Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Carp Were Shipped Live From Sandusky to Philadelphia in 1911

An article in the May 18, 1911 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that 4000 pounds of live carp from Oscar Zistel’s wholesale fish company, on Meigs Street in Sandusky, were recently shipped to Philadelphia. Mr. Zistel, the Adams Express Company, and government officials all worked together on the venture. At one time the fish, which were introduced in the U.S. from other countries, were despised,  known as “the hog of the waters,” but by the 1910s carp were considered a delicacy in some markets in the eastern U.S.

To ship the carp, first the fish were penned in floats on Sandusky Bay; then the floats were transported to the Pennsylvania freight house. The live fish were loaded onto a car on the Pennsylvania Railroad, which was refrigerated and had circulating water, to ensure the well being of the carp. The carp were taken out of the floats, placed into baskets, weighed, and put into the freshwater tanks on the railway car, where they traveled from Mansfield to Pittsburgh, and then on to Philadelphia.The trip to Philadelphia was over 500 miles, and an expert aboard the railroad monitored the refrigeration and air tanks in the fish tanks. The Star Journal article stated that the Jewish residents of Philadelphia were so eager to purchase the fresh fish that they bought it straight from the train car, where the fresh carp sold for eighteen to twenty cents per pound. 

In 1913 and 1914, Oscar Zistel received patents for fish transporting devices. Patent number 1,109,193 was for the improvement of an aerating device which could be useful in the transporting of live fish. Patent number 1,227,732, issued in 1917, was for an automobile which could be used to transport live fish.

Sadly, Oscar Zistel died in 1918, before his vehicle could be fully developed. Several patents issued between 1951 and 2011 cited technology that Zistel had patented. The Zistel family was quite entrepreneurial. Oscar’s father Louis Zistel carried passengers to Cedar Point in the 1870s, and was the proprietor of the Atlantic Pleasure Gardens, a saloon and entertainment center on Meigs Street.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Clues to Everyday Life in the 19th Century from a Sanborn Map

By looking more closely at page 5 from the 1886 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map for Sandusky, Ohio, we can learn more about what everyday life in Sandusky was like in the late nineteenth century. You can tell by all the businesses along Sandusky Bay that the fish and ice industries were important to Sandusky at that time.

Railroad Street is now Shoreline Drive. Instead of large hotel chains, hotels in the late 1800s were usually independently owned, such as the Sloane House, at the corner of Washington Row and Columbus Avenue in the 1880s.

Several livery businesses were located on page 5 of the 1886 Sanborn Map, which provided housing for the animals that were necessary for horse drawn vehicles.

The Active Turner Hall reminds us of Sandusky’s rich German heritage, about which Dr. Ernst Von Schulenberg wrote in his book, Sandusky: Then and Now.

We have three Sanborn Maps from different years at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center, as well as three Sanborn Maps, from 1886, 1893, and 1905 available on microfilm. Sanborn Maps may also be accessed online through the ClevnetResearch Databases, after logging in with your library card.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Undertakers in Sandusky were also Furniture Dealers

The advertisement above for Chas. J. Andres appeared in the 1900-1901 Sandusky City Directory. Mr. Andres was a furniture dealer as well as a funeral director and embalmer. In the classified business directory of that volume, Krupp and Goebel and Marquart and Myers were also listed as both furniture manufacturers and undertakers. The same skills it took to make fine furniture were also used in the making of wooden coffins. After the death of Charles J. Andres in 1902, for several years, Mrs. Andres and Fred Frey, Sr. were partners in the furniture and undertaking business. These postcards advertised furniture sold by Andres and Frey, about 1912.

An advertisement from the Sandusky Star Journal of October 16, 1918 stated that furniture from Andres & Frey would add “personality and charm to the home,” which brings to mind a fond image of hearth and home. This image is in sharp contrast to the thought of losing a loved one, which necessitates the need for an undertaker.

After the death of their parents, the sons of Mr. and Mrs. Charles J. Andres continued as the C.J. Andres & Sons Funeral Home until 1971.

