Monday, September 28, 2015

Mrs. Malcolm Kelly, Library Trustee and Suffragist

Mrs. Malcolm Kelly was born Susan Smith, a daughter of John and Eleanor Smith, who were pioneer residents of Sandusky County, Ohio. In 1876 Susan Smith married attorney Malcolm Kelly, who later became a Circuit Judge. Judge and Mrs. Kelly lived in Sandusky from 1898 through the 1920s. 

In October of 1912, Susan Kelly was part of a group of women who formed a Women’s Suffrage organization in Erie County. The women spoke at local club meetings, granges, and farmers’ institutes, to solicit members and pass resolutions favorable to women receiving the right to vote. The members of the Equal Suffrage League of Erie County decorated automobiles and rode in the Perry Centennial Celebration parade in Sandusky on September 8, 1913. (To read more about women’s suffrage in Erie County, see the January 1921 issue of the Firelands Pioneer.) Though we do not have a picture of the ladies’ decorated automobile, here is a picture of downtown Sandusky at the time of the Perry Centennial Celebration.

For many years in the early twentieth century, Mrs. Kelly served on the board of trustees of the Library Association of Sandusky. While serving as secretary of that board, Mrs. Kelly prepared an annual report which was printed in the Sandusky Register of January 4, 1922.

Susan Kelly was active in several women’s organizations, including the Martha Pitkin Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Monday Literary Club, the Nineteenth Century Club, the Women’s Rest Room Association, and she was the former president of the Sandusky Federation of Women’s Clubs. 

Mrs. Susan Kelly died on November 9, 1935 in Westchester County, New York, at the age of 86. An obituary which appeared in the November 12, 1935 issue of the Sandusky Register stated that Mrs. Kelly was “for years prominent in the women’s clubs and cultural life of Sandusky.” She was buried at Lakeview Cemetery in Ottawa County, next to her husband Judge Malcolm Kelly, who had died in 1923.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Sandusky Baking Company

The Sandusky Baking Company was incorporated in 1900, succeeding the former Sandusky Steam Baking Company which began in the 1890s at the southeast corner of Carr and Osborne Streets. The picture above was taken in 1913. Several employees and horse drawn delivery wagons can be seen in front of the bakery.  In 1917 Frank Windisch took over the Sandusky Baking Company, after having been the proprietor of a grocery store.

Soon after Windisch took over the business, he began plans for a new building to be constructed at the site of the old bakery. According to the January 4, 1920 issue of the Sandusky Register, the new building was set to open on January 8. The two story brick building had the most up to date equipment. An electric hoist carried sacks of flour to the storage area on the second floor. Each white tile oven in the bake room could bake over two hundred loaves of bread at one time. The company’s office and store room occupied the front portion of the building. In 1920 the Sandusky Baking Company was one of the largest bakeries between Cleveland and Toledo. Horse drawn delivery wagons were replaced with modern vehicles in the 1920s and 1930s. This delivery truck was built by J.A. Loeffler.

This picture was taken inside the bakery in the early 1920s. Manager Frank Windisch is on the left side of the picture. One of the bakers is Earl Sharp. Salesman Elmer Meyers is also in the picture.

In October of 1930, local Camp Fire Girls sold Sandusky Baking Company’s donuts for twenty five cents a dozen as a fund raising project. The company sponsored an episode of the “Baker’s Broadcast” on WJR Radio, featuring Joe Penner, in February, 1935.  Later that Spring, Apricot Delight pie and Cherry Carnival cake were favorites at the bakery. A product introduced by the Sandusky Baking Company in 1938 was “Sandusky Gold Bread.” 

The Sandusky Baking Company closed in January, 1974, after its parent company, the Laub Baking Company of Cleveland decided to close its Sandusky location. The Sandusky Register of February 11, 1974 reported that all the contents of the West Osborne Street location were going to be auctioned off, as well as the East Market Street facility, which stored delivery vehicles.  This link to Google Maps will take you to a current view of the corner of Osborne and Carr Streets, where the Sandusky Baking Company stood for most of the twentieth century.

From the Karl A. Hengel Collection of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center, we find a group picture from the Sandusky Baking Company’s family picnic held on August 8, 1909. Karl’s father Joseph Hengel was employed by the bakery at this time.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Homer B. Williams, Educator

Homer B. Williams was born in 1865 to John and Mary (Secrest) Williams in Mt. Ephraim, Ohio. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ohio Northern College, and he earned graduate degrees from Baldwin-Wallace and Columbia University. He was given an honorary doctor of law by Bowling Green State University. After teaching in rural Ohio schools, he served as school Superindent of schools in Caldwell, Kenton, and Cambridge. In August, 1898, Sandusky City Schools selected Homer B. Williams as Superintendent of Sandusky Schools. An article which appeared in the August 8, 1898 issue of the Sandusky Star reported that Williams was considered one of the leading educators in Ohio. His annual salary in 1898 was $1,800.  During the annual session of the Ohio States Teachers’ Association, which met at Cedar Point from June 27 to June 29, 1911, Mr. Williams gave the opening address, entitled “Intellectual Habits.”  The text of his address was reprinted in Volume 60 of the Ohio Educational Monthly.

