Thursday, March 22, 2018

Who Were Herb and Myers?

Mr. Michael R. Herb and Frank H. Myers were partners in the Herb and Myers Company for over twenty-five years in downtown Sandusky. At one time Herb and Myers was one of the largest department stores in northwest Ohio. An article in the Sandusky Register of February 22, 1900 stated that the business had its formal opening on February 21, 1900. The first location was in the Mahala Block on Washington Row. By 1910 the company had purchased the “Big Store” on East Market Street, which had previously been owned by C.L. Engels. Both Mr. Herb and Mr. Myers had been previously employed at the Big Store. Below is an image of the Herb and Myers store when it was on East Market Street, in the former Big Store location.

Michael R. Herb was born on July 26, 1870, to Mr. and Mrs. Michael Herb, both natives of Baden, Germany. Below is a picture of Michael R. Herb in 1924. The elder Mr. Herb was a Civil War veteran, and he worked as a stone mason in Sandusky, Ohio for many years.

Frank H. Myers was born on June 30, 1875 to Mr. and Mrs. Max Myers. Max Myers had been born in Germany. In 1880, the family resided on Jefferson Street in Sandusky, and Max listed his occupation simply as “laborer.” This picture of Frank H. Myers was taken in 1927.

Throughout their long years of being in business together, Mr. Herb and Mr. Myers sold thousands of dollars of merchandise to residents in the greater Sandusky area. They sponsored bowling and baseball teams. Herb and Myers advertised heavily in local newspapers.

During the First World War, the Herb and Myers Company contributed to the Erie County Liberty Loan Committee, and printed a patriotic songbook for local residents. 

An article in the May 31, 1933 Sandusky Star Journal reported that M.R. Herb had bought out Mr. Myers’ stock in the company. Following a big liquidation sale, the store formerly known as Herb and Myers changed its name to the M.R. Herb Company. This notice appeared in the Sandusky Register of July 6, 1933.

The M.R. Herb Company continued in business until 1939, when it was destroyed by a massive fire in downtown Sandusky. Mr. Michael R. Herb died on November 6, 1962, at the age of 92. He was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Sandusky, Ohio. Frank H. Myers founded the Sandusky Folding Box Company in 1931, with James Plain, and retired as that company’s president in 1955.  Mr. Myers passed away on February 22, 1965, at the age of 89. He was buried in Section L of Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery. Both Mr. Herb and Mr. Myers are remembered as being vital members of the community. Many of our grandparents and great grandparents probably shopped at the Herb and Myers store.

Monday, March 19, 2018

When St. Stephen’s Church was at the Corner of Lawrence and Jefferson

St. Stephen United Church of Christ began in Sandusky in 1882 as St. Stephen German Evangelical Protestant Church. It was located at the intersection of Poplar, Lawrence, and Jefferson Streets. In 1886 the Rev. Ernst Von Schulenberg was the pastor. He is well known as the author of Sandusky Einst und Jetzt, later translated to Sandusky Then and Now, which chronicles the lives and activities of Sandusky’s early residents of German descent. 

This picture of the interior of St. Stephen’s Church once belonged to Norbert A. Lange. A large pipe organ and several wooden pews are visible inside the church.

This organization at St. Stephen’s was known as the Crusaders.

The church changed its name to St. Stephen Evangelical and Reformed Church in 1934, and was renamed again in 1957 to St. Stephen United Church of Christ. On April 25, 1965 the church dedicated its new church building at 905 East Perkins Avenue. Photographer Robert Frank took this picture in 1982.

Visit the Sandusky Library to learn more about the churches of Sandusky. The historical Sandusky city directories contain church listings that  provide the name and location of the churches in town as well as listings of clergymen.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A Plan in 1945 to Drain Sandusky Bay?

Known as the Post-War America Beautiful Commission Project No. 2211411, an interesting plan was set forth in which Sandusky Bay was to be drained, and a concrete wall was to be built from Sandusky Bay to the Sandusky River. Another sea wall was to connect Cedar Point to the eastern end of the Marblehead Peninsula. The result would be the draining of underground caverns from Sandusky to Bellevue. Once the Sandusky Bay was drained, there would be room for a gigantic parking lot for all the visitors to Vacationland. Sound preposterous?

The Sandusky Register Star News of March 14, 1945, reported that the project was the subject of a skit put on at the annual dinner of the Chamber of Commerce, held at Jackson Junior High School. Judge G.W. Collinworth, an employee of the Trojan Powder Company, portrayed the character of secretary of the Post-War America Beautiful Commission. Members of the audience asked him questions. The news article reported that the humorous skit was “a big hit.” Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to read more about this skit, which of course was never meant to be taken seriously.

Note: There were several obvious mistakes on the fictitious map, including the placement of Elyria on the Marblehead peninsula and Perry Memorial on Kelleys Island.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Donahue Building

The building at 126 Columbus Avenue, now home to a resale shop operated by Stein Hospice, began as a bank building. The Moss Brothers Bank, founded by Augustus H. and Horace Moss, was at this location in the early 1850s.

