Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Sandusky Wheel Company

After having started in 1860 as a business that made wheel hubs and bent stock, the Sandusky Wheel Company was incorporated in 1867. Eventually it became an important manufacturer of wheels and wheelbarrows, and had over 200 employees. The entire stock and shops were destroyed by fire in 1872, but the company rebuilt and the business was back in operation by the summer of 1873.  

The 1886 Sanborn Map below shows that the Sandusky Wheel Company took up a large portion of an entire city block, along Water Street between Shelby and McDonough Streets.

Besides wheels, the Sandusky Wheel Company made all the wooden components for buggies, carriages, and wagons. A variety of woods, in different qualities, allowed for a full range of pricing for the vehicle companies that sent orders to the Sandusky Wheel Company. 

W. J. Comley and W. D’Eggville wrote in their book Ohio, the Future Great State (Comley Bros, 1875) about the Sandusky Wheel Company: “The unexampled success of this company in the manufacture of carriage woodwork has followed, as the legitimate result of well-digested plans and sound principles of construction. Discarding alike all foreign precedents and crude American examples, the officers of this company, by the application of scientific principles, careful observation, and mature judgment, influenced and corrected by practical experience, have brought to perfection a class of work which in material, design, proportion, and details of construction have not been excelled in this or any other country.”

In 1889, the Sandusky Wheel Company became a branch of the American Wheel Company, which had its headquarters in Chicago. By the mid-1890s, the company was known as the Standard Wheel Company. On the evening of July 7, 1900, the Standard Wheel Company was destroyed by fire, with losses estimated at $100,000. In the 1920s, ruins of the former company were still standing.


Saturday, November 25, 2017

G.B. Hodgman Manufacturing Company

Above is a receipt for goods sold to Frank Rittman from the G.B. Hodgman Manufacturing Company in Sandusky in 1893. The company was located on the very eastern end of First Street along the waterfront. 

The G.B. Hodgman Company started out as a cooperage in the 1870s, and later became a lumber mill; it was founded by George B. Hodgman, who served as president of the organization. O.A. Knight was vice-president, and Henry Knight was the secretary-treasurer.

An article in the Sandusky Register of July 30, 1881 reported that the G.B. Hodgman Manufacturing Company gave constant employment to over one hundred workmen. At that time the factory sat on two acres, and had two docks for shipment of products. There was a branch factory in St. Louis, Missouri. The book History of Erie County, ed. by Lewis Cass Aldrich (D. Mason, 1889) described the company as sitting on twenty acres, which included a warehouse, sawmill, band factory, cooper shop, stables, blacksmith shop and wagon shop. The buildings had incandescent lighting, and the company had its own generator. Products were shipped throughout a large portion of the United States, and the proprietors were known for “business integrity and thoroughness.” The 1890 Sandusky City Directory listed the company as a manufacturer of lumber and cooperage, specializing in fish, syrup, lard and pickle packaging. 

During the Panic of 1893, the G.B. Hodgman Manufacturing Company went into receivership, as did many companies throughout the United States. Mr. and Mrs. Hodgman moved to Chicago, where George worked in wood manufacturing, and later they moved to St. Louis, Missouri. George B. Hodgman died in St. Louis on May 8, 1934. His remains were returned to Sandusky, Ohio for burial in Oakland Cemetery. 

Marian Hodgman, a sister to George, was an early member of the Board of Trustees of the Sandusky Library.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Play “Witches of New York” Played in Sandusky in 1871

Albert W. Aiken, who wrote the play “Witches of New York” brought his company of actors to Sandusky, Ohio on November 22, 1871. The play, in which Aiken also starred, appeared at Fisher’s Hall for one night only. Mr. Aiken and the performers in the theatrical production signed the guest book of the West House, where they stayed during their time in our city. The West House register is now on display at the Follett House Museum.

An article which appeared in the November 23, 1871 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that the play was full of sensations, and kept the audience interested. Mr. Aiken is said to have performed his role exceedingly well, and his manner was “far from being stagey.” Mr. Aiken and his company were taking the show to Toledo, Ohio following the performance in Sandusky.

Fisher’s Hall was located at the northwest corner of Wayne and Water Streets in downtown Sandusky. This property is still a vital commercial property in Sandusky today. For many years the street level of the structure was occupied by businesses, and the upper floor was used as a theater. Concerts, lectures and wrestling matches were held at Fisher’s Hall from the 1860s through the 1930s.

Below is a picture of the former Fisher’s Hall (now the Cable Block), taken by then-Follett House curator Helen Hansen in the early 1990s.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The “All Nation’s Pageant” in 1932

Several ladies from the Sandusky and Erie County Federation of Women’s Clubs participated in the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s “All Nation’s Pageant”, held at Cleveland’s Public Hall. This event was part of the International Exposition presented in Cleveland from November 19 to 28, 1932. While thirty-eight women participated, only sixteen were present for the photograph above. 