In 1912 Homer B. Williams went to Bowling Green to become the first president of what was then the Bowling Green Normal School. The school had an enrollment of 100 when classes met in 1914. At the time of his retirement in August of 1937, Bowling Green State University had an enrollment of 1,876. Williams Hall, on the campus of BGSU, was named in his honor in 1917. 

Dr. Homer B. Williams died on September 22, 1943, at age 77. Funeral services were held at the auditorium of Bowling Green State University. Dr. Williams was survived by his wife, a daughter, and three sons. He was buried at the Oak Grove Cemetery in Bowling Green. An obituary for Dr. Homer B. Williams appeared in the September 23, 1943 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Program Announcement: Cemetery Walk -- Germans in Sandusky

Be sure to reserve your space; slots are filling fast. 

Tuesday, September 22 at 10:00 AM
Wednesday, September 23 at 10:00 AM
Thursday, September 24 at 10:00 AM
Saturday, September 26 at 10:00 AM

The theme of this year's historical cemetery walk is: Germans in Sandusky.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sandusky Held a Fall Festival in the 1950s

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Sandusky held a Fall Festival in September. In 1950 it was held at Cedar Point from September 7 to September 10. The co-queens of the 1950 Fall Festival were Arline and Darline Landin, twin daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Warren Landin. The Landin twins are pictured below with Jay Wagner and Dan Apel, from the Chamber of Commerce.

An article in the September 23, 1950 issue of Billboard magazine reported that 40,000 people attended the Fall Festival in 1950.  There were fifty indoor displays and twenty outdoor displays, including an exhibit of cars, trucks and farm implements. Livestock, poultry, dogs and rabbits were also on display by area 4-H members. Below are the queen and her court from the 1951 Fall Festival.

Karl Kurtz, charirman of the Festival committee is pictured with Queen Lee Gregg, and members of  her court, which included Delight Furst and Marlene Sue Trueman. A leading attraction of the 1951 Fall Festival was the steer auction, held on Saturday night of the festival weekend. Local 4-H and FFA members brought their steer to Cedar Point to be auctioned off on September 8, 1951. Below is an undated group picture of the members of the Fall Festival Committee from the late 1940s or early 1950s.

Most of the men have been identified in notes found on the back of the original picture, which was a gift from Karl Kurtz.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Excursions on Lake Erie in 1912

Retired lake freighter captain, Wendell Parry, donated the poster which advertised Toledo Excursions on the Steamer Arrow. On the Sundays of September 15, 22, and 29 in 1912, the Arrow took passengers on an excursion to the Lake Erie Islands and Toledo. The Arrow left Sandusky at 7:30 a.m., and left Toledo at 4:30 p.m. Round trip fare for the excursions was fifty cents (about $12.60 in today's money). These steamer excursions gave local residents a break from the summer heat, for a very reasonable price. Pictured below is the Arrow at the foot of Columbus Avenue in the early twentieth century.

The Frank E. Kirby also ferried passengers to the Lake Erie Islands area in Detroit in the summer of 1912. The seating capacity on the Frank E. Kirby was 3500.  Round trip fares from Sandusky to Detroit cost seventy five cents.

Before it was the custom for almost every middle class family to own and operate an automobile, the steamers on Lake Erie provided inexpensive transportation for summertime fun for hundreds of residents of the North Coast.

Program Announcement: Brown-bag Lunch Author Talk: Lost Sandusky

Wednesday, September 16, at noon, in the Sandusky Library Program Room

M. Kristina Smith will discuss her new book, Lost Sandusky, about places and activities that are no longer here. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing. The author has worked in newspapers for twelve years, working as a reporter and assistant editor. Presently she is employed by the Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

E.H. Schlessman, Commercial Photographer

During the first quarter of the twentieth century, Edward H. Schlessman was a commercial photographer in Sandusky. On his World War I Draft Registration card, Mr. Schlessman stated that he was self-employed as both a photographer and a taxi driver.

Though he made his living by taking pictures, no known picture of him is in the historic photographic collections of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. 

Mr. Schlessman’s photos and postcards chronicled the everyday life of area residents. Ice workers and friends were captured on Sandusky Bay in this postcard from December, 1909.

In 1912  Schlessman took a picture of the Shamrocks, who were the champions of their baseball league that season.

Sandusky newsboys who were promoting the Saturday Evening Post were captured in this 1916 Schlessman postcard, near the stand of Norman Holzaepfel.

A young lady feeding two horses is the subject of this undated photograph.

