured below is the Sloane’s home on Columbus Avenue, which is now known as the Cooke House.

In 1905, Thomas M. Sloane was elected Judge of Erie County Probate Court, and he was re-elected to this position twice. Judge Sloane was also very active in the civic affairs of Sandusky and Erie County. He served on City Council, the Sandusky Board of Education, the Board of Trade, Businessmen’s Association, and he was secretary-treasurer of the Good Samaritan Hospital. Mr. Sloane was instrumental in the organization of the Sunyendeand Club and was a member and past president of the Men’s Literary Club. Judge Sloane was also a leading layman in the Protestant Episcopal Church of Northern Ohio, and was Adjutant General of the Sixteenth Regiment of the Ohio National Guard for several years.

Thomas Morrison Sloane died on March 23, 1920, after a lingering illness. He was only 65 years of age at the time of his death. Funeral services were held at Grace Episcopal Church, and burial at Oakland Cemetery. Articles about the death of Judge Sloane were carried in the Sandusky Register and the Sandusky Star Journal on March 23, 1920. A tribute from the Erie County Bar Association was published in the March 28 issue of the Sandusky Register. The Register article stated that Judge Sloane was a man show life “was devoted entirely to the service of others…..He won many honors and distinctions but instead of making him boastful and proud, the noble humility with which he bore them but enhanced their value in the eyes of others upon who they were conferred.”

The tribute from the Bar Association concluded with these words: “So has passed from the ranks of our profession this whole souled, genial and pure minded member of our profession. These few words fall far short of enumerating his many excellencies, but after all his best epitaph is the love and respect his numberless friends and relatives.”

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Wendt's Economy Grocery

From about 1916 through 1919, Ervin H. Wendt ran a grocery at the corner of Market and Wayne Streets. The store sold groceries and also featured a delicatessen. Trucks bearing the Wendt’s name made deliveries to Sandusky customers.

In the 1916-1917 Sandusky City Directory, Ervin Wendt’s listing reads “The Economy Grocer.”

An ad in the June 1, 1917 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal stated that Wendt’s Economy Store could save customers enough money that they could that subscribe to the Liberty Loan, since Wendt’s store could save them the dollar per week fee.

The March 19, 1917 Sandusky Star Journal reported that Mr. Wendt owed his success to “perfect sanitation, courteous treatment, cash selling, and the handling of a distinct line of specialties…” In 1917, the Wendt grocery store employed four salesmen, a telephone operator and an adequate delivery force.

The Wendt store ceased operations in 1919, and Ervin Wendt moved to Cleveland, where he managed another grocery store. He was associated with Fisher Foods for thirty five years. Ervin and his wife retired in Pompano Beach, Florida.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Solution to Mystery Photos

Here is a picture of the Campbell School as it looked around 1894:


Here is a view of the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Home (now the Ohio Veterans Home) administration building, around the same time:

And here is Sandusky High School as it looked around 1894:



Which just goes to show -- don't always trust what you read in print!

P.S. -- Here is the Erie County Courthouse around 1895:

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Mystery Photos: What's Wrong With This Picture?

A publication called "Royal Blue Line": A Descriptive Souvenir of the Columbus, Sandusky, and Hocking Railway (The Sandusky Division), was produced in 1894 to promote the attractions and major businesses in the cities along this rail line. There was a substantial chapter on Sandusky, which included images of many local scenes. Here is a page from that chapter:


Do you notice anything wrong with this page? Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments.

Here is an unrelated bit of trivia from the same publication, from the chapter on Marion, Ohio. Do you notice anything interesting about this?



Thursday, December 03, 2009

1818 Sampler by Rachel Powel


Rachel Powel stitched this sampler in December of 1818, in Presteigne, a town in Wales, near the English border. It was passed down to her daughter and granddaughter.


