Friday, October 30, 2015

Lawrence Cable, Originally Known as Lorenz Kobul

Lawrence Cable, also known as Lorenz Kobul, was born in 1824 in Siegen, Alsace-Lorraine, which was then a part of France, but later was incorporated into the German Empire. Laurence emigrated to the United States in 1843, and he first settled in Indiana, where his brother was living. After attending college classes at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, he moved to Sandusky. 

In the spring of 1848, he married Miss Josephine Zuercher. She died of cholera in 1849, leaving behind a young daughter named Josephine. That year he began working for the Mad River Railroad. For a time in the 1850s he worked with Ben Icsman, to furnish timber for the railroad bridge across Sandusky Bay. He worked in the shoe business from about 1856 to 1867. In 1872, Mr. Cable was named president of the newly formed Third National Bank, and he stayed in this position until his death in 1904. Ernst Von Schulenburg wrote in Sandusky Then and Now, that Cable and the bank’s treasurer, F.P. Zollinger, protected the Third National Bank “with the eyes of an Argus.” In 1904 he purchased the site of the old fairgrounds at the end of Wayne Street with the intent of building an upper middle class neighborhood. After he died, his sons Edward and Frank Cable continued the development of Cable Park, located at 1103-1234 Wayne Street.

Mr. Cable had married Victoria Stoll in 1852, and they had five children. Mrs. Victoria Cable died in 1874. Laurence married for a third time in 1880, to Miss Mena Walter. In 1880 he built a two story home at 910 West Monroe Street, which still stands today. After his death, his wife stayed at this home until she died in 1930.

Lawrence Cable was known for his generosity. He, along with two other parishioners, donated three bells to the St. Mary’s Catholic Church, when the current church building was in its early days. In 1902 Mr. Cable donated money to buy the former residence of C.C. Keech on Hayes Avenue for use as a hospital under the direction of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine. This home eventually became Providence Hospital, which later became a part of Firelands Regional Medical Center.


Lawrence Cable died on October 16, 1904; he was buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Sandusky. In a long life, beginning in Europe and ending in Sandusky, he became one of the community’s most respected residents. You can read much more about him in the book, History of the Western Reserve.  The Cable Family Collection is housed in the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.  This collection documents some of the business activities of Cable and his sons Edward and Frank in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Glimpse of Sandusky

An image titled Glimpse of Sandusky, From St. Paul’s Church is housed in the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.   The engraving was done by John Douglas Woodward for the book Picturesque America, or the Land We Live In, which was edited by William Cullen Bryant in 1872, and published by D. Appleton and Company, New York. Most likely the view was actually from Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church, looking northward toward Sandusky Bay. In the view you can see the two steeples of the First Congregational Church, which was then in Washington Park. Further north, you can see the West House hotel, which once stood where the State Theater now stands. On the right half of the illustration you can see SanduskyHigh School, and the old Academy building, which had once served as an early courthouse in Erie County.  

Picturesque America was a two volume set that described and illustrated scenes all across the United States. It was first published as a series in Appletons’ Journal, and then was published as a serialized subscription book.

Here are two pages from Picturesque America from the Internet Archive, one of which features the illustration of Sandusky in black and white.

If you would like to learn more about Picturesque America and how it was created, the book Creating Picturesque America is available for loan through the CLEVNET system.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Sandusky Men in Libby Prison During the Civil War

This print of Libby Prison, as it appeared on August 23, 1863, was donated to the Sandusky Library by Mrs. I.F. Mack. Sandusky’s well known newspaper editor, Isaac F. Mack, was imprisoned in Libby Prison and two other Southern prison camps during the Civil War. Fortunately he survived the war and had a very successful newspaper career with the Sandusky Register

Many other area men spent time at Libby Prison, including Fred Frey, Jr., Delos Ransom, Foster Neill, Frank Colver, William B. Rice, Wilbur F. Cowles, and John M. Butler, the son in law of Jay Cooke. In December of 1863, the Ladies Aid Society from Sandusky sent packages of food which were distributed to local men who were imprisoned at the prison in Richmond, Virginia. Captains C.H. Riggs and O.H. Rosenbaum, with the 123rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, sent a letter of thanks to the Ladies Aid Society, to the attention of Mrs. T.D. West, the Society’s secretary-treasurer. The men were thrilled to have such a package from their hometown in the midst of a dismal prison setting.  The letter appeared in the January 30, 1864 issue of the Sandusky Register, and read in part:

“To the ladies, first, (God bless them) we tender our most grateful thanks; secondly, to all others who in any way contributed thereto. Such form the bright spots in our life in Libby. Though irksome our stay in prison, we are of good cheer. Having been blessed with good health, we have no fault to find; full of confidence in the integrity of our Government, well assured that our interest are not forgotten there, and that, as soon as an exchange can be effected compatible with best interest of all, we will be released, we cheerfully submit. In conclusion, allow us to again thank the ladies and them our best wishes for their perfect success in the human work in which they are engaged, alleviating the sufferings of the sick, the sorrowful, &c. Colonel Wilson wishes to be especially remembered, and, with the other members of “Mess 32” will ever cherish in his heart of hearts the memory of the Ladies of Sandusky.”

To learn more about area men who served during the Civil War, visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. Many sources, both online and in print, can aid in searching for information about Civil War soldiers.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Palmison's Bicycle Shop on Central Avenue

Palmison’s Bicycle Shop was in business in Sandusky, at several different locations, for over eighty years. The business was begun by Salvatore “Tutie” Palmison, who came to this county from Italy in 1888. From 1915 through the 1930s, the Palmison family resided at 411 Central Avenue, which was also the address of the bicycle shop. 

This advertisement appeared in the December 6, 1915 issue of the Sandusky Register:

In the early years, the store also carried groceries. A small article about the business was featured in the January 14, 1922 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal:

During the 1923 holiday season, the Palmison Bicycle Store sold bicycles, wagons, “kiddie cars,” as well as Christmas trees:

The Palmison family also repaired bicycles, usually in the evenings after the retail store was closed. By 1946 the store had moved to 279 East Market Street. The shop moved to 1030 Hayes Avenue in the early 1950s, when Tutie’s son John Palmison, Sr. began working in the store; after Tutie Palmison's death in 1952, his son took over the bicycle business. The store moved from its Hayes Avenue location in 1974 to 2525 South Columbus Avenue, and was known as Palmison’s Cycle City. 

An article in the July 30, 1980 issue of the Sandusky Register, stated that John Palmison, Jr. took over the business in 1978, after having worked with his father in the bicycle shop for several years. According to John Palmison, Jr., the bicycle store was busiest during the summer months as well as the holiday season. The final location of Palmison’s bicycle shop was at 1022 West Monroe Street. The store was in business through the late 1980s. The 1991 Sandusky City Directory listed Scoop’s Ice Cream shop at 1022 West Monroe Street. 

Though Palmison’s is no longer in business, the three generations of family members who worked in the bicycle store for several decades played an important role in the lives of many local residents who used bicycles for transportation and recreation along the streets of Sandusky. The address that was once known as 411 Central Avenue is now home to the Good Shepherd Center of St. Mary’s Parish.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

1867 Concert by the Sandusky Mannerchor

On Friday, October 18, 1867, the Sandusky Männerchor gave a vocal and instrumental concert at Norman Hall, on Water Street in downtown Sandusky. Norman Hall was eventually incorporated into property owned by the Hinde and Dauch Paper Company, and today no longer stands.

Many towns in the U.S. had a männerchor in the nineteenth century. It was a male chorus made up primarily of those of German descent. Members could socialize, enjoy music, and preserve elements of the German culture. The group was assisted by J.L. and E. Bonn, Miss B. Silva, and Cornelius Schnaitter. J.L. and E. Bonn had been born in Bavaria, and moved to Sandusky with their family, where they ran a grocery store not far from the Sandusky Library.

Cornelius Schnaitter was also a native of Bavaria. He moved to Sandusky in 1849, and ran a successful tailoring business.

It appears that many local businessmen could work at their jobs in the day, but still enjoy participating in singing societies during their time off at night and on weekends. An article in the October 19, 1873 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that a full house attended the männerchor concert. A song which brought the house down was a comic song called “Frog” in which several men wore costumes of green and ashen hues, and leaped around the stage like frogs. The performers were accompanied by a grand piano, and their numbers were well received by the audience. To read more about the musical societies of Sandusky’s early German-American citizens, see pages 160 to 173 of Sandusky Then and Now.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Happy Sweetest Day

Did you miss Sweetest Day? It's Saturday, October 17 (today as posted) this year, and it has a nearly century-long history with northern Ohio roots.

