Saturday, February 27, 2016

Our Old Town – As She Used t’ Be by William T. Martin

The book, Our Old Town – As She Used t’ Be, by William T. Martin is in the Local Authors collection of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. The author was born in Sandusky on November 20, 1889 to John J. and Catherine (Laughlin) Martin. William recalls his hometown in the days before television and automobiles, when corporal punishment was the norm, and children under eighteen were allowed to work at a labor-intensive job. 

Some of the local attractions that William enjoyed as a youngster in Sandusky were the County Fair, the Fourth of July celebration, the Labor Day Parade, and the resorts at Cedar Point and Johnson’s Island. He visited Nielsen’s Opera House often. He recalled the women there wearing their finest clothing and jewelry. Youngsters usually sat in the balcony, known as “Peanut Heaven.” He remembered the orchestra fondly, with E.B. Ackley as the leader, and Billy Hauser on viola. The audience praised the orchestra and the dramatic productions with loud applause, whistling, and pounding their feet on the floor.

William’s mother bought his clothing from Kronthal and Bretz, his shoes from Giedeman and Homegardner or Farrell & Rosino shoe store, and hats from Biehl’s hat store. He went to elementary school at Holy Angels at a time when each of the two large classrooms held four grades. On Saturdays he and his friends would walk the seven miles to Castalia, where they would often visit the Blue Hole, which at the time was just a hole in the ground from which water gushed continually - not yet a tourist attraction. He recalled seeing the horse drawn wagons from the Kuebeler & Stang brewery go down Tiffin Avenue with a load of empty bottles. On a snowy day, William and some of his friends hung on to the back of the beer wagon and swing from side to side in the slippery snow. The brewery reported the incident to Father Lamb, and the boys were paddled as punishment. The youngsters who lived in Sandusky enjoyed skating on Sandusky Bay. One winter day, William grabbed on to the back of an ice boat, built by Mr. Bing. He had ice skates on, and found himself traveling all across the bay from Bay Bridge to Johnson’s Island. He remembers the commercial ice businesses and large fisheries along the waterfront. William’s father was a grocery salesman for the old Hoover and Woodward Wholesale Grocery store on Water Street.

This was at a time when there were numerous neighborhood grocery stores in Sandusky, and deliveries were made by horse and buggy. Some grocery stores in Sandusky also had saloons. Male customers could go to the grocery store and order their groceries, then step into the barroom and have a five cent beer, while their groceries were delivered to their homes.

The chapter entitled “Gram” was very poignant. William’s grandmother, Ann Laughlin, had been born in Ireland. She told young William about the voyage to America, and how crossing the Atlantic was very turbulent. Shortly after Gram had arrived in Sandusky, the cholera epidemic broke out. She was available to her neighbors, showing charity to the sick, and comfort to those who were in mourning. During the time of the Underground Railroad, Gram was known to take soup and bread to the fugitive slaves who were hiding in a large barn near the B & O Railroad yards as they awaited their passage to Canada. During the Civil War, though her own son was fighting for the Union, Gram often took food to the Confederate soldiers who were awaiting the trip to Johnsons Island where they would be imprisoned. Gram doted on William, and he enjoyed her stories about days gone by. 

As new homes were being built all over Sandusky in the early 1900s, William worked as a carpenter’s apprentice for a wage of five cents an hour. As he got older, he worked for the railroad, and later he became a foreman at Union Chain.

William T. Martin retired from Union Chain in 1954, and he lived in Norwalk from about 1958 to 1964. He died at a nursing home in Norwalk in November of 1964. Mr. Martin was not famous, but he left a wealth of information about growing up in Sandusky in his bookHis remembrances seem to make the many historical photographs housed at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center come to life. Though this book is not available for loan, it can be viewed at the Sandusky Library. Inquire at the Reference Services desk for more information. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Father William F. Murphy

Father William F. Murphy was appointed Pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Church on September 5, 1905, the second priest to serve this parish. He succeeded Father R.A. Sidley. Father Murphy oversaw the building of a school for the parish, partially funded by a bequest from Father Sidley. The new school and Sidley Memorial Hall was dedicated in 1907. Following two fires which damaged Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Father Murphy led the parish in seeing that the church was repaired and restored. With the help of a generous gift from Sandusky native Sister Mary Aloysius, the church installed a communion railing made from Italian marble, and two new side altars.

