Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sandusky High School Band of 1935

Photographer Ernst Niebergall took this picture of the Sandusky High School Band on April 25, 1935 on the steps of the former Sandusky High School, later Adams Junior High. The band had recently purchased new uniforms for the band members, made by the Ward Company of New London, Ohio. A few days after this picture was taken, the band gave a concert at the annual Scout Circus, held at Jackson Junior High. In May the Sandusky High School band was asked to give a concert at the Bellevue Cherry Festival. The May 29, 1935 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that the band had been invited aboard one of the steamers of the Ashley and Dustin Line on opening day, June 10, 1935, when the steamer was scheduled to take an excursion trip to Detroit. Both the Sandusky High School and Shelby High School bands were asked to give concerts throughout the excursion. Several of the members of the 1935 SHS band were still in the organization when the band played at the dedication of Strobel Field (now Strobel Field at Cedar Point Stadium) on September 25, 1936.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

“Fi-Fi of the Toy Shop” at the Sandusky Theatre

On April 21 and April 22, 1915, the play “Fi-Fi of the Toy Shop” was performed at the Sandusky Theatre in downtown Sandusky, then at the southwest corner of Jackson and Water Streets.

The cast was made up of all local residents, primarily young women and girls. (Unfortunately, some of the characterizations reflected prejudices that were acceptable at the time.)  The production was directed by H.S. Munsey. The theme of the play involved the daughter of a toy maker who is cast into a magic sleep by the sandman. Miss Ada Gundlach played the role of a retired fairy. Miss Catherine Winters played “Bo Peep” and sang several musical numbers. A chorus of over one hundred singers joined in the chorus of the song “The Honey Bee’s Honey Moon.” 

An article in the April 23, 1915 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that both performances of “Fi-Fi of the Toy Shop” were quite successful. After expenses were paid, one half of the proceeds were to go to the Sandusky High School choir. The advertisement below appeared in the April 19, 1915 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

“You Never Can Tell” in Sandusky, 1922

On April 20, 1922  the play You Never Can Tell, by George Bernard Shaw, was presented by Sandusky Federation of Women’s Clubs at the Sandusky Theater.

Charlotte Atwater DeVine directed the performance, which was put on for the benefit of a free dental clinic for school age children in Sandusky. The play was about a dentist falling in love. A subplot in the play was about three children who accidentally meet their father for the first time. Mrs. Lilly Johnson wrote a review of the local production in the April 21, 1922 issue of the Sandusky Register, declaring that a large and distinctive audience saw the play, which featured many professional touches. Two actors who played their roles very well were George Lehrer as the semi-villainous father, and Charles Selkirk, who portrayed the suave attorney. The article concluded, “In this group of people Sandusky possesses dramatic talent of a high order and it is to be hoped that lovers of the drama have an opportunity of seeing them at frequent intervals. A total of $300 was raised for the future dental clinic.”

Along the edges of the play’s program were advertisements for local businesses, which were written in rhyme. These two ads are from Gassen and Werner’s and  W.A. Bishop, photographer.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Carl L. Mackey, Superintendent of Sandusky City Schools

Carl L. Mackey was born in Marietta, Ohio in 1895. He graduated from Marietta College in 1918, where he played baseball and football, and he was on the track team. Shortly after graduation, he entered an officers’ training camp, but as he was about to receive his orders, the war ended and he was honorably discharged. Late in 1918, he was hired by Sandusky High School to be the Athletic Director. He also taught Science and Civics. He coached Sandusky’s basketball team during the 1918-1919 academic year, where the team played to capacity crowds at every game. In the mid-1920s, he took a job in Oberlin, but by 1928, when Jackson Junior High School was opened, Mr. Mackey was the principal of the new school.

The opening of Jackson Junior High School was an exciting event in Sandusky. The school had a swimming pool and a large gymnasium which was also used as a community center from the late 1920s through the 1940s.  By the early 1950s, Mr. Mackey had become the assistant superintendent of Sandusky City Schools, and from 1953 to 1958, he served as superintendent of the school system.

Mr. Mackey was superintendent of schools in Sandusky when the new high school building opened in 1957.

Mr. Mackey was not only active as a teacher and administrator, but he was very involved in other community affairs as well. In the 1940s, he was the president of the local chapter of the Lions Club, and he was involved with the first Safety Town in Sandusky, sponsored by the Rotary Club in 1956. 

