Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Thomas R. McGeachie

The photograph above, taken by W.A. Bishop, appeared on page 21 of the 1903 publication, What: Souvenir of Sandusky, Ohio and the Islands of Lake Erie. In 1903 Thomas McGeachie was a general contractor, but in 1900 he was a foreman at George R. Butler and Company. The January 21, 1902 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that he had been promoted to superintendent at the company. You can see a portion of this business in the picture below, taken in 1899. Started by Jay Butler, the company manufactured sashes, doors, and blinds in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Mr. McGeachie was also involved in local politics. According to an article in the Sandusky Star of May 18, 1899, he was appointed chairman of the Erie County Republican Party at the Third Ward Republican Caucus. The article stated: “This name is a new one in local politics but it jumped at once into prominence. He is a politician who has studied the art in Cleveland and showed the old timers a few pointers last night.” 

By about 1907, Thomas R. McGeachie and his wife Sarah returned to their native Canada, settling in Welland, Ontario, where he worked as a lumber merchant. Though he lived in Sandusky, Ohio for a relatively short time, his activity in business and political circles caused him to be remembered by many local residents after he left the Sandusky area.  Two sons remained in Ohio after their parents moved to Canada. Percy and Thomas McGeachie, Jr. are buried in Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery. 

See the book What: Souvenir of Sandusky, Ohio and the Islands of Lake Erie to learn more about the important people and businesses of Sandusky in 1903. Inquire at the Reference Services desk if you would like to see this historic publication.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Valentines Given to Ralph Spahn

Ralph Spahn was born in Sandusky, Ohio in 1891. He was the son of Fred Spahn and his wife, the former Philipine Hinkey. In the historical collections of the Sandusky Library and the Follett House Museum are two valentines given to Ralph by his cousin Ida Bunsey and another person named Carrie.

Ralph’s father Fred Spahn, a popular Sandusky barber who also had a shop on Johnson's Island, died in 1906 at the age of 38, from an accidental drowning. Sadly, Ralph Spahn passed away less than two years later on February 16, 1908, from typhoid fever. He was buried at Oakland Cemetery in Sandusky, Ohio.

Ralph’s mother, Philipine “Bena” Hinkey Spahn lived a long life. She died in 1956 at age 90, and was laid to rest in the family lot at Oakland Cemetery.

Monday, February 05, 2024

Mrs. Mary Buyer, Parochial School Teacher


Mary E. McGoldric (sometimes spelled McGoldrick) was born in Sandusky in 1843, to Irish immigrants, John and Ann McGoldric. Mary’s father and several siblings died in the Cholera epidemic of 1849. 

In 1866, Mary McGoldric married Anthony Buyer. Sadly he died in 1868. They had a daughter, Mary Buyer, who was the second wife of Charles J. Krupp, a local undertaker. In her later years, she lived at 404 Wayne Street with her daughter and son in law, Mrs. and Mrs. Charles J. Krupp. (this house was once the home of the Oran Follett family, and now is open to the public as a museum.)

An article in the August 10, 1929 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that Mary McGoldric Buyer had been a pioneer teacher in the parochial schools. She taught at St. Vincent’s School in Akron, Saints Peter and Paul boys’ school in Sandusky, and at St. Anthony’s School in MilanOhio. In 1898, Mrs. Buyer retired from teaching.

Mary Buyer died at home in 1929 and was buried in St. Mary's Cemetery.


Wednesday, January 31, 2024

John W. Stevenson, Pioneer Merchant


John Wesley Stevenson was born in Maryland in 1825 to Mathew and Jane (Gilson) Stevenson. Mathew Stevenson was a pioneer physician in Ohio. The photograph above was taken by Sandusky photographer Willard A. Bishop, who was his brother-in-law. 

In the summer of 1853, Mr. Stevenson opened up a dry goods store in the Reber block of downtown Sandusky. An advertisement which appeared in the September 8, 1853 issue of the Sandusky Daily Commercial Register indicated that the store had just received a new shipment of goods from the east. The store sold fancy and staple dry goods, boots and shoes, groceries, hardware, willow ware, and other merchandise. The ad stated that the assortment and stock at Stevenson’s dry goods store was not excelled by any other business in Sandusky.

