Friday, December 30, 2011

"Take a New Year’s Smoke"

An advertisement in the December 26, 1898 issue of Sandusky Register suggested that area residents “Take a New Year’s Smoke” and make the resolution to smoke only the Imperial Cigar, sold for ten cents apiece at Dietz & Mischler, at 224 Columbus Avenue. A listing in the 1898 Sandusky City Directory lists the owners of Dietz & Mischler as Jacob Dietz and Daniel Mischler. They were manufacturers of fine cigars, and dealers in tobacco, pipes and smokers’ supplies.

Until about 1915, Puck, a cast zinc statue, stood in the front window of Dietz & Mischler’s store. After Dietz & Mischler closed, Puck landed in John and Henry Weier’s scrap yard on Hancock Street. Eventually Puck was rescued from the scrap yard by Charles Hoffman. Puck was placed atop a stand operated by the Hoffman family for many years at the corner of Scott and Hancock Streets.

Descendants of the Hoffman family donated Puck to the Follett House Museum in 1974. Puck can still be seen in the basement level of the Follett House.

Cigar making was a major business in Sandusky at the turn of the twentieth century. You can read about cigar making in Sandusky in a previous blog post.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lasalle’s Store

In time for the busy holiday shopping season of 1949, the Lasalle and Koch Company opened a Lasalle’s department store in downtown Sandusky at 247 Columbus Avenue. This location had previously been the site of the Sloane House, and now is an Erie County office building. Rev. Rush R. Sloane spoke at the opening ceremonies held on October 28, 1949. The Sandusky High School band, under the direction of B.F. Aldrich provided music for the event. Mayor Kahler cut the ribbon across the main entrance to the new Lasalle’s store. The store featured four floors of merchandise. The outside walls were made of light brick, and the front of Indiana limestone. Glass windows across the entire front and side of the store created a huge show window.

Lasalle’s sold clothing for every member of the family, along with home furnishings, shoes, appliances, and furniture. A snack bar in the basement provided lunch for employees as well as shoppers. A beauty shop was located on the third floor of Lasalle’s. When shoppers rode the elevator, an elevator operator assisted you in getting to the upper floors of Lasalle’s.

Pictured below are the first Sandusky sales managers for the Lasalle’s store in Sandusky. Lasalle’s provided jobs for many area residents through the years.

The Lasalle’s store served Sandusky area customers until 1981. Do you have any memories of shopping at the Lasalle’s in downtown Sandusky?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Santa in a Plane at the Reinhardt Ausmus Residence

The unique Christmas decoration featuring Santa Claus as the pilot of an airplane once appeared on the roof of the home of Reinhardt Ausmus. While we do not know the exact date of the picture, Sandusky City Directories indicate that the Ausmus family resided at 1102 Buckingham Street in Sandusky, Ohio for over forty years, arriving in Sandusky in 1915. "Reiny" (as he was known by his friends) built and flew his first airplane at the age of 16. He went on to become a flight instructor during World War I, and he continued to teach after the war.

In 2007, Reinhardt Ausmus was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. He was recognized for his "distinctive contribution to the progress of early aviation" as well as for his services contributing "to the well being of veterans and other citizens of the Sandusky area."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Observance at Sandusky Junior High School in 1944

On December 22, 1944, the employees of Plum Brook Ordnance Works and their families and friends, met at Sandusky’s Junior High School (later known as Jackson Junior High School) for the third annual old-fashioned Christmas observance. All those in attendance received a program which included the words to several traditional Christmas carols.

Brief messages by local ministers, Rev. Theo J.C. Stellhorn, Sr. and Rev. C. J. Dobmeyer, offered reflections on peace while America was at war.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Christmas Season in Sandusky, 1891

This was the menu for Christmas time at the West House, a large hotel in Sandusky:

A variety of game and seafood were the main course, along with cold ham, chicken and tongue. Desserts included mince pie, lemon pie, cake, ice cream, and English plum pudding with brandy sauce.

Local companies advertised in the Sandusky Register for several weeks in December of 1891. The Fair, a store managed by M.N. Sisenwain opposite the Sloane House, sold dolls, books, mechanical toys, jewelry, china cups, glassware, pictures, and a wide assortment of gift items of “Christmas delights.” J. Krupp and Son sold books cases, beds, rockers, tapestries and furniture for the home or office. M. & A. Lebensburger, a leading Sandusky clothier, sold several styles of overcoats. The Bazar at 615 and 617 Market Street slashed prices just a few days before Christmas Day.

D.C. Powers ran a lengthy poem advertising the many items for sale at the D.C. Powers dry goods store at 142 Columbus Avenue. The first three stanzas, which appeared in the December 18, 1891 issue of the Sandusky Register, were:

Mother Christmas’ Answer

Santa came to “Mother Christmas”-
“Dear,” said he, “I’m sore perplexed!
Knotted was the kind old forehead,
One might almost think him vexed.
“Where I’m going to get my sleighful
of the rarest, brightest, best,
Prettiest things to please this worldful
Grown so captious, can’t be guessed!

