Friday, May 29, 2015

1898 Sandusky High School Graduates


Pictured above are all the female graduates from the Sandusky High School class of 1898, except Winifred Chapman, who was not present when the photograph was taken. Most likely the male graduates’ picture was taken as well, but to date we only have a picture of the women. Below is a photograph of several faculty members from the academic year 1897-1898. The only teacher that has positively been identified is E.L. Moseley, who is the man in the center. (His name was listed incorrectly in the program as E.J. Moseley.)


The commencement program provides a list of all the graduates and faculty members.


An article which appeared on the front page of the June 24, 1898 issue of the Sandusky Register covered the commencement exercises in detail. It read in part:

Amidst the glow and shimmer of electric lights that made the wide stage of the Nielsen Opera House a most beautiful picture, twenty-nine young men and women, of the very flower of Sandusky youth, sat last night in full view of an audience that filled the entire lower floor of the theater and were scattered throughout the balcony, who for personal interest or city pride regarded them with the liveliest interest. They sang together with rare sweetness. Twelve of their number presented essays and orations sparkling with bright, keen thought, and at the close of the evening exercise the class of ‘98 of the Sandusky High School was graduated and the commencement has passed into history of the city schools.

Edward Altstaetter gave an oration entitled “The Sun of Spain is Setting,” which referred to the conflict between Spain and the U.S. that was ongoing in 1898.  The commencement program gave a list of all the student presentations that were given during the ceremony.



Visit the Sandusky Library to see historic graduation programs, yearbooks from several area schools, and to learn more about the rich history of Sandusky and Erie County. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Famed Circus Performer Clyde Beatty at the M. Hommel Wine Company


On May 26, 1937, Clyde and Harriet Beatty, along with several other individuals associated with the Cole Brothers Circus, visited the M. Hommel Wine Company and signed the guest book.


Clyde Beatty, a native Ohioan, was well known as a lion tamer and circus owner. Three special trains brought the Cole Brothers Circus to Sandusky on May 25, 1937, where a performance was given at the corner of Campbell and Pierce Streets.

Several guest registers from the M. Hommel Wine Company are now in the historical collections of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. The oldest guest register is from the M. Hommel Wine Company exhibit at the Pan American Exposition which was held in Buffalo, New York from June to October of 1901.  There was a guest register from the company’s display at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 -1905. The M. Hommel Wine Company also kept guest registers at its facilities in Sandusky, one dating from 1898-1917, and another from 1917 to 1967. An article which appeared in the July 1, 1963 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that Buffalo Bill and former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt had also visited the M. Hommel Wine Company and signed the guest register.


Michael Hommel was born in France in 1844. He learned how to make wine in the French town of Epernay which is known for its fine champagne wines. He came to Sandusky in 1871, where he worked for Mr. W. H. Mills, a local winemaker. In 1878 Hommel established a winery and residence at the northeast corner of Clinton and Pearl Streets. Here is a picture of the M. Hommel Wine Company, at 1422 Clinton Street, taken in March of 1955:


It soon became a thriving business. The M. Hommel Winery specialized in naturally fermented champagnes derived from grapes grown in the Lake Erie Islands region. The Hommel wine cellars were carved out of limestone, and maintained a constant temperature of fifty degrees all year round. After Michael Hommel’s death in 1903, his son William H. Hommel took over the business. The Hommel Wine Company acquired the Diamond Wine Company in 1906. This gift package was distributed by the Hommel Wine Company in the 1930s.



The M. Hommel Company stayed in the Hommel family until 1945, when it was sold to outside interests. In 1971 a fire destroyed the Clinton Street buildings that had once housed the M. Hommel Wine Company. An apartment complex is now located at the site of the former winery. An unopened bottle of extra dry American champagne, produced and bottled by the M. Hommel Wine Company, is displayed in the Industry Room of the Follett House Museum.



