Wednesday, April 28, 2010

John M. Brown, Mayor of Sandusky 1849-1850

On February 1, 1865, John Brough, the Governor of Ohio, appointed John M. Brown to the office of Notary Public for Erie County, Ohio. The document was recorded at the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, Ohio by George O. Selkirk, Erie County Clerk of Courts.


John M. Brown was a pioneer citizen of Sandusky, Ohio, having settled there in 1847. He was admitted to the Erie County Bar in 1848, and served as the Mayor of Sandusky in 1849 and 1850. The 1937 Firelands Pioneer states that John M. Brown served as the Postmaster of Sandusky from 1853 through 1861.

An obituary for John M. Brown appeared in the June 8, 1891 issue of the Sandusky Register. The article points out that during President Buchanan’s administration, Mr. Brown was a Democrat, but later he became a Republican due to his views on the tariff question. The Register obituary reports that during the 1849 cholera epidemic, Mr. Brown’s “services were very efficient and devoted.” In his later years John M. Brown devoted himself to the business of real estate as well as farming. John M. Brown died on June 7, 1891 at the West House. He is buried in Oakland Cemetery, next to his wife Elizabeth.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Way Cleanse Company

The Way Cleanse Co. was listed at 327-331 West Water Street in the 1915 Sandusky City Directory. Bernard Kern was the manager of the factory. Bernard and his wife Barbara lived on Madison Street in Sandusky. The city directory lists the President of the Way Cleanse Co. as J. J. Dauch, who would go on to be a leader at the Hinde and Dauch Paper Company.


An article in volume 52 of the Public Works Journal reported that the Way Cleanse Co. manufactured gasoline-electric suction street sweepers “emphasizing the necessity of removing germs contained in dust from city streets.” The machines traveled at two to six miles per hour, and provided various speeds for the broom, blower, and auxiliary motors. One machine was reported to have removed 8,000 pounds of litter, sand and dust from 27,000 square yards of pavement, after that same had been cleaned with traditional street cleaning methods.

A photo of a Way Cleanse machine was featured in an early issue of Municipal Engineering.
Bernard Kern was issued a patent for a street sweeping machine on June 17, 1919, while he was residing in Sandusky, Ohio. Three patents which were issued to Mr. Kern are accessible at Google Patents.
An article in the April 26, 1917 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that orders had been received for Way Cleanse street cleaners from Chicago and New Orleans. Branch operations had begun in Illinois and Chicago. An inquiry had been received from Bombay, India, and the government of Austria showed an interest in products from the Way Cleanse Co., but the outbreak of the world war caused them not to pursue a contract. In 1921, the Way Cleanse Co. moved its manufacturing facility to Syracuse, New York. Sadly, by 1922 there were local news reports that the Way Cleanse Co. had gone into receivership.

Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Kern moved to Syracuse, New York when the company moved there. A brief article which appeared in the August 18, 1937 issue of the Sandusky Register stated that Bernard Kern had passed away in Syracuse, and was to be buried at Calvary Cemetery in Toledo, Ohio.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Program Announcement: “The History of Plum Brook Station: From the Devonian to 1945”

The NASA Plum Brook Station has a remarkable story of many diverse chapters. Local biologist John Blakeman will present an illustrated program on Wednesday, April 28, at 6:30 p.m. in the Library Program Room.

Our speaker will describe the geological, biological, and human history of the Plum Brook site from the formation of its bedrocks millions of years ago on up to the end of World War II. He will also feature the area's unique natural history, illustrating rare plants and animals, outlining Native American uses of the site, followed with a detailed explanation of European settlement. Finally, the creation and operation of the Plum Brook Ordnance Works, 1941-45, will be detailed.
Registration is requested. To register, call 419-625-3834 and press 0 to speak with a switchboard operator (10-5, Monday-Friday) or press Option 6 to leave a message.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kelsey and Hosmer’s Fish Dressing Machine

The Hosmer, Bear and Company was a fish and pork packing house in Sandusky, at the foot of Wayne Street on Railroad Street (now known as Shoreline Drive) in the late 1800’s. An article from the October 6, 1873 issue of the Sandusky Register described the first operation of a fish dressing machine. The machine was invented and patented by Sandusky residents Frederick Kelsey and Frank H. Hosmer. Run by steam, the machine beheaded, opened and dressed from sixty to ninety fish per minute. The public was invited to view the machine which was set up at Hosmer, Bear and Co. The article concluded by stating about the machine that, “It is destined to mark a new and important era in the fish business of the world.”

Kelsey and Hosmer’s Fish Dressing Machine was on display at the Centennial International Exhibition of 1876. The Report from the International Exhibition indicated that the Kelsey and Hosmer Fish Dressing Machine was commended for facilitating the cleaning and dressing fish. It was worthy of mention as an ingenious mechanical device.
Image from Google Patents

You can read the full text of the patent for the Kelsey & Hosmer’s Fish Dressing Machine on Google Patents. Patent Number 142918 was issued on September 16, 1873.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Charles Baetz, Bandmaster

Charles Baetz was born in Renghausen, Germany on November 27, 1836. A musician by training, he learned to play the violin, and later, the cornet. He came to the United States in 1854. According to the U.S. Civil War Soldiers database, Baetz was the principal musician for Company A of the 128th Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. He directed the military band at the federal prison at Johnson’s Island during the Civil War.

