Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Wedding of Cora H. Arndt and George F. Hagenman

 On Thursday afternoon, December 29, 1881, Rev. L.S. Osborne officiated at the marriage of Cora H. Arndt and George F. Hagenman at the bride’s home on 410 Adams Street in Sandusky, Ohio. A listing of the gifts that were presented to the bride was printed for the friends and family of the newlyweds.

 Cora H. Arndt was the only daughter of David M. Arndt, superintendent of the Sandusky Water Works, and her groom, George F. Hagenman, was a young lawyer from Reading, Pennsylvania. An article which appeared in the December 30, 1881 issue of the Sandusky Register gave a lengthy description of the wedding.  Cora wore a brocade cream dress with satin shirrings, and a magnificent set of diamond earrings, which had been a gift of her bridegroom. William Dilger, proprietor of the Hayes Avenue Conservatories, decorated the Arndt home with flowers and vines. A floral archway took the place of the traditional wedding bell. Music was provided by the Great Western Orchestra, who played an arrangement of Lohengrin’s Wedding March that had been rendered by Eugene Baetz especially for the wedding. Wedding gifts included several items of silver and crystal.

Sadly, the marriage did not last. Erie County Probate Court records indicate that on February 17, 1885, Cora married lawyer George Henry White. The couple moved to Chicago, and had two children. Cora Arndt White died on January 26, 1914, following a lengthy illness. Her obituary, which was in the January 29, 1914 issue of the Sandusky Register, stated that Cora had been one of “Sandusky’s charming young ladies.” She had been an active member of the community, especially in the parish work of Grace Church. Cora Arndt White was buried in the White family lot in a cemetery in Harvard, Illinois. George F. Hagenman died in 1907 when he was in a tragic railway accident during a Shriner’s trip to California.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

“Most Popular Caller of the Year”

On December 24, 1901, the Sandusky Register featured this illustration of Mr. Santa Claus, “the most popular caller of the year.”  The caption stated that he would reach Sandusky that evening, and he would appear among the poor as well as the rich.

He'll be there soon . . . . 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Bazar Was Santa’s Home in 1898

This advertisement from the Bazar store appeared in the December 21, 1898 issue of the Sandusky Register. In the late 1890s, the Bazar was located at 516 and 617 Market Street in downtown Sandusky. According to the ad, the Bazar was “Santa Claus’ Home” during the 1898 holiday season. For twenty-five cents, customers could purchase books, dolls, china ornaments, and handkerchiefs. For fifty cents, you could buy rings, toys, and vases. Sleds, mirror sets, and carving sets sold for a dollar. The advertisements in the historical issues of the Register give us a sense of the types of gifts our ancestors may have purchased over a hundred years ago. A large sign from the Bazar can be seen in this vintage picture of the parade honoring the returning Spanish American War soldiers from Company B of the Sixth Ohio Regiment in May of 1899.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Portrait of Frank G. Sloane

In the Toy Room of the Follett House Museum is a beautiful portrait of Frank G. Sloane, painted by Caroline L. Ormes Ransom. Frank Gilkeson Sloane was the son of former Sandusky Mayor Rush R. Sloane, and his wife, the former Sarah E. Morrison. Caroline L. Ormes Ransom was an artist who spent time in Sandusky, Ohio in the mid-nineteenth century.  Caroline was known for painting portraits. Her portrait of President James Garfield can be seen at the James A. Garfield NationalHistoric Site in Mentor, Ohio. Young visitors to the Follett House Museum are often surprised to learn that the child in the portrait is a male, because he has long curls. Visit the Follett House Museum to see many artifacts from Sandusky’s historic past.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Herman Engels

Herman Engels was born in Germany in 1827. He and his wife Louise immigrated to the United States in 1874. Herman’s uncle, Jacob Engels had come to the Sandusky area in 1848, where he became active in importing wine and in the culture of grapes. Jacob Engels founded the Engels Wine Company in 1863. After Jacob’s death in 1875, Herman Engels took over his uncle’s wine company. Herman’s children assisted their father with the business. In 1878 the firm became known as Engels and Krudwig, after R.P. Krudwig joined the company. Engels and Krudwig was located at the southwest corner of Water and Hancock Streets.