Thursday, May 21, 2015

J.J. Hinde and J.J. Dauch, the Men behind the Hinde and Dauch Paper Company

Image of James J. Hinde courtesy of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, Fremont, Ohio
James J. Hinde was born in Huron Township, Ohio on March 31, 1855 to Mr. and Mrs. William J. Hinde, who were both natives of Ireland. Jacob J. Dauch was also born in Huron Township, on July 2, 1887, to Philip and Mary Dauch, who were of German descent. In the 1880 U.S. Census, both J.J. Hinde and J.J. Dauch were residing in Huron Township of Erie County, and they both listed their occupation as farmer. In 1888, Hinde and Dauch formed a partnership to harvest and bale straw to be used in paper making. One of their customers was the Sandusky Paper Mill, which made butcher wrapping paper from straw. The paper mill ran into financial difficulty, and after leasing it for a time, in 1892 Mr. Hinde and Mr. Dauch purchased the mill. The company eventually became known as the Hinde and Dauch PaperCompany.  In its early years, the business was not very profitable. After  developing corrugated paper, Hinde and Dauch Paper became a leading company in its field. 

An article in the March 2, 1986 issue of the Sandusky Register stated that J.J. Hinde was the inventor, and J.J. Dauch was the business man in the partnership. Below is a drawing from Patent Number 1,005,836, for a machine for making paper board, designed by James J. Hinde in 1910. The patent was issued on October 17, 1911.


 Eventually the Hinde and Dauch Company became the largest manufacturer of its kind in the United States. There were box factories in several cities of the U.S. and Canada, and paper mills as far west as Iowa. 

In 1910, J.J. Hinde left the Hinde and Dauch Company, in order to pursue other interests. Among his later business interests were the Sandusky Automobile Company, the Hinde Paper Company, and the Hinde Brick and Tile Company. Unfortunately none of these ventures proved to be successful.  Mr. Hinde died from pneumonia on February 22, 1931. In his obituary, found in the 1931 Obituary Notebook at the Sandusky Library, we learn that Henry Ford visited J.J. Hinde, where he showed Ford the first tractor that he had ever seen. Mr. Hinde was known as an ardent conversationalist, and he often spoke fondly of Ireland, the birthplace of his ancestors.

J.J. Dauch became the president of Hinde and Dauch after Mr. Hinde departed.  In the image below, J.J. Dauch with a group of Hinde and Dauch employees, who were all graduates of the Sandusky Business College; the photo was featured in a promotional booklet for the school. The picture was accompanied by a letter of endorsement for the college on stationery from another business Dauch owned, the Dauch Manufacturing Company.


Mr. Dauch had been a graduate of the college in 1876, when it was known as the Buckeye Business and Telegraph College. In 1881, he purchased the Sandusky Business College, but sold it in 1884. 

Sadly, Mr. Dauch died in an automobile accident on August 15, 1918, at the age of 61. His chauffeur, Harry Hicks, also died in the accident, and Dauch’s wife and daughter were injured. Another injured passenger in the car was J.W. Wellington, the president of the Matthews Engineering Company. 

An article by Tom Twitchell which highlighted the life and career of industrialist J.J. Dauch appeared in the March 2, 1986 issue of the Sandusky Register, available on microfilm at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.  In the article appeared a quote by local historian Gordon Wendt, about J.J. Dauch, “He was the wealthiest man in town, and the most important.”  

In 1953, Hinde and Dauch was acquired by Westvaco. For most of the 1980s, the company operated as Displayco Midwest, which was bought out by the Chesapeake Corporation in 1989. The factory closed in 1997. The former Hinde and Dauch building at 401 West Shoreline Drive is now home to Chesapeake Lofts. An article which provides the history of the development of Hinde and Dauch is available onlineTom Jackson wrote an excellent article for the Sandusky Register covers the Paper District in Sandusky.

Though J.J. Hinde and J.J. Dauch were associated with the Hinde and Dauch Paper Company for a relatively short time, their names live on in the history of Sandusky and the paper making industry. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Pelican Restaurant


Pictured above is the Pelican restaurant about 1928 in the 100 block of Columbus Avenue, next to the R.M. and C.B. Wilcox Company.  The Pelican Restaurant and Confectionery opened in March of 1928, with George Poulus and Michael Pappas as the proprietors. An article from the March 22, 1928 issue of the Sandusky Register stated that customers could purchase candy, or just a sandwich, or cold drinks, or a full dinner at the Pelican.  The soda fountain featured nickel fittings, and was located on the left side of the front section of the restaurant. The right front  window of the Pelican showcased the candies made by the confectionery. An ad in the Register lets everyone know that John C. Klee installed the plumbing for the Pelican.


