Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Cotillion Soiree Held in 1850



At the top of the invitation to the Cotillion Soiree held on December 11, 1850 at the Townsend House in Sandusky is a portion of a poem by Milton.  It reads:

Come, and trip it as you go,
On the light fantastic toe.

(From this poem, to “trip the light fantastic” became a way of describing dancing.)  
The Townsend House, which opened in the 1840s, was at the northwest corner of Market and Decatur Streets.

A young Rush R. Sloane was one of the floor managers of the Cotillion Soiree. He would later go on to build the Sloane House hotel, and serve as Mayor of Sandusky. He was also known for his bold abolitionist views and actions during the time of the Underground Railroad.
image from the Internet Archive
Other floor managers of the Soiree were: John W. Wetherell and G.J. Francisco. Honorary managers were Ebenezer B. Sadler, E.S. Flint, Pitt Cooke, J.G. Camp, Jr., J.E. Follett, and Theodore Hosmer. These were some of the earliest and best known pioneer residents of Sandusky. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research to learn more about the history of Sandusky and Erie County, Ohio.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Victrolas Sold at the Scheuer-Frankel Store



The Scheuer-Frankel Company, in the Grafe Building on East Market Street, sold the Orthophonic Victrola in downtown Sandusky during the holiday season of 1926. 



This product was said to offer improvements in sound, compared to former models of the phonograph. Below is an advertisement which appeared in the Sandusky Star Journal of November 23, 1927.


On YouTube you can hear a recording played on a 1927 Victor Orthophonic Model 812X by Ted Weems and His Orchestra: “You’re the Cream in my Coffee.”  Click here to read more about the history of the Victor Phonograph. Many residents of Sandusky and Erie County enjoyed sound recordings played on a Victor phonograph.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

P.O.C. Beer in Sandusky



An advertisement in the December 4, 1935 issue of the Sandusky Register announced that the P.O.C. beer, made by the Pilsener Brewing Company of Cleveland, was to be served and delivered by “discriminating dealers” in Sandusky. The local distributorship was located at 1329 First Street in Sandusky, Ohio. 

According to the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, the company was founded in 1892 by Bohemian brewer Wenzel Medlin. One of Pilsener’s most popular brands was P.O.C., which stood for “Pilsener of Cleveland,” though many people thought it stood for “Pride of Cleveland.”

In the Sandusky Register Star News of May 27, 1949, an ad declared that P.O.C. beer was the “pick of the crop.”


The Sandusky distributorship of the Pilsener Brewing Company remained in Sandusky until about 1962. For many years, an ad for P.O.C. beer could be seen on the outside brick wall of Cronin’s Tavern at 1119 West Washington Street, the current location of Joe Sundae’s.



Sunday, December 01, 2019

A View from the Steeple at St. Mary’s Church



This picture was taken in 1911 from the steeple of St. Mary’s Catholic Church. St. Mary’s Parochial School is visible on the right side of the photo, located at the corner of Decatur and Jefferson Streets. Further to the east, at the intersection of Jefferson Street and Columbus Avenue, the tops of three different churches can be seen. The tallest church tower at this intersection is that of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. Zion Lutheran Church is directly across the  street, and the First Congregational Church is at the northwest corner of Jefferson and Columbus.


It looks as though the weather is cold, as you can see people scurrying down Decatur Street in this close up view below.


In 1911 Fred Westerhold had a jewelry and clock store in the 400 block of Decatur Street. He stated that his prices were reasonable in this ad from the November 2, 1911 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal.


Gasper Anastas had opened a shoe repair shop in August of 1911 at 426 Decatur Street.  He promised to bring first-class work and the best materials to his customers.


By looking at city directories from the period in which a photograph was taken can help you understand what a neighborhood was like in a specific era. Visit the Sandusky Library to learn more about the historic businesses and residents of Sandusky and Erie County.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving Dinner at the Opera House Cafe in 1900



According to the November 29, 1900 issue of the Sandusky Daily Star, on Thanksgiving Day in 1900, George A. Boeckling invited one hundred youngsters to have dinner at the Opera House Cafe. Mr. Boeckling asked Truant Officer Ulrich Zuercher to pass out the dinner invitations to needy children in Sandusky.