During his thirty-eight years at Sts. Peter and Paul, Father Murphy officiated at hundreds of weddings, baptisms, funerals, and sacred holiday masses. On July 14, 1915, Father Murphy officiated at the wedding of Notre Dame legendary coach Knute Rockne to Bonnie Skiles. The pair had met while they were employed at Cedar Point.

On the occasion of Rev. William F. Murphy’s Golden Jubilee, in which he celebrated fifty years in the priesthood, the whole community gathered to honor him. A mass was held at Sts. Peter and Paul Church on July 4, 1934, with the Most Reverend Kal J. Alter, D.D. presiding.

Catholic leaders all across Ohio attended the Golden Jubilee celebration. On July 5, 1934, a civic reception for Father Murphy was held at Jackson Junior High, and was open to the public. Speakers included Judge Edmond Savord, Mr. J. J. Carroll, president of the G & C Foundry, Congressman W. L. Fiesinger, Attorney John F. McCrystal, Sr., Mr. F. J. Prout, Superintendent of Sandusky Schools, Major C.B. Wilcox, President of the Sandusky Chamber of Commerce, as well as Rev. William Zierolf from St. Mary’s Church and Rev. Thomas Hughes from Trinity Methodist Church. Father Murphy was respected as a community leader by residents of all walks of life and religious denominations. 

On February 24, 1942, Father William F. Murphy died at the age of 84. Sandusky City Manager A.J. Lauber  stated  in an article in the February 24, 1942 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News that, “The death of Monsignor William F. Murphy is a severe loss to our community. He was always eager to give his time and energy to those things which make for a better city in which to live and work. His kindly spirit, his wise counsel and his marvelous personality has endeared him to every person in Sandusky.” Father Murphy’s funeral was widely attended, and he was buried at St. John’s Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Father William F. Murphy saw his congregation through the Great Depression, World War I, and the early years of World War II. His leadership, integrity and compassion were appreciated by  his church members and the entire community.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Lange's Handbook of Chemistry, Published by Handbook Publishers

For over twenty years, Norbert Lange's Handbook of Chemistry was published by the Handbook Publishers in Sandusky, Ohio. The officers of the Handbook Publishers, which was founded in 1934, included: Norbert A. Lange, Orwell Schoepfle, J.M. Costello, and Richard and Randolph Dorn. In the 1937 Sandusky City Directory, Orwell F. Schoepfle was listed as the president and Norbert A. Lange served as vice president. The publishing company was located at 116 Columbus Avenue at that time, though the Handbook of Chemistry was actually printed in Tennessee, using high-grade paper. In 1945 the company moved to 309 West Water Street. In 1958 Handbook Publishers was acquired by McGraw-Hill, with Dr. Lange and Mr. Schoepfle being named as editorial consultants. 

The Handbook of Chemistry was a popular chemistry resource, and was intended for use by students, educators, chemists, and manufacturers. It was widely used in universities all across the United States, and was considered a standard reference book for chemists and scientists. A copy of the Handbook was microfilmed, and included in the contents of the Crypt of Civilization time capsule at Oglethorpe University in Georgia.  

Norbert A. Lange and Orwell Schoepfle had been classmates at Monroe Elementary School, and both were 1910 graduates of Sandusky High School.

In 1918, Norbert A. Lange earned his PhD from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Lange became an instructor of chemistry at the University of Michigan, the Case School of Applied Science, and the Western Reserve University. He was the primary compiler and editor of the Handbook of Chemistry. Eventually the book became known as Lange’s Handbook, even after his death in 1970.

