Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Historical Pageant of Sandusky and Erie County

On June 28 and 29, 1933, the Camp Fire Girls presented “The Historical Pageant of Sandusky and Erie County” at Esmond Field near the corner of Columbus and Perkins Avenues. The pageant was a John B. Rogers Production, and was directed by Hazel Anderson. Music was provided by Ackley’s Band, with Bruce Clarks at the piano. The general chairman of the event was Earl Krueger. The cast was made up of hundreds of area adults and children.

The pageant began with Janet Munce, queen of the pageant, appearing with “Miss Columbia” and several attendants who represented the Camp Fire Laws: Beauty Trust, Work, Knowledge, Health, Service, Happiness and the Spirit of Camp Fire. Beginning with the dawn of civilization, the pageant proceeded to re-enactments of several key events in the history of Sandusky and Erie County. Included were: early Native American camp life, settlers of Sandusky, circuit riders, the cholera epidemic of 1849, early education in Sandusky, the Underground Railway, the Civil War, and a wedding celebration and ball. At the end of the pageant was a mammoth spectacle which symbolized the Spirit of Camp Fire, in which the cast members were dressed in the costumes of several different nationalities.

An article in the June 29, 1933 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that the early history of the area was well portrayed in the Camp Fire Girls pageant. A wagon which had actually been used to transport the dead bodies during the 1849 cholera epidemic was used in the scene which portrayed that event. The wagon was owned by Lee B. Keller, who played the role of Father Time. The article pointed out that many items of clothing used in the pageant were heirloom garments from ancestors of current area residents. A cow was seen in the wagon train scene, and dog who sat by his master in the wagon scene, added to the authenticity of the pageant. The pageant committee thanked these individuals who provided historical background information for the production: Mrs. Marjorie Loomis Cherry, Mrs. George Doerzbach, Miss Jessie Wilcox, Hewson L. Peeke, and James Ryan. The book History of Erie County, Ohio, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich, was also consulted when the committee was researching the history of Sandusky and Erie County.

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to view the program from the Historical Pageant of Sandusky and Erie County put on by the Camp Fire Girls in 1933. If anyone has photographs from this event, please contact us so that we may possibly scan the items to include in our historical collections.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Letter from William Howard Taft to E. H. Marsh

On June 25, 1908, William Howard Taft, who was then serving as the U.S. Secretary of War, sent a letter to Edward H. Marsh of Sandusky, Ohio. (The typist incorrectly spelled Mr. Marsh’s surname as Marsha.) Mr. Taft was responding to the telegram that Edward H. Marsh had sent him on June 18, 1908, congratulating Taft for having been selected as the Republican candidate for President. President Theodore Roosevelt heartily endorsed William Howard Taft as the presidential candidate, though they would part ways in the years ahead. Taft easily defeated his opponent William Jennings Bryan in the 1908 Presidential election.

Helen Hansen wrote in At Home in Early Sandusky that William Howard Taft and Edward H. Marsh had been classmates in Cincinnati. During the 1908 campaign, Mr. Taft visited Sandusky to give a speech at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home. While in Sandusky, Taft visited the Marsh residence at 334 East Washington Street. Mr. Marsh made a special trip to Cleveland to purchase a bed that would be large enough for his friend Mr. Taft, who is well known as having been the President with the heaviest weight.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sandusky Area Sesquicentennial

The celebration of the Sandusky Area Sesquicentennial took place from June 15 to June 23, 1968. It was an observance of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the city of Sandusky in 1818. The official seal for the Sandusky Area Sesquicentennial, created by Frank Smith, Art Supervisor of Sandusky City Schools, featured an image of the Walk-in-the-Water, the first steamboat on Lake Erie. The festivities were kicked off on Saturday, June 15 at Washington Park. The Queen’s Coronation Ball was held at Cedar Point, and a square dance for the general public took place at the Sandusky Plaza during the evening hours. Mrs. Francine Sengstock was selected as Sandusky Area Sesquicentennial Queen.

