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.

1 comment:

Ed Daniel said...

According to Wikipedia, Sheldon Smith founded what is now the oldest continung architectual firm in the U.S. The fact that he began his practice in Sandusky, and that several of his Sandusky buildings still stand (or so I hope), ought to bring much pride in Sandusky, and to preservation fo teh builodings he designed. Ed Daniel ROckville, MD