Sunday, May 22, 2016

Commercial Building at the Northeast Corner of Jackson and West Water Streets

The three story brick building at the northeast corner of Jackson and West Water Streets in downtown Sandusky was built about 1870, and has been a key commercial property in Sandusky for more than a century. For several years, Freeland T. Barney and Benjamin F. Ferris operated a hardware store at this location.

After Mr. Barney died in 1875, his widow, Mary Barney took over the business, with the help of a bookkeeper named Pierre VanAlstyne. Mr. VanAlstyne took over the business after the death of Mrs. Barney in 1881. 

The building underwent a major renovation in 1892, including the addition of a Romanesque Revival facade. Arches adorn the windows of upper levels of the building, and decorative brackets trim the upper most portion of the building.  The hardware store that had started as Barney and Ferris eventually became the Donahue Hardware Store. Below is a picture of the Donahue Hardware Store about 1900. In the early twentieth century, the Donahue Hardware Store occupied 735-737-739 Water Street. 

By 1915, the Donahues had moved the hardware store to Market Street, and Schnaitter and Bechberger Plumbing and Heating took over the location of the former Donahue Hardware, which was now known as 231-233 West Water Street.  Bender & Woodward Wholesale Grocers had temporary quarters at 225-229 West Water Street at that time.  In 1932, the Elks Hall was on the upper floor of 231 West Water Street. Later businesses in the large block from 225-233 West Water Street were Hessler Plumbing and Heating, Trophy Specialists, the Yankee Clipper barber shop, an art gallery and the Sandusky Athletic Club. To learn the exact years and names of businesses at this location in downtown Sandusky, see the historical Sandusky City Directories housed in the lower level of the Sandusky Library. 

The large 20 Mule Team Borax advertisement below was painted on the former Barney & Ferris building at the time of the 1913 Perry Centennial Celebration in Sandusky.

The side of the building which faces to the west is likely where the old Borax ad was painted.

More details about the businesses that have been located on West Water Street are found in an article by Helen Hansen and Virginia Steinemann in the January 19, 1992 issue of the Sandusky Register, now available on microfilm at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.

1 comment:

Tina Showalter said...

I love learning the history of the old buildings in our downtown area. Is there a chance of writing anything on the Wilke building on Columbus Ave. (currently occupied by Fabulous Female)? Thanks!