Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pictures from Lay Brothers Fisheries

Lay Brothers Fisheries was founded in 1870 by John Sr. and Jacob Lay, both sons of Jacob Lay, Sr., who died in the 1849 cholera epidemic. Pictured above is the Lay Brothers building in 1910, along the waterfront at the foot of Wayne Street. The company grew rapidly, with another brother, Henry Lay, joining the business in 1881. When Jacob Lay retired in 1902, three sons of John Lay, Sr. came into the family business. Below is a vintage photo of employees (including the horse) of Lay Brothers Fisheries in 1890.

This picture of Lay Brothers employees was taken in 1905. Notes accompanying the picture indicate that John Lay, Sr. is the man with the beard standing in the doorway.

A woman was working along with several male employees in this office picture from the early 1900s.

The boat crew can be seen pulling up nets in the picture below from the 1920s or 1930s.

In the 1930s, Lay Brothers Fisheries had about thirty fishing boats. By the 1950s, business declined due to the decline of the fish population and competition from Canada. Lay Brothers Fisheries closed in 1961. Historical records from the Lay Brothers Fisheries are now in the manuscript collection of the Historical Collections of the Great Lakes.  The book Lake Erie Fishermen: Work, Tradition, and Identity (University of Illinois Press, 1990) by Timothy C. Lloyd and Patrick B. Mullen, is available for checkout from the Sandusky Library

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Euterpean Hall

Euterpean Hall was on the third floor of the Phoenix block on the north side of Water Street, east of Columbus Avenue. The Phoenix building (#2 in the drawing below) was just to the east of the Post, Lewis and Radcliffe building, now home to the Water Street Bar and Grille. Leroy Hinkey provided us with a a key to this stereograph image, which was created by Sandusky photographer A.C. Platt in the 1870s. 

You can see the top floor of the Phoenix Block, containing Euterpean Hall, in this aerial view of Sandusky, from  the latter part of the nineteenth century.


The Phoenix building was built in 1849.  It was named because it “rose from the ashes” of an earlier building that had burned.  The name of the Euterpean Hall came from Euterpe, one of the daughters of the Roman god Jupiter. She was a muse who presided over music. Euterpean Hall was capable of seating 600 people. The hall was used for music, dancing and lectures. On December 16, 1854, the famous nineteenth-century reformer Horace Greeley gave a lecture there. The Sandusky Register of December 18, 1854 stated about Mr. Greeley’s lecture, “ The speaker appeared in his usual spirits and delivered his sound and suggestive lecture in his usual way. Mr. G. makes no pretentions to oratory, but in his sterling thought, philosophical analysis of character and keen insight in principles of action, he affords the hearer much food for after reflection.”  In 1855 P.T. Barnum appeared at the Euterpean Hall. 

Several different businesses found their home in the Phoenix building through the years, including the American Express Company and the R.B. and C.B. Wilcox Company, which stored carpets in the upper levels. See Ellie Damm’s book, Treasure by the Bay,  to read more about the Phoenix building and several other historic buildings in Sandusky.  In her book, Mrs. Damm points out that many early commercial buildings in Sandusky were built from native limestone, showing the thrift and practicality of the early residents of Sandusky.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Charles F. Selkirk, Poet and Friend of Poets

Charles F. Selkirk was born in Sandusky, Ohio on May 15, 1866 to George O. Selkirk and Anna Maria Alden. Mrs. Selkirk was a direct descendant of the Pilgrims John and Priscilla Alden. After graduating from Sandusky High School in 1884, he worked for the New York Central Railroad for forty five years. He wrote many poems, some of them published in the Sandusky Register under the pen name Solkirke. Mr. Selkirk was a personal friend of poets Edmund Vance Cooke and Strickland Gillilan. It was through Mr. Selkirk’s friendship with these two men that they gave public presentations in Sandusky. When the humorist Strickland Gillilan gave a program at the Congregational Church on November 21, 1923, Charles F. Selkirk wrote the following verse which was printed in the November 12, 1923 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal.

Strick’s Comin!
Get out your laugh protector,                                      
Wear nothing that is tight,
Inspect your waistcoat buttons
Before that coming night
W h e n Gillilan the mighty
Comes on from Baltimore
To agitate your every rib
Until it’s “good and sore.”

This warning to the men folks
Is given for their heed,
While woman, formed from Adam's rib,
May extra caution need;
Forewarned they always told us,
Meant forearmed quite as well,
We’ll leave it to the ladies
All chances to dispel.