In 1862, Charles Baetz married Mary Graul. They had a family of four children: Sophia, Eugene, Meta, and Gertrude. The first Mrs. Charles Baetz died in 1894. By 1900, Charles Baetz had remarried. The second Mrs. Charles Baetz was Dorothy Matern, the daughter of a local stove merchant. (Dorothy’s sister Emma Matern Weaver was a talented artist.)

When the Cedar Point Pleasure Resort Company was formed in 1887, the partnership consisted of Charles Baetz, Louis Adolph, Adam Stoll, Jacob Kuebeler and Benjamin Dwelle. The group chose Baetz to be the General Manager of Cedar Point for the 1888 season. Mr. Baetz continued to be connected with Cedar Point until 1897.
In 1867, Charles Baetz had founded the Great Western Band. The Great Western Band played for concerts and dances at Cedar Point. This band became well known, and won several competitions. Baetz had also been involved in the insurance business in Sandusky, and for a time was the manager of the Biemiller's Opera House.

Charles Baetz died in Battle Creek Michigan, on September 26, 1907. His funeral was held at the family residence on Washington Street. He was buried in Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery. A lovely tribute to Mr. Baetz appeared in the October 11, 1907 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal. The article read in part, “A story of the life of Charles Baetz must necessarily embrace much of the history of band music and entertainment in Sandusky….”

To read more about the history of the Great Western Band and Cedar Point, check out the book Cedar Point: The Queen of American Watering Places, by David W. and Diane Demali Francis, available at the Sandusky Library.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Herb and Myers Company

Around 1902 Michael R. Herb and Frank H. Myers started a store in Sandusky which sold carpets, draperies, and wallpaper. They were located on Washington Row in the Mahala Block. The Herb & Myers Company was incorporated in July, 1908. By 1910, the Herb & Myers Co. purchased Sandusky’s “Big Store,” located on East Market Street, which had previously been owned by C. L. Engels. (Details about Carl L. Engels and his many contributions to Sandusky can be found on pages 27 and 37 of the 1935 Obituary Notebook at the Sandusky Library.)

Eventually the Herb & Myers store had a total of twenty-four departments. A front page article from the January 18, 1916 Sandusky Star Journal reported that the Herb & Myers Co. attracted favorable comments from people of Sandusky, but also from visitors of other states as well. “Traveling men who cover many states claim that they do not find stores in cities three of four times as large as Sandusky that can compare with Herb & Myers Co. Department store. People have appreciated the efforts put forth to provide such a fine store, with the result that business has increased by leaps and bounds.”

The company’s employees had their own baseball team and two different bowling teams, one from the home department and one from the carpets and rugs department. In 1911, Herb & Myers Co. donated a free sewing machine to be given away at the Erie County Fair. Mrs. E. J. Horan was the lucky winner. During the Great War (World War I), Herb and Myers distributed a songbook entitled “Battle Songs of Liberty.”
The Herb & Myers Co. carried apparel for men, women and children of all ages.
In December the “Toy World” section of the Herb & Myers Co. featured delightful toys for Sandusky area boys and girls. Santa Claus made a visit to Herb & Myers every afternoon during the busy holiday season.
In the “Bridge” edition of the Sandusky Star Journal of February 1, 1929, the Herb & Myers Co. featured an advertisement in which they extended a hearty welcome to the residents of Ottawa County, who now had easier access to shopping in Sandusky now that the Sandusky Bay Bridge had opened.

Below is a photo from the second floor of the Herb & Myers Co. in 1930. Sparkling glassware and dinner plates were displayed attractively, so that customers could envision these products in their own home.

In the mid 1930’s, Michael R. Herb and Frank H. Myers parted ways, and the Herb & Myers Co. became known as the M. R. Herb Company. Michael R. Herb lived to be 92 years of age.

He was active in the Chamber and Commerce, Elks, St. Mary’s Church, and the Knights of Columbus. He attended a religious retreat conducted by Jesuit Priests in Parma for fifty consecutive years.

Sadly, the M. R. Herb store was destroyed by the massive fire in downtown Sandusky in 1939.

Pictured below is an ad from the June 1906 Seventeenth Annual Session of the United Commercial Travelers.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lake Erie Sanitarium in Sandusky

Dr. Burnett Roswell Hubbard was the son of Emmett and Delight Hubbard, born in the state of New York about 1853. On February 12 and 13, 1896, an advertisement for Dr. B. Roswell Hubbard’s “Lake Erie Sanitarium” appeared in a program for a charity opera, “Egypta” that was featured at the Nielsen Opera House in Sandusky. Dr. B. Roswell Hubbard was a physician educated in the field of eclectic medicine, a field of medicine popular for its botanical remedies and use of physical therapy. The Lake Erie Sanitarium, located at 927 West Washington Street, claimed to be “New and complete in all its departments,” and offered patients treatment for medical and surgical cases and provided therapeutic baths of all kinds. The building was complete with heat, an electric bell system, and an elevator.

