Monday, October 22, 2018

Anton Johanssen, Caretaker of Johnson’s Island Cemetery

From about 1911 to 1956, Sandusky resident Anton Johanssen worked as the caretaker of the Johnson’s Island Cemetery, on Johnson’s Island. The cemetery is the final resting place of over two hundred Confederate soldiers who died at the prison camp on Johnson’s Island during the Civil War. An article from the December 5, 1953 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that Mr. Johanssen made the trip from Sandusky to Johnson’s Island from early Spring until late Fall to mow the grass at the cemetery, and care for the “most peaceful place on earth.” He would drive to Marblehead, and then take a small motorboat out to the island. (At that time, the causeway to Johnson’s Island had not yet been constructed.) For many years he decorated each grave with both a Confederate and a United States flag. 

Anton Johanssen was born in 1879 on a Danish Island. He emigrated to the United States in 1895. When he first settled in Ohio, he resided on Johnson’s Island, where he raised cattle and farmed over 75 acres of land. Besides working as the caretaker of the Johnson’s Island Cemetery, Mr. Johanssen also worked for twenty-five years at the American Crayon Company. 
On October 27, 1967, Anton Johannsen passed away at the age of 88. He was survived by a son, daughter, and several grandchildren. He lived a full and busy life in his adopted country. Mr. Johanssen must have found this monument to the Confederate soldier (built in 1910) a familiar sight.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Eighty-First Annual Assembly of the Grand Lodge of Ohio

Nielsen Opera House

On October 15 and 16, 1890, the 81st Annual Assembly of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ohio convened in Sandusky, Ohio. The opening meeting was held at the Opera House, where Grand Master Leander Burdick gave the address. Masonic groups from all over the world sent greetings to the Ohio lodge members. Several committee reports were given, and officers were elected. During the evening hours, Lodge officers, members, and ladies were invited to a reception at the newly-built Sandusky Masonic Temple. Mr. W. G. Mellish gave a speech, and entertainment was provided by the Masonic Quartette and the Opera House Orchestra.

Sandusky Masonic Temple

Nearly 500 members attended the banquet on October 15, held at the Sloane House.

That same evening the Masonic Veterans Association of Ohio met at the Odd Fellows Hall in Sandusky. During their time in Sandusky, lodge members were invited to go fishing. Local lodge members arranged for boats and fishing tackle to be available to all visiting lodge members. 

You can read about the 81st Annual Assembly of the Grand Lodge of Ohio in the October 16, 1890 issue of the Sandusky Register, available on microfilm at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Ohio Structural Iron Company, Predecessor to Mack Iron Works

John D. Mack and A.C. Blinn founded the Ohio Structural Iron Company in 1901, after they purchased the Crandall Iron and Fence Company, located on Warren Street in Sandusky. These advertisements, the one below from an early issue of Park and Cemetery and Landscape Gardening, let us know exactly what types of products were made by the Ohio Structural Iron Company.

In 1903, the Ohio Structural Iron Company manufactured 200 lawn seats for the parks of the city of Toledo, and 100 lawn seats for the National Soldiers’ Home in Dayton, Ohio. The company built a fire escape that could fold up like an accordion for the Donahue building in Sandusky in 1905. 

After John D. Mack bought out Mr. Blinn’s interest in the company, he changed the name to Mack Iron and Wire Works. This company got a contract for building an iron fence around the Confederate Cemetery at Johnson’s Island, according to an article which appeared in the September 2, 1912 issue of the Sandusky Register. The fence was four feet in height and had ornamental posts and arched gates. 

A tornado seriously damaged the Mack Iron and Wire Works building in June of 1924.

In 1925, as the company was re-building, John D. Mack hired his son-in-law to manage the Iron Works, so he could devote more time to the Sandusky Register, where he served as Vice-President and Treasurer. Having weathered setbacks during the Great Depression, in the 1940s, Mack Iron made defense materials in support of the U.S. War Effort. So many of Mack’s regular employees went off to serve in World War II, that to keep up production the company brought in German prisoners of war from Camp Perry to work on the lines. After the war, Mack Iron moved from foundry work to metal fabrication. A lengthy article in the April 22, 2001 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that projects made by Mack Iron can be seen at Sandusky City Schools, the Erie County Jail, the County Parking Garage, a coaster at Cedar Point, and many other area buildings. 

You can read more about the history of Mack Iron Works in the Sandusky Register of April 22, 2001, now on microfilm at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. The company motto of the Mack Iron Works Company is:  “Quality people doing quality work.” 
An aerial view of Mack Iron, taken by photographer Thomas Root in the summer of 1965.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Toys from Yesteryear at the Follett House

Now in the collections of the Follett House Museum, this Singer sewing machine was sold as “A Singer for the Girls” in the 1910s and 1920s.  This miniature sewing machine, which sold for $3.00 (about $75 in today's money), was fully functional, and was promoted as an item to help young ladies learn to sew clothing for their dolls. It was sold only at Singer stores or by Singer salesmen. 

Pictured below is a box containing a Sturdy Robot Catapault [sic]:

The catapult was made by the Sturdy Toy Company, which was owned by Bert Hall. The company made wooden and aluminum toys at their small factory in Castalia, Ohio in the 1940s. Mr. Hall was a member of the French Foreign Legion during World War I.

A local resident donated these roller skates to the Follett House Museum:

The donor wore these skates as a young adult in the 1950s. 