By 1867, he listed his occupation in the city directory as produce merchant. 

John’s wife was the former Caroline Converse Mathews. They married in July, 1853 in Worcester, Massachusetts. The couple had two children, Frederick Boyd Stevenson and Mary Stevenson, who married John Sweet. Frederick Boyd Stevenson had a long career in newspapers. He was on the staff of the Brooklyn Eagle in New York for twenty-seven years.

John W. Stevenson died on May 22, 1910, at his home at 921 Washington Street, at the age of 85. Rev. Ashton Thompson from Grace Episcopal Church conducted funeral services for Mr. Stevenson, and burial was at Oakland Cemetery. From 1865 until his death in 1910, John W. Stevenson and his wife resided at what is now 603 West Washington Street, a home originally owned by George Reber.

Friday, January 26, 2024

When First Christian Church was at 1325 Hayes Avenue


Local historian Helen Hansen took the picture above of the First Christian Church in the early 1950s, when it was located at 1325 Hayes Avenue. She took another photo of the same church in 1957.

The First Christian Church was chartered in 1915, with its original church on E. Adams Street, between Perry and Meigs Streets. The building at 1325 Hayes Avenue opened in 1916. A commemorative plate from this church is in the collections of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.

 A brief history (up to 1987) of the church is located on the back of the plate.

In April of 1995, First Christian Church celebrated a ground breaking on a 17 acre plot in Perkins Township, at 3410 Hayes Avenue. The church dedicated the new church building on September 29, 1996.

If you would like to learn more about the history of area churches, visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. A finding aid contains details about the historical items held in the files for several different local congregations.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Famous "Visitors" at the West House


The West House was Sandusky's first "high-rise" hotel, opened in 1858 at the corner of Columbus Avenue and Water Street (now the site of the State Theatre). Its location in the heart of downtown near the waterfront and railroads made it a popular location for travelers in Sandusky.

The Sandusky Library Archives Research Center is fortunate to have the guest registers of the hotel from 1860 to 1878. Names of guests are recorded with their signatures in these books; often, the names of traveling entertainment groups accompany the signatures, as seen above with the New Orleans and Metropolitan Opera Troupe. Some names familiar to local historians and other researchers can be found in these pages, making them a useful and interesting research source.

Some signatures can be more interesting than others, for reasons you might not expect. . . 

If you look carefully at the page above from May 1860, you might see a familiar name from that time. Yes, there is a signature that says James Buchanan, destination White House. For those who know their history, James Buchanan was President of the United States in 1860. And for those who really know their history, John Floyd, the name below him, was the Secretary of War for President Buchanan. The President and Secretary of War visited Sandusky in 1860? Why have we not seen a report of this? This is something I'll need to research, I thought; but first, let's keep looking at the guest register.

So, a few pages later, we found other Presidents "visiting" Sandusky. . . 

Unfortunately, President Washington had been dead for over sixty years by then. Martin Van Buren was still living, but was an elderly 78 years old. And did you notice the similarities in handwriting among the presidents? Considering that each of the signatures were the last ones of their respective days, and the handwriting seems to be from the same person, we can speculate whether it might have been the work of a bored night clerk at the West House, who wanted to provide some entertainment for those in the future who read this guest register. It worked for us!

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Judge Edmond H. Savord


Judge Edmond H. Savord was born in 1889 in Sandusky, Ohio, to Alexander J. Savord and his wife, the former Jennie Kelley. He attended both parochial and public schools in Sandusky, and graduated from Sandusky High School in 1908. In 1912, he was awarded a law degree from the University of Notre Dame and was admitted to the bar in the same year.

Judge Savord had a long career in Sandusky. He was appointed Sandusky City Safety Director in 1914. He served as Sandusky City Solicitor for six months in 1915, and then again from 1922 to 1931. On March 31, 1931, he was named Judge of Erie County Common Pleas Court, a position he held for twenty years. Later he served on the Sixth District Appellate Court, and in March, 1954, he was named Chief of the State Division of Securities by Ohio State Commerce Director H. Harper Annat.