 The Opera House Cafe was located on Water Street, next to the Nielsen Opera House, seen at the far right in the picture above. Boeckling and Zuercher met the crowd of hungry youngsters at the cafe at 11:00 on Thanksgiving Day. Waiters and waitresses served the children a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. The Star article reported that the children had their appetites with them and they gave “an exhibition of knife and fork play that has never been rivaled in the cafe.” Mr. Boeckling was making plans to have Santa Claus make an appearance at the lobby of the Nielsen Opera House on Christmas Eve, at which time he planned to pass out one thousand complimentary tickets.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Deputy Sheriff A.A. “Pete” Killian



From about 1936 to 1948, Alfred A. “Pete” Killian worked as a Deputy Sheriff for the Erie County Sheriff’s Department. Pete Killian is the man standing on the left in the picture above. Wanted posters can be seen on the walls of the office. When Pete worked for the Sheriff’s Department, it was located inside the Erie County Jail on West Adams Street, now a part of the Sandusky Library.


Deputy Killian took special training in fingerprinting and identification at the Institute of Applied Science and at the University of Oklahoma. In 1937 he was elected to be a trustee of the Ohio State Association of Identification. Throughout his law enforcement career, Deputy Killian spoke about the science of fingerprinting to several local civic organizations. When he spoke to the Exchange Club in 1946, he pointed out that in collecting millions of fingerprints over fifty years, no two were ever found to be identical.  An article which appeared in the February 24, 1938 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that Deputy Killian had 2,500 fingerprints that had been collected over a ten year period.


A.A. “Pete” Killian died at Providence Hospital in Sandusky on December 7, 1962, at the age of 71. He was survived by his wife, nieces and nephews. We do not know the details of why Deputy Killian is pictured behind "bars" (as a joke by/for friends?), but this photograph is housed in the historical photograph collections of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.


Friday, November 22, 2019

Odd Fellows in Sandusky

The badge below once belonged to Frank B. Leake, who was a member of  Ogontz Lodge, No. 66 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) in Sandusky, Ohio.


The principal emblem of the Odd Fellows is three links, with the letters F, L, and T, which stand for friendship, love, and truth. Other symbols on the pendant include a Bible, an hourglass, a heart in an open hand, and fasces. The open Bible represents a source of truth, while the hourglass reminds us of how quickly time passes by. The fasces represents strength in unity, and the hand holding the heart is an indication of love and mercy.

Sandusky's former Odd Fellows Hall, located at 231 West Washington Row, was built in 1889 by the Feick brothers. Lodge members met upstairs, and businesses and offices were located at the street level of the building. In 2003 the IOOF building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.


Now privately owned, and still home to offices, the Odd Fellows Hall hosted many lodge meetings, dinners, and dances, throughout most of the twentieth century. It remains a beautiful historic building in downtown Sandusky. The photograph below was taken at a dance at the Odd Fellows Hall about 1912.


To read more about the history and principles of the Odd Fellows, see the Odd Fellows Manual, accessible at Google Books.


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Matern Stove and Furnace Company


Henry Matern was born in Germany in 1827. He came to the United States in 1849, and settled in Sandusky in 1850, opening a stove and tinware business in town in 1856. His store was on the south side of Water Street between Jackson Street and Columbus Avenue. By 1869, his brother Phillip had joined the business with him. In 1889 Henry Matern organized the Matern Stove and Furnace Company. 

The “Jewel Grand” model was considered the grandest stove in America, according to a newspaper ad that appeared in the Sandusky Register in 1889.


Mr. Matern also had a floral shop on Washington Street. Henry Matern, Sr. passed away on April 10, 1898, survived by his widow, and seven children. Following his death, his son, Henry Matern, Jr., took over the stove business, and his widow, the former Lena Linkenbach, ran the flower shop.

The stoves carried by the Matern Stove and Furnace Company had impressive names such as Jewel, Sterling, and Garnet. In the ad below, which was featured in the October 4, 1901 issue of the Sandusky Daily Star, it was stated that a barrel of flour was baked into bread using only ten cents of hard coal. This stove was once demonstrated at the Erie County Fair.



