Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sandusky High School Graduating Class of 1917

The senior class of 1917 was the largest class of graduates in Sandusky High School’s history up to then. The class consisted of 68 young men and women, but Esther Hartung was ill and could not attend the commencement ceremony. Rev. C. L. Alspach had addressed the class at the High School on the evening of June 4, 2017 during the baccalaureate service.

He urged the members of the class to seek to attain the ideals of true manhood and womanhood, rather than the ever-changing measure of success as measured by the world. During the baccalaureate service one hundred high school girls sang the song “America Triumphant” which was fitting, since the United States had just entered World War I in April. Rev. J.H. Holdgraf offered a prayer for peace, and the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers” was sung.  

The Sandusky High School graduation ceremony took place on June 8, 2017 in the Sandusky High School auditorium, then located on Adams Street.

The speaker at graduation was Professor Delbert G. Lean from the College of Wooster. He stated that the men and women of the class of 1917 are the “men and women of the hour in an age of speed.” Professor Lean discussed the many changes in industry and technology, and spoke of the importance of education. He reminded the graduates that the youth of today “control the destinies of tomorrow.” He urged the senior class members to have conviction of purpose. Principal W.A. Richardson presented the class to Superintendent James T. Begg as “the largest and best class” ever to graduate from Sandusky High School.  Superintendent Begg pointed out that a high school education was valued at about $1800, according to figures from U.S. Government officials. Music for the commencement was provided by the high school orchestra, under the direction of Professor G.D. Jones. Several high school students also performed solos and duets. 

To see the names and pictures of each 1917 Sandusky High School graduate more closely, see the 1917 June Fram, available at the Sandusky Library’s local history collection in the Lower Level.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Memorial Day Has Been Celebrated in Sandusky Since 1870

Since 1870, when it was known as Decoration Day, Sandusky area residents have been celebrating Memorial Day, a holiday which honors those who died in war. In Sandusky’s first Decoration Day celebration, there was a parade from the newly built Sandusky High School (later Adams Junior High) to Oakland Cemetery, where several city leaders gave addresses, and the Great Western Band played patriotic music, as the crowd reflected on those lost in war. Attorney Walter F. Stone served as “President of the Day.”

Below is a portion of the listing of the Civil War veterans buried in Sandusky, which appeared in the January 20, 1880 issue of the Sandusky Register.

The last name on the excerpt above is the name of Dr. R. R. McMeens, who lost his life while serving as a physician during the Civil War. The local post of the G.A.R. was named for Dr. McMeens.

 Sandusky’s Veterans Memorial Park, just west of the Erie County Courthouse, honors all local veterans from the Civil War forward. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center, to learn more about your own ancestors who served in the military. There are a wide variety of print and online resources to aid you in your research.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Erie County Courthouse, Built in the 1870s

Pictured above is the Erie County Courthouse about 1888, with the Congregational Church and Zion Lutheran Church on either side of it. Before the courthouse was at its current location, it was on the east side of Columbus Avenue, near the present location of Emmanuel Church. This building had originally been built for use as a school, and was often called the Academy.

In 1871 Erie County officials began planning for a new county courthouse to be built. According to History of Erie County, Ohio, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich (D.Mason and Co., 1889), a plan was adopted by Myer and Holmes, architects from Cleveland. In light of the recent disastrous fire at Chicago, it was suggested that the new courthouse be as fire-proof as possible. Several bids from contractors were received early in 1872, and the winning bid was Miller, Frayer and Sheets, from Mansfield, Ohio. The Sandusky Library Archives Research Center has in its historical collections a ledger book from Miller, Frayer and Sheets, which contains several estimates of labor and materials. Each page was signed by architect H.E. Myer.

The courthouse was built in the Second Empire style. There were marble mantels in some of the offices of the courthouse, and the corridors were floored in marble tiles of black and white. Oran Follett gave an address when the new courthouse was dedicated in 1875. The courthouse was appreciated by the community, as evidenced by this paragraph from History of Erie County, Ohio, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich:
“This new Erie County Court-house is a model of beauty and modern architecture, and does honor not only to those engaged it its construction but to the county. Its location, on the west block of the public square, was exceedingly well chosen, as from all sides a full view of its grand proportions is obtained. The effort at elaborate ornamentation was completely successful, and here does not appear at any point, evidences of needless display.”
Below is a picture of the Ohio National Guard in front of the courthouse in the late 1880s.

In the 1930s the Erie County Courthouse was remodeled through a WPA project. The remodeling was done in the popular Art Deco style, and much of the limestone exterior of the courthouse was replaced with a flat concrete surface. Henry Millott was the local architect for the remodeling project. This brass medal commemorated the project.

Below is a view of the Erie County Courthouse taken by Thomas Root on July 9, 1975.

