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!”


Ann Nyberg said...

Thank you so much for posting this about Katharine Hepburn.
The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and Theater has just opened in Hepburn's beloved seaside town of Old Saybrook, Connecticut and we have linked to this wonderful article.
We would love it if you would link back to us to help this non-profit venue continue to grow.
Thanks so much.
Ann Nyberg, Trustee

v mettler said...

Katherine Hepburn spent some time on Gibraltar Island as a child. She was a guest of Jay Cooke's granddaughter and stayed in Cooke's Castle.