Saturday, October 10, 2015

Ferdinand Geiersdorf, Former Mayor of Sandusky

Ferdinand Geiersdorf was born in Munich, Germany (then Bavaria) on December 5, 1831. When he first came to Sandusky he was a poor butcher’s apprentice, but eventually he became quite wealthy in the fish business. Mr. Geiersdorf’s image can be seen in the image above on the upper left, from Plate IV in the book, Sandusky Einst und Jetzt. Below is an advertisement which appeared in the 1869 Sandusky City Directory.

From 1863 to 1867, Geiersdorf served as Sandusky’s Mayor. He was the first individual of German descent to become Mayor of the city. In his inaugural address, which was published in the April 15, 1863 issue of the Sandusky Register, he stated that because of the ongoing rebellion (the Civil War), local residents would be taxed rather heavily until the war’s end. Mayor Geiersdorf called for immediate cleaning of the streets and gutters in town, to maintain the excellent health of the residents of Sandusky. He hoped to see that the principal roads coming in to Sandusky would be maintained in good condition, to ensure the ability of visitors being able to travel to Sandusky, to frequent its offices and businesses. Mayor Geiersdorf concluded his address with the words of President Jackson, “The Union must be preserved.” 

When Ferdinand Geiersdorf died on September 22, 1870, he was greatly mourned.  In a biographical sketch in Sandusky Then and Now, it was said about him that “His goodness and readiness to alleviate need with an open hand will live after him.” The former Mayor was buried at Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery.

A large letter G is at the top of the monument of Ferdinand Geiersdorf. The letters of his surname, appearing at the base of the monument, were designed to resemble tree branches.

Read Sandusky Then and Now, translated into English from the German version of Sandusky Einst und Jetzt, to learn more about the earliest German American residents of Sandusky.

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