After Ruby Diggins Schnell passed away, this sampler was given to the historical collections of the Sandusky Library and The Follett House Museum.
Rachel Powel (sometimes spelled Powell) was born in the United Kingdom in 1806. According to Hewson Peeke’s Standard History of Erie County, Rachel Powell married William Bedford in England. They emigrated to the United States of America, and shortly after arriving, Mr. Bedford died. Rachel married William M. Harris in 1832. They had a family of several children, and settled in the southwest section of Huron Township of Erie County. Mrs. Rachel M. Harris is buried at Scott Cemetery, her headstone listing her date of death as Oct. 31, 1881.
One of the children of William and Rachel Harris was Mary M. Harris, who was born in Huron Township in 1844 on the old homestead. Mary Harris married Joy Diggins in 1883. (Joy Diggins is the actual subject of Mr. Peeke’s biographical sketch, mentioned previously.) Ruby Beatrice Diggins was born to Joy and Mary Harris Diggins in 1885.

She married Lewis Schnell, and passed away on January 16, 1970. Thanks to the faithfulness of Ruby and her mother Mary in preserving this family heirloom, we can still appreciate a lovely piece of stitchery which was created over one hundred ninety years ago.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Many Talents of Winifred Waye

The book Artists in Ohio lists Winifred Waye as a painter, musician, and newspaper woman, active in Sandusky at the turn of the twentieth century. Winfred Lee Waye was born in March 1874 to Dr. and Mrs. Edgar Waye. Dr. Waye was a dentist in Sandusky. In the 1900 U.S. Census, Winifred states her occupation as an artist, and her sister Adelaide was listed as a musical student. This drawing was created by Winifred L. Waye in 1899 when she was a student in the Sandusky Public Schools.



Winifred Waye was on staff at the Sandusky Star Journal for a number of years. She wrote a widely read column for the newspaper under the name “Mollie Lee.” The column appeared on the Women’s Page of the paper, and was also syndicated to magazines. An article in the January 25, 1916 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal was entitled: “Don’t Always Say What You Think, For It’s Embarrassing; Tact a Very Necessary Quality.” A column which appeared in September of the same year suggested that two families cannot live in the same house if the bride or her mother-in-law become too critical. The article below by Mollie Lee discusses Mothers’ Sunday:


After working for several years as a newspaper woman, Winifred Waye left journalism to become superintendent of the Associated Charities. She also served as the organist for several area churches, and took a deep interest in working with the blind. Teaching citizenship classes was another one of her many community contributions. Miss Winifred Waye passed away on September 16, 1943. Her obituary is found in the 1943 Obituary Notebook at the Sandusky Library. An excerpt from her obituary reads: “All her life Miss Waye has been a charity worker and no one perhaps is better informed as to who are the truly needy and why they are in need, for she has practically made charity work the study of a lifetime.” At the time of her death, Winifred Waye had no immediate family members still living. She was buried at Oakland Cemetery. Visit the Follett House Museum to view two pieces of art created by Winifred Waye. One is a painting of a floral arrangement, and the other is an illustrated Family Tree done in needlework.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend Snowstorm in 1958


Bob Frank took this photograph in November, 1958 in downtown Sandusky. Columbus Avenue businesses in the picture include: LaSalle’s, Marsh Shoes, J.C. Penney, Gray Drugs, Holzaepfel Brothers, and Burns & Gove Jewelers.

The November 29, 1958 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that a major snowstorm paralyzed traffic throughout the Midwest, and knocked out power lines in three states. Gale force winds downed trees and power lines, and at least 226 individuals had been killed throughout the United States since the beginning of the holiday weekend, which had begun the previous Wednesday. Snow began falling early Friday morning, and continued for twenty-four hours.

Former longtime Hinde and Dauch Paper Co. employee, Roland Sloat, suffered a fatal heart attack after shoveling snow. The Bay Bridge post of Ohio State Patrol reported six accidents on Erie County highways on Friday night, with three of them resulting in injuries. Columbus, Ohio police said that minor accidents were being reported every six minutes.

Below is another photograph of Sandusky during the 1958 snowstorm, taken by Bob Frank. Mr. Frank was looking south from West Adams Street. The office of Dr. J. D. Parker is seen just east of the Erie County jail. Both these properties are now part of the Sandusky Library.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lumber Industry in Sandusky

Lumberyard employees are pictured below on a sled. While we do not know the name of the Sandusky business which employed them, the men have been identified as: Joe Nubus, John Good, Gus Boeckling, Frank Ritter, Frank Boslough, Bert Cassidy, Julius Biglin, George Baumeister, William Voreck, George Laepply, H. Van Barge, Fred Wresser, Julius Broen, Ed Hall, Karl Obececa, Karl Oberer, George Mischler, Charles Arndt, William Bahnsen, and Peter Bahnsen.