Engels and Krudwig produced several varieties of red and white wines, both sweet and dry. In the late 18th century, a bottling works was connected to the main facility by an underground tunnel.

Herman Engels died on July 6, 1899. His obituary, which appeared in the July 7, 1899 issue of the Sandusky Star read, in part: “Mr. Engels was a man who was admired and esteemed by all who knew him. He was a man of broad culture, unostentatious in manner he attracted all by his simple kindliness. He held nature above everything else, and was known for his strong love the beautiful. He admired flowers and was never happier that when at work upon the park commission, lending his aid and advice upon matters tending to beautify the city.” 

Herman Engels was buried in the family lot at Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery.  His sons ran the winery after their father’s death. Later, the sons-in-law of Carl Engels operated the E & K Wine Company until the business closed in 1961. Herman Engels was one of Sandusky’s most highly respected business men at the time of his death.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

John Bing, Veteran of the First World War

John G. Bing was born in Sandusky in 1889 to Philip and Rachel Bing. During World War I, he served as a pilot in the Enlisted Reserve Corps, training at Souther Field Flying School in Americus, Georgia. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant, and was honorably discharged on December 6, 1918.  After military service, he moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where he worked as western manager of the Carney Cement Company. An article which appeared in the August 20, 1922 issue of the Sandusky Register, told of Mr. Bing’s marriage to a young lady from Omaha, Nebraska.

The article stated that the couple had a “church choir romance.” John G. Bing married Miss Martha J. Barsch on August 10, 1922 at the First Congregational Church of Omaha, Nebraska. Later the couple moved to Cuyahoga County, Ohio, where they raised their two daughters. Mr. Bing died on October 25, 1967 at the age of 78, and was buried in Omaha, Nebraska, his wife’s home town. Mrs. Martha Barsch Bing lived to age of 102. She died on June 28, 2004, and was buried next to her husband.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Barber Shops in Sandusky

According to the July 1888 issue of the Firelands Pioneer, the first barber shop in Sandusky was operated by Grant Ritchie, an African American who was also active in the Underground Railroad in the Sandusky area, a network of individuals who aided fugitive slaves find their way to freedom in Canada. In the 1850s, most of the barber shops in Sandusky were in the downtown area of the city. Though the picture below is not in color, the J. and F. Bock Barber Shop, located at 812 Water Street in 1886, featured the familiar red, white, and blue pole in front of the shop. The red and white pole (with blue usually added in American poles) has long been a symbol of the barber’s trade.

The 1902 Sandusky City Directory listing for barber shops included the names of thirty three barbers. Harry Parker’s barber shop was in the Sloane House hotel at that time. In the first part of the twentieth century, several hotels in Sandusky had their own barber shops for the convenience of their guests. Barbershops were found in the West House, Commercial Hotel, Murschel House, Hotel Rieger, the Wayne Hotel and the Hotel Breakers at Cedar Point. Below is a photograph of Jerry McMahon’s barber shop in the Hotel Rieger about 1935. Jerry McMahon is on the right. The other barbers in the picture are: Bill Foley, Chet Martin, and Bill Wells. Charles Alexander, in the back of the shop, worked as a shoeshine porter.

John Martin Luipold worked as a barber in Sandusky for over sixty years. In this picture of his barber shop on Hayes Avenue in 1915, you can see a wooden rack holding the shaving  mugs of several of his regular customers.

Today, Sandusky still has several traditional barber shops, though some hair styling businesses cater to both male and female customers. The Acme Barber Shop on Columbus Avenue (below, in 1922) has operated under various owners since 1901.

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

Sunday, December 07, 2014

WLEC Radio Began Broadcasting in 1947

Now a part of BAS Broadcasting Ohio, WLEC Radio began broadcasting on December 7, 1947. At that time WLEC was operated by the Lake Erie Broadcasting Company, an affiliate of the Mutual Broadcasting System. The premiere broadcast on WLEC featured a program which commemorated the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

This picture was taken on the first anniversary of WLEC Radio in 1948. From left to right are: Bill Frankel, Al Heiser, John Kohler, Marie Pascoe, Father Hartman, Ed Gangware, Karl Whinnery and Jay Wagner.

 Marie Pascoe is seen on the left side in the picture below. In the 1950s, she narrated radio programs on WLEC Radio using the name Nancy Lake.