After retiring from Sandusky City Schools, Mr. Mackey moved to High Point, North Carolina; he died in North Carolina on March 25, 1976. He was survived by his wife, two sons, and four grandchildren. In his time in Sandusky, Mr. Mackey got to know many local residents through his many years of committed service to the school system and the community. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Firelands Chorus at the Follett House Museum, 1977

This photograph of members of the Firelands Chorus was taken by Alden Photographers on September 6, 1977. The fashions and hairstyles are definitely reminiscent of the 1970s. 

Don’t forget that the Follett House Museum is open for tours from April through December. You can see four floors of artifacts, furniture and historic photographs from Sandusky and Erie County. Admission to the museum is free.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mr. and Mrs. William Townsend

Now on display at the Follett House Museum, oil paintings of William Townsend and his wife, the former Maria Lamson, were donated to the museum by descendants of Mr. and Mrs. Townsend. William Townsend settled in Sandusky, Ohio between 1815 and 1819. He opened a dry goods store opposite the Colton House in Sandusky, and later went into the commission and forwarding business. Mr. Townsend was the first local merchant to advertise in the Sandusky Clarion. The advertisement below appeared in the Sandusky Clarion of May 15, 1822.

William Townsend was a Sandusky council member when the city was incorporated in 1824, and he also served as the city’s first recorder. He invested in the Mad River Railroad, and owned a line of steamers that ran between Buffalo and western lake ports, including the city of Sandusky. He married Maria Lamson (sometimes listed as Lampson) in 1824.

The Townsends had a large family of eight children, all of whom were girls except for one son named William Kneeland Dell Townsend. An article in At Home in Early Sandusky, by Helen Hansen, states that William Townsend’s employees celebrated the birth of the son in 1840 by firing off guns from the roof of the commission house.  

The former home of William and Maria Townsend was built in 1844, and it still stands on West Washington Street, now a multi-family unit.

Sadly, the happiness of this prosperous local family was shattered in 1849. William and Maria Townsend, their daughter Sarah, as well as a sister of Mrs. Townsend all died between July 27 and July 31, 1849 when a cholera epidemic swept through Sandusky. The oldest Townsend child was Mary Elizabeth Cooke, the wife of Pitt Cooke.  Mr. and Mrs. Pitt Cooke took in Mary’s orphaned siblings, and raised them. A lovely monument at Oakland Cemetery, which honors the memory of William and Maria Townsend, is pictured on this stereographic card created by photographer A.C. Platt.


Another beautiful memorial at Oakland Cemetery is connected to the Townsend family. William and Maria Townsend’s youngest daughter Louisa married Theodore Hosmer, the first Mayor of Tacoma, Washington. The final resting place of Louisa Townsend Hosmer, who died in 1885, and Theodore Hosmer, who died in 1900, is in Lot 25 in the North Ridge section of Oakland Cemetery.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Miss America of 1922 Had Ties to Sandusky

One hundred years after David Campbell founded the Sandusky Clarion, his great great granddaughter Mary Katherine Campbell was named Miss America in Atlantic City. A former “Miss Columbus,” she won the title in both 1922 and 1923. The clipping above appeared in the Sandusky Register on August 24, 1924. Miss Campbell had been invited to Sandusky’s Centennial Celebration. (It is unknown if she actually attended the celebration in Sandusky.) Mary Katherine was the daughter of H.R. Campbell, who worked for several years in Ohio governmental offices, including the State Auditor and the Ohio Bureau of Inspection. The grandfather of Mary Katherine Campbell was Frank Little Campbell, former owner of the Blue Limestone Company. Mary Katherine’s great grandfather was George W. Campbell.

Before moving to Delaware, Ohio, George W. Campbell worked for several years with his father in the newspaper publishing business in Sandusky. His father, and great great grandfather of Mary Katherine Campbell was David Campbell, who died in Sandusky in 1861. An inscription on Mr. Campbell’s tombstone in Sandusky's Oakland Cemetery reads: “An Honest Man.”

