Monday, July 30, 2018

Dr. Elwood Stanley

Elwood Stanley was born in Columbiana County, Ohio in 1823, to Joshua and Rachael Stanley. When Elwood was quite young, he was orphaned. He pursued medical studies at the Cleveland Medical College, graduating in 1849. He had hoped to begin a medical practice in Canton, Ohio that year, but was called to Sandusky to aid in the cholera epidemic in the summer of 1849.  An article in the July 21, 1949 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News stated that Dr. Stanley seemed to never sleep during the epidemic. He walked from house to house, to minister to the sick and console grieving family members. An unidentified elderly African American man was often at his side, as he took care of the many people afflicted with the dreadful disease. 

Dr. Stanley was an active member of the Erie County Medical Society. In 1887 he wrote an article about “The Sanitary Condition of Sandusky Before and After the Completion of the Water-Works and Sewerage System” for a publication of the Ohio State Sanitary Association.

Dr. Stanley had seen first-hand how unsanitary water in Sandusky was a major factor in that city’s cholera epidemics.  

From 1881 to 1885, Dr. Stanley served as Erie County Coroner. On January 4, 1902, Dr. Elwood Stanley died after an extended illness. He was the oldest physician in the city of Sandusky at the time of his death. The Erie County Medical Society adopted resolutions regarding the death of Dr. Elwood Stanley.  Dr. Stanley was survived by his wife Lydia, and an adopted son, Frank Stanley. He was buried at Oakland Cemetery. Dr. Stanley’s  name is listed on the historical marker at the Cholera Cemetery in Sandusky, which honors several physicians and city leaders who played an important part in aiding the cholera victims during the cholera epidemic of 1849.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Excursion of Kilbourne and Jacobs Employees to Cedar Point

Each summer between 1903 and 1911, the employees of the Kilbourne and Jacobs Manufacturing Company in Worthington, Ohio were treated to a day at Cedar Point. A banner bearing the company’s  name was placed on a Pennsylvania Railroad car. 

An article from the July 22, 1905 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal provides with details about the festive event.

James Russell Kilbourne provided each employee with two tickets to Cedar Point. Four separate trains from the Pennsylvania Railroad brought the visitors from Columbus to Sandusky. Once in downtown Sandusky, the employees then boarded steamers to travel to Cedar Point.

Mr. Kilbourne and his party traveled in a private train car. When he arrived in town, he ran into a former military buddy from the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home. The retired soldier wanted to chat, but Mr. Kilbourne said, “I’m too busy to think or talk politics. I want to see that all my people have a good time here.” Besides visiting the beach and other attractions at Cedar Point, the group took part in several contests, including a smoking contest and another one in which they had to guess the number of seeds in a watermelon. On the day of the visit of the three thousand employees of Kilbourne and Jacobs to Cedar Point, the Knights of Columbus brought in a group of one thousand visitors to the Point.

Of course the surname Kilbourne is very familiar to Sandusky residents. The great grandfather of James Russell Kilbourne, was an early surveyor of the lands in Ohio. James Kilbourne (1770-1850) was instrumental in the founding of Sandusky and Worthington. Hector Kilbourne, son of the elder James Kilbourne, was responsible for laying out the plat of Sandusky in the shape of the Masonic emblem.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Getting to Know Horatio Wildman, Former Mayor of Sandusky

Horatio Wildman was born in 1828 in Fairfield County, Connecticut, to Frederick Seymour Wildman, and his wife the former Julia Ann Starr. