Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Play was Set in Sandusky

While we do not know the names of the cast members or the play, the backdrop for this dramatic production appears to be a scene of Columbus Avenue in downtown Sandusky. The time frame is about 1905-1910.
The postcard below appears very similar to the backdrop from the play. The Stone Block at the corner of Columbus Avenue and Market Street is on the left side of the postcard, and the Kingsbury block can be seen at the south end of Columbus Avenue with the flag on top. Also visible of the play’s backdrop is a portion of the Sloane House hotel, across the street from the Kingsbury block.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Addison Kelley Hamilton, 1889-1892

Addison Kelley Hamilton was the eldest son of Titus and Fredrena Kelley Hamilton, born in 1889. He was the great grandson of Addison Kelley, and a great great grandson of Datus Kelley, one of the namesakes of Kelleys Island. Addison Kelley Hamilton died at age two years and nine months, at the home of his great grandfather, Addison Kelley, on July 27, 1892. His funeral was held at the Kelley residence.

An obituary for the Addison Kelley Hamilton appeared in the July 28, 1892 issue of the Sandusky Register. It read in part: “He was an attractive child, physically strong and intellectually bright and his winsome baby ways were like sunshine in the home. His illness was brief and though surrounded with every comfort and attended by the best medical skill the disease yielded not to either medical science or kindly nursing. The death of the dear boy – but little more than a baby – has cast a dark shadow over the happy home to which his presence brought gladness a few years ago. In the dark hour of their bereavement this stricken household has the deep sympathy of a closely united community.”

Little Addison Kelley Hamilton was buried in the family lot at the Kelleys Island Cemetery. Frank E. Hamilton, another child of Mr. and Mrs. Titus Hamilton, would become a captain of several Great Lakes vessels, and was a well known historian of the Great Lakes and Kelleys Island.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Eclectic System of Penmanship by L. S. Thompson

Langdon S. Thompson was a teacher of penmanship in the Sandusky schools in 1863. The 1867 Sandusky City Directory lists Mr. Thompson’s residence as 9 Meigs Street. In 1876, L. S. Thompson wrote an elementary course in penmanship, published by Wilson, Hinkle & Company. A series of three books included examples of letters, words, and short sentences, along with blank lines for elementary students to practice their writing skills.

Mr. Thompson felt that whole letters and whole words should be taught to even the youngest of children, instead of the traditional teaching of lines as a first step in the elements of handwriting. In Freddie Bauer’s school book from the West Market Street School, the phrases “Strive to excel” and “Love the good” are meant to be an object lesson as well as to help the student practice his or her penmanship.

Later, L. S. Thompson taught in Indiana and in Jersey City, New Jersey. An article in volume 15 of the journal School Arts, reported that Dr. Langdon S. Thompson had retired after sixty years of continuous service in art education. He had served as a grade school teacher, school principal, supervisor of drawing, college professor, and director of art education. He also had a wide reputation as an author and lecturer, and was active in several professional organizations, including the National Education Association.

The young student Fred Bauer was a lifelong resident of Sandusky. He was an expert in municipal finance, and served as Erie County Auditor from 1916-1918 and 1922-1928.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sandusky Business College

First known as the Buckeye & Great Western Business College, the school was founded in Sandusky in 1865 by Professor E. A. Hall. By 1867, the name was shortened to Buckeye Business College. The school was located at Union Hall, on the left side of Columbus Avenue, between Water and Market Streets.

In the 1870’s, James D. Parker, grandfather of Drs. Watson and Lester Parker, was the proprietor of the Buckeye Business College. A copy of a 1915 brochure from the Sandusky Business College is in the holdings of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. Roy D. Mitchell was the principal and proprietor at this time. of the A brief history of the Sandusky Business College, appears on page five of the brochure. The historical sketch reads in part: “Distinctively a pioneer in commercial education, for half a century the school has served the needs of the business community. Its former students dominate the leading business and financial interests of Sandusky. Hundreds of them are engaged in business pursuits in our sister cities of Ohio.” The Sandusky Business College had a variety of proprietors and locations through the years. The school moved to the Mahala Block in the 1890’s. After the Mahala Block fire of 1909, the school moved to the Feick Building on East Market Street. At that time the Feick Building had only three stories.