Judge Savord died at the age of 68 in Tiffin, Ohio. Funeral services were held at Saints Peter and Paul Church, with Rev. Gerald Stein officiating. Honorary pallbearers were members of the Erie County Bar Association. Active pallbearers included Judge James M. McCrystal, B.G.Zeiher, George A. Beis, Dr. T.M. Quilter, Frank Weingates, and Joseph Ginnane. Burial was at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Sandusky, Ohio. Judge Savord was survived by two sons and a daughter. His wife predeceased him in 1951.

A lengthy biographical sketch of Judge Edmond H. Savord, including information about his ancestors is found in Hewson Peeke’s Standard History of Erie County Ohio (Lewis Pub. Co., 1916.)

Monday, January 08, 2024

An Important Tool in the Early Library


The pencil dater pictured above was recently found by a member of the Sandusky Library’s administrative staff. This piece of library equipment was devised by the Milwaukee Public Library in the late 1800s. With just a slight motion of the hand, library staff could jot down the patron’s library card number, as well as stamp the date due on a slip of paper in the back of the library book. The pencil dater sold for seventy-five cents (about $25 today) in the Classified Illustrated Catalog of the  Library Bureau in 1891. This type of manual charging system was used at the Sandusky Library well into the 1970s.

Today the Sandusky Library is a member of the CLEVNET Consortium. The SirsiDynix computerized charging and discharging system used by CLEVNET libraries allows for efficient and accurate charging, discharging, and searches for items by author, title, subject, or series. The online catalog further enhances searches by providing a graphical interface, links to new arrivals, award winners, and best sellers.

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

A Celebration at New Departure

In November 1954 the General Motors Corporation celebrated the production of its 50 millionth automobile, with commemorations at 114 General Motors plants throughout the United States. The New Departure plant in Sandusky, which made precision ball bearings for GM vehicles, participated in the event with a factory open house on November 23.  

The doors of the plant, on the corner of Hayes and Perkins Avenues, opened to the public at one o'clock. 

Visitors followed a directed route through the factory to view production operations, along with historic displays; the tour ended with an exhibit of the new 1955 model automobiles from Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Cadillac, as well as the new line of Frigidaire appliances. It was noted that all of these products used bearings manufactured at New Departure.

More than 4000 people attended the open house, according to New Departure officials.

The New Departure Company began in 1889, and was acquired by General Motors in 1916. The Sandusky plant opened in 1946. The Sandusky Library Archives Research Center holds a scrapbook compiled to commemorate the New Departure open house and the celebration of GM's 50 millionth automobile.

Monday, December 18, 2023

A Photo of Family and Friends, and the Birth of Plum Brook Country Club.

In this photographic postcard Elizabeth Marsh and Florence Steinemann are gazing at Edward H. Marsh. Also looking at Mr. Marsh are George C. Steinemann and Lea Marsh. Edward H. Marsh worked with his father in the plaster business. He was a personal friend of William Howard Taft, with whom he attended school. Edward H. Marsh lost his wife Carrie at a young age, and he was left with two very young children to raise.

Lea Marsh was the son of Edward H. Marsh; he married Elizabeth D.G. Moss, the daughter of banker Charles H. Moss. Lea’s good friend was George C. Steinemann, a prominent Sandusky attorney. George was married to Florence Cable, who was the granddaughter of Sandusky businessman Frank Cable.

According to an article in the March 30, 2014 issue of the Sandusky Register, in 1913 Lea Marsh and George C. Steinemann, along with Watson H. Butler, sent out a letter, looking for people to invest in a golf course, to be located on Hayes Avenue and Strub Road, on property owned by August Pfaff. The “Sandusky Golf Club,” sometimes known as the “Auto County Club” was incorporated in 1914. By 1915, land was purchased off Galloway Road, and eventually became the golf course for the Plum Brook Country Club.

By 1930, Lea and Elizabeth Moss had moved to Old Lyme, Connecticut. When George C. Steinemann passed away in 1932, Mr. and Mrs. Lea Marsh traveled back to Ohio for his funeral, where Lea Marsh served as a pallbearer.