You can read more about the history of the Erie County Courthouse in Article 20 of From the Widow’s Walk by Helen Hansen and Virginia Steinemann as well as in a Sandusky Register article by Ron Davidson.

Monday, May 22, 2017

New Rides at Cedar Point in 1938

One of the largest new rides to open during Cedar Point’s summer season of 1938 was the Hi-De-Ho-in the Dark. It was a fun house attraction, with uneven floors, lots of mirrors, and a female mannequin that was upside down and rocking in a rocking chair. In the 1940s and 1950s, this attraction was re-built as Laff in the Dark. 

Another ride that was new to Cedar Point in 1938 was the Octopus.

 An article in the May 20, 1938 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that in 1938, new telephone service had been implemented at Cedar Point, as well as several thousand dollars of electrical improvements. Four brightly colored lights had been placed at the Chaussee entrance to the park which made an impressive sight in the evening hours. Several conventions had booked Cedar Point as the location for their annual meetings. Over one thousand people were expected to attend the annual convention of the Ohio Credit Union League, which was to open on June 11, 1938.  

Below is a picture of tourists arriving at Cedar Point from the Goodtime, in the 1930s.

To read a more thorough history of Cedar Point, see the book Cedar Point: The Queen of American Watering Places, by David W. and Diane DeMali Francis (Amusement Park Books, 1995), available at the Sandusky Library.

Friday, May 19, 2017

X. G. Hassenplug, Golf Course Architect

Xenophon G. Hassenplug was born in Ohio in 1908 to Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Hassenplug. For a time Charles R. Hassenplug was a teacher in Sandusky with the Works Progress Administration. Xenophon Hassenplug was on the debating team at Sandusky High School in 1926, and graduated in 1927.

He went on to college at Ohio Wesleyan University and the University of Toledo, where he studied civil engineering.  In 1946 Hassenplug began his career in golf course design, when he worked with J.B. McGovern on Overbrook Country Club’s golf course at Philadelphia. Eventually, he went into private practice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mr. Hassenplug designed several golf courses in Pennsylvania and Ohio, including the Fairway Pines Golf Course in Painesville.  In an article featured in the September, 1983 issue of Golf Course Management, Mr. Hassenplug discussed the value of trees in enhancing the playability and appearance of a golf course. 

Xenophon G. Hassenplug died on September 24, 1992, after battling cancer. He was survived by his wife, a son, and two grandchildren.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Jacob Buyer, Proprietor of the Sandusky File and Saw Works

From 1868 to the end of the 1890s, Jacob Buyer was the proprietor of the Sandusky File and Saw Works. The factory was located on the east side of Fulton Street, between Water and Market Streets. It was a small operation, not far from Barney & Kilby’s Machine Shop and Foundry, and J.C. Butler’s Planing Mill, Sash, Door and Blind Factory.

The company dealt in saws of every description, and old files could be re-cut, with a warranty that stated the file would be equal to new.  Jacob Buyer was the son of Nicholas Buyer and his wife, the former Ellen Kane. Nicholas Buyer was born in Germany, and Ellen Kane Buyer had been born in Ireland. In 1891 Jacob Buyer received patent number 462,075 for a file-cutting machine.

By the time of the 1900 Census, Jacob and Ellen Buyer were residing on Wade Park Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio, with several of their children. On May 15, 1912, Jacob Buyer died in Cleveland. His remains were returned to Sandusky, Ohio for burial at the St. Joseph Cemetery. A biographical sketch about Jacob Buyer is found in The History of Erie County, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich, (D. Mason and Co., 1889.)  

Saturday, May 13, 2017

216 Erie County Residents Owned Automobiles in 1911

An article which appeared in the May 13, 1911 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal listed the names of the 216 Erie County residents who owned automobiles. The Erie County Clerk’s office kept a listing of the names of the owners of automobiles, the registration number, the owner’s address, and the make of car. In 1911, G.A. Boeckling owned an Oldsmobile. L.J. Parker owned a Buick. Dr. Merz drove an Overland. George Schade owned three vehicles, a Brush, a Speedwell, and a Cadillac. Though we do not know what type of vehicle George J. Bing is driving in the picture below, in 1911 he owned a Zimmerman, and he was an agent for Paterson roadsters and touring cars at his business on Tiffin Avenue.

Elmore automobiles sold for $1750 in 1911. Below is an Elmore from 1912.

The Star Garage sold an E-M-F “30” for $1100, at the corner of Market and Decatur Streets. Model T Fords were also sold there.