The Frey Funeral Home began at 604. W. Washington Street in 1925. When F. Leo Groff joined the firm, the name changed to the Frey-Groff Funeral Home. In 1987, a new building was opened on East Perkins Avenue, and the name was changed to Groff Funeral Home. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sandusky Chamber of Commerce Members in 1918

Members of Sandusky’s Chamber of Commerce are pictured in front of the Masonic Temple in Sandusky in 1918. A sign that reads “Keep Sandusky at the Front” is at the front and center of the group. At this time the United States was fighting in World War I, and at the same time an influenza epidemic had swept through the entire world, infecting millions. Many of the men in the Chamber of Commerce took leadership roles in Sandusky during the war. The Honor Roll, 1917-1918, Erie County Edition features pictures and information about the men and women on the home front who took part in supporting the war effort. Some of the local organizations and activities that existed locally during World War One were the Erie County War Industries Committee, Erie County Chapter of the American Red Cross, Erie County War Leagues, Erie County food Administration, Liberty Loan Drives, War Savings Stamp Committees. People of all ages and economic groups contributed their time and energy to the war effort. Pages 281-287 of The Honor Roll give a detailed description of the home front during this time. In spite of the fact that approximately forty per cent of the population of Erie County was of German descent, the community pulled together in a joint cause. One paragraph reads, “From the very first the people of Erie County, almost to the last person, put everything aside and labored tirelessly with but one object in view, that object being the winning of the war. They gave their sons and daughters. They surrendered their means, depriving themselves, to a more or less extent, of even the ordinary comforts of life in a great many instances. They contributed valuable time without thought of compensation other than that which victory held. Best of all they lent their moral support.” 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sandusky Youngsters go to the Circus

While we do not know the exact date of the photograph above, the local Kiwanis Club often provided fun activities for Sandusky’s children. The June 15, 1930 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that the fifty of Sandusky’s youngsters were the guests of the Kiwanis Club at a matinee performance of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus. Members of the committee for the event were: Earl Zolman, Wentworth Graham, C. A. Thornbaugh, B. T. Gagen, George J. Doerzbach and M. J. McCabe. Sandusky’s Kiwanis Club was very civic minded, as they hosted a Christmas party for forty-five children from the Erie County Children’s Home on December 21, 1926.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Historic Views of the Former Railroad Bridge on Sandusky’s East Side

Oswald Zistel was aboard his sailboat in the picture above, taken in the early twentieth century. Behind him is the old railroad bridge. In the 1896 Erie County Atlas, a swing bridge is shown along the railroad tracks just past the cove on Sandusky’s northeast side, near present day Battery Park.

A late nineteenth century stereographic image shows the drawbridge of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad, along with Ben Icsman’s lumber yard in the east cove area of Sandusky.

The bridge and tracks were in use by several different railroads from 1853 until the 1970s, including the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad, and the Baltimore and Ohio. In June of 1908, a train wrecked at the drawbridge, causing a large crowd to gather.


According to the New York Times of June 22, 1908, an engine carrying a heavy trainload of tourists from Indianapolis who had spent the day at Cedar Point, plunged through an open drawbridge in the east end of Sandusky. While none of the passengers was hurt, J. J. Perrish, the engineer, had both legs broken, and Fred Sullivan, fireman, had cuts on his head and shoulders. Both had internal injuries as well. The gatekeeper of the bridge says the train pulled out at 9 p.m., but had not been scheduled to leave until 9:30.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Central Avenue was once Miami Avenue

In the 1818 plat map of Sandusky, the street we now call Central Avenue was known as Miami Avenue. By the 1890s, Miami Avenue was renamed Central Avenue. This street runs diagonally from  the west side of Washington Park to Monroe Street, and then at Monroe Street it runs in a north-south direction to north of North Depot Street. For many decades, local residents have found that Central Avenue provides an efficient route to get from downtown Sandusky to key places on Sandusky’s near western side. 

If you take Central Avenue to West Osborne Street, you will soon find yourself at Osborne School.

If you take Central Avenue south to North Depot Street, after you turn right, you will come to Sandusky’s Amtrak Station.

In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, there was a fire station located at the northeast corner of Central Avenue and Osborne Street, known as Fire Station Number 4. This fire station was razed about 1930.

Two churches are located on Central Avenue. St. Mary’s Catholic Church was established to meet the needs of Sandusky’s Catholic residents of German heritage. The current parish was built in the 1870s, and is the largest church building in the city of Sandusky.