In November of 1928, Michael Pappas became the sole proprietor of the Pelican. Here is a picture of the Pelican in 1931:


The Holzaepfel Brothers store and Rosino’s shoe store are just south of the Pelican, and to the north are the New Sandusky View restaurant, with dentist Dr. Edwin Butterworth upstairs; the Uthe and Hiltz drugstore; and the Interurban Office. Across the street, a group of youngsters were getting off the Lake Shore Electric railway car, and soon would head to the dock to catch the ferry to Kelleys Island. 

By 1941, Paul Mellio and Philip Pappas were the proprietors of the Pelican Restaurant.  On March 22, 1948, on the occasion of its twentieth anniversary, the Pelican was serving roast turkey dinners for sixty cents.



On Thanksgiving Day of 1954, Paul Mellio of the Pelican Restaurant saw to it that the prisoners at the city jail were served a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. The Pelican had the contract for daily coffee and sandwiches for the prisoners, but the dinner served at the jail on Thanksgiving was extra special. By 1960, Thomas Pappas was listed in the Sandusky city directory as the proprietor of the Pelican Restaurant. George Lenos  was listed as the proprietor of the Pelican in the 1966 and 1967  city directories By 1968, there was no longer a listing for the restaurant in Sandusky city directories.  Later  businesses which were at the location of the Pelican Restaurant, at 145 Columbus Avenue include a shoe store, a family bookstore, and most recently, the Crush Wine Bar. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to learn more about the history of the people and businesses of Sandusky and Erie County.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Quinnebog Fishing Club


This vintage photograph from the Dr. Norbert Lange collection was taken shortly after the turn of the twentieth century. Several Sandusky residents were members of the Quinnebog Fishing Club. The group is standing in front of the clubhouse on Hen Island, which is located in the Canadian waters of Lake Erie, west of Pelee Island. A few individuals were identified in the picture:

1. Commodore Huntington
2. Frank Stang
3. Julius Wagner
4. Frank Kerber
5. Mr. Sinnerson
6. Dr. Beatty
7. Mr. Sanderson
8. John Hertlein
11.John Giedeman
12. Mr. Himmelein
14. Frank Stockdale

According to the Sandusky Register of May 15, 1903, ten members of the Quinnebog Fishing Club, and eight guests, went on a fishing party for three days, and they caught a total of 1068 bass.



The Quinnebog Fishing Club was founded in 1890 and is still active today.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mrs. Alice Jenkins, An Early Trustee of the Sandusky Library Association


Alice J. Johnson was the daughter of Leonard Beatty Johnson, a prominent business man who once owned Johnson’s Island. She was born in 1850 to Mr. Johnson and his wife, the former Permelia Nettleton. In 1868, Alice was a student at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. On December 28, 1875, Alice J. Johnson married Charles H. Jenkins. In 1880, U.S. Census records show that Alice and Charles Jenkins lived very close to Alice’s parents, on Columbus Avenue in Sandusky, Ohio. During the years of 1879 and 1880, Alice was a trustee of the Sandusky Library Association. This was before the construction of the Sandusky Library building on West Adams Street. Alice was part of a group of ladies who were interested in raising funds for the building of a public library in in the city. 

On January 24, 1881, Mrs. Alice Jenkins passed away at the age of 31. An obituary for Mrs. Jenkins appeared in the January 25, 1881 issue of the Sandusky Register. A transcription of the obituary reads:

Death of Mrs. Jenkins
It was with painful shock indeed that a large circle of friends yesterday learned of the death of Mrs. Alice J. Jenkins, wife of Mr. Chas. H. Jenkins, and elder daughter of one of the oldest and most respected families of our city. Mrs. Jenkins was seriously ill for several weeks. All that professional skill and the most careful nursing of a devoted family could do was done, but the time for the unseen messenger had come, and a lovely woman, beloved by family in the deepest affection of the human heart, and cherished by friends for an intelligence, grace and nobility of character whose impress was felt in all the broader circles of acquaintance, has been called to the other an better life, free from suffering and death. To a stricken family, the sympathy of many friends is extended.

Mrs. Alice Jenkins was buried in the Johnson family lot at Oakland Cemetery. 

