Saturday, December 04, 2021

Charles E. Frohman Family

Charles E. Frohman (1901-1976) was a prominent attorney, author, and civic leader in Sandusky. Related to the famous theatrical managers Charles, Daniel, and Gustave Frohman, he wrote several books of local history about Sandusky and the Lake Erie Islands region. The Sandusky Library Archives Research Center is fortunate to have several family photos from the Frohman family in the historical photograph collection. 

Below is a portrait of a young Charles E. Frohman, taken at the Platt Studio in Sandusky. Charles was the only child of Daniel and Helen (Wagner) Frohman.

This picture of Helen Wagner was taken at the Bishop studio when Helen was a young woman. Helen Wagner and Daniel Frohman were married in Sandusky on October 24, 1900.

Below are undated pictures of the parents of Charles E. Frohman, Mr. Daniel Frohman and Mrs. Helen (Wagner) Frohman. Daniel Frohman passed away in 1934, and Mrs. Helen Frohman died in 1936. Both were buried at Oakland Cemetery.

Charles E. Frohman died on September 10, 1976.His wife, the former Ruth E. Dinsmore died in September of 1996. The final resting place of Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Frohman is Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery. 

Visit the Sandusky Library to read several local history books written by Charles E. Frohman. Also available on microfilm is an index to the Sandusky Register and Star Journal, created by Mr. Frohman. It covers topics of special interest to Charles E. Frohman dating from the nineteenth century through the mid-1970s.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Do You Remember Wholf Hardware?


From 1950 until 1995, the Wholf Hardware store was in business in the 600 block of Hancock Street. Alton “Bud” Wholf began the business. William Poeschl, Sr., a German immigrant, took over the business from Mr. Wholf in 1963. In an article in the Sandusky Register of March 25, 1984, Mr. Poeschl said that he did not change the name of the store because people would have a hard time pronouncing Poeschl, which sounded like “Po-Shell.” The major part of the store’s sales was basic hardware, like bolts, nuts, fasteners, hinges, and hand tools. Plumbing supplies were also popular with local customers. 

In 1984 about 300 customers visited the business each day. If you needed to, you could purchase just one nail or bolt at the store. If you had a problem at your house, you could go to Wholf Hardware, and the staff would help you determine just what you needed to make the necessary repair. Eventually Mr. Poeschl’s son and grandson helped run the business. Business began to decline at Wholf Hardware as larger retail stores began to carry more hardware products. At the end of April, 1995, members of the Poeschl family thanked local customers for their many years of patronage, as they announced the closing of the Wholf Hardware store in a letter to the editor of the Sandusky Register.  

In a two-page article in the July 5, 1992 issue of the Sandusky Register, Virginia Steinemann and Helen Hansen wrote about the history of the section of Sandusky around Hancock and Monroe Streets, which had been the location of several homes and businesses owned by people of German descent.

The paint stirrer pictured below is now in the collections of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.


Sunday, November 28, 2021

M. Schields Godfrey, Milliner

Mary Schields was born in Sandusky in September, 1862, to Edmund and Salome Schields, both natives of Germany. She married George Godfrey about 1893. Mr. Godfrey was born in England and was a musician with the Great Western Band. From about 1896 through 1915, Mrs. Mary Schields Godfrey operated a hat shop at 222 Columbus Avenue. During some years, she also sold hats at the C. L. Engels Co. store on Market Street.

Mary and George would often travel to Europe to purchase hats. An article in the March 25, 1905 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal was entitled “The Sun Smiled for the Millinery Openings.” Mrs. Godfrey advertised genuine Paris and London hats, as well as New York Pattern hats for the spring season of 1905.


Mrs. Godfrey published a small catalog of Parisian hats in 1899, which featured models wearing stylish hats, along with a description of the hats.

Helen Hansen and Virginia Steinemann wrote about hat shops in Sandusky in Article 53 of From the Widow's Walk, describing how hats were a very important fashion necessity for women in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Fourteen separate businesses in Sandusky were listed under millinery in the 1912-1913 Sandusky City Directory. Miss Yvonne Fievet was an apprentice to Mary Schields Godfrey in the millinery business. Mrs. Hansen and Mrs. Steinemann spoke with Miss Fievet, and learned that as an apprentice Yvonne worked three months in the spring and three months in the fall learning the millinery trade; she received no wages, but was given a free hat for her six months labor. Miss Fievet went on to have her own hat shop, from 1929 to 1965. (She had a niece, also named Yvonne Fievet, who was a longtime librarian at the Sandusky Library.)


