Thursday, April 28, 2016

Cartes de Visite of Tom Thumb and Company

Mrs. Inez Koch donated several cartes de visite of Tom Thumb, his wife, and others who appeared with him in the 1800s, to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.  The picture above was originally sold by John W. Pittock of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Tom Thumb’s real name was Charles Sherwood Stratton. He was born to normal size parents, but as a youngster he stopped growing. In 1842, under the management of the famous theatrical promoter P.T. Barnum (a distant relative), he began a show business career as “Tom Thumb.” In 1863 Charles Sherwood Stratton married Lavinia Warren, who was also of short stature; the wedding was a major news story of the time. On their wedding trip, the couple met President Lincoln.

Between 1869 and 1872 George Washington Morrison Nutt, known as “Commodore Nutt” toured the world with Mr. and Mrs. Tom Thumb and Minnie Warren, the sister of “Mrs. Tom Thumb.”

Hewson Peeke wrote in his book A Standard History of Erie County that General Tom Thumb appeared at Norman Hall in Sandusky on April 27, 1869. When the General and his “troop of little folks” appeared in Cleveland in May of 1868, the Plain Dealer reported that Commodore Nutt was “the life of the whole party.” The article continued, “There is more fun and mischief in his little body than is usually allotted to a whole family.”  Mr. and Mrs. Tom Thumb and Commodore Nutt and Minnie Warren achieved fame and financial success in their interesting career. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Cask Villa in Vermilion

During the 1920s, William J. O’Neill purchased over twenty wine casks from a wine wholesaler in Ohio. The casks were made from solid oak, and measured nine feet in length and twelve feet in diameter. Mr. O’Neill hired carpenters to put windows and a door in each wine cask, and to level the bottoms. Foundations were placed under each large barrel, and each was equipped with electricity, a stove and even a bathtub. The casks were painted, and a screened in porch attached to the front of the structures. Soon the “Cask Camp” served as a place for vacationing motorists to stop and spend the night along the old lake road between Vermilion and Sandusky.  Eventually the unique group of cottages became known as “Cask Villa.”

The picture above is from the Karl Kurtz Estate. On the back of the picture is the “Ohio’s Lake Erie Vacationland” stamp, once a familiar sight to most local residents.

An article in the April 26, 1951 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News stated that cottages at Cask Villa could be rented for $25 to $35 a week. These cottages were available for rent up to the 1960s. By 1978 the Cask Villa Condominiums had been built on a site near the former Cask Villa cottages. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Sandusky Service Stations

Bob’s Marathon Station and Bill’s Sohio Station were just two of the over forty local service stations listed in the 1960 Sandusky City Directory. Bob’s Marathon was operated by Robert W. Kowalk in 1960. The station was conveniently located kitty corner to Jean’s Diner.

Local residents would pass by Bob’s Marathon on their way to the Sandusky Plaza, which opened in 1956. Not far away from Bob’s Marathon Station, Bill’s Sohio Service Station was in business at 537 Huron Avenue at East Madison Street; William H. Herhold, a resident of Huron, was the proprietor.

An article in the July 18, 1961 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that Bill’s Sohio Station, which had recently been renovated, was among Standard Oil’s Most Modern Stations. The station had three gasoline pumps. When customers had their gas pumped, the employees of Bill’s Sohio Station would also clean the customer’s windshield and check the oil, water and battery. Other services included tune-ups, wheel balancing, and the installation of mufflers, tires, spark plugs and batteries. Top Value stamps were given away with every purchase at Bill’s Sohio. Of course today the gas stations formerly operated by the Standard Oil Company are now owned by British Petroleum, and most gas pumps are self-service.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Who Was Grandpa Corell?

This nineteenth century cabinet card is housed in the Arts Collection of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. It pictures men in a three-piece string band. The only individual who has been identified is “Grandpa Corell” on guitar, in the center of the group. On the back of the card is the name of the photographer, C.A. Cross.

Notes with the original item indicate that the  picture was taken sometime between 1885 and 1900. To determine the identity of Grandpa Corell, we consulted print sources  in our collection, as well as online genealogical databases. The book Sandusky Then and Now indicates that Christoph. Correll, who was born in Odenbach, Bavaria, Germany in May of 1819, and moved to the Sandusky area about 1849. Christopher Correll (often spelled Corell) married Catherine Christopher. In the 1870 U.S. Census, there are several children listed to Christopher and Catherine Corell, including sons named Charles, William and Ira Corell.