 W h e n “Finnegan’s” Creator
Starts “Off Agin” to listen
Not “Gone Agin” to pout;
Keep well in mind his comin'
He’s good when at his worst,
'A confidential confab'
November twenty-first.

Charles F. Selkirk passed away on April 23, 1931, after a lengthy illness. He was engaged to an elocution teacher, Charlotte Atwater Devine, at the time of his death. His obituary is recorded in the 1931 Obituary Notebook at the Sandusky Library.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Cornerstone of St. Mary’s School Set in Place in 1909

On April 25, 1909, thousands of people attended the ceremony of the setting of the cornerstone for St. Mary’s School. The school was a three-story structure which included as basement and a large auditorium. The architect for the project was H.C. Millott, and the school was constructed by George Feick and Company. Bishop J.M. Koudelka came to Sandusky to dedicate the cornerstone as it was laid in place. St. Mary’s priest, Father J.S. Widmann was directly behind the group of men carrying the cornerstone in the picture above. As the cornerstone was set into place, the choir from St. Mary’s Catholic Church sang a musical selection.

Councilmen from St. Mary’s each tapped the new cornerstone with a mawl. The councilmen were: Dr. J.H. Herman, Edward Erney, Charles Westerhold, and Martin Ehner. After them, Father Widmann gave words of thanks on behalf of himself and the entire congregation.

Father Patrick O’Brien, from Toledo, gave an oration, but he had to cut it short due to threatening weather. Though rain fell, the audience gave Father O’Brien their complete attention. Ackley’s Band played as the people assembled sang a Catholic hymn at the conclusion of the ceremony. Articles about the cornerstone laying ceremony appeared in the April 25 and April 26, 1909 issues of the Sandusky Register. St. Mary’s School was dedicated on June 19, 1910.

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to read more about the history of churches in Sandusky.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

From Sandusky to Camp Vivian

Between 1910 and 1913, Henry Klieger operated a saloon at 445 First Street in Sandusky. He and his wife Jeannette lived above the business. The men above are standing in front of the boat named the “Vivian” outside Mr. Klieger’s saloon. It looks as though one gentleman took his beverage with him onto the boat.

Camp Vivian was a camp where amateur boxers trained, possibly on the Cedar Point peninsula.  To date we do not know the exact location of Camp Vivian. If anyone is familiar with Camp Vivian, please leave us a message in the Comments section of this website.   

All the picture postcards featuring the Vivian and Camp Vivian were created by Sandusky photographer E.H. Schlessman.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Joe F. Wieber’s Saloon

From about 1898 until 1910, Joseph F. Wieber operated a saloon at the southwest corner of Monroe and Pearl Streets. In its later years of operation, an ice cream parlor was also in business in conjunction with the saloon. Billiard tournaments were a popular event at Joe Wieber’s saloon in the late 1890s. According to the Sandusky Star of October 7, 1899, the “well known handlers of the cue” in the grand pool tournament included: Joe Siegrist, Andrew Polta, William Bauer, Daniel Damm, Albert Hemmerle, Frank Thompson, Armand Wintersteller, Casper Georgen, Joe Wieber, and a Mr. Baker. Pinochle tournaments were also held at Wieber’s saloon on occasion. 

By 1912 Joe Wieber’s saloon was no longer  listed  in the Sandusky City Directory. Mr. Wieber’s occupation by that time was recorded as inspector, and he was living at 908 Pearl Street. A variety of other individuals and businesses were located at the southwest corner of Monroe and Pearl Streets through the years, including a restaurant run by Clarence Herzog, and the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, better known to most residents as the A & P store. By the early 1960s, Jimmy’s Bar was in business at the site of the former Wieber saloon. 

Joseph F. Wieber passed away on September 26, 1938, at the age of 54. He was survived by his widow, a son, a daughter, and many other relatives. Funeral services were held at the Frey Funeral Home, and burial was in Calvary Cemetery. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Program Announcement: History of NASA at Plum Brook Station (Brown-bag Lunch Series)

Wednesday, April 16, 12 PM, in the Library Program Room
John Blakeman, Presenter

The historic operations of NASA at Plum Brook Station will be described and illustrated, showing how this local facility was a major contributor to American space science and engineering; and how new facilities and programs at Plum Brook Station portend a great future for this world-class aerospace facility.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Henry Matern and the Matern Brothers Store

In 1860 (possibly even earlier) Henry Matern operated a business on Water Street in Sandusky, where he sold stoves and tinware. By 1869 Henry brought his brother Philip Matern into the business, and the store was known as H. Matern and Brother. By 1882 the business became known as Matern Brothers. 