A brochure published by the Detroit Stove Works, with story problems and puzzlers was given away by the Matern Company. It was entitled “Mental Nuts: Can You Crack ‘em?”



Puzzler number 3 read:

The Beggar

A beggar had a brother, the brother died and the man who died had no brother.

The answer to the puzzler is:

The beggar was a woman


The name of the business eventually was shortened to the Matern Stove Company. It went out of business in the fall of 1917. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to find information about the historical businesses and residents of Sandusky and Erie County.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Augustus H. Moss, Pioneer Banker


Augustus Hitchcock Moss was born in the state of New York in 1810. He married his second cousin, Mary Esther Moss, in 1837, and the couple moved to Sandusky, Ohio.  Mr. Moss ran a general store at the western portion of Water Street in Sandusky beginning in 1837.  Later he sold part of his store to his brother Samuel, and kept part of the business as a hardware store until about 1850. 

At that time he became partners with his brothers in law, Truman and Horace Moss, in a banking business known as the Moss Brothers Bank. After the bank was nationalized in 1863, it was known as the First National Bank of Sandusky. By 1883 the bank was known as the Moss National Bank, with Augustus H. Moss serving as its president. In about 1903, the Moss Bank merged with the Second National Bank, to become the Commercial Banking Company. This bank failed in the 1930s during the Great Depression.

In 1842, Mr. Moss bought property from Oran Follett, at the northeast corner of Wayne and Jefferson Streets in Sandusky.


The Ohio Historic Places Dictionary states that the Follett-Moss-Moss residences in the 400 block of the eastern side of Wayne Street “provide a capsule history of the 19th-century styles in stone architecture in the city.” The A.H. Moss home was built in the Gothic Revival style. The home of Oran Follett, a personal friend of Augustus Moss, was located at the southeast corner of Wayne and Adams Street, at what is now 404 Wayne Street. The son of Mr. and Mrs. Augustus Moss, J.O. Moss, and his family lived next door at what is now 414 Wayne Street.

Augustus H. Moss died on December 6, 1888, after a brief illness. He had been known and respected among bankers throughout the United States. Mr. Moss was on the vestry of Grace Episcopal Church for over forty years. He was a trustee of Kenyon College for several years, serving on the Finance Committee. A lengthy obituary for Mr. Moss appeared in the December 7, 1888 issue of the Sandusky Register. It read in part, “A gentleman of quiet, dignified bearings, yet courteous, genial and frank, his familiar form and face will be greatly missed from our business circles, from the street, from the church and the social circle in which they have so long been seen.” Funeral services for Augustus H. Moss were held at the family residence on December 8, 1888. Many local business men attended the funeral, and all the banks in Sandusky were closed from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in memory of Mr. Moss. Rev. R.L. Howell, rector of Grace Episcopal Church officiated at the funeral services. Pallbearers included Rice Harper, Oran Follett, R.B. Hubbard, W.P. Chapman, Homer Goodwin, John M. Boalt, Clark Rude, and J.A. Graham. Private burial services were held at Oakland Cemetery.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Sandusky Automobile Company



In 1902, the Sandusky Automobile Company was incorporated with James J. Hinde as President; Edward J. Cable, Secretary; F.P. Zollinger, Treasurer; and J. S. Bennett, Vice President. The factory was located on the west side of Sandusky, on Camp Street, and  manufactured an automobile called the Sandusky.



The Sandusky Automobile Company re-organized in 1904, and a new line of automobile called the Courier was manufactured. The Brown family is pictured below in a “Courier” automobile in 1904.


Within a year of its reorganization the Sandusky Automobile Company went bankrupt. The building was later used by the Brown Clutch Company for several years.

J. J. Hinde was associated with other successful businesses. He was the senior partner in the Hinde and Dauch Paper Company until 1910.  He is said to have been the man who introduced the tractor to Henry Ford. His obituary in 1931 stated that he was a “farmer, industrialist, and globe trotter.” He was long considered a booster of the Sandusky community.