Said his Dame, “I wonder at you!
Must be you’ve forgotten Powers;
I have found there gifts to rapture
These expectant bairns of ours.
For, you know, with all the worldful-
Stockings large, and stockings small,
You must cram form out your sleighful-
Nothing’s left for ours at all!”
“Then the quaint, delightful boxes-
Filled, the yare, with daintiest things-
Charming souvenirs, cards and booklets –
Everything the season brings,
Kerchiefs, hemstitched, plain, embroidered,
Silk and linen, grave and gay-
Finest values for the prices –
In bewildering display!”

The poem concludes with Santa deciding to fill his sleigh with items from D.C. Powers’ stock. This photograph, which shows an interior view of the D.C. Powers store, was taken in the latter part of the 1800s:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

World War II Civilian Defense

In 1982, a scrapbook was donated to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center which features newspaper clippings about Civilian Defense activities in Sandusky between 1941 and 1943, during World War Two. The Civilian Defense Council in Sandusky was established by a city ordinance on December 15, 1941, following the Office of Civilian Defense having been created as a national agency on May 20, 1941. Leland Spore was coordinator of the Sandusky Civilian Defense in the early stages of the organization. When Mr. Spore left for active service duty Vincent F. Schubert took over. Earl C. Krueger served as the third coordinator of the Sandusky Civilian Defense Council.

The entire community joined in the activities of Civil Defense. In December of 1941, Dr. A. R Grierson, chief of the Medical Services Division, began voluntary enlistment for local men and women for the National Red Cross Volunteer Nurse’s Aide Course. Instruction was given so that volunteers had practical experience in hospital wards, kitchen, laboratory, x-ray, and surgery, should a major medical emergency arise. Dr. Grierson emphasized that the program was “no place for weaklings.” Local educator W.E. Weagly stated that “In the time of peace we go our separate ways. In time of war, we act together.” Members of the Erie County Ministerial Association voted unanimously that all members would lend their wholehearted to the Sandusky Civilian Defense Council in connection with work in public relations and civilian morale. In 1942 Fire Chief Wilson McLaughlin and Police Chief R.G. Bravard saw to it that area residents were trained as auxiliary firemen and policemen in case of an emergency. A Civilian Defense WWII Auxiliary Police helmet is now in the collections of the Follett House Museum.

A group of firemen and auxiliary firemen who were trained by the Sandusky Civilian Defense Council during World War Two are pictured below.

The “Salvage for Victory” campaign sponsored by the Sandusky Municipal Defense Council, asked Sandusky residents to save waste paper, rags, rubber and scrap metal. Items were collected by the Volunteers of America and then sold, with all proceeds paid to the Sandusky Municipal Defense Fund. In the fall of 1942 the Lions Club and Commodore Perry Post of the American Legion donated automobiles for the Sandusky Scrap Harvest campaign. Tire and specific food items and other goods were rationed.

The Sandusky Register Star News ran a full page advertisement on What to do in an Air Raid.

Civilian Defense movies were shown at the auditorium of Jackson Junior High School. A Civilian Defense and Flag Day Parade was held on Flag Day in June, 1942. Marching in the parade were members of the State Highway Patrol, Navy Mothers, VFW drum corps, Sandusky High School band, policemen, policemen, fireman, horsemen, ambulances, air wardens, and Civil Defense officials. Representing the War Plant division were Farrell Check, Brightman Nut, Plum Brooks Ordnance Works, and the Civil Air Patrol. The local U.S.O. provided hospitality for servicemen. On December 15, 1942, the Office of Civil Defense conducted a “dim-out” in Sandusky. Residents were asked to turn out all lights in their home. Automobiles were asked to place their headlights on dim, and travel at 15 miles per hour. They were not to use their telephone unless absolutely necessary. Once the “all clear” signal was blasted, lights could be used again. On March 2, 1943, a blackout drill was conducted simultaneously by 29 northern Ohio counties.

To view the World War Two Civilian Defense Scrapbook, inquire at the Reference Services Desk of the Sandusky Library. A concise summary of Civilian Defense activities in Sandusky appears in the Monday, May 7, 1945 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News, in the Victory in Europe edition, available on microfilm.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bethel Church

Bethel Church was begun as an outreach of the Methodist Episcopal Church to support the effort of the Western Seaman’s  Friend Society to improve the moral and religious condition of seaman and boatmen in waters west of New York State. Rev. Thomas Cooper was the first minister of the Bethel Church in Sandusky in 1847. Early church services were held in the building occupied by the Custom House in Sandusky in the 1850s. In January of 1853 the Bethel Church on Water Street was dedicated.  The architect for the church was H. White from Cleveland, Ohio. The church featured two towers which were 57 feet tall. Rev. E. R. Jewett was the minister of Bethel Church from 1855 through 1858. Bethel Church can be seen in the picture below. The location of the church on Water Street was very close to the harbor of Sandusky, making it easy for men aboard the lake vessels to attend Bethel Church.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Cooke Block

