Monday, January 31, 2011

Davis Boat Works

The Davis Boat Works was in business in Sandusky from about 1901 to 1920 at the foot of Sycamore Street. The owner of the Davis Boat works was Adelbert B. Davis, the son of prominent local businessman Ira T. Davis. At six years of age Adelbert Davis became deaf. He graduated from the Ohio School for the Deaf in Columbus, Ohio, where he also met his future wife, Lucy Cook.  The Davis Boat Works built boats for customers all across the United States. At a yacht race in Put in Bay about 1909, forty percent of the boats there were made by the Davis Boat Works.

Charles E. Frohman wrote in Sandusky's Yesterdays, that the Davis Boat Works built the hulls for Weldon Cooke’s hydroplanes. One of Cooke’s flying boats, the Irene, was well known locally, but it was not successful in getting from the water up into the air for flight.
The Irene is pictured below.

An article in the October 8, 1937 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that Adelbert Davis died in Columbus at the age of 80, after he had contracted pneumonia. He was survived by his wife, a son, Seth Davis, daughter, Mrs. A. J. Beckert, three sisters and a brother. Two sisters of Adelbert Davis, Caroline Davis and Mrs. Charles Stroud were residing in Sandusky at the time of his death. An article about Adelbert Davis, entitled “A Deaf Boat Builder,” by Mrs. E. F. Long, appeared in the January 1912 issue of the periodical The Silent Worker.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Weekly Fly

The Weekly Fly was a small eight page newspaper published in the mid-1880’s. Harry Van Stack wrote in his column in the November 8, 1952 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News that the two young men who published this small weekly newspaper were Lucas J. Beecher and Lewis W. Lea, who were teenagers at the time they produced The Weekly Fly.
The paper featured news about local churches, clubs, sports, as well as editorials and advertisements from area businesses. It was printed at the Lea residence, at 1059 Columbus Avenue. (This address no longer exists.)
Lewis W. Lea was the son of Sandusky jeweler Lewis M. Lea. Sadly. Lewis W. Lea died in 1907, while he was not yet forty years old. Lucas J. Beecher went on to a successful career as a journalist, serving as a member of the editorial staff of The Toledo Blade from 1901 until his retirement in 1946. Lucas J. Beecher was named for his paternal grandfather, Lucas Beecher, a pioneer lawyer and abolitionist who was well known in Sandusky.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Stereographic Image of Downtown Sandusky

A.C. Platt created this stereograph card between 1877 and 1888. The photographer was looking north down Columbus Avenue toward Sandusky Bay. The former residence of Eleutheros Cooke can be seen at its original location at the northwest corner of Washington Row and Columbus Avenue. (Erie County offices are now at this location, which has a present day address of 247 Columbus Avenue.) Following the death of Mrs. Eleutheros Cooke in 1878, Rush Sloane acquired the Cooke home. Rush Sloane hired Jacob Biehl to take down the Cooke house and rebuild it at 1415 Columbus Avenue, as a wedding gift to Thomas M. Sloane and Sarah Cooke.

The Customs House and Post Office were located at the southwest corner of Columbus Avenue and Market Street, where a parking garage stands today. You can see the station of the United States Signal Service on top of the West House which overlooks Sandusky Bay. James R. Davies had an insurance real estate business at 222 Columbus Avenue, adjacent to the Cooke block on the northeast corner of Columbus Avenue and Market Street. Many other Sandusky businesses, banks, and public halls are also pictured on this image. Leroy Hinkey donated a collection of several stereographs and photographs to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fred J. Hinkey, Blacksmith and Boiler Maker