The Fall 1980 issue of the Northwest Ohio Quarterly, available at the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library, features the Sandusky Automobile Company in its lead article by John L. Butler. The second volume of From the Widow's Walk by Helen Hansen and Virginia Steinemann also contains an article about Sandusky’s early automobiles.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Hospital at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home


The postcard pictured above was created by the Alexander Manufacturing Company, and was taken of the hospital at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home in 1918. Below is a view of the hospital in 1928, with a closer view and a slightly different angle.


The original hospital at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home (now the Ohio Veterans Home) opened in January of 1899, with seven trained nurses employed to care for those veterans who needed in-hospital care. An annual report from the Home in 1902 gave this description of the hospital.


In the early 1950s, a new hospital opened at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home. It was known as the John T. Haynes Memorial Hospital, named for the former chief surgeon of the Home, Dr. J.T. Haynes.


Fifty nursing home beds had become available at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home in 1950. Today’s the nursing home facility at the Ohio Veteran Home has 427 beds in three separate units: the Giffin Wing, Secrest North and Secrest South. In continuous operation since it opened in 1888, over 50,000 honorably discharged veterans have been admitted to the Ohio Veterans Home in Erie County, Ohio. 

You can see some vintage pictures of the former Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home at a previous blog post on Sandusky History.


Thursday, November 07, 2019

C.F. Schumacher Shoe Store


From 1898 until about 1927, Charles F. Schumacher sold boots and shoes in Sandusky. In the 1900 U.S. Census for Erie County, Ohio, Mr. Schumacher stated that he was a shoe merchant. He listed his birthplace as Ohio, and stated that both his parents had been born in Germany. Until 1915, the C.F. Schumacher store was in business on the 100 block of Monroe Street; around 1916 the numbering of addresses changed, putting his business on the 600 block of East Monroe Street. 

When you look at the words on the outside of the stairway on the exterior of the Schumacher store, the name of the store has an image of a shoe replacing the first syllable of the owner’s last name, creating a clever logo for the business.


In 1911, the C.F. Schumacher store sold Ball Band rubber footwear, which were a popular item at the time.

In 1922, the Schumacher store sold Educator shoes.

In the Erie County Commissioners’ Report which appeared in the Sandusky Register of December 31, 1919, C.F. Schumacher’s name appeared in the list of expenses because he had done shoe repairs for residents of the Children’s Home. 

On October 27, 1927, Charles F. Schumacher died at the age of 56. He was survived by his widow, a son, daughter, two brothers and a sister. Mr. Schumacher had been an active member of the First Reformed Church. Funeral services were held at the family residence, with the Rev. V.J. Tingler officiating, and burial was at Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Black Patti Troubadours at the Grand Theater


In 1905 the Black Patti Troubadours appeared in Sandusky at the Grand Theater (on Water and Jackson Streets, originally known as the Sandusky Opera House). The Black Patti Troubadours were a group of African American performers who performed musical comedy. They traveled throughout the United States between 1896 and 1915. The group was centered around a talented performer, Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones


Image from the Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/images/at0155.2s.jpg

Madame Jones (as she was commonly identified) had a trained operatic voice, and the local press of her day compared her to the well known opera singer Adelina Patti. Madame Jones was the first African American performer at
Wallack's Theatre in Boston in the late 1880’s, and sang at the White House for President and Mrs. Harrison in 1892. She sang in concerts in the United States, South America, and in Europe.  After facing racial discrimination, Madame Jones formed her own entertainment troupe known as the Black Patti Troubadours.


Looney Dreamland was the name of the show in 1905. Voelckel and Nolan were the managers of the Black Patti Troubadours at that time. The show, staged by Robert Cole, was advertised as “a musical visit to Dreamland.”

Madame Jones sang “My Dear Southern Home,” “At  Home,” and “Old Man Moon” in the second act. She performed the leading role in the final act of the evening, a condensed opera performance.

The Black Patti Troubadours also had appeared in Sandusky on November 1, 1898. The performance, at the same location (then called the Nielsen Opera House), featured comedy, songs, a cake walk, and operatic masterpieces. An article in the November 1, 1898 issue of the Sandusky Star reported that the Troubadours had “irresistible and fascinating charm” during their stage performance. The Black Patti Troubadours were considered “one of the marvels of the metropolis” during their 1898 run in New York City.

To learn more about Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones, you can read or listen to an NPR story from 2007.