Sandusky’s Cooke Block, at the northeast corner of Columbus Avenue and Market Street, has been in existence since the 1850s. Ellie Damm wrote in Treasure by the Bay that the north section, known as the Union Building, was built first, along Columbus Avenue. Wildman Mills erected a large building at the corner of Columbus Avenue & Market Street, and he sold the building to Charles E. and George A. Cooke in 1866. In about 1876 the Cooke Block and the former Union Building were consolidated. Sandusky city officials met in the Union Building and the Cooke Block in the early days of the city’s history. From 1882 until 1899, the Melville Brothers ran a wholesale and retail drug business in the main corner building of the Cooke Block. Josh B. Davis and J. H. Wagenet were insurance agents in the upper levels of the building. When the men of Company B returned home from the Spanish American War, a huge parade in downtown Sandusky welcomed them home.

By 1908 the Commercial National Bank was the main business in the corner building of the Cooke Block. A variety of other businesses were located in the Cooke Block, including insurance and real estate agents, lawyers, doctors, restaurants, and retail stores.

From about 1923 and into the 1930s, Fred A. Martin operated a wholesale and retail confectionery business in the Cooke Block. In the picture below, you can just barely read the name Martin’s under the Dining Room sign. By the time Martin’s Confectionery was in the Cooke Block, streetcars and automobiles had replaced horse drawn vehicles.

At the time of the Northwest Territory Celebration Parade in 1938, Walgreen’s Drugstore was located at 172 Columbus Avenue, where Martin’s had formerly been in business.

Holzaepfel Brothers Sporting Goods was at the northeast corner of Columbus Avenue and Market Street from the 1960s to the 1980s. More recently, antique shops have been located at this address. The street numbers have varied slightly through the years on Columbus Avenue and Market Street, and businesses have changed hands numerous times. Check the historical Sandusky City directories for the names and addresses of specific businesses that have been located in the Cooke Block through the years. Article 51 of From the Widow's Walk, Volume II, by Helen Hansen and Virginia Steinemann provides a concise history of the east side of the first block of Sandusky’s Columbus Avenue.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Captain George A. Brown

George Arthur Brown was born in Canada on December 6, 1841 to Joseph and Ann (Arbor) Brown. He began his long career with Great Lakes vessels as a deck hand when he was age sixteen. At age twenty one, he was made mate on a ship that operated out of Detroit. In the early 1860’s, Mr. Brown was appointed captain of the J.O. Moss, a ship owned and operated by the Gilcher & Shuck Lumber Company. Captain Brown was connected with several ships throughout his lengthy career. For a time he owned and operated the Champion, a ship that carried lumber. For thirty two years, Captain Brown was on the route between Sandusky and the Lake Erie Islands. He was captain of the steamers Jay Cooke, the City of Sandusky, and the Arrow.

An article in the December 22, 1910 issue of the Sandusky Register stated that Captain Brown “was known by practically every islander and many people from different parts of the United States, who acquaintance he made during the summer seasons…He was a personal friend of Grover Cleveland and many other notables. During all his experience as a lake captain he never met with a serious mishap.” After a lengthy illness, Capt. George A. Brown passed away at Providence Hospital, on December 21, 1910. He was survived by his wife, a son, daughter, and several siblings. The funeral for Captain George A. Brown was held on the day after Christmas in 1910 at the Masonic Temple. Burial was at Oakland Cemetery. Captain Brown was involved in many aspects of life on the Great Lakes. He transported mail, goods, as well as hundreds of individuals to a variety of locations in the Lake Erie Islands.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Sandusky High School Orchestra in 1910

In 1910 the Sandusky High School Orchestra was directed by Eugene B. Ackley, a well known musician and band leader. Several of the students in the school’s orchestra became prominent individuals in a number of different fields. Edward Hastings Vietmeier became the president of the Sandusky Sash and Door Company. Dr. Elmer H. Wirth was a professor at the University of Illinois from 1922 through1947, serving as Head of the Department of Pharmacognosy for several years. He was the author of seven books and more than 300 articles on pharmacy. Dr. Norbert Lange was a chemistry professor at Western Reserve University, who is known for writing the classic text Handbook of Chemistry. Dr. Lange and his wife were the benefactors for The Norbert A. and Marion Cleaveland Lange Trust of Sandusky Library, which has provided cultural and educational programs for Erie County residents for over twenty five years. Leonard Osberg served three two year terms as the Mayor of Vermilion in the 1940s. Corydon Bell, along with his wife Thelma, wrote several children’s books in the 1940s and 1950s. William Kerber lived to be 96 years of age. Mr. Kerber was a steel executive who managed the country's pig iron production during World War II. He died in Washington D.C. in April, 1990. These men, who achieved great things, got their start in Sandusky. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to learn more about the lives of the individuals who called Sandusky home.