Jay Wagner and Dan Appel are on either side of the Landes twins during a WLEC broadcast.

 In 1958 WLEC Radio took its mobile studio the dedication of the City Building.

Below is a picture of WLEC Radio staff from the 1970s.

Do you have any special memories of listening to WLEC Radio?

Thursday, December 04, 2014

St. John’s Chapel of Grace Episcopal Church

Pictured above is a Sunday School group at St. John’s Chapel, an outreach site of Grace Episcopal Church. The photograph was taken between 1900 and 1910. All the children are dressed in their Sunday best, and the pastor and several other adults are standing behind the Sunday School students. The 1905 Sanborn Map actually shows two buildings associated with the St. John’s Chapel. One was located on Clinton Street, and designated as the St. John’s Sunday School, while the St. John’s Chapel itself was located on West Monroe Street.

Grace Episcopal Church’s original church building was begun in 1835. This post card shows the church before the towers were altered.


At the back of a history of Grace Church by Gordon Wendt, is a list of several outreach programs undertaken by Grace Episcopal Church. Under the leadership of Rev. S.A. Bronson, St. Ann’s Chapel was built in the area known as Camptown, on the east side of Sandusky. St. Mary’s Chapel was built in the 1850s on the west side of Sandusky and later became the Sunday School building for St. John’s Chapel. St. John’s Chapel was built in 1876 on West Monroe Street, and was in operation through the 1920s. St. Luke’s Chapel was built in 1881 on Hayes Avenue, between Tyler and Polk Street. It was sold in 1915 to the First Christian Church, and was home to that church for many years. Mr. Wendt wrote that Calvary Episcopal Church started out as a chapel, built in 1870-71 at First Street and Erie Street. In 1899-1900, Calvary’s building at Meigs and First Street was constructed.  Old Calvary Church now serves as a wedding venue. Visit the Sandusky Library to read more about the history of Grace Episcopal Church, and many other local churches. The Sandusky Library Archives Research Center holds many reels of microfilmed church records.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sandusky’s Railroad Depot

Now used by Amtrak, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, the railroad station at North Depot and Carr Streets in Sandusky, was originally built for the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad. The Sandusky Transit System and North Central EMS now have offices at this location as well. A front page article in the December 19, 1892 issue of the Sandusky Register reported on the new passenger depot, which was described as “very elegant.” 

The depot was built by A. Feick and Brother, at a cost of nearly $30,000. Several other local subcontractors were involved in the project. Brohl and Appell were in charge of the plumbing. Copper work was done by J. Mertz and Son. Woodwork and doors were installed by George R. Butler and Company, while the hardware and glass were furnished P.L. VanAlstyne. The only firm connected to the new railroad depot that was not from Sandusky was the architect, Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, from Boston, Massachusetts. The station was built from Amherst buff stone, with blue stone trimming. The roof was a Gothic pitch roof. A baggage station was built just to the east of the main railway depot, and was used by the American Railway Express Company for several years in the 1920s.

The original railroad depot had a general waiting room, as well as a separate waiting room for ladies only. Two marble drinking fountains were located near the waiting rooms in the original building.  The article in the Register stated that this new structure was “a credit to the city in point of architecture and improvement.”  The Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway Depot in Sandusky was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Today it is served by Amtrak’s Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited routes. Below is a post card of the depot after the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad merged with New York Central.

Rail transportation has been vital to Sandusky for many years. Ground was broken for the pioneer Mad River Railroad in Sandusky in 1835.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Sandusky Gets Ready for Thanksgiving in 1906

Many area businesses placed advertisements in the Sandusky Daily Register in November of 1906, as Sandusky prepared to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Dilgart & Bittner boasted “A Bounteous Thanksgiving Feast for All.” The store featured a wide variety of home furnishings, and they offered the installment plan, to make paying for purchases easy on the budget.

 Edward Smith’s Meat Market at 527 McDonough Street sold turkey, duck, chicken, goose, beef, veal, mutton, pork, and homemade sausages. The Smith’s Meat Market made home deliveries to all parts of the city.

 The Mayer Lebensburger store, which sold men’s apparel, placed their ad in the newspaper in the form of a Thanksgiving menu, suggesting that the hats they carried were “creme de la creme.”

