Monday, February 28, 2011

Program Announcement: "There's No Business Like . . . ": Public Entertainment in Early Sandusky

What did people do for entertainment before there were cable TV, the Internet, and electronic gadgets? Join us in the Library Program Room on Saturday, March 5, at 2:00 p.m. as Archives Librarian Ron Davidson presents an overview of “show business” in early Sandusky. Using documents and artifacts from the Library’s historical collections, we will learn a little about Sandusky’s rich entertainment culture - early bands and orchestras, the Sandusky Opera House, live theater, early movie houses, vaudeville, and more. Find out how people had a good time in old Sandusky.

Registration is requested but not required. 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.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Public Life of Captain John Brown, by James Redpath

In 1928, Harry Dane,  chief clerk in the Erie County Probate Court, donated the book The Public Life of Captain John Brown to the Sandusky Library.

The preface states that the title was the 41st edition of James Redpath’s biography of John Brown. An association of African American residents in Sandusky was responsible for securing the reprinting of this edition, which was published locally by the Kinney Brothers in 1872. (John C. Kinney and Addison D. Kinney were also the publishers of the Sandusky Journal.) Profits from the sale of the book were to be devoted to the erection of a monument to John Brown, the radical abolitionist. Despite their efforts, the monument was never built.

James Redpath was born in Scotland. After coming to America as a young man, he became an author, editor, and social reformer. He ran the Boston Lyceum Bureau which was an agency that booked popular lecturers, such as Mark Twain and Susan B. Anthony. Redpath became a friend of John Brown, and shared his abolitionist sentiments. During the Civil War, James Redpath traveled throughout the Southern states interviewing slaves. He published the book The Roving Editor in 1859, based on his travels. He grew to despise slavery as a result of his experiences in the South.

No documents have survived which would have provided us with the names of the Sandusky residents who were responsible for the 1872 reprinting of The Public Life of Captain John Brown. By doing an advanced search in Ancestry Library Edition, over 100 names of African American residents are listed in Sandusky,  residing primarily in Wards 2, 3, and 4 of the city. Many Erie County residents throughout the years were active in antislavery activities, including helping fugitive slaves make their way to freedom in Canada via the Underground Railroad. A sculpture honoring Sandusky’s efforts in the Underground Railroad was dedicated in November, 2007.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Postcards from Laura Bing Retzke

On July 23, 1909, Sandusky resident Emelia Bing sent a postcard to her sister in law, Lora Bing Retzke in Toledo. Pictured on the front of the postcard is Emelia’s husband, George J. Bing, an early aviator and carriage maker.

 In the message on the post card, Emelia asked Lora if would be possible for her  to spend the night with Lora’s family, as Emelia and her daughter Myrtle were planning a trip to Toledo and Delta in the next few days.

On September 18, 1914, Emelia sent a postcard to her mother in law, Pauline Bing, in Toledo, Ohio. She discussed the future of a grocery store in Sandusky which was run by the Bing family.

Most likely the children in the Bing vehicle pictured above are the three oldest children of Emelia and George J. Bing, named Myrtle, Arthur, and Ruth. Sadly, George J. Bing was killed in an automobile accident on September 23, 1914. Emelia’s youngest child Josephine Bing was not born until after the death of her father.

 Emelia remarried, to Mr. William H. Bradley, in 1920. After her marriage to Mr. Bradley, the children included both the surname of their father and stepfather in their names. Myrtle Bing Bradley went on to become known as “the girl evangelist from Ohio.”

If you have vintage postcards from the Sandusky or Erie County area, please consider donating them to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. Postcards can provide interesting details about the daily lives of individuals, giving life to the names and dates found on vital records and census listings.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Luipold's Barber Shop

John Martin Luipold is pictured above in his barbershop at 1607 Hayes Avenue in June, 1915.  A sign above the mirror indicates that Mr. Luipold is a Union Barber. Wildroot is advertised as a remedy for dandruff or eczema. An article in the December 24, 1959 issue of the Sandusky Register stated that Mr. Luipold had retired in 1956 after having been a barber for sixty years. John Martin Luipold was born in Germany, but came to the United States as a young man. He married Anna Marie Schmidt on December 26, 1898 at the parsonage of Zion Lutheran Church. 

In another scene from Luipold’s Barber Shop, it appears that some of the regular customers left their shaving mugs at the barber shop, on a rack next to the mirror

To read more about barber shops in Sandusky, see Article 40 in volume II of From the Widow's Walk, by Helen Hansen and Virginia Steinemann.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Horse-Drawn Fire Engines in Sandusky

Photographer Edward H. Schlessman took the picture below of a horse drawn fire engine traveling down Central Avenue in the first part of the twentieth century.

Another picture by Mr. Schlessman features a fire engine rushing to a fire on Market Street. The office of E.R. Hinkley, Veterinarian and the jewelry store of Charles A. Bogert are visible in the background.

These fire fighters are standing in front of the old Number Four Fire Station, located on the northeast corner of Central Avenue and Osborne Street in 1910.

Ellie Damm noted in her book Treasure by the Bay that the city of Sandusky used horse-drawn equipment for fighting fires until 1919. Several early fire stations were built of limestone, with space for the horses at the ground level, and quarters for the fire fighters and their equipment on the upper floor.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Nineteenth Century Valentines

These paper lace Valentine cards were donated to The Follett House Museum from the Jane Eldis Estate in 1922. They date back to the 1860s.

To read more about the history of Valentines in America, see the Valentine Exhibit from the American Antiquarian Society.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Program Announcement: A History of the Underground Railroad

On Saturday, February 19 at 2:00 p.m. in the Library Program Room, Cathy D. Nelson, Ohio Humanities Council, will present a special Black History Month program, A History of the Underground Railroad. During the 19th Century, white abolitionists and slave and free blacks cooperated to help hide and transport runaway slaves on their dangerous journey to freedom. Ohio played a prominent role in this movement, and this slide-illustrated presentation describes a history of the Underground Railroad and particular stations throughout Ohio. This program is sponsored, in part, by the Ohio Humanities Council. Registration is requested, but not required.

 The Ohio Humanities Council (OHC), established in 1972, is a 501(c)(3) organization funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and private contributions. OHC’s mission is “to increase Ohioans’ appreciation and understanding of the humanities” through the Council’s grantmaking capacity and through programs developed by the Council itself. Based in Columbus but operating statewide, the Council has a small staff which provides assistance to grant applicants, oversees Council-developed programs, and promotes the humanities in Ohio through collaborations with cultural and educational institutions. The Council is governed by a 25-member volunteer board which makes decisions on grant awards and sets policy.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dr. Waudell Hunter

Waudell William Hunter was born on September 26, 1907 in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He was one of ten children born to Joseph C. and Ellen (Johnson) Hunter. According to the History of Greene County, Ohio, edited by M.A. Broadstone, Joseph C. Hunter was the son of a slave named Dorcas Hunter and a Cherokee Indian father named Jerome Lilly. In 1934, Waudell W. Hunter graduated from Ohio State University’s School of Medicine. After serving his internship in Provident Hospital in Chicago, Dr. Hunter started practicing medicine in Sandusky in 1935. His office was at 618 West Monroe Street. An article in the August 29, 1935 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that Dr. Hunter was the first person of color to register his license to practice medicine in Sandusky during Probate Judge John Tanney’s six years in office. In an online publication from the U.S. Navy Public Affairs Library, a Navy doctor told of stories he heard about Dr. Hunter accepting farm produce as payment for his services, when his patients did not have the cash to pay for medical services.

On March 28, 1975, Dr. Waudell W. Hunter died at his home on West Monroe Street in Sandusky, after a lengthy illness. Dr. Hunter was survived by his wife, the former Esther Nickens, a daughter, Mrs. Charles Bryant, a son, Waudell W. Hunter, Jr., three grandchildren, and four brothers; Robert Hunter, Joseph Hunter. Judge Clay E. Hunter, and Dr. Lester L. Hunter. Dr. Hunter had been widely respected as a physician and surgeon. He had been a member of the Erie County, State, and National Medical Societies during his forty year medical career. Funeral services for Dr. Waudell W. Hunter were held at the Second Baptist Church in Sandusky, and burial was at Oakland Cemetery.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Clarence Howard, Sandusky Crescents

In the Sandusky Library's collections are two photo postcards showing the Sandusky Crescents baseball team in 1912. We don't know much about the Crescents, but it appears that they were one of several baseball teams that played in the area at the time. The Crescents players were all very young men -- the few that we were able to successfully research were age 15-17 at the time of these photos. There were other teams from Castalia, Bay Bridge, Fremont, and other nearby places, who seemed to play not in a league, but as individual teams challenging each other on weekends.

What makes these photographs historically interesting, however, is the Crescents' star pitcher, Clarence Howard, an African-American on an otherwise all-white team. (It is a strange pleasure to see that Sandusky baseball was integrated some thirty-five years before the Major Leagues.) He also pitched for a team called the Sandusky Giants; an article in the July 19, 1912 Sandusky Register reported that he pitched a no-hitter for the Giants against a team from Fremont at an A.M.E. church outing at Rye Beach. (The only run that Fremont scored was when the Sandusky second baseman let the ball go by because he found a pocketbook on the ground; after the game, he was reported as saying "it was a good thing he found that purse, as it would have been scandalous to bring the boys all the way from Fremont and then shut them out.")

Sadly, Clarence Howard's life ended tragically and prematurely while a soldier in France during the First World War, when he was killed by the accidental discharge of a weapon in the barracks. He was 22 years old. His body was eventually returned to Sandusky, where he received a military funeral and burial in the American Legion plot in Oakland Cemetery.

The Crescents players are: Joe Schmitt, Bill Nottke, Larry Clark, Paul Mielke, Art Mielke, Ray Diehl, Gus Fehr, "Irish" Connors, Clarence Howard.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Michael and Wilson McLaughlin, Sandusky Fire Fighters

Captain Michael McLaughlin and his son Wilson McLaughlin are both pictured below, in the photograph of Fire Station No. 5 located at Tiffin Avenue at West Madison Street for many years. (This building is now privately owned.)
Sandusky’s Fire Station Number Five was built around 1906. Ellie Damm pointed out in her book Treasure by the Bay, that since the city fire fighters still used horse-drawn equipment at this time, the fire station was designed for use by both men and animals. The lower portion of the building housed the horses which were used to carry the fire fighting equipment and firemen.

On Thursday, February 8, 1934, Captain Michael McLaughlin died in the line of duty while fighting a fire on Perry Street. He was overcome with smoke while battling the blaze, and was carried out of the burning building by his son, Wilson. He was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital, but efforts to revive him were fruitless. Capt. McLaughlin had been a member of the Sandusky Fire Department for 32 years. He was a friend of the community, and he originated the idea of repairing broken toys at Christmas time, and giving them to children in need. He worked at Fire Station No. 5 for 28 years. You can read the resolution by the City Commission of the City of Sandusky which honored Captain Michael McLaughlin on page 15 of the 1934 Obituary Notebook found in the Archives Research Center of Sandusky Library. It read in part: “Having been with the fire department for a great many years both as a member and a captain, he displayed a keen interest in the duties before him his every act and decision was marked by sincerity, courage and integrity which fact was demonstrated when he lost his life while serving his community in his line of duty.”

Wilson “Slip” McLaughlin, son of the Captain, was also a longtime Sandusky fire fighter. He died in November of 1984, after having served the community for fifty years. He had been the state fire marshal for four years, and was formerly an Erie County Commissioner. Wilson McLaughlin started the annual Fireman's Shoe Fund for needy children. He was an honorary life member of the Sandusky Safety Council and the State and National Association of Fire Chiefs.

Visit the Archives Research Center to learn more about the many men and women who have served Sandusky and Erie County throughout the years. Newspapers, county histories, and many other reference sources can assist you in researching the many past and present residents of our community.

Pictured below is Fire Station No. 5 in the 1980s.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Program Announcement: "Winter Wonderland" (Brown Bag Lunch Series)

A timely program:

Bring your lunch and join us in the Library Program Room as we explore a topic in local history. On Wednesday, February 9, at 12:00 noon, the topic will be Winter Wonderland. After the hush of a major snowfall, residents spill out of their homes to take in the beauty of new fallen snow. Reality sets in as driveways are shoveled and paths are cleared. Schools are closed and the joyful sounds of children playing in the snow ring out. Enjoy photographs from the Library’s Archives Collection of Sandusky and Erie County blanketed under snow, with an emphasis on the 1909 ice storm, and including a range of other snow storms to remember. Registration is requested. To register, call the Library at 419-625-3834 and press 0 to speak with a switchboard operator (10-5, Monday-Friday) or press Option 6 to leave a message.