Fred J. Hinkey was blacksmith in Sandusky for sixty one years. (Here he is pictured in the uniform of the Knights of the Maccabees or the Knights of Pythias -- if you know which it is, let us know in comments.) He started working as a helper in a blacksmith shop, and later he opened his own shop on Market Street, near Franklin Street. In the 1935 Sandusky City Directory, Mr. Hinkey listed these services at his shop: dealer in sheet and bar steel, general blacksmithing, power forging, ship work, and boiler making and repairing. His ad stated that his work was promptly done to order and at the lowest rates. An article in the January 22, 1921 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that Mr. Hinkey did not have to lay off employees, as his business kept the workers busy at all times of the year. During the spring fishing season his shop turned out thousands of iron grab hooks used by fisheries for their trap nets.  In the summertime, boats and barges needed repairs and new parts for their machinery. Fall fishing season brought in more repair work. The winter ice season brought with it “a myriad of orders” for new ice handling equipment and repairs to the old equipment. Besides providing repairs to machinery, Mr. Hinkey also had six boiler makers who made and repaired boilers in an area of about a sixty mile radius around Sandusky.  He stated that the three things which contributed to his success were courtesy, good workmanship, and promptness.

These ice tongs were made at Fred Hinkey’s shop, and can be seen at the Industry Room of the Follett House Museum.

In the 1920’s and 1930’s, Fred’s son Leroy M. Hinkey provided portable arc welding services to Sandusky area residents. Leroy Hinkey later moved to the Dayton area.

Fred J. Hinkey passed away on June 27, 1939. His funeral was held at his home on West Market Street. The Garfield Company of the Knights of Pythias held graveside services for Mr. Hinkey at Oakland Cemetery. Fred J. Hinkey was survived by three sons and a sister. His wife Dorothy had died in 1932.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Constitution and By-Laws of the Cadets of Temperance

The Neptune Section, No. 45 of the Cadets of Temperance of the State of Ohio was organized in Sandusky, Ohio on January 20, 1848. The constitution and by-laws of the Cadets of Temperance were printed by D. Campbell & Sons, located at Water Street in Sandusky. The Cadets of Temperance was a youth organization associated with the Sons of Temperance. Hewson Peeke wrote in the book, A Standard History of Erie County, that the Sons of Temperance group was active in Sandusky as early as 1844. They had their meetings in the Hubbard Block at the foot of Columbus Avenue in downtown Sandusky (shown here circa 1850).

Article II of the Constitution of the Cadets of Temperance read:

No member shall make, buy, sell, or use any spirituous or malt liquors, wine or cider, except they be administered to him for medicinal purposes, by his parents, guardian, or physician; nor shall he use tobacco in any form.

The Rules of Order were quite strict:

The leader of the Neptune Section of the Cadets of Temperance was to be a member of the Sons of Temperance, and he was known as the Worthy Patron. The Cadets were to be young men between the ages of ten and seventeen years of age. However, boys of other ages and young ladies were allowed to be elected to honorary membership. In an 1867 letter, Mark Twain wrote that he once joined the Cadets of Temperance, but left after only three months of membership. (He liked the scarves they wore, but not their strict morality!)

In 1849 a meeting was held at the Congregational Church for the purpose of organizing a Temperance League for the ladies of Sandusky. There were nineteen women who were active members, and five women who were supporting members. Later their group became a chapter of the W.C.T.U., the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. To learn more about the history of temperance activities in Sandusky, see chapter 26 of A Standard History of Erie County, by Hewson L. Peeke.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Enumeration of Youth of Sandusky’s 8th Ward

On May 10, 1912, Lena Smith signed an oath in which she pledged to record the enumeration of the youth in Sandusky’s Eighth Ward. The enumeration was to take place during the two weeks ending on the fourth Saturday of May. All unmarried youth between the ages of six and twenty one were to be counted, with a record of their name, sex, age and address. An accurate count of children who were physically disabled was also to be recorded. Race was not listed in this enumeration. Children who lived in the Eighth Ward attended the Eighth Ward School, later known as Campbell School.