The final home of the Sandusky Business College was the former Rush Sloane residence, located at 403 East Adams Street. The school was in operation there from 1923 until 1949, when the school closed due to declining enrollment. William O. Loudenslagel was the last owner of the Sandusky Business College.
The Sandusky Library Archives Research Center is fortunate to have several photographs from the Sandusky Business College, dating from about 1908 through 1928.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Program Announcement: Postcards from the Library's Collections

Join Archives Librarian Ron Davidson in the Library Program Room on Wednesday, July 28, at 6:30 p.m. as he presents a sampling of postcards from the historical collections of the Library’s Archives Research Center. Learn a little about the origins of postcards and how they were used by Sanduskians. You’ll see examples of early color postcards, photo postcards, and some unusual formats. Feel free to share your observations and show samples from your own collection, if you’d like. Registration is requested. To register, call 419-625-3834 and press 0 to speak with a switchboard operator (10-5, Monday-Friday) or press Option 6 to leave a message.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Samuel J. Catherman, Carpenter and Master Mechanic

Samuel J. Catherman was born in Union City, Pennsylvania, on July 29, 1817. He came to Sandusky as a boy, and learned the carpenter trade. He moved back to Pennsylvania for a time, and in 1835 settled permanently in Sandusky, along with his mother, and two siblings. At that time, Catherman found work at the Mad River Railroad’s shops in Sandusky. He helped assemble the locomotive “Sandusky”, under the direction of Thomas Hogg, and he recalls watching it make it first trip from Sandusky to Bellevue.

Eventually Samuel J. Catherman became a master mechanic with the railroad. An article which appeared in the May 20, 1911 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that Catherman was the designer and builder of the first end-door passenger railroad coach with reversible seats.

Before undertaking his own contracting business, Catherman was in a partnership with Laurence Cable. One of their contracts was to build 2,000 reapers known as “The Hero,” which had been invented by a Mr. Henderson. After Laurence Cable and Samuel Catherman undertook a project in which they modernized a portion of Washington Street, the work that they did needed no repairs for nearly forty years.

As a contractor, Samuel J. Catherman built over twenty lime kilns and several residences. After building the cribbing for the Mad River Railroad, in the east and west ends of the Sandusky Bay, Catherman received the contract for the construction of the railroad bridge across Sandusky Bay. He employed 300 men during this project. We read in the History of the Western Reserve, by Harriet Taylor Upton, that the building of the Bay Bridge “gained for him the reputation of performing the fastest work of its kind ever accomplished.” The May 30, 1854 issue of the Sandusky Daily Commercial Register reported that once the railroad bridge was completed across Sandusky Bay, there would be continuous rail service from Sandusky to Chicago, a total of 271 miles. (The railroad bridge across Sandusky Bay was built several years before the Sandusky Bay Bridge, which was designed for automobile traffic, made its debut in 1929.) More details about the history of steam railroads in Erie County are found in an article by Paul F. Laning in the Twin Anniversary Edition of the Sandusky Register and Star News, from November 24, 1947. A bound copy of this special edition newspaper is housed at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.

In 1844 Samuel J. Catherman married Clarissa Gregg, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Gregg. They had six children, but only four who survived to adulthood. One of the Catherman children, Georgia Catherman, taught first graders in Sandusky for thirty-five years. Samuel J. Catherman died in Sandusky on May 19, 1911. He is buried at Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery next to his wife, who had passed away in 1907.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Leonard Baumgartel Family in 1900

Leonard and Mary Baumgartel are pictured above with two of their daughters. They lived at 212 Hayes Avenue in Sandusky, Ohio. According to records in the 1900 U.S. Census, accessed via Ancestry Library Edition, Leonard Baumgartel was born in Germany in 1850, and his wife Mary was born in Switzerland in 1854. Mary stated that she was the mother of ten children, but only four were living in 1900. They were: Matilda, age 23; John, age 24; Ida, age 12; and Mary, age 13. Notes with the original photograph indicate that Leonard was a tailor, and he worked for Frank Schnaitter. When you look closely at the clothing that Mary and the children are wearing, there is a lot of detail in the necklines, collars, and sleeves of their garments. We do not know if Leonard sewed these items of clothing, or if Mary or someone else stitched them.

Leonard Baumgartel died at the age of 49, on July 11, 1901. He was buried in the I.O.O.F. lot at Oakland Cemetery. Leonard and Mary’s daughter Matilda married Robert Rheinegger on June 5, 1900 in Erie County, Ohio. Matilda and Robert Rheinegger were the parents of Helen Rheinegger Hansen, who photographed and researched several historic homes in Sandusky. The book At Home in Early Sandusky was published as a result of Helen Hansen’s research.

If you have vintage photographs or documents from families who resided in Sandusky or Erie County, please consider donating them to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center, so that future generations may enjoy them, and learn more about their family history.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Daguerreotype of Annette Tilden Mills and Son

Isaac Mills, who was the grandson of co-founder of Sandusky, Isaac L. Mills, married Annette Tilden in 1855. Annette was the daughter of Dr. Daniel Tilden, a pioneer physician in Sandusky. Pictured below is a daguerreotype of Annette Tilden Mills with her youngest son, Alan Phelps Mills.

Isaac and Annette Tilden Mills had four children, all who died young. Daniel Tilden Mills and Isaac Augustus Mills both died in 1859, and were under the age of 3. The two youngest Mills children died of diphtheria within days of each other. Annette Tilden Mills, whom the family called Annie, died at age 6 on October 31, 1869. Alan Phelps Mills died on November 7, 1869 at the age of 9. A tribute to Alan and Annie Mills was featured in the November 9, 1869 issue of the Sandusky Register:

Two very interesting children, son and daughter of Isaac Mills, have died within the past week of diphtheria. The parents, left childless, have the sympathy of the entire community, but of what avail. These “treasures in earthen vessels” have left their clay tenement, and gone to that “brighter world” to draw the long and loved ones upward.
Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Mills and all of their four children are buried at Oakland Cemetery in the Tilden family lot.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bargain Fair

In 1956 the discount store “Bargain Fair” opened on Sandusky’s West Side, at the site of an old roller rink, built by Emery Ward and operated by Lou DeBenjak and Leo Finkler.

Later known as "Mr. Wiggs," the original Bargain Fair store was located 2609 Venice Road. Harry J. Lorber wrote a feature article about the Mr. Wiggs store on Venice Road in the May 22, 1976 issue of the Sandusky Register. He interviewed Ed Singer, who was the chief executive officer of Mr. Wiggs at that time. Singer said that when Bargain Fair first opened in 1956, there were no homes west of the store, just farms. Except for the Giant Tiger store in Perkins, most of the shopping in Sandusky took place at the Cleveland Road Sandusky Plaza and in downtown Sandusky. There weren’t even dial telephones in Sandusky in 1956. Bargain Fair was athe first store in Sandusky to be open on Sunday. The Ford plant was just in the planning stages in 1956, and one of Sandusky’s biggest employers at that time was Philco, also on the west side of Sandusky.

The Register article told how Dave Wiggins founded the first Bargain Fair in Mentor, Ohio. “In the 1950s, as the nation emerged from a shortage economy of the war and post-war years, a new form of retailing was born. Discounting appealed to the price-consious consumer and offered merchandise at a lower price without frills, services or plush decor…Humble facilities where merchandise could be laid out for self-service at a low price was the prime consideration in this type of operation.” Promotions were popular at Bargain Fair. A “Krazy Daze” sale at the Mentor Bargain Fair attracted 50,000 customers to the store on one day in 1954.

Other discount stores to come to Sandusky before K-Mart and WalMart, were Hill’s and Ontario, both located on Perkins Avenue. Bargain Fair, later known as Mr. Wiggs, was sold to Heck’s Department Store, a division of Tri-State Wholesale from Charleston, West Virginia, in 1981. After Heck’s closed it doors, Pat Catan’s operated at 2609 Venice Road for several years.

Bargain Fair’s Second Birthday advertisement appeared in the October 24, 1958 issue of the Sandusky Register.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Plattdeutsche Verein in Sandusky

Pictured above is a ribbon from the Plattdeutsche Verein of Sandusky (spellings of this organization vary widely.) This organization was a society made up primarily of German born individuals who wanted to preserve the language and culture of the Germans who formerly resided in the low lands of Northern Germany. An article in the August 18, 1890 issue of the New York Times reported that “Jungens Holt Fast” was the slogan of the Plattdeutsche Verein. Translated into English “Jungens Holt Fast” means “Youth Hold Fast.”

On New Year’s Eve in 1921, the Plattdeutsche Verein held a dancing party at Yontz’s Hall (in the Cable Block, on Market and Jackson Streets), which featured the Schoder Trio.
The 1925-1926 Sandusky City Directory has a listing for the Plattdeutscher Unterstetzungs Verein (Low German Mutual Aid Society) which met in Sandusky on the first Monday of each month at Fuchs Hall, located at 702 W. Monroe Street.

Dr. Ernst Von Schulenberg wrote extensively about the lives of Sandusky’s early German residents in his book, Sandusky Einst und Jetzt, which was later translated into English by Dr. Norbert A. and Marion Cleaveland Lange as Sandusky Then and Now. Visit the Sandusky Library to read Sandusky Then and Now, or you can view the original book Sandusky Einst und Jetzt online at Google Books.

Monday, July 05, 2010

13th Annual Meeting of the League of American Wheelmen

Now known as the League of American Bicyclists, the League of American Wheelmen began in 1880. The group is credited with getting paved roads in the U.S. before the automobile became the most widely used form of transportation in America.

At the turn of the twentieth century millions of bicycles were owned in the United States. Bicycles provided an inexpensive, yet convenient mode of transportation.