It turns out that Charles Corell died relatively young, and William Corell moved to Michigan. The 1890 Sandusky City Directory listed Christopher Corell, a carpenter; and Ira J. Corell, a plane maker.

By doing some quick math, in 1890 Christopher Corell would have been about 71 years old, and Ira J. Corell would have been 31 years of age. Since the guitar player looks to be a young man, the logical conclusion is that “Grandpa Corell” is very likely named Ira J. Corell. After doing a search for Corell  in our PastPerfect Database, other Corell family items which were donated appear to have come from the Ira Corell family, giving further evidence that this cabinet card most likely came from the Ira Corell family as well. If you have family photographs, be sure to the label people in your pictures, for the benefit of future generations who may have an interest in family history.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Bamberger’s Hat Shop

Jacob Bamberger opened his hat shop, The Avenue Store, in Sandusky in 1914 at 162 Columbus Avenue.  The Avenue Store had a big hat sale to celebrate its fifth anniversary in 1919.

You can see a portion of Bamberger's  Avenue Store in the picture below, taken in 1925. Eventually the name of the store became simply, Bamberger’s.

Jacob Bamberger was born in Germany in 1888, and he came to the United States in 1909. He and Alice Dreifuss were married in 1921. While on their honeymoon in Washington D.C., Mr. and Mrs. Bamberger were the guests of Congressman James T. Begg.  In 1934, the Bamberger store moved to West Market Street in the Hotel Rieger building. In the 1947 Twin Anniversary Edition of the Sandusky Register Star News, Mr. and Mrs. Bamberger  ran this advertisement.

Mrs. Alice Bamberger passed away in 1963. Jacob Bamberger operated the hat shop until the late 1960s. He died on February 22, 1972. Both Mr. and Mrs. Bamberger were members of the Oheb Shalom Temple, and were buried in the Jewish Cemetery on South Columbus Avenue. This lovely hat, once worn as an Easter bonnet, is now in the collections of the Follett House Museum. The hat was purchased at Bamberger’s store in the 1950s or 1960s.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Agriculture Has Played a Key Role in the History and Development of Erie County

Before the 1800s, nearly all Ohioans earned their living through agriculture. Even as industrialization expanded in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, agriculture remained and continues to play an important role in our economy. A 2012 Census of Agriculture indicated that there were over 300 farms in Erie County, Ohio, with over 83,000 acres of farm land in the county. The market value of agricultural products sold was worth more than $88,000,000 dollars. The top crops in Erie County were listed as soybeans and corn. 

Several items in the Sandusky Library Archives Research and Sandusky Library reflect the importance of agriculture to our area. This is a ribbon from the Erie County Fair held in 1856:

The 1874 and 1896 historical Erie County atlases show the locations and property owners of the farms in rural Erie County. In the holdings of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center are several ribbons and premium booklets from past Erie County Fairs, primarily from the nineteenth century. 

Man local citizens have been recognized over the years for their agricultural skills and innovations. Erie County resident Wells W. Miller served as Ohio’s ninth Secretary of Agriculture, from 1894 to 1906. The medal below was presented to Charles J. Messer for his corn sheller at the 1858 Ohio State Fair, which was held in Sandusky. Mr. Messer’s threshing factory was located at the corner of Water and Warren Streets. An early annual report the Ohio State Board of Agriculture reported that Messer’s power corn sheller had no superior.

The Hero Reaper was manufactured by the Sandusky Machine and Agricultural Works in the 1880s.

The well-known Hoover Potato Digger was made at the same time in Avery, just a short distance south of Sandusky. Using the wealth derived from the invention, the Hoover family became prominent investors in the Lakeside Chautauqua community in Ottawa County. 

In 1911 the National Corn Exposition was held in Columbus, Ohio from January 30 to February 11.  Milton Earle donated this ribbon from the Corn Exposition to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.

The National Corn Exposition of 1911 featured exhibits from thirty five states. Scientific displays were exhibited by over twenty agricultural colleges and agricultural experimental stations. The National Corn Banquet was held on February 3, 1911, and President Taft spoke at the Exposition on February 10. 