Two separate volumes of From the Widow's Walk feature photographs and historical articles about the residents and businesses of Sandusky and Erie County. You may check out either volume from the Sandusky Library.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Giving Thanks


This is the menu that Sgt. Wilford T. Schleicher was served at Camp Sherman, Chillicothe, Ohio, on Thanksgiving day, November 29, 1917. 

He was to leave for Europe in June 1918 as part of the American Expeditionary Forces. 

In February 1919, he and his family were able to be thankful for his safe return to the United States and a long life, happily married, and a successful career at the American Crayon Company.

There is always something to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Sanborn Maps, An Invaluable Historical Resource


The Sanborn Map Company published maps between 1867 and 1970 to help fire insurance companies determine potential risks for buildings in American cities. While their value for insurance policies has long ended, these maps serve a new purpose for historians and family history researchers. Precise locations of buildings and streets are included on the maps, as well as the types of construction materials used, water sources available, and how buildings were heated, among other information. While individual property owners are not usually given, researchers can find out the location of the homes and places of employment of their ancestors. 

At the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center, Sanborn Maps can be accessed in a variety of formats. There are physical copies of the 1886 and 1905 atlases stored in the Archives, another atlas, with revisions into the 1950s, is also available for viewing. Microfilm roll 6885 contains copies of the 1886, 1893, and 1905 Sanborn Maps for Sandusky. And a digital collection of 40,000 Sanborn Maps of Ohio cities is accessible to Ohio library users through OPLIN Databases. This digital collection can be accessed twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, to holders of Ohio library cards. Some examples from this collection are below.

The J. Kuebeler and Company Brewery was located on the west side of Sandusky in 1886, on Tiffin Avenue.

This 1886 Sanborn Map shows locations of the Kuebeler brewery’s malt storage, fermenting unit and ice houses, along with many other details about the facility.

The Sandusky Library appeared on page 25 of the 1905 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map.

In the original library building, the reading room in the east wing of the Carnegie building had a skylight, and a music hall was in the west wing, complete with an area for storing scenery. Notes indicate that the library was heated with steam heat.

The street names and house numbers found on the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps seem to come alive when one can locate photographs taken of a specific location. Below is a section of the 1893 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map which shows the corner of Monroe and Hancock Streets.

William Brehm had a dry goods store at 631 Hancock Street in 1893. The front window of Mr. Brehm’s store is visible in the picture below which also shows car number 9 of the Sandusky, Milan and Norwalk Electric Railway in 1893.

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to learn more about the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for Sandusky.

Friday, November 19, 2021

C.F. Denzer Office Supply Business


C.F. Denzer sold office supplies at his store at 210 Columbus Avenue, near East Market Street, for many years. By 1940, the business had relocated to East Market Street, and later onto Water Street. Above is the cover of a promotional item from Barker’s Greeting Cards, given away at Denzer’s. It is a clever item used to store four different types of stamps. Here is the inside:

(This item is probably from between July 1932 and December 1951, when first class postage was three cents and postcards were a penny.)

 Besides office supplies, Denzer’s also sold greeting cards and wrapping paper for gifts.

This advertising card indicates that C.F. Denzer sold “a penholder for every taste.”

Eventually C.F. Denzer changed its name to Denzer’s, Inc. The company’s final location in Sandusky was at 2111 Cleveland Road, ending around the mid-1980s.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

The Bully Roarer Songster

In 1848, the publisher D. Campbell & Sons of Sandusky, Ohio produced a comic songbook, the third in a series of publications. David Campbell established the Sandusky Clarion in 1822, which was a predecessor of the Sandusky Register.

On pages 76 through 78 is a song called Umbrella Courtship, about a man named Simon who steals kisses from the belle he is courting, but only when it is raining. They got married on a rainy day, and had eight children, all who were marked with umbrellas.

A version of the Umbrella Courtship is also found at the Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music from the Johns Hopkins University’s Sheridan Library. 

The comical song found on pages 82 and 83 of the Bully Roarer was about two Irish men who were fighting over the same young lady.