Each day of the Sandusky Area Sesquicentennial featured a theme. The themes were: Dedication Day, Religious Heritage Day, Commerce & Industry Day, Agricultural Day, Ladies Day, Youth Day, Military Armed Forces Day, and Pioneer & Senior Citizens Day. On Vacationland Day, which was Thursday, June 20, special reduced admission prices were offered for Cedar Point, the Blue Hole, and Lagoon Deer Park. During the evenings of June 18-22, a production entitled Where Have We Been – Where Are We Going was held at Strobel Field. The A. Rogers Production was written, produced, and staged by B. Louis Gregory. Bill E. Cline was the managing director, with Donna Cline serving as associate director.

The Sesquicentennial Parade took place on Saturday, June 22, going from Strobel Field to downtown Sandusky, and on to Battery Park. George S. Schiller, who served as Grand Marshall is pictured below with Connie Hartlaub.

Many floats, bands, horses, and decorated vehicles participated in the parade.

In the weeks leading up to the Sandusky Area Sesquicentennial, several men gave up shaving and grew beards. The men called themselves the Brothers of the Brush and they had a ceremonial burial of Ray Zor. (Get it?)

Visit the Sandusky Library to read about the Sandusky Area Sesquicentennial in Portraits from the Past, a souvenir booklet that sold for $1.75 in 1968. The Sandusky Library Archives Research Center also owns a bound copy of the special Sesquicentennial edition of the Sandusky Register from June of 1968. Ask at the Reference Services desk if you would like to view these items.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sandusky Post Office

From 1857 until 1927, the Sandusky Post Office was at the southwest corner of Columbus Avenue and West Market Street. An annex building was just west of the Post Office on Market Street. Here are some of the earliest mail carriers in Sandusky, from about 1896:

Front row: Mose Doyle and John Gilbert. Middle row: James McCann, Adam Rice, Gust Heiberger. Back row: Henry Schimminger, John Schaub, Charles Schoepfle, and William Twigs.

Former Librarian Miss Mary McCann donated this picture of mailmen posed inside the Post Office Annex building in about 1912.

The men in the photo are: Harry Schimminger, Jim McCann, Tim Ryan, John Schaub, Harry Gosser, Charles Schippel, Charles Schoepfle, Ed Ernst, Dan Schwab, Roman Ott, Jimmy Davis, Bill Twiggs, and Louis Holzhauer.

A new Post Office opened at the intersection of Jackson Street, West Washington Street, and Central Avenue in 1927. This facility was in operation until 1987, when a new Post Office building opened on Caldwell Street. The Merry Go Round Museum is now located at the site of the former Post Office.

You can read more about postal service in Sandusky in Article 68 of From the Widow's Walk, by Helen Hansen and Virginia Steinemann.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Eighth Annual Meeting of Ohio Association of Local Fire Insurance Agents

On June 16, 1904, the eighth annual convention of the Ohio Association of Local Fire Insurance Agents was held in Sandusky, Ohio. The morning session met in the Carnegie Music Hall of the Sandusky Library.
Mayor John J. Molter greeted the group on behalf of the city. He said in part, “Yours is the first convention to be welcomed here this season and we therefore give you a double welcome. We recognize that you gentlemen represent a business of great importance. You are ministering agents in time of misfortune. We greet you with as hearty a greeting as we can extend. We hope you may come again, and if you do, we assure you another hearty welcome.” Resolutions and the secretary’s report were read, and the election of officers was held. Mr. Fred Guenther of Detroit gave a talk entitled, “A Talk on the Local Agents.”

Several of the insurance agents brought their wives and children with them to the meeting. During the afternoon session, visiting family members were given a trolley ride from the West House to the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home. In the evening, the insurance agents and their families were treated to a ride on the steamer Wehrle to Cedar Point. Ackley’s Band entertained those on board the Wehrle. An article in the June 17, 1904 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that, “The convention was one of the most successful ever held by the association and it would not be surprising if the executive committee again selected Sandusky as the next meeting place.”