Moving on to the Space Age, this GI Joe Official Space Capsule and Space Suit is dated 1966, near the peak of American manned space exploration:

Visit the Follett House Museum to see many historic toys and artifacts from Sandusky and Erie County, Ohio.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Kerber’s Marine Grocery on Tiffin Avenue

Now home to Divine Awakenings, the former Kerber’s Marine Grocery was in business on Tiffin Avenue in Sandusky for many years. Lorenz Kerber built this building in 1888 as a grocery store that took supplies to coal, ore and grain boats in Sandusky, Huron and Marblehead. Ellie Damm wrote in her book Treasure by the Bay that Kerber’s sent out supply boats to meet the grocery needs of the big freighters. For a few years, Lorenz Kerber was in a partnership with Charles Miller. Sadly, Lorenz Kerber died at the age of 30 in 1892. His sons continued in the family grocery business. An article in the Sandusky Register of February 6, 1911 stated that the partnership between Charles F. Miller, F.A. Kerber and O.J. Kerber was dissolved, but the business apparently continued. 

This earthenware jug was a holiday item from the 1910s, when F.A. and O.J. Kerber were running Kerber’s Marine Grocery:

The grocery business remained in the hands of the Kerber family until the 1970s. In the mid-1980s, the business was known as the Sandusky Marine Grocery. After the grocery ceased operation, a children’s clothing consignment shop was in the building for several years. In 2018, the Divine Awakenings shop is now at 1006 Tiffin Avenue. When you drive down Tiffin Avenue, you can still see the name L.A. Kerber at the top portion of the storefront, reminding of us of the roots of this long standing place of business in Sandusky

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Mr. and Mrs. Henry C. Huntington

Henry Clay Huntington was born on November 21, 1841 in Brownville, New York, to Apollos and Deborah (Rowland) Huntington. Henry came with his parents to Sandusky, Ohio in 1852. He graduated from Sandusky High School in 1859. Even before he graduated from high school, Henry worked for C.V. Olds in his bookstore and stationery business. After the death of Mr. Olds, Henry took over the bookstore and stationery business on Columbus Avenue in Sandusky. For a time, he was in a business partnership with B.L. Skadden.  

In 1890, H.C. Huntington and Co. published a souvenir album of Sandusky.

The small album featured pictures from Sandusky, including the business district, churches, the Cold Creek area, Cedar Point, and the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home. This page features several businesses from downtown Sandusky.

The album also contains images of the homes of prominent residents.

Brown paper book covers were once sold or perhaps given away by H.C. Huntington and Company.

H.C. Huntington was married twice. His first wife, Laura, was the daughter of educator M.F. Cowdery. Laura Cowdery Huntington died in 1868. Mr. Huntington's second wife, Mrs. Josephine Huntington, served on the board of the Sandusky Library in the late 1800s.

Henry C. Huntington died unexpectedly on December 11, 1905, at the train depot in Sandusky. He was survived by his wife, three sons, and three daughters. Mr.Huntington was buried in Oakland Cemetery. Besides running his successful  bookstore, from which he retired in 1904, Mr. Huntington had been a member of the Congregational Church, served on the board of the Sandusky Cooperage and Lumber Company, and he had been member of the Chamber of Commerce and the Men’s Literary Society. Mrs. Huntington moved to Spuyten Duyvil, Bronx, New York after her husband’s death, where she and her daughter ran an inn. Mrs. Josephine Huntington passed away on August 19, 1914. Her remains were returned to Sandusky for burial in Oakland Cemetery.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Former Residence of the Sisters of Notre Dame

From about 1909 to the early 2000s, this building in the 500 block of Decatur Street served as the residence for the Sisters of Notre Dame, who were associated with St. Mary’s Catholic Church and School in Sandusky. The building was originally constructed as a school in 1887, and housed the female parochial students, while male pupils attended school in a building on Jefferson Street. The girls’ school was constructed of limestone. Above the main entrance was a tower, and the windows featured decorative lintels. When the new St.Mary’s School opened in 1909, the girls’ school was converted to a residence for the Sisters of Notre Dame.  Below is an image of the residence in 1930. The picture appeared in a history of St. Mary’s Church that covers the years 1855 to 1930.

During the Influenza Epidemic of 1918, when the Health Department closed all schools in Sandusky, the Sisters of Notre Dame “gladly and without charge” offered their services to suffering humanity. 

In the 1940s, a wing was added to the southern portion of the convent. Included in the new addition were a reception room, office, pantry and kitchen on the first floor; while a chapel, typing room, linen storage, and bedrooms were located on the second floor. In 1948, twenty sisters who taught school at St. Mary’s were residents of the convent, along with a housekeeper. Though the former residence of the Sisters of Notre Dame no longer stands, these pictures take us back in time to the traditions of some of our grandparents and great grandparents who were of the Catholic faith.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Clocks Around Sandusky

The charming clock pictured above was outside the store of “Henry Dehnel, The Leading Jeweler” on Sandusky’s Columbus Avenue. The scene is a parade which took place in downtown Sandusky about 1905, and the view was facing north towards Sandusky Bay. 

In the late 1890s, Jacob Kronthal gave away a small clock that was set inside a figurine. The store was in a variety of different locations, but at the time this promotional item was given away, Jacob Kronthal’s men’s clothing store was at 705 Water Street:

When Citizens Bank was located in the Feick Building, this clock was in front of the Bank on Market Street:

In 1992, the clock was moved to the corner of Water and Wayne Streets, opposite Civista Bank.

Always a popular spot for taking pictures, this snapshot of Sandusky’s floral clock was taken on June 18, 1988.

If you are in Washington Parks in downtown Sandusky, you can always just look up at the Courthouse to see yet another clock.