Pictured are: Back Row: Ada Parker, Leona Love, Carrie Beatty, Nettie Beatty, Ms. Drummond, Emma Phillips, Dorothy Drummond, Adeline Rosekelly, Florence Wright. Front Row: Mary Louise Blanckey, Annette Lockwood, Lois Miller, Attie Hawley, Harriet Ruggles, Virginia Caswell, and Marie Harris. 

Several scrapbooks, membership lists, secretary’s record book and photographs from both the Erie County and Sandusky Federation of Women’s Clubs are housed in the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Bernard Lodick Sold Carriages and Wagons

From about 1860 until his retirement in the 1910s, Bernard Lodick had a carriage and wagon shop at the corner of Washington and Jackson Streets.

Mr. Lodick had several “elegantly furnished” vehicles on display at the carriage hall at the Fair, according to the September 30, 1870 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal. He made and repaired carriages and wagons.

The Lodick shop was next to the old Methodist Church building, as seen on this 1893 Sanborn Map.

By 1911, William Thom and Son operated a horseshoeing business at the former Lodick Carriage Shop.

In 1916 and 1917, there was a garage at the same location, run by the Sandusky Motor and Vulcanizing Company.

A news article in the March 25, 1916 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that the former Lodick site was favored for the construction of a new Post Office building.

Ground was broken for the new Post Office on November 1, 1925, and the new Post Office officially opened in March of 1927. The former Post Office is now home to the Merry Go Round Museum.

Monday, November 13, 2017

R.E. Offenhauer, Educator

From 1909 to 1914, Roy E. Offenhauer was Principal of Sandusky High School. In 1914 he was named Superintendent of Sandusky City Schools, a position he held for four years. Mr. Offenhauer is pictured in the center of the top row of the composite picture of the Sandusky High School Class of 1914, by W.A. Bishop.

He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Marion Normal College (in Indiana) in 1903. In 1917 He received a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University. In 1932 he obtained a degree of Doctor of Pedagogy at Ohio Northern University. 

Before working in Sandusky, Mr. Offenhauer taught in the Mercer County School system, served as superintendent of Mendon School, and was principal of Mount Vernon High School. After leaving Sandusky City Schools, he became principal at Lima Central High School. In 1937, he became the second president of Bowling Green State University

Sadly, Roy E. Offenhauer was killed in an automobile accident in December of 1938. (After his unexpected death, another former Sandusky educator, Frank J. Prout, was named President of Bowling Green State University, the third consecutive Sandusky Schools Superintendent to hold the position.) Offenhauer Towers, residence halls on the campus of B.G.S.U., are named in his honor.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Ohio Veterans Home Death Records

Staff members of the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home, now the Ohio Veterans Home, are pictured above in 1915. Doors were first opened to the Home in Erie County, Ohio on November 19, 1888. 

The first person to be buried at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home Cemetery was Levi Drummond, who died on January 3, 1889, at the age of 47. He had served in Company F of the 57th Ohio Infantry during the Civil War. As part of a Cemetery Census project undertaken in the 1980s, members of the Erie County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society collected data from the Ohio Veterans Home. This resulted in a compilation of brief death records of hundreds of residents who died at the Home from January 3, 1889 through December 31, 1983. Many volunteer hours were devoted to getting this compilation completed.

The book is arranged alphabetically by surname. The five columns provide:
  • Name of the Veteran
  • Age at the time of death
  • Date of death
  • Place of burial
  • Registration number of the deceased while a resident at the Home
Over 7,000 death records were abstracted during the compilation of these records. 3,528 were buried at the cemetery on the grounds of the Ohio Veterans Home, and 393 were buried elsewhere in Erie County. The rest of the Veterans were buried outside of Erie County.  Below is the listing for William L. Carr.

William Louis Carr received the China Relief Expedition Congressional Medal of Honor while he was serving as a Corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Boxer Rebellion. Corporal Carr died in April 1921. (Note: Corporal Carr’s tombstone reads April 14, but the death record lists his death date as April 4.)

James Jardine served in Company F, 53rd Ohio Infantry during the Civil War. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for gallant service at Vicksburg, Mississippi on May 22, 1863. First Lieutenant Jardine died on December 9, 1922.