Henry Howe wrote in his 1907 edition of Historical Collections of Ohio that four things come to mind in connection with Sandusky, Ohio: lumber, fish, lime and grapes. As early as 1840, there was a lumber yard in Sandusky. G. G. Nichols’ Sandusky of To-Day, published in 1888, gave the name of Conklin as the first person to run a lumber yard in Sandusky. It was located at the corner of Jackson and Water Streets. Mr. Conklin received his lumber from Port Huron, Michigan by ship. Most of the lumber handled in Sandusky was Michigan pine, which was sent by water from Saginaw, Alpena, Cheboygan and Oscoda. Once in Sandusky, it was processed, and then left by ships in the early years, and later was shipped via the railroad.

The Hubbard family had an interest in lumber in Sandusky for many years. In the early 1840’s, Hubbard & Co. bought out Tucker & Daniels. Later, the business was known as Hubbard & Lester, and by 1888 was known as R. B. Hubbard & Son. The Hubbard planning mill was on the corner of Water and Fulton Streets, and the office was at 903 Water Street. The Hubbard yards covered three acres of ground.

Sandusky of To-Day featured the businesses of R. B. Hubbard & Son, J. T. Johnson & Co., Hawes & Williams’ Lumber Yard, Schoepfle & Sloane, and G. W. Icsman’s Lumber Yard. Mr. Icsman secured oak from Erie, Sandusky, and Ottawa Counties, while obtaining his pine from Black River, Michigan. Gilcher & Schuck was another major lumber business in Sandusky.

A view of the Sandusky’s “Lumber District” is seen on this post card.

Harriet Taylor Upton wrote in her book History of the Western Reserve, that “During the open season of lake navigation Sandusky harbor is crowded with great vessels heavily laden with lumber… From it is made furniture, sashes, doors, blinds and various ornaments for the exterior of buildings. A large number of woodworkers in Sandusky are also engaged in the manufacture of casks, barrels, and other packages required by brewers and wine merchants.”

Sandusky declined as a major city for lumber trade as the number of railroads increased. With more rail travel, lumber could be transported from a variety of locations.


Visit the Archives Research Center to learn more about Sandusky’s businesses, both past and present.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Wilcox Company

Pictured below is the R.M. and C.B. Wilcox Company in the first part of the twentieth century.


The Wilcox Company was located in the 100 block of the west side of Columbus Avenue in Sandusky from 1886 until it closed in December of 1929. The store was a dry goods and department store, and it was known for selling carpets. (It was incorporated in 1902.) A newspaper ad in 1911 indicates that the Wilcox Company also cleaned carpets and rugs. They utilized a “sanitary system” of cleaning carpets.

Here is an advertisement from the 1924 Fram:

The December 28, 1929 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that the Wilcox store had been continuously operated by one family for more than eighty one years, and was considered Sandusky’s oldest mercantile establishment. In the first days of operation, the store was called Hubbard and Wilcox. Later it became March and Wilcox. The third name of the business was E. H. and R. M. Wilcox. (Edward Harmon and Rollin M. Wilcox were brothers.) After the death of Edward H. Wilcox in 1886 his son C. B. Wilcox entered the firm, and the firm became known as the R. M. & C. B. Wilcox Company. After the death of R. M. Wilcox, his son Merritt S. Wilcox began working for the company. The Register article stated that, “The Wilcox store was always noted throughout the Sandusky retail section as an establishment handling quality goods.” The store closed its doors permanently at 9 p.m. on Saturday, December 28, 1929.

(The Wilcox Store near the end of its existence.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

1938 Map of Sandusky created by Sandusky High School Art Students

Miss Marian Yocum's art students at Sandusky High School created a map of Sandusky in 1938. The student artists were: Warren Diebold, Velma Giusti, Mary Hazen, Anita Holland, Allen Kubach, Betty Kneisel, Martha Luscombe, Richard Morey, June Zeiher, George Neese, Richard Oswald, Jean Perry, Marilyn Renner, Yvonne Shimansky, John Shaw, Betty Till, and Joyce White.