In 2005 Lange’s Handbook of Chemistry was in its 16th edition, a 70th anniversary edition. Copies of the Handbook of Chemistry are housed in the bookcase in the Quiet Reading Room at the Sandusky Library, as well as at the Follett House Museum. Copies of this valuable guide to chemistry are also available for loan through the CLEVNET system. Inquire at the Reference Services Desk of the Sandusky Library if you would like to borrow a copy of the Handbook of Chemistry.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sales Representatives of the Kroma Color Company

Pictured above are sales representatives of the Kroma Color Company, along with officials from its parent company, the American Crayon Company in about 1941. Carey W. Hord, who had been associated with both companies throughout his long career, is the first man on the left in the front row. The Kroma Color Company had been organized as an independent watercolor company in 1912, and Mr. Hord was appointed its first president. In 1941, the Kroma Color Company became a subsidiary of the American Crayon Company. 

The first Kroma Color plant was on East Market Street. By 1921 the company had outgrown this building and moved to the six-story building (later known as the Keller Building) at the northeast corner of West Water and Decatur Streets, which had formerly been occupied by Hinde and Dauch Company.  

Here is how a portion of the building looked, with several Hinde and Dauch employees, when that company was still on West Water Street.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

George Tolman's Valentine

George C. Tolman served as a passenger agent for the Big Four Railway for thirty six years. After retiring from the Big Four, he worked as a passenger agent for the Ashley and Dustin steamer line. Mr. Tolman was born in Medina, Ohio to Dr. and Mrs. Lewis Tolman. He worked for the Cleveland and Toledo Railroad and the United States Express Company before he started his long career as a passenger agent. The June 5, 1925 issue of the Sandusky Register said about Mr. Tolman, “Though well up in years, when most men find comfort in a well earned rest, he showed remarkable activity and interest in serving the boat line and its patrons.” Even after his retirement from the Big Four, Mr. Tolman was often consulted for his advice on matters that formerly had been his concern.

In June of 1861, George C. Tolman married the former Sarah A. Thomas, in Medina County, Ohio. After the death of Mr. Tolman, Mrs. Tolman donated several greeting cards to the Follett House Museum. The Valentine card below was given to Sarah from George Tolman about 1860. The top of the card reads “Ever Thine.”  On the back of the card are handwritten the words: "To the one in all the world I love best. To Miss Sarah Ann Thomas."

 On June 4, 1925, George C. Tolman died at the age of 89; funeral services were held at the Congregational Church, and burial was in Oakland Cemetery. After his death, Mrs. Tolman moved to Oberlin, where she resided with her niece. Mrs. Tolman passed away in 1928, and she was laid to rest next to her husband at Oakland Cemetery. Obituaries for both Mr. and Mrs. George C. Tolman are found in the Obituary Notebooks, housed at the Sandusky Library.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Coolee Engineering Company

According to the Sandusky Star Journal of May 29, 1924, the Coolee Engineering Company became the latest industrial enterprise to open in Sandusky at the southwest corner of Shelby and Water Streets. Machinery from Cleveland was put into place, and the new manufacturing facility was expected to employ about fifty local individuals. Claude H. Cook was president of the company, with C. E. Lewis serving as secretary; H.J. Lewis, first vice president; Charles E. Kingsboro, second vice president; and Marcus Bonar, Auditor and Credit Manager. 

The Herb & Myers Company sold a variety of appliances made by the Coolee Engineering Company in November of 1924. Their brand, O-Kay electrical products were said to be safe, simple, economical, practical serviceable, and lightweight, and just right for a holiday gift. A Herb and Myers ad, which appeared in the November 24, 1924 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal stated,  “Wherever there is electricity in the home, there also is located a very definite O-Kay market.” O-Kay products sold at Herb and Myers included portable heaters, hot plates, grills, and curling irons. All O-Kay products could run on direct or alternating current.

In 1926 the company was re-organized and became known as the Coolee Manufacturing Company. Sadly, an advertisement in the classified section of the December 15, 1928 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal indicated that the Coolee Manufacturing Company had gone into bankruptcy proceedings. 

