Thursday, April 28, 2011

Downtown Sandusky in 1905

While we do not know the occasion for the large crowds of people in downtown Sandusky in 1905, the unknown photographer was facing north towards Sandusky Bay when he took this picture. A larger steamer is at the foot of Columbus Avenue, and the people lining the streets all appear to be looking north. Rails for the interurban railway can be seen across Columbus Avenue. Folks are peering out the windows of the second floors of buildings, as well as off the fire escape of the Cooke building.

A large watch advertises the business of Henry Dehnel, who claimed to be Sandusky’s leading jeweler in the 1906 Sandusky City Directory. The sun must have been bright on this day, as several ladies have parasols open, to shield them from the sun’s bright rays.

Several youngsters are close to an automobile in which one child is holding a sign up to promote the Great Band at Cedar Point. A float sponsored by the Herb and Myers store advertises “Furniture of Quality.”

Children of all ages can be seen with their families. Bicycles and horse drawn carriages were still popular modes of transportation at this time.

A float featuring a large cigar was a popular attraction, drawing a lot of attention from the crowds.

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to see this any many other historical photographs from Sandusky and Erie County.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Program Announcement: On the Waterfront: Stories and History of Sandusky's Shoreline

Join us on Saturday, April 30, at 2:00 p.m. in the Library Program Room as Archives Librarian Ron Davidson presents stories and information about life and activities in the original heart of Sandusky - along the waterfront - from its beginnings in the early 19th Century through the 20th Century.

Using resources from the Library’s collections - documents, artifacts, and histories - we will trace the physical and commercial development of the waterfront and share stories about everyday life in Sandusky - including some of the seamier sides! Find out what life was like for early Sanduskians, and learn about the hardships and the successes that helped to define our community. Registration is requested, but is not required.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Services Held in Honor of President William Henry Harrison

Grace Episcopal Church held a special service in honor of recently-deceased President William Henry Harrison on Friday, April 23, 1841. The Order of Exercises included two Odes by the choir, as well as a choral anthem. Prayers were led by the Rev. I.A. Hart and Rev. A.W. Curtis, and the eulogy for President Harrison was give by the Rev. B.H. Hickox. William Henry Harrison was the ninth United States President, serving from March 4, 1841 to April 4, 1841, the shortest term of any American president. He died after he caught a cold that developed into pneumonia.

Before he became President, William Henry Harrison was a frontier leader who fought in several battles during the early Indian wars. He was known his victory over Shawnee chief Tecumseh at the Battle of Tippecanoe on November 7, 1811. During the War of 1812, he commanded the Army of the Northwest as Brigadier General. He became a national hero after the defeat of the combined British and Indian forces at the Battle of the Thames.

In September of 1835, Harrison was in Sandusky to officiate at the groundbreaking of the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad.

During his presidential campaign in 1840, William Henry Harrison visited Sandusky. The ladies of Sandusky presented him with this embroidered banner in honor of the campaign.
The banner is still on display at the Follett House Museum. The story behind this banner is related on page 13 of the October 1896 issue of the Firelands Pioneer, available in the Genealogy section of the Sandusky Library.

Today few would agree with William Henry Harrison’s views on slavery and Native Americans, but in his day he was heralded as a military hero by the residents of Sandusky, Ohio.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dr. F.R. Lange and Family

Dr. F. R. Lange is pictured above with his four children and his granddaughter Cora. The four Lange children, from left to right are Emily Lange (later Mrs. William Emrich), Adolph Philip Lange, Francisco Robert Lange, and Mrs. Jacob Greefelder, whose maiden name was Henrietta Lange. The little girl in the picture is Henrietta’s daughter Cora. In the book Sandusky Then and Now, we read that Dr. F. R. Lange was born in 1819 in Göttingen, Germany where he was a distinguished oculist. He came to Sandusky in 1848, and married Emilie Gaa in 1852. Records at Oakland Cemetery indicate that Emilie Gaa Lange drowned in October of 1861, when her children ranged in age from 3 to 8. While in Sandusky, Dr. Lange operated a pharmacy on Jackson Street for many years, until his death in 1891.

Adolph Philip Lange and his brother F.R. Lange owned a harness shop in Sandusky from the late 1870’s until the mid 1920’s. Henrietta Lange Greenfelder was one of the co-founders of the United Ladies Sewing Circle, which was a charitable organization made up primarily of women of German descent

Henrietta and Jacob Greenfelder moved to Cincinnati in 1897. Emily Lange Emrich died in September of 1933, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. William Senior, in South Euclid, Ohio. Emily was preceded in death by her parents and all of her siblings.

Dr. F. R. Lange’s grandson was Dr. Norbert A. Lange., who was a chemistry professor who is known for writing the classic text Handbook of Chemistry. In 1959 Dr. Norbert A. Lange and his wife, Marion Cleaveland Lange translated Dr. Von Schulenburg’s book Sandusky Einst und Jetzt into English as Sandusky Then and Now.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bay Bridge and the Medusa Factory, 1950

A part of the Tom Root collection of aerial photographs, this picture shows a view of the small unincorporated area of northwestern Erie County along the Sandusky Bay known as Bay Bridge. Clearly visible in the photo are the silos from the Medusa Portland Cement Company. From 1892 until 1960, the Medusa Portland Cement Company employed many area residents. The company, originally named the Sandusky Portland Cement Company, was founded by three brothers in 1892, Spencer, Arthur and William Newberry. The men were all sons of well known geologist John Strong Newberry. Marl and clay, key components in the manufacturing in portland cement at that time, were widely available in the marshy land surrounding Bay Bridge.

In its first fifty years, Medusa expanded to eight facilities in five states. Medusa Portland Cement Company was a very profitable company in the  early “baby boom” years following World War II, due an increase in demand for cement for use in the building of homes, businesses, and highways, but by 1960 the Bay Bridge plant of the Medusa Cement Company closed. Eventually Medusa was acquired by Southdown, Inc. While the busy days of the booming cement mill town are now a memory, the small village of Bay Bridge once had its own Post Office and store, to take care of the needs of the many employees who worked at Medusa.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Musical Revue in 1937

On Thursday evening, April 15, 1937, A Musical Revue was held at the State Theatre. Presented by the Women’s Association of Providence Hospital, the production was directed by local dance instructor, Carl Ernst, and proceeds went to Providence Hospital. One of the most outstanding features of the Musical Revue was “Largo,” from the Ballet Moderne, performed by Sandusky librarian Dorothy Keefe. Miss Keefe also performed a toe solo, “Sea Gardens” and was well received in her performance of the “Castilian Castanet Dance.” Dorothy Keefe is pictured in the group of Sandusky Library staff members below. She is second from the left.

Local musicians provided music for the revue. The orchestra members were: William Hay, Kenneth Luteman, John Hay, Frank Kleinfelder, Norbert Smith, Michael Mazur, Charles Held and Lawrence Gassman. Miss Ruth Sponseller accompanied on the piano. Several skits, dances, and songs were presented throughout the evening. An amusing comedy skit directed by Mrs. Paul Squire was entitled “If Men Played Cards as Women Do.” The April 16, 1937 issue of the Sandusky Register stated that the comedy skit caused “a great deal of merriment in the audience. An ensemble of boys and girls participated in the number “Hey Babe! Hey!”

Wedding gowns from 1800 to 1937 were modeled in the final production number. The costumes worn by the bride and groom were furnished by the M. R. Herb Co. The M.R. Herb Co. also provided furniture for the Musical Revue. Mrs. Gladys Hohler portrayed the bride, and Robert Mathes played the groom. Modeling bridal gowns were: Dolores Geason, Dorothy Stahl, Mary Lou Maus, and Miss Bernadine Meyer. Mrs. Nellie Bailey Miller sang “Her Bridal Veil” as the wedding scene was enacted.

An article in the April 13, 1937 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal stated that the Musical Revue was “a snappy show with the zip of a professional revue” and featured “unusually gay music and especially clever comedy skits.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

150th Anniversary of the Civil War -- Resources at the Sandusky Library

April 12, 2011 is the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War in the United States. Over the next four years, the Sandusky Library, along with many historical organizations in Erie County and Ohio (and throughout the United States), will be commemorating events, sites, and people that played significant roles in the war. In this article, we will offer a very brief introduction to some of the many items of historical and genealogical interest relating to the Civil War that can be found in the collections of the Sandusky Library, including the Archives Research Center.

