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.

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