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

George W. Campbell and His Letter to Mrs. Hubbard

George W. Campbell was born in the state of New York to David and Mary Jones Todd Campbell on January 12, 1817. In the early 1820s he moved with his parents to Sandusky, Ohio, where his father published the Sandusky Clarion. The Clarion was the first newspaper published in the Firelands area, and was the predecessor of the Sandusky Register. Mr. Campbell worked with his father in the publishing business in Sandusky, until he relocated to Delaware, Ohio in 1849. In Delaware, he worked in the mercantile business. Later he devoted his pursuits to the propagation of a wide variety of fruits, and he became well known as a horticulturist. Mr. Campbell was best known for his promotion of the Delaware grape. The popular Delaware grape was known for its hardiness, productivity, and unsurpassed flavor and quality. 

George W. Campbell died on July 15, 1898 and was buried at Oak Grove Cemetery in Delaware County, Ohio. He was survived by his widow, the former Elizabeth Little. He had been president of the Ohio Horticultural Society and was appointed by President Rutherford B. Hayes as United States Commissioner to the Paris Exposition of 1878.  In 2002 an Ohio historic marker was dedicated at the former Campbell home, now the Delaware County Cultural Arts Center.

A letter from George W. Campbell to Mrs. Jennie West Hubbard is housed at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. Mrs. Hubbard was working on a project to collect biographical information about women who resided in the Western Reserve before 1850. She was hoping that her relative, Mr. Campbell, could tell her some of the birth and death dates of their mutual female relatives. It turns out that he did not recall the dates exactly, but he did remember with fondness the work that several Sandusky ladies did when creating a banner for the visit of William Henry Harrison to Sandusky. The letter and transcription are below.

Delaware, O., June 3, 1896
My dear Jennie:
            I am really ashamed of myself for allowing your letter of last March to remain so long unanswered, asking for information about the pioneer women of the Western Reserve; and I now regret that I am unable to give you so little of interest. I have somewhere, a book of records of my father’s family; but it has been mislaid, and I have been unable to find it; but I am not certain that it contains much. I have filled out the blank record of names you sent me, as far as I can. I have not the date of Aunt Eleanor’s birth or death – but I think they are recorded on her headstone in the cemetery of Sandusky. Of Wealthy’s record, I have only the state of her marriage to brother Henry.
            As to that flag, I am sorry my memory is so indistinct. I feel certain that Aunt Eleanor did work on a flag, and I think I saw the design; but cannot recall much about it. I was under the impression that it was modeled in whole or in part from the inclosed picture which I drew for the heading of a little campaign paper printed in the days of “Tippecanoe and Tyler too,” and had engraved at Buffalo by Mr. J.W. Orr. If you find the design on the flag is the same, or substantially so, you may be pretty sure that it is the same upon which Aunt Eleanor and other ladies worked. When I come to Sandusky, as I hope to do sometime this season I will investigate it and I think the sight of the flag will enable me to mark the names on the printed list which enclose also. When I am in Sandusky, perhaps I may be able to give you some items of interest with your assistance in prompting me as to what you would like to have.
            We are in health about as usual. Weather has been pleasant generally, with play of rain and sunshine; and lately cool, but without frost. Everything sure now must propicous for a fruitful answer, if we are not visited by storms or hail or cyclones. I sincerely hope you and your family and all the connections are well and happy, and that you and your mother – my sweet little Auntie had a delightful visit at Cincinnati. With kindred love from both, at this end of the line. I am affectionately and truly yours.
                                                            George W. Campbell

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Burger Chef in Sandusky

From the early 1960s until 1977, Sandusky area residents enjoyed hamburgers, French fries, and milkshakes at Burger Chef. The first Burger Chef was at 302 West Perkins Avenue. Manager Joe Brennan once presented Jacquelyn Mayer, Miss America of 1963, with a gold plated lifetime pass to Burger Chef.

The Burger Chef restaurant was air conditioned, but customers often ate in their automobiles. In 1966 hamburgers at Burger Chef cost fifteen cents.  In 1974, Burger Chef offered larger sandwiches, like the “Big Chef” and the “Super Chef.” By 1974 there were two Burger Chef restaurants in the Sandusky area, the original on Perkins Avenue and the other at 3002 Milan Road. By 1975, the first Burger Chef had closed, and the Brew and Watcha took over the property on West Perkins Avenue.  According to the July 3, 1976 issue of the Sandusky Register, “Burger Chef and Jeff” were to appear on the Burger Chef float in the Bicentennial parade. In an article which appeared in the December 17, 1977 issue of the Sandusky Register, the last Sandusky Burger Chef was scheduled to close on the following day. Burger Chef expressed its appreciation for customers having patronized the restaurant for the past seventeen years.