Here is a page for the enumeration of youth whose surnames began with the letter E:
The name of the head of the household was listed first, followed by the names of the children. Birth dates were listed only for the children within in each family. The street name and house number were recorded on the right portion of the page. In May, 1912, Helen Ebert was 19 and Paul Ebert was 13, and they resided at 217 Hayes Avenue. The photograph below shows the Conrad Ebert residence on Hayes Avenue, with Paul and Helen standing near the steps, from about 1903.

While not many of the Ohio Enumeration of Youth notebooks have survived, they provide excellent genealogical information. One can get a thorough record of the young people who lived in a particular neighborhood. The actual pages of the Enumeration Notebook are similar to U.S. Census records, but they were not tallied during census years, making for a unique genealogical resource.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Spies’ Gallery of Photo Engravings: Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home

First published in 1896, August Spies copyrighted and published a second edition of Spies’ Gallery of Photo Engravings: Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home in 1902. On pages 2-3 of the 1902 edition is a brief history of the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home, which stated that the facility in Sandusky was “the most beautiful Soldiers’ home in the United States.”

The Administration Building, which is now home to the Ohio Veterans Home Military Museum, is pictured on page 14.

General Manning F. Force was the first Commandant of the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home. His picture appears on page 4 of the 1896 edition of Spies’ Gallery. General Force was appointed Commandant of the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home by Ohio Governor Joseph Foraker in October 1888 and he served in his official capacity until his death on May 8, 1899.

In 1902 General Thomas M. Anderson was Commandant of the Home.

The Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home was arranged on the Cottage Plan. Residents had sleeping quarters and a sitting room.

Residents could read newspapers and books in the library.

In 1902 the Home used about 750 tons of ice each year, which was harvested from the lake on the grounds. Enough ice was harvested at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home in the early 1900’s to fill two ice houses, as well as have a three month supply of ice which was stored just outside the ice houses.

The hospital at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home employed both male and female nurses.

Many photographs can be seen in the Spies’ Gallery, including pictures of the fire department, work shop, cemetery, post office, railway station, and several view of the residents’ cottages and officials of the Home. The Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home is now known as the Ohio Veterans Home.

From about 1900 until 1923, August Spies had his photographic studio at 123 West Market Street in Sandusky, above the offices of Buerkle and Lermann’s General Insurance business.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Program Announcement -- Brown-Bag Lunch: Sandusky Eateries

Bring your lunch and join us in the Library Program Room as we explore a topic in local history. On Wednesday, January 19, at 12:00 noon, the topic will be Sandusky Eateries. Restaurants have been a key part of Sandusky's landscape since its very early years. Hungry residents, vacationers, and business travelers visited their favorite established eateries and tried new restaurants, too. Familiar menus and friendly staff greeted diners all around town. With the passage of time and changes in ownership, Sandusky's restaurants and their menus have evolved to suit the modern palate. Join Maggie Marconi, Museum Administrator, and Ron Davidson, Archives Librarian, as we take a look back at popular restaurants of days gone by and at what was on the menu. Registration is requested. To register, call the Library at 419-625-3834 and press 0 to speak with a switchboard operator (10-5, Monday-Friday) or press Option 6 to leave a message.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Erie County Infirmary

The historic limestone Erie County building at 2900 South Columbus Avenue served as the Erie County Infirmary from 1886 until 1976, when the residents were transferred to the Erie County Care Facility at 3916 East Perkins Avenue in Huron Township. A history of the Erie County Care Facility and its predecessors is found on the Erie County web site.  The Infirmary housed individuals who were poor, unfortunate, disabled, or who were unable to care for themselves. Sixty acres of land were farmed on the Infirmary grounds. Residents capable of farming the land pursued this occupation as they were able. A hospital was located on the grounds to care for the sick. Over a seven year span, Katharyn Huss Wunderley produced a book which compiles information about residents who died at the Infirmary. She included obituary citations, references to local newspaper articles, and often indicated how long the person had made their home at the Infirmary. The book, entitled Erie County Ohio Infirmary, provides history of the facility, regulations from 1856, and a listing of the directors and superintendents.