In the genealogy book collection is the multi-volume set, Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1868.

If you know the company and infantry unit of the soldier you are researching, simply go to the appropriate volume of the Roster. A microfilmed index of Ohio soldiers is located in the Archives Research Center. Ancestry Library Edition, a ClevNet research database, can also help you find the unit of a Civil War soldier. Chapter 8 of the History of Erie County, Ohio, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich is devoted to the Military History of Erie County. A separate index in the back of this book lists the names of all the individuals mentioned in the chapter.

Several books about the Civil War are stored in the Archives, but can be viewed up upon request. Titles include:

The Military History of the 123rd Regiment, OVI, by C. M. Keyes

Letters Home, by Jay Caldwell Butler

Citizen Soldier, by John Beatty

Reminiscences of the Civil War and Andersonville Prison, by Emogene Niver Marshall

A book written by local historian Charles E. Frohman, Rebels on Lake Erie, provides an account of the Confederate Officer's Prison, located on Johnson's Island in Sandusky Bay. Several photographs and drawings are included in this book.

Many individuals who lived in Sandusky, or had local family ties, participated in the Civil War. The Sandusky Library has primary and secondary sources on several of these people.

Dr. Robert R. McMeens served as a surgeon in both the Mexican War and the Civil War. He was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame in 2006. Dr. McMeens died during the Civil War, and he is buried in Oakland Cemetery.

General Henry A. Axline, a Civil War veteran who is also considered the “Father of the National Guard of Ohio,” is also buried in Oakland Cemetery.

John Beatty, grandson of the former Sandusky Mayor of the same name, wrote a book about his experiences as an officer during the Civil War. The book, The Citizen-Soldier; or, Memoirs of a Volunteer, was published in 1879 by Wilstach, Baldwin & Co. of Cincinnati. Though John Beatty did not grow up in Sandusky, he was born in Erie County, and is buried at Oakland Cemetery.

Also in the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center are several photographs of Civil War soldiers and veterans, historical documents, and regimental histories. Three large archival boxes hold the records of Company E, 7th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Included in these boxes are muster rolls, furlough papers, lists of clothing and equipment, and many more documents related to the unit.

Tintypes of Civil War soldiers were donated to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center by Private Leonard Winkler, who served in Co. I of the Third Ohio Cavalry during the Civil War.

In 1863 several African Americans from Sandusky volunteered for service in Company I of the 55th Massachusetts Infantry, which was a sister regiment to the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, whose heroic service in the war was dramatized in the movie, Glory. Two of these soldiers from the 55th, Elijah Brown and Maurice Darnell are buried in Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery.

Several reunions of Civil War veterans were held at Cedar Point. Former Second Lieutenant Isaac Skillman donated two ribbons from Annual Reunions of the Third Ohio Cavalry. Also available at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center is a microfilmed copy of Isaac Skillman’s personal recollections from his Civil War service with the Ohio Third Cavalry.

Visit the Sandusky Library and Sandusky Library Archives Research Center if you have an interest in the Civil War. Ask for assistance at the Reference Services desk.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Obituaries of Employees of New Departure-Hyatt/Delphi

A former employee of New Departure-Hyatt, later known as Delphi, donated a collection of obituaries of former employees of the General Motors plant here in Sandusky. The years span 1996 through 2009. (GM sold Sandusky’s Delphi plant to Kyklos Bearings International in 2008.) Over 400 names are included in the notebook. An index at the front of the notebook provides easy access to the obituaries.

A great deal of personal history can be gleaned by browsing through these articles. Most obituaries of U. S. Veterans include the name of the unit with which they served. One lengthy obituary includes information about the former employee’s experience as an Eagle Scout, and as a combat pilot in the Pacific Theatre in World War Two. Hobbies, church affiliation, and club memberships are mentioned in most of the obituaries. An obituary for a Mr. Graziani, who passed away in 2008, provides his birth date and birthplace, which was in San Marino (within Italy) in 1929. Family connections can also be found, as the maiden names of wives are included, as well as the married names of daughters.