If you would like to learn more about the history of agriculture in Ohio, there are many books available for loan through the ClevNet system on the topic of farms in Ohio.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Books to Help the Sandusky Homemaker in the 19th Century

In 1874, Mrs. Oran Follett, the former Eliza Gill, wrote a book entitled The Young Housekeeper’s Assistant, published by the press of the Register Steam Printing Company. Mrs. Follett wrote in the introduction to the book, that the book was written from the perspective of an experienced housekeeper, who had “endeavored with patience and economy to minister to the wants of a family.” All recipes were intended to be practical, and had been tested by Mrs. Follett or by other experienced housekeepers. A recipe for graham flour gems is found on page nine:

Instructions on how to pickle tongues is included in the meat section:

Tips on house cleaning, laundry, and mending were included The Young Housekeeper’s Assistant, as well as information on how to care for the sick. Several recipes for cough syrup are found on page 134.  

Another book for Sandusky homemakers was published in 1888 by I.F. Mack, the publisher and editor of the Sandusky Register. The book, The Sandusky House-Keeper, was created as a fund raising project of the Ladies’ Library Association of Sandusky. Housekeepers from Sandusky and beyond contributed to the cookbook, including Mrs. Follett, the author of the Young Housekeeper’s Assistant. Salad dressings and a recipe for “cold slaw” are found on pages 162-163.

At the top of page 159, in the section of the book which featured recipes for salads and pickles, is a funny quotation by Douglas Jerrold: “My dear Mr. Pepper, how glad you must be to see all your friends mustered.” Well known banker Jay Cooke contributed to the chapter that includes additional recipes. He gave instructions on how to fry trout, a skill he probably used quite often.

In the back of The Sandusky House-Keeper is a section of lined blank pages, where the owner of each book could jot down additional recipes. As in The Young Housekeeper’s Assistant, there were several pages devoted to housekeeping tips and caring for the sick. These two books show us the types of meals that may have been prepared by our ancestors, and provide an indication of the way housekeepers handled daily chores in a bygone era. Both The Sandusky House-keeper and The Young Housekeeper’s Assistant were included in a bibliography entitled Preserving the History of United States Agriculture and Rural Life: State and Local Literature, 1820-1945, compiled by The Ohio State University in 2004.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Hand Colored Postcards from George F. Windisch and Company

Several hand-colored postcards created by George F. Windisch and Company are housed in the collection of historical photographs at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. The postcard above features a view of the Cedar Point pier at the foot of Columbus Avenue in the first quarter of the twentieth century. George F. Windisch was a lifelong Sandusky resident, born in 1864 to parents of German descent. From 1903 to 1917, he, along with Carl F. Denzer, operated a business in the Stone’s Block on Sandusky’s Columbus Avenue.   The view in the postcard below faces south toward Columbus Avenue.

Many of these postcards are scenes from Cedar Point, the popular resort which still attracts visitors to the Sandusky area every summer and fall.

In 1919, George F. Windisch sold his interests in the store to his partner C.F. Denzer, who continued on as the sole proprietor.

After leaving the bookstore and stationery business, Windisch worked for the Herb and Myers department store. Mr. Windisch died in September, 1953 at the age of 89. An obituary appeared in the September 24, 1953 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

A Child's Clothing in the 1850s

This long sleeved little boy’s dress was worn by King West, the son of William T. and Lydia Mahala Todd West in the 1850s. These short pants completed the outfit, which would have allowed young King to toddle around easily.

King David West was born on June 7, 1853. The son of William T. West, he was named after his uncle, Abel Kingsbury West. (Some sources list King’s name as Abel Kingsbury West.)

W.T. West and A.K. West were pioneer Sandusky residents who operated a dry goods store and built the West House hotel.  The 1869 Sandusky City Directory lists the residence of King D. West as West House, and his occupation was clerk at the dry goods store of W.T. and K.D. West.

Sadly, on September 9, 1872, nineteen year old King D. West drowned in Lake Erie after a sudden storm overtook the yacht Oriole, as King was with a group who wanted to view the regatta at Put in Bay. He was buried in the West family lot in the North Ridge section of Oakland Cemetery. His parents were heartbroken at the loss of their son. He most likely would have played an integral role in the business ventures of the West family, had he lived longer. King’s sister, Mrs. C.L. Hubbard (nee Jennie West) donated King’s childhood clothing to the historical museum of the Sandusky Library. The garments are now part of the historical collections of the Follett House Museum.