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Cedar Point Sign at the Foot of Columbus Avenue


Though we do not have the exact dates it was in use, the iconic Cedar Point sign at the foot of Columbus Avenue could be seen in downtown Sandusky from the 1930s through the 1960s, and possibly longer. (If anyone has the exact dates that this sign was in operation, please leave a message in the comments field.) At night the sign was brightly lit, and the colorful lights reminded you of Cedar Point’s bustling Midway rides. For decades you could ride a ferry from downtown Sandusky to Cedar Point, and the dock was just beyond the Cedar Point sign. For many years the large building at 103-105 W. Shoreline Drive served as the winter offices for the Cedar Point Resort Company. You can read several phrases on the sign in the picture below, taken about 1940 during a Grape Festival celebration.


Advertised were: bathing, hotels, dancing, amusements, and free attractions. In this picture from the 1950s, you can see cars from the Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) Railroad which was still in operation in downtown Sandusky at the time.



The Cedar Point sign can be seen in this Colortone postcard printed by the Curt Teich Company in Chicago, Illinois. Two large passenger ferries can be seen near the pier.


Wednesday, May 06, 2015

A Locale in Erie County Known as Union Corners


If you have ever passed by St. John’s Lutheran Church on Route 250, traveling from Sandusky to Norwalk, then you have traveled through an area of Erie County that has long been known as Union Corners. This rural area is located in the very southwestern corner of Huron Township, close to the intersection of Huron, Milan, Oxford and Perkins Townships. There was a stop at Union Corners on the old Lake Shore Electric Railway.


St. John’s Lutheran Church was founded in 1865, after Rev. J.G. Lehrer of Zion Lutheran Church in Sandusky did a survey to determine where another Lutheran church would prove beneficial. Since residents out in the countryside found it difficult to travel to Sandusky for church services, Union Corners was selected as the site of the new church. Services at St. John’s were conducted in the German language until the early 1940s. A cemetery associated with the church is found just to the south of the church. Many surnames of German descent are found on the tombstones at St. John’s Cemetery, sometimes known as Union Corners Cemetery. 

Faith and family seemed to be the cornerstone of the early twentieth century residents of Union Corners. A small column of neighborhood news appeared in the Sandusky Register.  The columnist known as “Billy Boy” told of weddings, births, church events,  and activties going on at area farms.




From the late 1800s until the 1930s, there was an elementary school in Union Corners. Local newspaper articles indicated that the Perkins Board of Education sold the former Union Corners school building in 1940. There was a ladies organization known as  Union Corners Club, formed on April 14, 1921. When the club celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, Viola Fritz Wonnell wrote a history of the organization, now preserved in the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.  The Union Corners Club was a social and literary club, which intended to promote good fellowship in the community. One of the earliest activities of the club was to join with the Erie County Federation of Women’s Clubs in protesting indecent dress of women and girls. The women asked proprietors of public dancing places to prohibit indecent dressing and suggestive dancing. The Union Corners Club, later shortened to U.C. Club,  raised money for victims of tuberculosis, for playground equipment for the local school, and refreshments served at  the U.S.O. during World War II. The group also had many social events, like card and theater parties. 

You can learn more about Union Corners by reading the neighborhood news columns in the Sandusky Register, now available on microfilm at the Sandusky Library Archives Center. St. John’s Lutheran Church records, including a hundred year history of the church are also on microfilm at the Library.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

When Sandusky’s Funeral Homes Provided Ambulance Service


Before organized emergency medical services were introduced in the United States, funeral homes often provided emergency ambulance service as well as transportation for sick patients. In the souvenir booklet from Sandusky’s Centennial Celebration in 1924, Charles J. Andres’ Sons funeral directors offered 24-hour sedan ambulance service. In the same publication, the Frey Furniture and Undertaking Co. advertised an auto invalid car “used exclusively for the living.”


In this picture from a 1924 parade, the Andres Funeral Home vehicle had the word ambulance lettered above the white cross on the front of the car.


The billboard in the undated picture  below from rural Erie County  stated that the Frey Funeral Home also offered ambulance service.




Listings in Sandusky City Directories indicate that local funeral homes provided ambulance service from the 1920s through the 1970s. An article in the June 25, 1964 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that during the 1950s and 1960s,  the Andres, Frey, Keller, Quick and Suitor Funeral Homes rotated ambulance service on a monthly basis, so that the calls were distributed fairly. David Suitor stated that he personally delivered five babies while on ambulance calls in Sandusky.