Following the obituaries is a collection of news articles related to New Departure-Hyatt from the Sandusky Register and company newsletters.
The last section of the notebook of Obituaries of Employees of New Departure-Hyatt/Delphi is a section of news articles about the wedding anniversaries of New Departure-Hyatt/Delphi employees. Almost every article includes a photograph of the couple.

While the notebook of Obituaries of Employees of New Departure-Hyatt/Delphi records information about a relatively small group of people for a limited number of years, virtually everyone who has lived in Erie County for any length of time will know someone whose name appears in this valuable resource. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to browse through the compilation of obituaries and anniversary articles of former auto workers in Sandusky.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Collectors of Customs in 1903

The role of the Collector of Customs is to collect the duties and fees imposed by law on imported or exported goods. The Customs Office in Sandusky has always been busy, due to Sandusky’s location as a port on the Great Lakes, and its close proximity to Canada.

Pictured above are the Collectors of Customs from Erie and Ottawa Counties in 1903. Edmund H. Zurhorst was the Collector of Customs in Sandusky from 1898 to 1904. Roy M. Downing was a Customs Official for forty eight years. An article in the May 29, 1961 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that in his many years of government service, Roy Downing became acquainted with countless ship captains, mates and other officers who brought Great Lakes passengers and freight ships in to Sandusky. Later when airplanes started flying between Sandusky and Pelee Island and the Canadian mainland, Roy made friends with many of the pilots.

From 1857 until 1927, the Customs Office in Sandusky was located in the Post Office building, at the southwest corner of Columbus Avenue and Market Street

Monday, April 04, 2011

Manuscripts from 1876 Examinations at Sandusky High School: Physiology and Music

Housed in the Schools Collections of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center is a bound copy of student manuscripts from Sandusky High School that were written in 1876. U. T. Curran was the superintendent of Sandusky High School at that time. The first section of the bound volume contains copies of the students’ manuscripts for a Physiology Examination taken by ninth grade students. Ninth grade was also known as Grade D. The physiology examination took place on February 14, 1876. There was a total of 29 pupils in the class, with an average age of 14½.

Pictured below is the physiology examination, written by Charles Curran, age 15. Charles Curran was the son of school superintendent U.T. Curran. Later Charles Curran would become a very well known painter, and went by the name Charles Courtney Curran. The 1889 painting “Lotus Lilies” by Charles Courtney Curran, was inspired by Old Woman Creek.

The Vocal Music Examination was taken by students from several grades on February 9, 1876. Samuel A. Collins was the music teacher.

Here are the first four questions and answers to the Vocal Music examination by Jessie F. Thompson, age 13:

Friday, April 01, 2011

Sandusky Junior High School Served as a Community Center

The Sandusky City School building located at 318 West Madison Street was dedicated on February 26, 1928 as Sandusky Junior High School. In 1957, after the new high school had been built, it became known as Jackson Junior High School. This school building housed the eighth graders of Sandusky City Schools until 2009. From the late 1920’s through the 1940’s, the auditorium and gymnasium of the Sandusky Junior High served as a community center, hosting banquets, lectures, concerts, and meetings.

During the late 1920’s and early 1930’s an annual Gym Show was presented by Junior High School students.
In May of 1929 the gymnasium exhibition featured marching, callisthenic drills, tumbling, and many other forms of exercise. Students also demonstrated lifesaving skills, dives, and races in the swimming pool of the Junior High.

A Food Show was held on October 29-31, 1935 at Sandusky Junior High, under the auspices of the local Home Service Stores. Area stores and organizations displayed goods and equipment for use in the home kitchen. Tickets were given away free at any Home Service Store, and children were to be accompanied by adults at all times.

Other events held at the Junior High included an Art Show

and a musical revue entitled the “Flying Varieties,” produced by the Special Service Branch of the Air Service Command Headquarters to promote the sale of war bonds in July of 1944.

Today a wide variety of convention centers are found in Sandusky, Cleveland, and Toledo, to host conventions, meetings, and banquets, but in the first half of the twentieth century, Sandusky Junior High School was an ideal spot for such events.