The April 17, 1896 issue of the Sandusky Register ran a story about Jean Lafitte Johnson, who was buried at the Infirmary Cemetery, located just north of the Jewish Cemetery, on Columbus Avenue. Jean Johnson was said to have been the adopted son of Dan Rice, who had a traveling show. The “Great Quadruple Exhibition” featured circus acts and trained animals. Jean Johnson was a bareback horse rider who performed “unequaled feats of horsemanship.” Jean Johnson died July 12, 1895. A Mr. J. Killer died at the 1910, and was buried in the Infirmary Cemetery. He was afflicted with tuberculosis, and thought that if he lived in his covered wagon out in the open air, he would recover. He did not recover, and died in the wagon near Castalia. Robert W. Tavener (sometimes spelled Tavenor), known as the “Prince of Story Tellers,” became a resident of the Erie County Infirmary in 1918. He had been a colorful figure in Sandusky for many years. From 1900 – 1902, he operated a large bath parlor at the corner of Washington and Warren Streets. Mr. Tavener’s obituary in the February 21, 1919 Sandusky Register states that R. W. Tavener was a “globe trotter, medicine man, bath house proprietor, and finally porter in downtown cafes…” 

Read Mrs. Wunderley’s book, Erie County Ohio Infirmary, to learn more about the lives and deaths of many of the facility’s residents.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Washing Machines Made in Sandusky

An advertisement in the 1874 Erie County Atlas stated the “The time for making women bend over the wash board has passed away.” John Cotner was a dealer in washing machines and clothes wringers at the National House in 1874, located at the corner of Market and Wayne Streets. You can see an antique Buckeye Washer at the Follett House Museum. David Losure and Charles Grafton also manufactured washing machines in Sandusky in the 1870’s.

The Easiest Way Manufacturing Company, which was incorporated in 1912, manufactured a variety of washing machines in Sandusky. An advertisement in the November 3, 1919 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal suggested that area housewives should strike against wash day drudgery, and demand a new Easiest Way electric washing machine, which sold for $95.00 at the Donahue Hardware Company.

You can read the name of the Easiest Way Washing Machine on the former building of the Easiest Way Manufacturing Company, which was bought out by the Peerless Stove Company. The building, originally the site of the Diamond Wine Company, is located at the northeast corner of Adams and Harrison Streets in Sandusky.
The copper washing machine pictured below was made by the Easiest Way Manufacturing Company. The washer was donated to the Follett House Museum in the 1970’s.

In the 1930’s washing machines were manufactured locally by the Holland Rieger Division of the Apex Electrical Manufacturing Company. Model names of some of the washers made by Holland Rieger included Dependable, Faultless, and Modern Laundress. Hundreds of jobs for area residents were provided by Apex and its predecessor Holland Rieger. The plant was located in the 1600 block of First Street. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to view issues of the Apex Manufacturing company newsletter entitled “Hourglass,” which covers the years 1943 through 1948.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Year's Party at the Townsend House in 1855

On the evening of Monday, January 1, 1855, a New Year’s Party was held at the Townsend House in Sandusky, Ohio. Many prominent early Sandusky residents served as managers of the event, including Major John G. Camp and his son, John G. Camp, Jr. Jay Cooke’s father Eleutheros Cooke, and his brother Pitt Cooke, were also managers of the party.

Serving on the Committee of Arrangements was Orville J. Victor, who would become well known as an author and editor. R.T. Greene, who also served on the Committee of Arrangements, was a close friend of Herman Melville. The character of Toby, in Melville’s novel Typee, was based on the life of Richard Tobias Greene. In the early 1850’s, R. T. Greene was associated with the Sandusky Mirror newspaper, a competitor of the Sandusky Register. According to the book Herman Melville's Whaling Years, Mr. Greene was also instrumental in the opening of the first telegraph office in Sandusky, Ohio.