Friday, November 01, 2019

Teacher and Students of a One Room Schoolhouse in Perkins Township



In about 1899, Miss Gertrude Taylor was the teacher at a one room schoolhouse in Perkins Township, on Columbus Avenue, south of Taylor Road. The picture was taken by Pascoe’s Gallery of Sandusky, Ohio.

Pictured in the photograph are: back row, Miss Gertrude Taylor, Mary Michel, Marie Strickfaden, John Von Eitzen, Morris Hills, Ethel House, Byron House, Henry Merriam, Vincent Morris, Ollie Merriam, Willie Michel; front row, Annabel House, Carl Oswald, Susanna Strickfaden, Edith Michel, Lloyd Hills, Beulah Taylor, August Von Eitzen, and Pauline Von Eitzen. The 1896 Erie County Atlas shows that the Taylor, House, and Hills families all lived very close to the school, so the children did not have far to walk to get to the schoolhouse.

Ethel House would go on to become very active in the Daughters of the American Revolution, serving as Regent of the organization for a time. Her first husband was former prosecuting attorney and judge, Claude J. Minor. Following his death, Ethel became the wife of Bowling Green State University president, Dr. Frank Prout. When Lloyd Hills had completed his school years, he became the owner and operator of the Hills’ Supply Company, which dealt in paints and automobile accessories. Susanna and Marie Strickfaden were the sisters of Joseph Strickfaden, who operated a garden center in Perkins Township for fifty years. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to view this and hundreds of other archival photographs relating to Sandusky and Erie County, Ohio.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Mr. and Mrs. Louis Duennisch


Louis Duennisch was born in Saxony, Germany on September 4, 1842. In 1857 he and his widowed mother emigrated to the United States, settling in Sandusky, Ohio. For thirty five years, he was employed by the Sandusky Sash, Door & Blind Company, and its successors. Mr. Duennisch was made foreman of the shop when he was only nineteen years old. 

On July 2, 1867, Louis Duennisch took Margaret Newman as his bride; she passed away in 1875. He married Margaret Ebert in 1878, the daughter of Conrad Ebert, a native of Bavaria.. 


Between 1895 and the early 1900s, the couple traveled extensively in the United States and Europe. Descendants of the Duennisch and Ebert families bequeathed a photograph album to the Sandusky Library Research Center, which contains many pictures from their travels.  Below is a picture of Mr. and Mrs. Duennisch in Madeira (part of Portugal, despite the caption).


For many years, Mr. Duennisch served as a trustee of Oakland Cemetery. The front page of the Sandusky Sunday Register of October 10, 1886 featured a story which reported on an electrical device which he had invented. Having heard of cases of “suspended animation,” in which a living person had been buried alive, Louis wanted to provide an escape method for an individual finding oneself in this unfortunate situation.  Insulated rings were to be attached to the body in the coffin, and these were wired to an alarm bell in the bedroom of the cemetery superintendent. At the slightest movement of an individual’s fingers, an alarm would ring loudly in the superintendent’s room. We do not know if this invention was actually implemented by Oakland Cemetery, but on October 10, 1888, it was lauded as “one of the grandest triumphs of electrical science.” 

Louis Duennisch died on October 4, 1918. He was buried in the North Ridge section of Oakland Cemetery.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Photographs by John G. Brittingham


According to the 1886 Sandusky City Directory, John G. Brittingham was a photographer whose work was “unexcelled and guaranteed.” His studio was at 707 Market Street (between Columbus Ave. and Jackson St.), and he resided at 1059 Columbus Avenue.


We do not know the name of the young lady in the cabinet photograph below, but Mr. Brittingham took this picture at his Market Street studio. This studio was later occupied by J.M. Lloyd, who was a photographer in Sandusky from about 1888 to 1893; it appears that Lloyd may have acquired the studio when Brittingham moved to Springfield Illinois. (According to A Directory of Early Illinois Photographers, published in 1977, John G. Brittingham was in business in SpringfieldIllinois in the late 1880s.)


Another picture taken by Mr. Brittingham features the names of the cities of both Springfield, Illinois and Sandusky, Ohio at the bottom of the portrait. Perhaps Mr. Brittingham traveled between Ohio and Illinois for a time.