J.H. Herman suggested that it would be a “Thankful Day Indeed” if you purchased your furniture, carpets and stoves from their store on Market Street.

These are just a few of the advertisements from the Sandusky Daily Register during the Thanksgiving season of 1906. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to read historical Sandusky newspapers on microfilm, dating back to 1822.

Monday, November 24, 2014

John J. Marquart - An Interview with an Early Sanduskian in 1947

In the Twin Anniversary Edition of the Sandusky Register Star News, dated November 24, 1947, Harry Stack featured highlights of an interview he had conducted with John J. Marquart, who at that time had been a resident of Sandusky for eighty five years. Mr. Marquart is pictured below in a photograph taken at the Pascoe photographic studio. (He is seated at the left, opposite C. J. Pascoe.)

John J. Marquart was born in New York City in 1853, and moved to Sandusky in 1862, in the midst of the Civil War. As a youngster, he resided on East Adams Street above the Marquart family grocery store. He helped his father in the grocery store for a time, then around 1890 he became involved in a business which dealt in furniture and undertaking. By 1906, he was a funeral director and embalmer, on the street level of the Odd Fellows Temple on Washington Row, and for a time in partnership with a Mr. Meyers.  In 1925 Mr. Marquart took Lee B. Keller on as a partner, and the business was known as Marquart and Keller. For thirty nine years prior to 1932, Mr. Marquart was in charge of the burials of veterans at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home. You can see a portion of Marquart’s funeral business in the Odd Fellows Temple in the picture below, in the early 1900s.

In his interview with Harry Stack, John J. Marquart recalled the pioneer businesses of Sandusky. He personally knew Jay Cooke, and members of  the Hubbard family. He recalled seeing Confederate officers arriving by train at the Lake Shore and Michigan Railroad office at Warren Street, before being taken to the prison at Johnson’s Island during the Civil War. He remembered when the harbor of Sandusky was filled with full-sail schooners transporting lumber to and from the city. The ice industry was another vital business in Mr. Marquart’s early days in Sandusky.  He recalled when the streets were made of cobble stone, and horse drawn vehicles were used. A quote by Mr. Marquart appeared toward the end of the interview: “I’ve seen many changes and much improvement in the 85 years I’ve lived in Sandusky. It used to be more important than Cleveland, but somehow or other it grew to a certain size and stayed there. Still and all, Sandusky is all right. It’s my home and proud of the fact.”  To read the entire interview, visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center where copies of the Twin Anniversary Edition of the Sandusky Register Star News are available in print and on microfilm.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Zion Lutheran Church Choir

Members of the Zion Lutheran Church Choir are pictured above in front of the organ pipes. The photograph, by Mound Studio in Sandusky, was taken between 1945 and 1955. Lovely stained glass windows are located on either side of the organ pipes. Harold Parker is in the front center of the picture. Mr. Parker, a well known Sandusky architect, directed the church choir at Zion Lutheran Church for twenty five years. The church building, at 503 Columbus Avenue, was dedicated on Sunday, November 12, 1899. The architect and builder of Zion Lutheran was George Feick.

Two histories of Sandusky’s Zion Lutheran Church are found in the local history section of the Sandusky Library. While the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center does not have an extensive history of every church in Erie County, Ohio, five archival boxes are devote to church histories in the Churches Collection of the Archives. Included in these files are histories of two African American churches, the Oheb Shalom Temple, along with historical information from several Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, United Church of Christ, Presbyterian, and Unitarian churches in the area. Church records are available on microfilm at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center for these churches:
Holy Angels Catholic Church
Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church
St. Mary’s Catholic Church
St. Anthony Catholic Church (Milan)
Calvary Episcopal Church
St. John Lutheran Church
First Presbyterian Church
St. Stephen’s United Church of Christ
First Congregational Church of Christ

Erie County, Ohio is rich in church history, from circuit riding Methodists, to abolitionist Congregationalists, to German Lutherans and Catholic roots going back to Father J.P. Machbeuf. St. Stephen A.M.E. church was begun by several individuals who had previously been enslaved. Four churches can be seen in the picture below of Columbus Avenue, taken in the first half of the twentieth century. 