This publication is in the collections of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Confederate P.O.W.’s: Soldiers & Sailors Who Died in Federal Prisons and Military Hospitals in the North

In 1984 Frances Ingmire and Carolyn Ericson compiled into a book the names, rank, regiment, death dates, and burial location of Confederate soldiers and sailors who died in federal prisons and military hospitals in the North, during the Civil War. The records were compiled from the Office of the Commissioner for Marker Graves of Confederate Dead. The main text is compiled by the names of each prison, but an index of servicemen is found in the back of this volume, listing the former Confederate sailors and soldiers alphabetically by surname.

Soldiers and sailors who died at Camp Chase, near Columbus, Ohio are listed on pages 50 through 93. The names of four soldiers who died while prisoners of war in Gallipolis, Ohio are found on page 175. Of particular interest is the section of the book with the names of several soldiers and Confederate officers who died during the Civil War at Johnson’s Island. Their names are provided on pages 178 through 182. You can view this book at the Sandusky Library, where it is shelved with the genealogical and local history books in the library’s lower level.

Many items relating to the Civil War can be found at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center and the Follett House Museum. The original wooden tombstone of D.L. Scott, 2nd Lieutenant, Co. I, of the Third Missouri Cavalry, is on display at the Follett House. In the late 1880s, a group of Georgia businessmen raised funds to provide marble tombstones for those soldiers and officers interred at Johnson’s Island.

Over one thousand people witnessed the unveiling of the Confederate Cemetery Monument at Johnson’s Island on June 8, 1910, an event sponsored by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Rev. George H. Peeke

George Hewson Peeke was born on March 18, 1833 in Rotterdam, New York. He graduated from Rutgers College in 1857, and from the Reformed Dutch Theologial Seminary in 1860. Rev. Peeke’s active years of ministry spanned fifty-five years. He served as the minister of churches in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Iowa, and Ohio. From 1883 until 1890, he was the pastor of the First Congregational Church in Sandusky, Ohio. Rev. Peeke was the first clergyman in Sandusky to advocate prohibition of liquor. 

In 1884, Rev. Peeke was selected to be the speaker at Sandusky’s Memorial Day ceremony at Oakland Cemetery. The Sandusky Library Archives Research Center has a small collection of documents from Rev. Peeke's life's work, including life memberships in the American Bible Society, American Tract Society, and the American Home Missionary Society. When Rev. Peeke left the Sandusky Congregational Church, he went on to serve as the minister of the Congregational Church in Brooklyn, Ohio. He often came back to Sandusky to officiate at funerals, and speak at local churches.

Rev. Peeke and his wife Margaret Bloodgood Peeke had six children; their eldest son, Hewson L. Peeke, was a well known attorney and local historian in Sandusky.  

On December 28, 1915, Rev. George H. Peeke died after suffering a stroke.  Funeral services were held at the home of his son, attorney Hewson L. Peeke. The three pastors who officiated at the funeral services were: Rev. Keller of the Presbyterian Church, Rev. Ross Sanderson of the First Congregational Church, and Rev. Hilberry of Trinity Methodist Church. Burial was in Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery. A lengthy obituary appeared in the December 29, 1915 issue of the Sandusky Register.

Sunday, November 07, 2021

The Three Sons of Mr. and Mrs. John Rieger

Pictured above are the three sons of John L. and Mary (Biehl) Rieger, in a photograph taken by C.W. Platt. Standing is Edward F. Rieger, born in 1882. Seated on the left is Walter Rieger, born in 1883. Youngest son Pierre Rieger, who was born in 1886, is seated in the chair. John Rieger was a pioneer resident of Sandusky. He had a shoe business on Hancock Street in the 1870s and he founded the Hotel Rieger in 1912. 

Another picture of the boys was taken at a later date. 

You can see that same portrait of the young Rieger boys in the family’s parlor in the picture below.

Edward F. Rieger died in an accidental fall from the fourth floor of the Hotel Rieger in 1921, when he was only 39 years old. Pierre Rieger died after a brief illness on January 30, 1951. Both Edward and Pierre Rieger were involved in the management of the Hotel Rieger. Dr. Walter H. Rieger graduated from the University of Michigan as a medical doctor in 1906. Dr. Rieger was the house surgeon at the Manhattan Eye and Ear Infirmary in New York, and he was the visiting otolaryngologist at Fairview Park Hospital and St. Vincent’s Charity Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio; he was the last surviving member of his family at the time of his death on June 27, 1951. Mr. and Mrs. John Rieger and all their sons are buried in Block 94 of Oakland Cemetery. The Hotel Rieger, which played an important role in the lives of so many members of the Rieger family, is pictured below in 1927.