In the Sandusky Bay portion of the map, students created drawings of fishermen, swimmers, and boats, including the G.A. Boeckling, which ferried hundreds of tourists to Cedar Point during the summer months. In 1938 the Erie County Fairgrounds and dog pound were located off Perkins Avenue, between Putnam and Camp Streets. The Catholic Cemeteries now known as St. Joseph and St. Mary's Cemeteries were called the Irish Catholic and German Catholic Cemeteries. Otto's Ice Cream was located at 2434 West Monroe Street. (In later years, Toft's sold ice cream at this location.) Businesses which employed many of our grandparents can be seen on the map, including Lyman Boats, Farrell Cheek, Esmond Dairy, Holland-Rieger (later known as Apex), Brightman Nut, Hinde and Dauch.

A drawing of a truck on which the letters CCC and an arrow appear, represented the freight business Cleveland, Columbus, & Cincinnati Highway Inc., on 1231 First Street. Maschari Brothers features a man with a fruit cart saying "Nicea de Banan" to let customers know that the bananas were fresh. The coal docks on the west side of Sandusky were associated with the Pennsylvania Railroad at this time. Bicycles, trains, trucks, cars, and campers are all found on the map. Directional signs show the way to Bay Bridge, the Blue Hole, and Cedar Point. Viewing the student map is like stepping back in time.

Allen Kubach went on to become an artist and an art instructor. Mr. Kubach taught drawing and painting at Kansas State in the 1940’s and taught and lectured at Northwestern University. Paintings by Allen Kubach can be seen at The Painting Affiliates of the Art Center of Northern New Jersey.

Visit the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library to view the map created by Miss Yocum’s art students.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The West House Hotel


Owned by brothers W.T. and A.K. West, the West House hotel was opened to the public in 1858. It was the first building credited to architect Sheldon Smith. At one time the West House was the largest hotel between Cleveland and Toledo. It was five stories high, and was located at the corner of Columbus Avenue and Water Street, in downtown Sandusky, not far from the docks at Sandusky Bay. Over two thousand guests stayed at the West House during the Ohio State Fair, which was held in Sandusky in 1858. Charles E. Frohman wrote in his book Rebels on Lake Erie, that during the 1860’s the West House “was the center of the social and business life of the bustling city of 25,000.”

Many organizations, businesses, and associations held their conventions and annual meetings at the West House. The August 7, 1912 issue of the Sandusky Register announced that veterans from the 128th Ohio Volunteer Infantry would meet at the West House for their thirty seventh annual reunion. James A. Garfield wrote in his diary that he once met an associate at the West House. In 1877 the United States Signal Service was established in Sandusky and had its station on top of the West House.

In 1864, a Confederate agent, Charles H. Cole stayed at the West House. Cole, along with John Y. Beall and other Confederates, planned to free several prisoners housed at the Civil War prison at Johnson’s Island. Ultimately Cole was arrested before the plan could be successfully carried out. The website of the C.I.A. features a page on this conspiracy.

Volume 21 of the Firelands Pioneer reported that the West House was dismantled in March of 1919. The article concluded…..“for 55 years, until 1913, it was Sandusky’s principal hotel, housing from time to time many of the most notable men of the nation. From its upper stories could be commanded on a clear day a notable view of the Lake Erie island region, which always appealed to travelers and attracted transient visitors.”

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Third Ohio Cavalry

On August 6, 1861, the Governor of the State of Ohio commissioned Lewis Zahm, of Norwalk, to raise a regiment of volunteers for a cavalry unit for service to the United States during the Civil War. Men were recruited from northwestern Ohio, and they were trained at Camp Worcester just south of Monroeville, Ohio. The first chapter of The History of the Third Ohio Cavalry, by Thomas Crofts, describes conditions at Camp Worcester. (A reprinted edition of this book, with many photographs, is available at the Sandusky Library.) Food was not ideal, and in the first few weeks, men had to bring blankets from home, and sleep upon piles of straw. In the evenings, the men sang songs, and ran races.


Clark Center, who later was a Sandusky councilman, enlisted as a Second Lieutenant in Company I, of the Third Ohio Cavalry and was later promoted to First Lieutenant. Colonel Darius E. Livermore was a former Sandusky resident who served as a Lieutenant Colonel in Company S of the Third Cavalry. (Col. Livermore’s daughter Jessie May was the designer and creator of the lovely stained glass in the doors and windows of the Adams Street entrance of the Sandusky Library.)