This electric mixer, made by the Coolee Manufacturing Company, was donated to the Follett House Museum by William McGowan several years ago.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Carl J. Ruff, Mathematics Educator

Carl J. Ruff was an educator for forty eight years. During most of his career, he served as the head of the Mathematics department at Sandusky High School. A graduate of Baldwin Wallace College, Mr. Ruff began teaching at Sandusky High School in 1914, first as a Commercial teacher.  (When the Commercial Department of the Ohio State Teachers Association convened at Cedar Point in June of 1917, Mr. Ruff chaired the event.) During the 1918-1919 academic year, Mr. Ruff served as acting principal of Sandusky High School.  

An article in the March 31, 1950 issue of The Sandusky Hi-Lites, a student newspaper from Sandusky High School, indicated that Carl J. Ruff had the longest service record of any Sandusky High School faculty member up to that time.

Carl J. Ruff retired from Sandusky High School in 1957. He passed away in Sandusky on December 29, 1968. He touched many students’ lives during his long career at Sandusky High School. 
In this undated photo, circa 1918, Carl Ruff is seated at the center of the image, with fellow teachers.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

James T. Begg, U.S. Congressman

James T. Begg was born near Lima, Ohio in 1877. After graduating from Wooster University in 1903, he became a school teacher. Mr. Begg served as superintendent of schools at Columbus Grove from 1905-1910, and at Ironton, Ohio from 1910-1913. On January 14, 1913, James T. Begg accepted the position of superintendent of Sandusky Schools, where he stayed until 1917. After working for two years for the American City Bureau, James T. Begg was elected to 66th United States Congress. He served as Representative from the 13th District of Ohio from 1919 to 1929. In the 1919-1920 Sandusky City Directory, Mr. Begg and his family are listed as residing on Columbus Avenue. James and Grace Begg were the parents of a daughter Eleanor, and a son named James Begg, Jr.  Sadly, James T. Begg, Jr. was killed in an automobile accident on April 26, 1929. Young Mr. Begg was only 19 at the time of his death, a student at Kenyon College.

The front page of the February 25, 1928 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that Congressman Begg was the principal speaker of the dedication of the new Junior High School in Sandusky, which had an auditorium and gymnasium, and also served as a civic building for the community.

He also spoke at the dedication of the Sandusky Bay Bridge, after having been influential in supporting the bridge project. 

Mr. Begg was unsuccessful in his attempt to become Governor of Ohio in 1942.  After his political career, he was associated with Cyrus Eaton Industries, of Cleveland. In 1956, he moved to Oklahoma City, where he died on March 26, 1963. He body was returned to Ohio and was buried in Cleveland’s Lake View Cemetery

Monday, February 01, 2016

Keep the Sidewalks Clear of Snow! (That is, if we ever get any this year)

On February 1, 1881, the following proclamation was made by Sandusky Mayor Rush R. Sloane.
Mayor’s Proclamation
To whom it may concern
Mayor’s Office
Sandusky, O. February 1st, 1881

Whereas, it is by ordinance of said city ordained
“That it shall be unlawful for the owner or occupant of any premises in the city of Sandusky, or the owner or agent of any occupied premises in said city, to allow any snow or ice to remain upon any stone, brick or plank sidewalk abutting on his or her premises, for more than twenty four hours after the same shall have fallen or accumulated on said sidewalk.”
And any person violating said ordinance is liable to prosecution before the Mayor upon complaint of the City Commissioner of Streets and upon conviction shall be fined from one to twenty five dollars and shall be imprisoned until the fine and costs are paid.
It is also made the duty of the Commissioner to clean all sidewalks not cleaned by the owner or occupant and to report the names of the occupants on the premises thus cleaned that they may be proceeded against as required by said ordinance.
I hereby give notice that said ordinance will be duly enforced.
Witness my hand and seal this 1st day of February A.D. 1881

The Mayor’s proclamation appeared in the Sandusky Register of February 5, 1881. It appears that someone in the city of Sandusky was not clearing off  their sidewalks in a timely manner. Mayor Sloane wanted to inform all the citizens of Sandusky that this ordinance was to be diligently enforced. Anyone who has spent the winter in Sandusky knows that the snowfall can be quite heavy and frequent. Below is just one example of how snowy the city can become. In 1913, the snow was piled high along West Water Street, in front of George Rinkleff’s hardware store.