If you have ancestors who resided at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailor’s Home, visit the Sandusky Library to learn a few more facts about your military ancestor in the Ohio Veterans Home Death Records publication.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

The Book Shop on West Monroe Street

According to article 23 in From the Widow’s Walk, by Helen Hansen and Virginia Steinemann (Follett House Museum, 1991), the stone cottage that once stood at 115 West Monroe Street was built from local stone to provide housing for local quarry workers. In the early days of the city, there were quarries on both East and West Park Streets. 

Lucas Beecher originally owned the property. Mr. Beecher sold the property to Felix Breen, a stone mason, who lived in the cottage for over thirty years. The son of Felix, James Breen, sold the property to John Gottlieb Epple. Mr. Epple rented the stone cottage out to the William McCudden family in the first half of the twentieth century. From about 1950 to the early 1960s, Carl and Jane Miller rented the cottage from Frederick Epple, and they ran The Book Shop at that location. Eventually, they sold antiques as well as books.  

Here is a bookmark from The Book Shop, which points out their commitment to good customer service:

In 1963 all the structures that had once stood at the northwest corner of Columbus Avenue and West Monroe Street were demolished and the property was given to the city of Sandusky.  Epple Corner Park is now a part of the city of Sandusky’s Park system.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Jacob H. Roth, Former Superintendent of Sandusky Parks

After working as a gardener for the city of Sandusky for a few years, on September 3, 1897 Jacob H. Roth was appointed superintendent of parks, a position he held until his retirement on January 1, 1940. He was born in Germany in 1869, and studied gardening at Heidelberg University in Germany, though he did not graduate from high school. He emigrated to the United States as a young man, and on May 22, 1895, married Christine Hacker. They had two children, Helen who died in 1926, and Ferdinand, who died in 1938.  

In 1930, Jacob H. Roth achieved some local fame by crossing a lemon with a grapefruit; the result was a fruit that was larger than an ordinary lemon, but smaller than a grapefruit. The “synthetic lemon” was a big attraction at the city greenhouse’s “Mum Show” held in November of 1930.  

Mr. Roth made news in the April 27, 1933 issue of the Sandusky Register, when he caught four youngsters, all about the age of ten, trampling flower beds in Washington Park. He marched all four of the youths to the Sandusky Police Station, where Sergeant Al Tremper gave them a lecture. Since the boys promised to stay away from the flower beds in the city parks, Sergeant Tremper let them go to enjoy the rest of the day. Sergeant Tremper was impressed that Mr. Roth not only caught the boys, but none of the young men escaped on the walk to the police station. 

In 1936 a highlight of Washington Park was a fifteen foot loving cup, made from over 14,000 plants.

When it was announced that Mr. Roth would be retiring soon, Sandusky City Manager, R.L.J. Wagar said, in part, “Under Jacob Roth our parks have been one of our main attractions for drawing people to Sandusky and a constant joy for all of us to behold and we cannot afford to let the parks be neglected in any way when Jake leaves us.” Indeed, the city parks of Sandusky are still a beautiful asset to our city. 

Jacob H. Roth died on April 9, 1948. He was a member of St. Stephen’s Evangelical and Reformed Church, and the Woodmen of America. He was survived by his widow Christine, and two granddaughters. Burial was in Oakland Cemetery. 

Below is a picture postcard of Washington Park, taken during the time that Jacob H. Roth served as superintendent of the parks of the city of Sandusky.


Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Wedding of Miss Louise Vigiletti and August Corso

On November 1, 1936, Miss Louise Vigiletti and August Corso were united in marriage at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Huron, Ohio. Father Urban Burkhart officiated. An article in the November 8, 1936 issue of the Sandusky Register reported on the occasion. The article described the bridal gown of Louise: The bride, who was given in marriage by her father, wore a white satin gown, princess style, with a long train and a crown-effect veil. Her bouquet was an arrangement of white chrysanthemums.

The newspaper article provided the members of the bridal party.  Miss Margaret Corso, sister of the bridegroom, was the maid of honor. Bridesmaids were Ruth Pole and Ellen Girardi. Anthony Mussel served as best man, and Harry Vigiletti and Joseph Lolla were the ushers. A wedding breakfast was held at the home of the groom’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Philip Corso, of Sandusky, Ohio. Following the wedding a dinner was served at the Hotel Rieger with forty guests attending. A wedding reception was held at the Eagles Hall in the evening. The new Mr. and Mrs. August Corso went on a brief wedding trip, and then returned to their home on Shelby Street in Sandusky. August J. Corso was a longtime employee of New Departure-Hyatt. He died at the age of 81 in 1995. Mrs. Louise Corso passed away in 2010 at the age of 95. Both Mr. and Mrs. August J. Corso were buried at St. Joseph Cemetery in Sandusky, Ohio. Their son, Larry Corso, was a standout football player at Sandusky High School, graduating in 1957.