On October 7, 1921, the Sandusky Register and the Sandusky Star Journal both featured several articles and advertisements to promote “National Candy Day,” which was celebrated in Northern Ohio on October 8, 1921.  This event later became known as Sweetest Day, now celebrated on the third Saturday in October. Sweetest Day was begun in Cleveland in the early 1920s when a group of local businessmen provided thousands of orphans and elderly residents with boxes of candy. Silent film star Theda Bara assisted in the distribution of candy in Cleveland.

According to the 1921 Sandusky City Directory, at that time Sandusky had two candy manufacturers, two candy wholesalers, and thirteen retail confectioners. All these businesses sold or distributed candy and other sweet treats. The Catawba Candy Company, located at southwest corner of Decatur and Water Streets, was known for its “Catawba kisses.”

Fred A. Martin was the proprietor of Martin’s Confectionery, which dealt both in wholesale and retails confections, ice cream, and baked goods.

Several Sandusky drugstores and groceries also carried a wide variety of candy to help Sanduskians celebrate the sweetest day or the year in 1921.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

“Speaking Of” Columns by Harry Van Stack

From 1945 to 1963, Harry Van Stack wrote a column for the Sandusky Register entitled “Speaking Of.” He penned dozens of articles about local history, politics, and social issues. Mr. Van Stack, the son of missionaries, grew up in South Africa. During the 1920s to the 1940s, he lectured aboard the prison ship Success. In this column from the January 28, 1950 issue of the Sandusky Register, Mr. Van Stack discussed the 1869 Sandusky City Directory, and its information about the city of Sandusky and its banks and railroads.

In his column from June 21, 1958, he praised the floral designs in Washington Park. He pointed out that approximately 100,000 hand-set plants and floral units were included in the many displays in the park that summer, including a cupid, which was appropriate for the area’s many June weddings.

On October 19, 1963, Harry Van Stack died unexpectedly. After his death, his wife, the former Louise Beaulieu, donated several items to the Sandusky Library, including five notebooks containing copies of the “Speaking Of” columns from 1945 to 1963. Visit the Sandusky Library to view these interesting articles which may have been read by your grandparents or great grandparents.

This picture of Mr. and Mrs. Van Stack is located in the back of Notebook Five, taken in October 1956 at the Mound Studio in Sandusky, Ohio.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Ferdinand Geiersdorf, Former Mayor of Sandusky

Ferdinand Geiersdorf was born in Munich, Germany (then Bavaria) on December 5, 1831. When he first came to Sandusky he was a poor butcher’s apprentice, but eventually he became quite wealthy in the fish business. Mr. Geiersdorf’s image can be seen in the image above on the upper left, from Plate IV in the book, Sandusky Einst und Jetzt. Below is an advertisement which appeared in the 1869 Sandusky City Directory.

From 1863 to 1867, Geiersdorf served as Sandusky’s Mayor. He was the first individual of German descent to become Mayor of the city. In his inaugural address, which was published in the April 15, 1863 issue of the Sandusky Register, he stated that because of the ongoing rebellion (the Civil War), local residents would be taxed rather heavily until the war’s end. Mayor Geiersdorf called for immediate cleaning of the streets and gutters in town, to maintain the excellent health of the residents of Sandusky. He hoped to see that the principal roads coming in to Sandusky would be maintained in good condition, to ensure the ability of visitors being able to travel to Sandusky, to frequent its offices and businesses. Mayor Geiersdorf concluded his address with the words of President Jackson, “The Union must be preserved.” 

When Ferdinand Geiersdorf died on September 22, 1870, he was greatly mourned.  In a biographical sketch in Sandusky Then and Now, it was said about him that “His goodness and readiness to alleviate need with an open hand will live after him.” The former Mayor was buried at Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery.

A large letter G is at the top of the monument of Ferdinand Geiersdorf. The letters of his surname, appearing at the base of the monument, were designed to resemble tree branches.

Read Sandusky Then and Now, translated into English from the German version of Sandusky Einst und Jetzt, to learn more about the earliest German American residents of Sandusky.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Looking Towards Sandusky Bay from St. Mary’s Steeple, Circa 1920