Many of the types of automobiles sold in Sandusky in 1911 are unknown to us today. The auto industry was then in its infancy, and was changing rapidly. If you would like to read the entire article about Sandusky’s automobile drivers in 1911, visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center, where several decades of local newspapers are found on microfilm.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Stone Houses Owned by Eleutheros Cooke

Between 1827 and 1835 several structures in the 400 block of Columbus Avenue were built by Eleutheros Cooke, Sandusky’s first lawyer.  You can see the properties on the 1893 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map.

You can still see the brackets along the top of the home, under which are geometric designs.

On the porch of the home that is now 410 Columbus Avenue, General William Henry Harrison was presented with a flag made by the ladies of Sandusky. That flag is now in the historical collections of the Follett House Museum.

This home is considered to be Sandusky’s oldest standing house, according to the Ohio Historic Places Dictionary. It was built in the Greek Revival style of architecture in 1821. In the 1890s, Dr. C.T. Stroud and his son had their dental offices at this location. An advertisement which appeared in the Sandusky Register Star News of April 4, 1945 indicates that a beauty shop and “normalizing salon” was in business here.

Through the years, several different medical practices were in business at his location. 

Just to the south of 410 Columbus Avenue is a double stone house, built from limestone, now with the address of 412-414 Columbus Avenue. William Robertson purchased this property in 1865 from the Cooke estate. For many years this structure has been used as apartments. There are doors on either side, at the street level and lower level.

The third stone building, now 416 Columbus Avenue, was razed in 1918 to make way for a Bell Telephone Company office building. The United Way now has its offices at this location. 

To learn much more about the many historic homes and businesses in Sandusky, see At Home in Early Sandusky by Helen Hansen, and Treasure by the Bay, by Ellie Damm, both available at the Sandusky Library. 

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Before and After Photos of the Cedar Point Causeway

Here is a picture of a portion of Sandusky, including First Street and the Cedar Point peninsula in April of 1953. This aerial photograph was taken by Kucera and Associates, before the building of the Cedar Point Causeway. You can see a view below of the same area in 1991 in an aerial picture taken by Thomas Root, with the Cedar Point Causeway connecting First Street to the Cedar Point peninsula. This project enabled automobiles to have a direct route from the city of Sandusky to the popular amusement park.

In 1992, Bernhardt Zeiher, the Cedar Point official who was instrumental in instituting the building of the Causeway, donated to the Sandusky Library more than two hundred photos which chronicled the construction of the Cedar Point Causeway in 1956-1957. Ernest R. Walborn was the photographer of these images. Below is photograph number 19, which shows what some of the land looked like before it was cleared for construction:

Picture 3 was taken at the water’s edge looking west at the main bridge of the Causeway:

Marker number 1042 can be seen in this Causeway construction photo:

In this artist's rendering of the Causeway, perhaps used as an example image in a construction proposal, you can see boats traversing under a bridge near the center of the causeway. As is often the case, the actual design is somewhat different than what was proposed.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Dedication of Sandusky’s City Building in 1958

Local photographer Bob Frank took several photographs on the occasion of the dedication of Sandusky’s City Building on Meigs Street on  May 4, 1958.  Master of Ceremonies for the Dedication was John LaFene. A mobile studio from WLEC Radio was on hand to broadcast the event. Several local policemen stood at attention in front of the building.

Representatives of Amvets Post 17 presented an American flag to ex-officio Mayor Stuart Gosser, and the Commodore Denig Post, American Legion presented the Ohio flag. Longtime state legislator Ethel Swanbeck can be seen seated on the stand.

The Sandusky High School Band accompanied Pamela Mielke as she sang the Star Spangled Banner.

After the flag raising ceremony, over one hundred city employees conducted guided tours of the newly dedicated City Building.

Visit Sandusky Library's online database to view several more pictures from the dedication of the City Building in 1958.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Milan Road Overpass Opened in May of 1969

The Milan Road overpass and Butler Street ramp opened in late May 1969. Pictured above is an aerial view of the overpass and surrounding area, taken by photographer Thomas Root just before its completion in 1969. Sandusky city leaders began plans for the overpass in 1965, due to traffic congestion which took place every summer as tourists poured in to visit Cedar Point.  

An article in the Sandusky Register of September 30, 1969 described the three phases of the project. Phase one was the widening and paving of Perkins Avenue up to the south end of the overpass. Phase two was the construction of the overpass and Butler Street ramp. Phase three was the widening and paving of Milan Road from the overpass to Sycamore Line, and Sycamore Line to Cleveland Road. Several pictures that were taken in 1967, during the construction phase of the overpass project are housed in the collection of historical photographs at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. Below is a picture of the New York Central railroad crossing on Milan Road and Parish Street before the overpass was built.

The Buckeye Body Shop was located at Milan Road near Butler Street in the early 1960s.

There were two gas stations near the intersection of Milan Road and Sycamore Line in 1967.

An article which appeared in the May 29, 1969 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that the Milan Road bypass would be open at midnight that night.