In 1914, C. Faber and Frank Donahue moved their hardware store from Water Street to what is now 126 Columbus Avenue. Ellie Damm wrote in her book Treaure by the Bay (Western Reserve Historical Society, 1989), that the Donahues added the brick fa├žade to the building as well as the stone carved name “Donahue” under the cornice. You can see the original limestone on  the south side of the Donahue building. Interestingly, Ellie Damm, who was well known for her efforts in local preservation, was a descendant of the founders of Donahue Hardware. In 1920, Lew and Ira Wiles purchased this property, and they ran the Dixie Cafeteria here. If you look closely, you can see the sign for the cafeteria in the picture below.

Many area residents will recall that the Sherwin-Williams store was in business at 126 Columbus Avenue from 1952 into the 1990s.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Group Photos on the Erie County Courthouse Steps

Though we do not know the names of the people in this group, we do know that this photograph was taken by commercial photographer E.H. Schlessman in the first quarter of the twentieth century. The men, and one lady, are posed on the steps of the Erie County Courthouse, prior to the 1930s Art Deco renovation. Most of the men are in jackets and ties, and several are holding their hats. Many of the gentlemen are wearing a small pin on their lapel, which may indicate membership in a local fraternal organization.  This picture was taken in the same location as the ladies of the first jury of women in Erie County on August 26, 1920.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Leo Wagner, Florist

Leo Wagner began as a florist in Sandusky in 1910. He opened a new shop at the corner of Columbus Avenue and East Monroe Street in 1918. Two interior views of the Wagner flower shop are found in the historical photograph collection of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.

A company aadvertisement in the November 12, 1927 issue of the Sandusky Register declared that flowers could be telegraphed anywhere.

Mr. and Mrs. Wagner hosted the October 1931 meeting of the Sandusky Garden Club. The program included viewing architect’s drawings of the garden planned on the property of the Wagner home on Monroe Street, adjacent to the flower shop. Later, Mr. Wagner showed club members an exhibit of shrubs and hardy chrysanthemums at his shop. In the photograph below, the flower shop can be seen on the left side of the picture, and the Wagner home is on the right.

An article in the October 10, 1941 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News reported that the Wagner flower shop was considered one of the finest shops in the country. In the fall of 1941, he sold the property to Dorothy and Edward Russell, a brother and sister who were florists. Many local residents will recall Russell’s Flower Shop which was in business at that site for fifty years.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Poem about Sandusky in the Columbian Register in 1818

A poem enticing residents of New Haven, Connecticut to consider moving to the city of Sandusky was printed in a newspaper, the Columbian Register of April 25, 1818. Mrs. Evangeline Vinton Bouton presented a copy of this item to the historical room of the Sandusky Library in 1928. Unfortunately the original item has disintegrated, and only a photocopy of the poem remains in our collection.

A transcription of the entire poem reads:

Come on my good neighbors who live in the East,
Who wish for less winter and snow,
Come join with your friend, and we'll move to the West,
To Sandusky New City we'll go. 

If commerce you choose, where it's not overdone,
(And many like trading, I know;)
Come join with your friend, and prepare to go on;
To Sandusky New City we’ll go

If fishing and fowling your fancy should take,
The half of each summer, or so,
To find rich employment on Erie's proud Lake;
To the Bay of Sandusky we'll go.

 If farming should please us, and please us it must,
Where wealth, fame and luxury flow,
From tilling the soil as we find in the west,
To the Land of Sandusky we'll go.

Ye friends of good dairy, with your dairy wives,
Who like some fine cheeses and so,
To make up your fortune, and lead easy lives,
To Sandusky Prairies must go.

You who have no land, but have many fine boys, 
Tom, Andrew, John, DickBob and Joe,
To get them good farms and increase your own joys,
To the Land of Sandusky should go.

To charming Ohio, by thousands are gone,
The best of our young men you know,
Who spurning dependence, by prospect led on,
To the new world had spirit to go.

Then we who have daughters, young, blooming and fair,
As roses and lilies can grow,
To marry them well and relieve tender care,
To the Land of Sandusky will go.

Now Mary, dear Mary, what think you of this?
Shall we move to the westward or no?
I’ll take a sweet kiss, while your lips answer yes,
To Sandusky New City we’ll go.

Readers of the Columbian Register were urged to consider moving to Sandusky for its fishing, wildlife, and business prospects. At that time, Sandusky, Ohio was considered to be in the west. Of course, thousands of residents of New England did move to northern Ohio in the early 1800s. You can see still the influence of New England in Ohio to this day. If you would like to read a first-hand account of a group of people who traveled from Glastonbury, Connecticut to Perkins Township in the fall of 1815, see the June, 1865 issue of the Firelands Pioneer, available online and at the Sandusky Library.