Robert Frank donated this photograph which features the view from the steeple of St. Mary’s Church, looking down Central Avenue towards Sandusky Bay about 1920.  Many landmarks (some no longer standing) are visible in the picture. At the top left of the picture is the Sloane House. To the right of the Sloane House (across Columbus Avenue) is the Kingsbury Block, shortly before a portion of it was replaced by the Commercial National Bank building. In the far distance, northeast of the Kingsbury Block, are storage silos and buildings in the waterfront district of Sandusky, close to the B & O Railroad tracks. The Erie County Courthouse is in the same location as it is today, but in 1920 it had not yet been remodeled in the Art Deco style, which was a WPA project in the 1930s.  You can see Sandusky High School to the east of the Courthouse, before it was expanded. (This building later became Adams Junior High School.) The steeple of Emmanuel Church is visible, at the northeast corner of Columbus Avenue and Adams Street. Only the rooftop of the Sandusky Library can be seen, opposite the Courthouse on Adams Street, which is very close to the Erie County Jail. A private residence and later Dr. J.D. Parker’s office, stood between the library and the jail for many years. At the upper right of the picture is the smokestack of the Water Works. Apartment buildings and businesses are seen along Central Avenue. The diagonal direction of Central Avenue forms a portion of the Masonic emblem. Hector Kilbourne laid the city of Sandusky out in the shape of the square and compasses of the Masonic emblem.


This historical marker in Washington Park honors Hector Kilbourne, the surveyor who laid out the original plat of Sandusky in 1816.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Drug Stores at Hancock and East Monroe Street

From about 1880 until shortly before his death in 1933, Lewis A. Biehl operated a drugstore at the northwest corner of Hancock and East Monroe Streets. In the 1920s, an ice cream parlor was in the drugstore, making it convenient for customers to have a soda while they waited for their prescriptions to be filled. The early customers of Mr. Biehl arrived on foot, or by horse and buggy. From the 1890s to the 1930s, they could visit his drug store via the streetcar. By 1920 a Pennzoil service station was located kitty-corner to the Biehl store, at the southeast corner of Hancock and East Monroe Streets.

The Biehl drugstore was included in the listing of Sandusky neighborhood drugstores in this advertisement from the September 23, 1928 issue of the Sandusky Register.

Just as in the case of grocery stores, there were drugstores in most Sandusky neighborhoods in the late 1800s and early 1900s, before it was the norm for most families to own an automobile. The ad from 1928 suggested that if a person had a cold, a quick visit to the neighborhood druggist could help prevent pneumonia. The Sandusky Star Journal of July 28, 1939 reported that Harry J. Fisher would soon be having the grand opening of his drugstore at the building formerly occupied by the Lewis A. Biehl drugstore. Mr. Fisher had  remodeled the building, and moved the entrance to the Hancock Street side of the building. (The Fisher drugstore had previously been on West Washington Street.) All vistors to the newly remodeled Fisher Drug store received a souvenir. Below is a picture of the Fisher Drug store in 1955.

By 1957, Earl McGookey was the proprietor of the Fisher Drug Store. Eventually the drugstore became known as the Fisher-Buderer Drug Company. Today, the company is the Buderer Drug Company, a compounding pharmacy with locations in Sandusky, Avon and Perryburg. At GoogleMaps, you can see a recent picture of the intersection of Hancock and East Monroe Street.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Research Using Erie County Cemetery Interment Cards

A valuable source of genealogical information is housed at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. In the 1980s, in preparation for the book Erie County,Ohio Cemetery Census Before 1909, volunteers from all townships of Erie County created note cards with interment information about the individuals buried in Erie County cemeteries. While the book features inscriptions about graves up to the year 1908, the index cards provide information about burials up to the decade of the 1980s. These hundreds of index cards were microfilmed, and are now found in the second drawer of the third section of the microfilm cabinet in the Archives Research Center.

When you load the microfilm onto the microfilm reader/scanner, remember to set the size to 16mm, as these films are a smaller size than the standard 35mm size microfilm.
Below is a copy of Anne Hubbard Butler’s interment card. The inscription that is on her tombstone is provided, as well as her birth and death years, and also noted is the fact that she was from Pennsylvania. Anne, who died when she was only eight years old, is buried in Block 61, Lot 14 at Oakland Cemetery. The inscription on her stone reads: Adored daughter of Watson Hubbard Butler and Susan Quay Butler. A little child shall lead them.

David Campbell, 1816 – 1855, was most likely a close relative of the David Campbell who founded Sandusky’s first newspaper, which eventually became the Register. This particular David Campbell was born in Homer, New York in 1816 and died in Delaware, Ohio in 1855. Though he was not born in Sandusky, Ohio, and he did not die in Sandusky, he was laid to rest in Sandusky, Ohio to be in the family lot at Oakland Cemetery.

By viewing the microfilmed interment cards, you can glean details about your ancestors beyond what appears on their tombstone, such as family relationships, military service, and place of residence. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to dig into your own family history.