From July 3 to July 5, 1893, the 13th Annual Meeting of the Ohio Division of the League of American Wheelmen was held in Sandusky, Ohio. Printed by I. F. Mack & Brother, the 78 page program from this event is housed at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. The Sloane House served as Headquarters for the event, but there were nine hotels providing lodging for the attendees. Nightly rates for the Sandusky hotels ranged from $1.00 to $3.00 per night.
George R. Prout, who was chairman of the Executive Committee of the 13th Annual Meet, also ran several advertisements on the program. Mr. Prout was the Sandusky agent for the Sunol Racer model of bicycle. Mr. Prout’s store on Water Street also sold and repaired Victor bicycles.

The first day of the annual meeting featured an excursion to Cedar Point, with a concert by the Great Western Band. There was a reception and a dance in the evening hours. The Grand Annual Parade was held on July 4, 1893, followed by races at the Erie County Fair Grounds, and a concert and fireworks that evening. On the final day of the event, there was an excursion to Kelleys Island, Put in Bay, and Middle Bass Island.

While we do not have photographs from the bicycle races held in Sandusky in 1893, the photograph below was taken at the Erie County Fairgrounds in 1914.
If you would like to view the program of the 13th Annual Meet of the League of American Wheelmen, Ohio Division, ask for assistance at the Reference Services desk. The local advertisements and listings of committee members from Sandusky provide a look into the past.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Sandusky’s Centennial Fourth

On July 4, 1876, Sandusky had a grand celebration of the 100th anniversary of the nation’s independence from Great Britain. A.H. Moss was the president of the day. Each township in Erie County, as well as representatives from Ottawa County, Sandusky County, and Huron County were vice presidents of the Centennial Fourth. Several additional committees helped plan the events of the day, including committees on music, decoration, oration, transportation, regatta, printing, finance, reception, and fireworks.

The Centennial Fourth celebration began with a 100 gun salute. A grand procession began with a detachment of police. Elisha M. Colver was the Marshal of the First Division, which included military units, lodges, and church organizations. James Douglas led the Second Division, which was comprised of delegations from the various townships of Erie County, and groups from outside Erie County. The Third Division was led by I.F. Mack, and included the Great Western Band, Sandusky Fire Department, and over fifty groups from the trades and industries of the area. The Active Turners occupied a wagon in the Third Division, and they performed gymnastic feats during the parade. The Sandusky Tool Company’s wagon can be seen in the photograph above.

Professor Leon performed acrobatics at the foot of Columbus Avenue during the Centennial Celebration.
Formal Exercises took place at the Fair Grounds. The exercises included music by the Great Western Band, “Hail Columbia” by the full chorus, prayer, an address of welcome, several patriotic musical numbers, and a reading of the Declaration of Independence by F. W. Alvord. Words to the hymns sung at the Centennial Fourth were distributed to the crowd.
A regatta of two classes of boats took place at the foot of Columbus Avenue. Excursion trains ran to and from the city of Sandusky to bring visitors to the celebration, and the steamers Gazelle and B.F. Ferris advertised special excursions for the event. Fireworks began at 8:15 on Columbus Avenue, at the two parks just south of Monroe Street. The day’s events ended with a “Salute of 1776” at sundown.
The Archives Research Center of Sandusky Library features several primary sources and items of historical interest in the Sandusky and Erie County History Collections. Contact the Reference Services Staff at Sandusky Library if you would like to view the Archival Finding Aid to see a listing of specific items.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Charging Desk at the Sandusky Library in 1941

Below is the blueprint for the wooden charging desk which served the Sandusky Library from 1941 through the early 1980’s. The desk was purchased from Gaylord Brothers in Syracuse, New York, but was customized to meet the needs of the Sandusky Library.

An article in the August 31, 1941 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News reported that new furniture for the Sandusky Library was purchased as a result of a monetary gift bequeathed to the library by Mrs. Clifford King in her will. Along with the new charging desk, new reading tables and bookshelves were also purchased. Some of the furniture that had been used in the library prior to 1941 had originally been in use when the library was still in the Masonic Temple. At the new charging desk, books were returned at the left side of the desk, and checked out at the right side of the desk. A feature of the desk was a modern filing system, which allowed employees to sort the cards according to fiction and nonfiction. A multi-functional pencil allowed library personnel to manually write down the library patron’s library card number, and a metal device held the date due stamp, which was stamped on the slip in the back of every book that was circulated. The dates had to be manually re-set every day the library was open.

Sandusky Library’s charging desk is pictured above, in 1977. During much of the lifetime of this desk, the library did not have air conditioning. Summer days could get quite warm inside the library. In the 1960’s patrons were limited to four books, and usually no more than two books on a particular topic could be charged out.

Library personnel in the photograph below (taken prior to 1941) include: Marion Neil, Dorothy Keefe, Evelynn McDowell, Yvonne Fievet, and Mary McCann. Miss McCann is seated to the right, in front of the other four librarians. Miss Fievet and Miss McCann spent many hours at the charging desk during their long tenures at the library.