When a tornado struck Sandusky in 1924, Schlessman took a series of photographs that showed how much damage the tornado had caused to the Sandusky area. You can see that many buildings were reduced to rubble.

The National Guard can be seen near their supply area in this photo taken on June 28, 1924.

By 1934 Edward H. Schlessman had left Sandusky. A legal notice which appeared in the September 22, 1934 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal stated that his last known address had been in Detroit, Michigan, and his wife, Mrs. Josephine Schlessman, had filed for divorce. Though Edward Schlessman moved away from Sandusky, he left us with a better understanding of local life in our community. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to view over one hundred photographs taken by E. H. Schlessman.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

The Granary Building at 149 East Water Street

Now home to the offices of Dr. James Gallagher and Dr. Susan Gallagher, the building at 149 East Water Street in Sandusky has had a long history as a commercial property. From 1860 to the late 1880s, William Robertson (and later his sons) ran a wholesale grocery store at what was once known as 611 and 613 Water Steet.  While Mr. Robertson was originally from Northumberland, England, his neighbors in 1886 were of German descent. The Active Turners met on the second floor of  Fisher’s Hall to the east of Robertson’s Grocery, and the Turner Hall Hotel was just down the street, as seen in this 1886 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map.

In the early 1890s, George and John Esch ran a store that sold draperies and carpets at 611 and 613 Water StreetFrom 1898 to 1908, T.C. Adams, and later his son Robert Adams, sold flour and feed at 611 Water Street. Many  local residents will recall that the Gallagher Brothers ran a granary at this location from about 1911 until 1950. The business operated as an outlet for Gallagher’s Mill in Venice, Ohio. In 1915 the street number was changed to 149 East Water Street.  From the mid 1950s to the mid 1970s the Merrill Mank Plumbing Company was in business here. For a time, Lake Erie Rusco sold storm doors and windows at this location. 

Ellie Damm wrote in her book Treasure by the Bay that the building was built in the High Victorian style. The foundation is stone, and the main portion of the structure is limestone covered with mastic. You can learn more about many of Sandusky’s historic buildings in the Ohio Historic Inventory for Erie County, shelved behind the Reference Services desk in the Lower Level of the Sandusky Library.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Thomas McGee Home

Thomas C. McGee was a pioneer resident of Erie County, Ohio. He was born in the state of New York in 1808, and he moved to Ohio with his family in 1818. About 1821 the McGee family settled in Sandusky, Ohio where Thomas was bound out to Cyrus W. Marsh, proprietor of the Steamboat Hotel. As a young man, Thomas C. McGee was a steward on the vessel William Penn. Later he was the ship master of the Louisa Judson, the Platina, and the Sandusky. For four years he was master of the U.S. Government supply ship the Watchful.  Below is a portion of an article he wrote for the Firelands Pioneer in 1888, in which he listed several vessels that entered the harbor of Sandusky in 1822.  (See the Firelands Pioneer of January, 1888, pages 76-77, to read the complete article.)

For a time, Thomas C. McGee served as supervisor of roads in Sandusky. The house pictured above, at 536 East Washington, was home to McGee and his first wife, Rosamond, in the late 1840s and early 1850s. In 1853 Thomas moved to the country on Hayes Avenue. Eventually he moved back to the city of Sandusky, residing on Hancock Street. When Rosamond Ward McGee died in 1877, Thomas wrote a touching tribute to her, which was published in volume four of the Firelands Pioneer. After Rosamond’s death, Thomas married Ellen Ward, a cousin of his first wife. 

Rush R. Sloane wrote in the Firelands Pioneer of July, 1888 that McGee was among the “early and earnest” friends of the Underground Railroad of the Firelands. The name of Thomas C. McGee is listed on a marker at Shoreline Park in downtown Sandusky which honors those who assisted fugitive slaves make their way to freedom aboard Canada-bound vessels on Lake Erie.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Sandusky High School Football Team of 1914

Pictured above are some of the members of the 1914 Sandusky High School football team. Notes on the original item, part of the Norbert A. Lange Collection, have identified the team players. In front from left to right, are: Bill Meese, Carl Kerber, Clarence Homberger, Herb Taylor, Amandus Smith, Bill Busch, and Joe Page. In the back from left to right are: Eugene Close, Hans Slackford, Bill Boehm, and Bill Smith. At the far right, Coach Bill Kinder is standing. In Northern Ohio League play in 1914 Sandusky won three out of four league games, including a win of 35 to 0 over the Fremont Little Giants. 

In 1914 Sandusky High School was still located on Adams Street, and future congressman James T. Begg was the school superintendent.

Coach Kinder went on to serve as an ambulance driver for the American Field Service during World War I. He then went back to seminary in order to become a clergyman. Rev. William Kinder became a well-known rector in the Episcopal Church in Detroit, Michigan and Youngstown, Ohio.