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to view the Finding Aid for the Churches Collection.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Jacob Mertz, Pioneer Hardware Merchant

Jacob Mertz was born in Wurttemberg, Germany in the 1830s. He came to the United States in the 1850s, and after living for at time in Norwalk, Ohio, he settled in Sandusky.  A biographical sketch about Jacob Mertz found in History of the Western Reserve (Lewis Publishing Company, 1910), opened with these sentences:  “The great empire of Germany has contributed a most valuable element to the cosmopolitan social fabric of our American republic, which has had much to gain and nothing to lose from this source. Among those of German birth and ancestry who have attained to success and precedence in connection with business activities in the city of Sandusky is Jacob Mertz, a citizen of sterling character and one honored by all who know him.” 

Mr. Mertz married Teresa Hemmerle in 1856, and they had eight children. In 1860 he opened a hardware store and tin shop on Washington Street. In 1865 he moved his business to the southeast corner of West Washington and McDonough Streets in Sandusky.  He was the sole proprietor until 1885, when his sons became partners and the business became known as J. Mertz and Sons.

In 1910, J. Mertz and Sons carried a variety of hardware, builders’ materials, stoves, ranges, and household furnishings. 

Jacob Mertz, Sr. died on December 26, 1913, after a brief illness. His sons, John, George, and Jacob, Jr. ran the business after his death. The Mertz Hardware Store stayed in operation in Sandusky until about 1935. The Braunstein Furniture Store occupied the site at the corner of West Washington and McDonough Streets from about 1941 until 1961.  Currently this location is a multi-unit apartment building.

Several members of the extended Mertz family are buried in the family lot at Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Stereograph Cards by A.C. Platt

Stereographs are a pair of nearly identical images that give a three dimensional effect when viewed through a device called a stereoscope. Several stereographic cards are found in the collections of the Sandusky Library and the Follett House Museum. Above is a stereograph card of the Erie County Courthouse created by Sandusky photographer A.C. Platt, probably around 1876. A group of stereographs created by Mr. Platt were donated to the Sandusky Library by Mrs. John H. Jacques. The cards originally belonged to her father, Willis Merry. Mrs. Jacques was a direct descendant of Ebenezer Merry, a pioneer settler of the Firelands. A view of Sandusky High School and the old academy building can be seen in the stereograph card below. The academy building was used as a courthouse prior to the construction of the Erie County Courthouse in 1875. It was torn down in 1884.

This view of downtown Sandusky was taken from the upper level of the Erie County Courthouse. The steeples of the Congregational Church, then in Washington Park, are visible. This church was demolished in 1896, and a new church was built at the northwest corner of Columbus Avenue and Jefferson Street. In the background, you can see a portion of the Cedar Point peninsula

     In 1875, the first city water works was under construction, at Meigs and Washington Streets. Here you see construction scaffolding around the standpipe. If you look closely, you can see men at the top of the scaffolding.

Below is a view of the Sandusky’s waterfront in the early 1880s. The vessel Chief Justice Waite is partially obscured by an unidentified ship in Sandusky Bay.


Thanks to A.C. Platt’s stereograph cards, we can get a sense of what life was like in Sandusky in a bygone era.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Margaret Ebert, Art Teacher

Miss Margaret Ebert was the daughter of Carl and Caroline Ebert. She graduated from Sandusky High School in 1910. In the graduation picture below, Margaret is number 17.

A closer view shows Margaret in her middy blouse, a popular style at the time.

Margaret Ebert taught art for the Sandusky City Schools for over thirty years, retiring from Jackson Junior High School in 1953. An article in the June 1, 1953 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News reported that Miss Ebert had taught art in all twelve grades at different times during her long career as a teacher. 

In about 1940 students in Margaret Ebert’s art class at Osborne School created a fabric collage of Cedar Point. In the portion of the mural below, you can see the ferry G.A. Boeckling, along with a pony ride and other attractions at the amusement park.

A carousel and ferris wheel are visible in another portion of the mural:

Miss Ebert often spoke to local community organizations about textile art. The various colors and prints in the fabrics used in the mural gave a delightful visual depiction of Cedar Point from a bygone era. You can see the mural created by Margaret Ebert’s art classes in the Toy Room of the Follett House Museum.