Henry Matern was born in Weilburg, Nassau, Germany in 1827. He came to the U.S. in 1849. Philip Matern was born in Wiesbaden, Nassau, Germany, and came to the U.S. in 1852. By 1890, Henry Matern, Jr. was also working with his father and uncle at the Matern Brothers store. Eventually Henry Matern, Jr. took over the business, and it was in operation in Sandusky until 1917. This advertisement appeared in the May 14, 1904 issue of the Sandusky Star.

According to the 1904 ad, the Thatcher furnace had been used in public schools and churches for the past twenty years.

Henry Matern, Sr. died on April 10, 1898, and his brother Philip died in 1903. They were buried in the family lot at Oakland Cemetery. A brief excerpt from Henry Matern’s obituary, which was in the April 11, 1898 issue of the Sandusky Register, said about him, in part, “When he came here this city was scarcely more than a village, and he has therefore been closely connected with the development of Sandusky commercially and in every other way.”

Several photographs from the Matern family were donated to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. This picture was taken by Henry Matern,Sr.’s grandson Elmer Matern. Unfortunately, the individuals in the picture have not been identified.


Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to learn more about the former businesses of Sandusky and Erie County.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Frank Shepherd Trapeze Artist

In the biographical files of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center is an undated promotional item for Frank Shepherd, who was listed as “America’s Premier Single Trapeze Artist.” An article in the April 8, 1937 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that Shepherd began his circus career when he was only fourteen years of age. He performed with the Cole Brothers Circus, Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus, and several smaller circuses. Mr. Shepherd was born in 1893 in Huron, Ohio, and his family lived in Sandusky, Ohio for several years. The Sandusky Register of June 5, 1938 reported that he was known for his appearances as the guest artist at the popular gym circuses held by Sandusky City Schools.

In 1936, Mr. Shepherd was seriously injured in an accident in Des Moines, Iowa. He missed a connection on a double flip with heel catch, and was hospitalized with two broken legs and two broken arms. He returned to the circus, but in 1943, he again was injured in a fall during a circus performance in Akron, Ohio. That injury also was serious, and kept him in a wheelchair for several years. 

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Historical Post Offices in Erie County

Most area residents of a certain age recall the old Sandusky Post Office, which was located at the intersection of Jackson Street, West Washington Street and Central Avenue from 1927 to 1987. (Before that, the Sandusky Post Office was at the southwest corner of Columbus Avenue and West Market Street.) According to the book The Post Offices of Ohio, by John S. Gallagher and Alan H. Patera (The Depot, 1979), there were over forty post offices scattered throughout Erie County, many of which are no longer in existence. 

The Cedar Point Post Office was established on July 15, 1907.

While U.S. mail is still delivered at Cedar Point, this particular Post Office was discontinued on June 12, 1915. The Post Office mailboxes pictured below, now at the Follett House Museum, once served customers of the Sand Hill Post Office, which was in operation from the 1880s until 1905. After 1905, mail for Sand Hill residents was routed to Sandusky.

Some of the communities in Erie County which used to have Post Offices are: Avery, Bay Bridge, Bay View, Bloomingville, Ceylon, Cooke’s Corners, Groton Centre, Jay, Kimball, Mittiwanga, Parkertown, Prout’s Station, Rye Beach, Sand Hill, Shinrock, and Weyers. To see a more thorough listing of the historical Post Offices in Erie County, and the dates in which they were in operation, see pages 86-87 of The Post Offices of Ohio, shelved with the genealogy and local history books in the lower level of the Sandusky Library. 

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

A Series of Photographs from Good Samaritan Hospital in the 1920s

Now a part of the Firelands Regional Medical Center, the Good Samaritan Hospital dates back to 1876 when the cornerstone was laid for the original facility.  The first Good Samaritan Hospital opened in 1886, but closed in 1893 due to financial problems. Pictured above is the Good Samaritan Hospital shortly after it was rebuilt in 1918-1919. The front of the hospital faced Van Buren Street. The nursing staff is pictured below in 1923.

 Members of the hospital’s office staff can be seen in this picture, taken in January 1923. Two typewriters and an early public address system were used by the employees.

The babies’ ward was relatively small in the 1920s.

 This Standard Electric stove was cutting edge for its day.

Here is a hospital examination room from 1923.

The ward system was used in the 1920s, with separate wards for men, women and children.

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to read more about the history of medicine in our community. Historical articles about Sandusky's hospitals and doctors are found in Hewson Peeke’s A Standard History of Erie County, and in the Twin Anniversary Edition of the Sandusky Register Star News, published on November 21, 1947, now on microfilm.