Edwin Niver lost his life in the Andersonville Prison on June 19, 1864. His sister’s book about Edwin’s experiences in the war, Reminiscences of the Civil War and Andersonville Prison, is located in the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library. Emogene Niver Marshall was devoted to aiding Veterans throughout her life.

Private Leonard Winkler served in the same unit as Edwin Niver, Co. I of the Third Ohio Cavalry.

He carried a photo album of soldiers’ photographs with him, and at the Battle of Peach Tree Creek, Georgia, on July 2, 1864, a shot hit the album, which broke the album and caused the bullet to glance off and injure Leonard’s right arm.

Here are images of some of the tintypes from Private Winkler’s photograph album:


Private Winkler’s photograph album can be seen at the Follett House Museum. While we do not know if the album contained the actual photographs of the soldiers at the scene of the battle, the Archives Research Center was given a set of twenty-four tintypes of soldiers from Co. I of the Third Ohio Cavalry, which were owned by Leonard Winkler. These photographs have been reproduced in the 1997 reprint of The History of the Third Ohio Cavalry, and are also available online.

Leonard Winkler died in May of 1893, and was buried at Oakland Cemetery. Judge Elijah M. Colver, who also served in the Third Cavalry, gave the eulogy for Leonard Winkler. Services were conducted by the McMeens Post of the G.A.R. Mr. Winkler’s obituary in the Sandusky Register, May 29, 1893, stated that funeral services for Leonard Winkler were “attended by a large concourse of friends, many of whom were comrades of the departed during the rebellion…The floral tributes were many and beautiful.”

Monday, November 09, 2009

Colonel Arthur T. Wilcox


Arthur Tappan Wilcox was born in Lorain County, Ohio on December 28, 1834. By 1860, he had moved to Sandusky, Ohio, where he was listed as a law student in the 1860 Sandusky City Directory. In 1861, Arthur T. Wilcox graduated from law school at the University of Michigan. He married Julia Morehouse in June of 1861, in Huron County, Ohio. That same year, he enlisted into military service. Arthur T. Wilcox was elected Second Lieutenant of the Seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company E. He was promoted to Captain for brave and meritorious service. Captain Wilcox participated in these battles: Cross Lanes, Virginia, where he was captured by the enemy and confined to various prisons; Dumfries, Virginia; Chancellorsville, Virginia; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, Tennessee; and several battles in the state of Georgia. Wilcox mustered out of the 7th Infantry on July 6, 1864. Soon, he reenlisted and became Colonel of the 177th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. On June 24, 1865, Colonel Wilcox was mustered out with regiment at Greensboro, North Carolina.

After the war was over, Wilcox resumed his work as a civil engineer. He worked on the construction of railroads, including the Union Pacific and the Canada Southern. A publication of the University of Michigan Alumni Association reports that Arthur Tappan Wilcox contracted yellow fever while working on bridges in Central America. He died of the disease at Port Limon, Costa Rica, on October 24, 1902. A biographical sketch of Arthur T. Wilcox which appeared in the book Itinerary of the Seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry, 1861-1864 closed with this statement about Colonel Wilcox: “He was a zealous officer and a brave man.”

In the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library are glass plate negatives which bear the image of Arthur T. Wilcox. These negatives were originally owned by a dentist, Dr. D. D. Smith. When Dr. Richard Widdoes bought out Dr. Smith’s practice, he gave the negatives to the historical collections of the Sandusky Library.



Friday, November 06, 2009

Sheldon Smith, Sandusky Architect


Sheldon Smith, architect, ran an advertisement in the 1855 Sandusky City Directory. Mr. Smith was the principal of Smith’s Commercial College and Academy of Design, which was located on the third floor of the Hubbard building at the northwest corner of Columbus Avenue and Water Street. Ellie Damm wrote in Treasure by the Bay that the Hubbard Block was originally owned by Lester Hubbard, and that Sheldon Smith designed the building. Made from limestone and sandstone, the building was of Romanesque Revival architecture. In the image below, which was taken from an 1850s daguerreotype, G. J. Anderson had an office in the lower level of the Hubbard Block. The Cosmopolitan Art Association was housed in the Hubbard Block in the mid 1850s.