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sandusky High School Class of 1911

The Sandusky High School graduating class of 1911 is pictured above on the steps of the Sandusky Library (Adams Street entrance.) Graduation was held on Thursday, June 15, 1911 at the Sandusky Theatre. At the commencement exercises, eight class members acted out a portion of scenes one and three of the fifth act of Shakespeare’s play Winter’s Tale. A major portion of the evening was the presentation of twelve essays, all dealing with the national conservation movement. Sandusky High School graduating senior Charles A. Merz spoke on the Conservation of American youth. He spoke of athletics, social settlement work, and organizations like the Newsboys and the Boy Scouts of America. He said, “Save a man and you save one person; save a boy and you save a whole multiplication table.” Charles A. Merz went on to become the editor of the New York Times from 1938 until 1961. In his editorials he took strong opposition to Adolph Hitler and to Senator Joseph McCarthy. Mr. Merz’s first book CENTERVILLE, U.S.A. was based primarily on his experiences growing up in Sandusky, Ohio.

A review of the Sandusky High School class of 1911 is found in the Senior Issue of the Fram, from June of 1911.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lorenzo Dow Anthony

Lorenzo Dow Anthony was born on April 10, 1827 at Watertown, New York to Nathan and Esther Finch Anthony. The family moved to Sandusky, Ohio in 1837. As a young man, Mr. Anthony was in the fish business and later he was in the wholesale grocery business.

During his many years spent in Sandusky, he saw many significant events take place. Hewson Peeke wrote in his book, A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio, about the time that Lorenzo Dow Anthony met Charles Dickens when the author visited Sandusky in 1842. In other memorable experiences, Mr. Anthony was only 22 years old when cholera swept through the city, killing hundreds of Sandusky residents, and he was a member of an early local militia group, the Bay City Guards, which was commanded by Dr. R.R. McMeens. Karl Kurtz wrote in an article in the July 9, 1977 Sandusky Register that during the 1924 tornado, the Anthony home, at the northwest corner of Perry and Meigs Streets, was severely damaged. The tornado ripped a photograph of the sailing ship “The Dawn” off the wall, and dropped it in Lorain. Since the back of the picture had the name and address of the Anthony family written on it, residents of Lorain returned the picture to Mr. Anthony.

Lorenzo Dow Anthony was the first commodore of the Sandusky Yacht Club, from 1894 to 1899. He died on December 9, 1922 at the age of 95. Commodore Anthony was survived by his wife, the former Martha McDowell, who he married in 1852, and five daughters. Burial was at Oakland Cemetery. Pallbearers for Mr. Anthony were H.L. Peeke, John F. Hertlein, W. A. Wehrle and A. H. Klotz.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Program Announcement: Brown Bag Lunch Series: Inventive Sandusky

Join us in the Library Program Room at noon on Wednesday June 15, as we discover Inventive Sandusky. Learn all about Sanduskians who patented their inventions. From bicycle seats to scissors, from crayon boxes to sash fasteners, you’ll be astonished by the ingenuity and creativity of area residents. This program will be presented by Maggie Marconi, Museum Administrator. 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.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Kafralu Island

Now a part of the Cedar Point Causeway, a manmade island known as Kafralu Island was once a busy vacation spot in the east end of Sandusky Bay. Kafralu Island was featured in Karl Kurtz’s “Elderlies” column in the November 26, 1977 issue of the Sandusky Register, as well as in article 34 of From the Widow's Walk, by Helen Hansen and Virginia Steinemann. The books Sandusky's Third Dimension, by Charles E. Frohman, and Memories of the Lakes, by Dana Thomas Bowen, both contain historical sketches about Kafralu Island. (All of the materials mentioned can be viewed at the Sandusky Library. Ask for assistance at the Reference Services desk.)