Before moving to its current location at Mills Street, St. Paul Lutheran Church was at the southeast corner of Central Avenue and Tyler Street. A number of other Protestant churches have met at this location in recent years.

A previous Sandusky History blog post featured a picture of horse racing on Central Avenue.

Now primarily residential, Central Avenue continues to be a vital thoroughfare for area residents. Visit Sandusky Library to view historical Sandusky city directories to learn more about our community’s past residents, businesses, and cultural institutions. 

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

The Schoepfles Left Their Mark on Erie County, Ohio

The final resting place of several generations of members of the Schoepfle family is at Oakland Cemetery in Sandusky, Ohio. The lovely monument pictured above honors the memory of banker C.F. Schoepfle and his wife, the former Sarah Knoepfle. Christian F. Schoepfle was born in Groetzingen, Baden, Germany. With his parents Henry and Barbara, he emigrated to the United States in 1846. 

C.F. Schoepfle was in the lumber business in Sandusky for over fifty years, and at one time he was the president of the Third National Bank. He was very active in the Masons, having been the master of the Science Lodge No. 50 in 1887.

One of C.F. Schoepfle’s sons was Dr. H.C. Schoepfle.

During the time just prior to World War I, Dr. H. C. Schoepfle provided free medical services to Company B as they were on guard in Sandusky. A biographical sketch about Dr. Schoepfle in the Honor Roll of Erie County, stated that he was “one of the City’s most patriotic citizens.” He served as Erie County Coroner from 1901 to 1903. His brother, Dr. Fred Schoepfle, held this position from 1914 to 1918.

Another Schoepfle family also made their way to Erie County from Groetzingen, Germany. Christopher Schoepfle, a cousin to C.F. Schoepfle, was a son of John and Mary (Walther) Schoepfle. After his father died, Christopher left Germany to settle in Erie County, Ohio. In 1853, his widowed mother and several of his siblings also emigrated to Ohio. A biographical sketch about Christopher Schoepfle is found in History of Erie County, Ohio, ed. by Lewis Cass Aldrich,(Mason and Co., 1889).  Christopher was a farmer, and for a time was a stone dealer. One of Christopher’s sons was Henry Schoepfle (1867-1927).

This Henry Schoepfle was a longtime attorney in Sandusky. He graduated from the Cincinnati Law School in 1892. He served as solicitor of the city of Sandusky in the 1890s, and had his office in the Kingsbury Block. When Henry Schoepfle died in July of 1927, a resolution was composed by members of the Erie County Bar, paying tribue to his many achievements to the local bar association. The Erie County Common Pleas Court recessed during the funeral, so that Sandusky attorney and officials could attend the services.

Rev. C.H. Schoepfle, the brother of Christopher Schoepfle, gave an account in the December 23, 1922 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal of how he helped bring the first Christmas tree to Sandusky. Rev. Schoepfle, when just a youth in 1854, cut down the top of a cedar tree at Cedar Point, and took it the First Reformed Church for a special Christmas entertainment. He and his friends were returning to Sandusky with the tree, when some other young men tried to take the tree away from Rev. Schoepfle and his friends. Luckily the cedar tree made it to the church in time for the special service. A descendant of Rev. Schoepfle was Otto Schoepfle, who became the chief executive officer of the Elyria Chronicle newspaper. Otto Schoepfle donated property to Lorain Metro Parks, which is now a popular site known as Schoepfle Garden.

As often is the case in families of German descent, the spelling of the surname Schoepfle varies widely. It is sometimes listed as Shepley, Shipley, or Schoepflin, depending on the source. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to learn about the Schoepfle family, or perhaps your own ancestors. A wide variety of print and digital resources are available for genealogical and historical research.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

The League of American Wheelmen in Sandusky

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. During Sandusky’s Fourth of July Parade, several members took part in the procession. An article in the July 5, 1893 issue of the Sandusky Register stated, “The wheelmen congregated in knots around their machines, and many of them being dressed in smart uniforms and decorated with silken badges presented a very attractive appearance, while the plated spokes of the wheels glistened in the sunlight and gave additional brilliance to the scene.” 

The group picture was taken on the north side of the old Sandusky High School (later Adams Junior High) on July 4, 1893. Wilbert Schwer donated this photograph to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.