Wednesday, July 02, 2014

The Erie County Children’s Home

According to the book Treasure by the Bay, by Ellie Damm (Bucknell University Press, 1989), in 1898 the voters of Erie County approved the construction of a Children’s Home to be built on a five acre site just north of the intersection of Cleveland Road and Sycamore Line in Sandusky, Ohio. The Erie County Children’s Home opened in May of 1901. The building was designed by the Cleveland architectural firm of Lehman and Schmitt, and the general contractor was George Feick.

 The building was constructed of native limestone, and featured a large entry portico with pillars, with the windows and doors arranged symmetrically. Dormitories were located on either side of the main building. Girls were housed on the first floor of the right side of the building, and boys were on the first floor of the left side of the building. Each child was assigned an individual locker for his or her belongings. The dining room was located on the first floor of the main building. On the second floor of the main building was a hospital, quarters for the maids, and the rooms of the superintendent and his wife. The first superintendent of the Erie County Children’s Home was Eugene Peake. An epidemic of scarlet fever caused the residents of the home to be under a strict quarantine during July of 1901. The schedule for the Erie County Children’s Home was printed in the Sandusky Register of December 1, 1901. The daily routine included: rise at 6 a.m.; family worship at 6:20; breakfast at 7; school at 8:30; lunch at noon; school from 1:30 to 3 p.m.; supper at 6 p.m.; and bedtime at 8 p.m.  In December of 1926, the local Kiwanis Club sponsored a Christmas party for residents of the Children’s Home.

While the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center does not have extensive records from the Erie County Children’s Home, we do have some snapshots taken during the 1940s in our historical files.

The Erie County Children’s Home ceased operations in 1960. In the early 1960s, the building that formerly housed the Children’s Home was used for offices by Erie County. In 1992, the property was purchased by Stein Hospice, which opened at 1200 Sycamore Line in the summer of 1993.

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