Sheldon Smith brought his family to Sandusky in 1853. He designed the house below for the proprietors of the Exchange Hotel in Sandusky. The McKenster-Groff house, at 334 East Washington Street, was built in the Gothic Revival style, and appears on the National Register of Historic Places. It was originally built of limestone, and covered with mastic, but the exterior has since been resurfaced and painted. (Article 27 of Helen Hansen’s book At Home in Early Sandusky provides excellent historical information about the McKenster-Groff house.)

Other projects which have been credited to Sheldon Smith in Sandusky include the West House hotel, Norman Hall, and commercial blocks built for H. Kilbourne, Sidney S. Hosmer and John G. and Major Camp. In 1855, Sheldon Smith moved to Detroit, Michigan. The son and grandson of Sheldon Smith carried on in the architecture business. The firm had several name changes, but now is known as SmithGroup.

A 1978 history of Smith, Hinchman, & Gryllis, by Thomas J. Holleman and James P. Gallagher, is available for interlibrary loan through the ClevNet consortium. Ellie Damm’s book Treasure by the Bay provides an excellent architectural history of many of the homes and businesses of Sandusky. See the City of Sandusky’s page on Historical Downtown Sandusky for an illustrated view of Sandusky’s downtown.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Street Signs in Sandusky in 1948


Through much of the twentieth century several state highways travelled through downtown Sandusky. Here we can see that a number of directional signs were located at the intersection of Washington Street and Columbus Avenue in 1948. Cleveland is marked at 58 miles to the east, while Huron is only 10 miles away. Pointing to the west are signs for Port Clinton and Castalia.

State Routes 6 and 2 are marked along with Routes 12 and 101. In the 1930’s and 1940’s, a portion of Route 12 was shared with Route 101. For a history of these Ohio States Routes see this link. (Scroll down to the state routes for more information.)

The brick building in the background is the Sloane House which was built in 1880, and owned by Rush Sloane. The Sloane House was demolished when Lasalle’s opened a store in downtown Sandusky in the late 1940’s. This site is now the location of an office building for Erie County.

Several vintage automobiles can be seen in the wider view of this photograph.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Katharine Hepburn and Ann Harding’s visit to Sandusky and Put in Bay

On the front page of the October 28, 1940 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal, reporter Harold Detlefsen wrote a feature article about two movie stars who made a visit to the Lake Erie Islands area on Sunday, October 27, 1940. (Harold and his wife would later found the RFD News.)


In conjunction with a promotional tour for the movie “The Philadelphia Story,” Katharine Hepburn, her brother, and actress Ann Harding made a stop in Sandusky while traveling from Cleveland to Detroit. The group traveled in the Hepburn Lincoln town car which had New York license plate number H-97. They visited the Sloane House hotel, where Ann Harding told the housekeeper that she was a direct descendant of Rush Sloane, for whom the hotel was named. She said she was also related to Jay Cooke. (To date, these family connections have not been confirmed.)

Despite cool weather, the visitors took a speedboat ride to Put-in-Bay. Sandusky resident Herb Barber was at the helm of the boat, owned by Worthy Brown, Inc. Ann Harding was familiar with Put in Bay, as she had formerly lived there while married to actor Harry Bannister. Mr. Detlefsen said that in spite of inclement weather, Katharine Hepburn said to him, “R-E-A-L-L-Y, I’ve had the most wonderful time here.” Miss Hepburn also autographed a photograph for the reporter. Harold Detlefsen said that the driver of the boat did not know the identity of his passengers until after their boat trip. In fact, only a few area residents got a glimpse of Katharine Hepburn and Ann Harding. Mr. Detlefsen stated that after seeing and speaking with Miss Hepburn, he felt he had “seen real glamour!”

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Vintage Halloween Postcards

Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Opie donated several Halloween postcards to the Follett House Museum. Mrs. Opie and her husband Albert Opie were associated with the O-P Craft Company, which made arts and crafts supplies in Sandusky for many years.

Here are four postcards produced by Raphael Tuck and Sons, who were publishers of postcards and greeting cards (as well as books, puzzles, and other items) from the mid-nineteenth century into the early twentieth century.


Check out The Encyclopedia of Antique Postcards, by Susan Brown Nicholson, available at the Sandusky Library, to learn more about vintage postcards.