While living in Sandusky, Dr. B. Roswell Hubbard wrote a paper on “Modern Gynecology” for the Transactions of the National Eclectic Medical Association of the U.S.A., For the Years 1896-1897. By 1913, Dr. Hubbard had moved to California, where he was a professor of surgery at the California Medical College of Los Angeles. In 1911, he authored a book entitled Hubbard's Practical Surgery.

Dr. B. Roswell Hubbard had a brother who also was a physician. Dr. Rockwell B. Hubbard started his medical practice in Sandusky in 1896, and he continued in that practice for more than fifty years. Dr. Rockwell B. Hubbard’s office was in the Graham building for many years, and later he moved to an office on Hancock Street. Dr. R. B. Hubbard was listed as the surgeon for the Big Four Railroad in the 1912 Sandusky City Directory. It is quite easy to confuse the two brothers, as they often went by their initials, Dr. B. R. Hubbard and Dr. R.B. Hubbard.

See Supplement Number 16 in Helen Hansen’s book At Home in Early Sandusky to read more about the building located at what is now 609 West Washington Street in Sandusky. Prior to the Dr. B. Roswell Hubbard’s sanitarium, Dr. Edwin Gillard also had a sanitarium at this location. After Dr. B. Roswell Hubbard moved to California, a boarding house was in operation at the site of the former sanitarium.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

"Reading" a Photograph -- West Monroe Street about 1933

Pictured above is a scene which shows West Monroe Street at the crossing of the Pennsylvania Railroad, near the entrance to the coal docks. In front of the buildings on the north side of Monroe a railroad employee can be seen. Whenever a train passed by, he would have to manually hold up the stop sign, to warn automobile drivers of the train. We can see that more clearly in this close-up cropped from the original image.
In another cropped view, we can see where Elmer B. Otto manufactured ice cream, at 2434 West Monroe Street (in the building on the right side of the street).
To the north of the railroad crossing, a factory can be seen through the trees. Not enough of the letters of the building and water tower are legible enough to be deciphered. If anyone can identify this business, please leave a message in Comments.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Origins of Sandusky High School’s Fram

According to the March 1907 issue of Sandusky High School’s Fram, the word Fram is the Norwegian word for forward. Fram was the name of Captain Fridjot Nansen’s ship, which he used in his search for the North Pole. The website of an arctic climate research laboratory also named Fram provides an excellent history of the well known polar vessel. An article in the April 20, 1956 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that SHS student Eben Sadler conceived the idea for an annual school publication in 1901. With the aid of three other students, Tom Gawne, Ward Butler, and Lester Scott, Eben Sadler published the first edition of the Fram from his home.

While Fram is the title of Sandusky High’s annual yearbook, originally the publication came out monthly. Early issues of the Fram sold for ten cents, and contained student written essays, art work, and alumni news.
Often a photograph of the graduating class was included.
Later editions of the Fram included individual photographs of graduates and athletic teams.
While the Sandusky Library does not have a complete run of Sandusky High School’s Frams, the library carries this annual publication covering the years 1903 through 2002. Several Sandusky High School Alumni Directories are also housed in the Reference Services section of the Sandusky Library.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Ferback’s Rathskeller

Ferback’s Rathskeller was owned by John A. Ferback. The photograph for the postcard of Ferback’s Rathskeller was taken by Paul Gundlach, and George H. Tremper was the publisher.

Ferback’s Rathskeller was located at the corner of West Madison and Harrison Streets in Sandusky. In 1935, a local newspaper advertisement for Ferback’s featured plate lunches for fifteen cents. The ad below appeared in the March 9, 1935 issue of the Sandusky Register.

In the 1940’s, Clarence Nagel operated a furnace, air conditioning and sheet metal business at 536 Harrison Street. In the 1950’s and 1960’s Helen Nagel taught ceramics classes at Helen’s Hobby Shop at this address.

Visit the Sandusky Library to view several decades of historical city directories, which can provide details about the residents and businesses of Sandusky in days gone by.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Burge & McNerney’s Ice Cream Parlor

The 1910 Sandusky City Directory lists the Burge and McNerny Confectionery at the southeast corner of Columbus Avenue and Market Street in downtown Sandusky. The ice cream shop was located inside Sandusky’s Lake Shore Electric Railway building, where L. K. Burge was the General Superintendent, and David M. McNerny worked as a ticket agent.

The candy dish pictured at the far left of the image is holding candy manufactured by the Fremont Candy Company. Barely visible at the bottom of the second mirror is an advertisement for Riccelli Ice Cream Cones, which were made in Sandusky by Ciro Riccelli. Hundreds of postcards are displayed on racks. Several postcards featured local buildings, including the Erie County Courthouse and Sandusky High School (now Adams Junior High School.)

The Sandusky Library carries several books about the Lake Shore Electric Railway, including two authored by Harry Christiansen, and one by by Herbert H. Harwood, Jr. and Robert S. Korach.