Louis E. Wagner, a Sandusky harness maker, ran into a sand bar while he was boating in Sandusky Bay. Beginning in 1911, Louis and his sons and friends began hauling logs and fill to build up the area around the sand bar. The Wagner family used small boats to accomplish the creation of the island, which took twenty five years to complete. Louis Wagner named the island Kafralu Island, using the letters “Ka” and “Fra” and “Lu” from the names or nicknames of his wife and two sons, named Katherine, Frank and Louis.

Mr. Wagner built a cottage that the family used for themselves, and eventually several other cottages were also built. Vacationers, hunters, and fishermen rented the cottages during the warm weather months. A gentleman known as Preasy Spoon can be seen in front of a cottage at Kafralu Island. A wooden box with the brand of Crystal Rock Beer can be seen on the porch of the cottage.

An article in the July 12, 1929 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal ran an ad for a Fishing Party and Picnic Boat, also named Kafralu. Mr. Wagner must have been very enterprising to rent not only the cottages, but also a fishing boat for use during one’s stay at Kafralu Island.

In 1938 a monkey got loose from a Cedar Point concessionaire, and escaped to Kafralu Island. Louis Wagner fed it bananas, grapes, and sugar plums, placing the fruit on top of the roof of a cottage so the monkey could then eat the treats. The monkey was finally caught, and was sent to Florida.

In 1941 Louis E. Wagner passed away. It was difficult to rent the cottages during the war years, due to the rationing of gas for boats and cars. A fire destroyed several cottages in 1946, and eventually the property was sold to Cedar Point. In the aerial view below, the piece of property formerly known as Kafralu Island can be seen toward the top of the picture, in a small piece of land just west of the Cedar Point Causeway bridge.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Betsy Ross Bread and the H & S Modern Baking Co.

A truck with loudspeakers can be seen above promoting Betsy Ross jumbo bread about 1936. Betsy Ross Bread was a favorite product of Sandusky’s H and S Modern Bakery. Newspaper ads stated that Betsy Ross Bread was made with creamery butter and rich cream milk. In 1926 Miss May Neville chose Betsy Ross Bread for the recipes she used in the Sandusky Star Journal cooking school. The advertisement below, which appeared in the March 29, 1929 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal, suggests that mothers of Sandusky preferred Betsy Ross Bread because of its wholesome ingredients.

Betsy Ross bread could be purchased at local grocers or from retail wagons that made deliveries in Sandusky. In 1951 a loaf of Betsy Ross bread sold for 18 cents.

The H and S Modern Baking Company was founded in Sandusky about 1918 by Amandus Smith, Sr. and Edward Hartzel, and continued in operation until the early 1950’s. Eventually the H and S Modern Baking Company had facilities at 625 Hancock Street, 221 E. Monroe Street, and 244 Columbus Avenue. The company also had facilities at other locations through the years.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Vintage Views of Cedar Point

Since 1870 local residents and tourists have been enjoying Cedar Point with its beach, attractions, and accommodations. Cedar Point is the second oldest amusement park in North America, especially known for its roller coasters. Enjoy these historic images of Cedar Point from days gone by. Visitors to the Cedar Point Beach in the picture below were dressed quite modestly. The Sea Swing can be seen on the left.

Visitors often brought their own lunch, for a picnic in shaded areas of the park.

Canoeing through the Cedar Point Lagoons was once a popular pastime.

Noah’s Ark and the Flying Skooter were popular attractions from about 1924 to 1954.

The Yankee Bullet was another popular ride.

A peaceful drive home down the Cedar Point Chaussee was a perfect way to end the day at Cedar Point.

The Sandusky Library has several titles which cover the history of Cedar Point, including Cedar Point: The Queen of American Watering Places, by David W. Francis and Diane DeMali Francis, Fun at the Old Cedar Point, by Glenn D. Everett, and Cedar Point Yesterdays, by Charles E. Frohman.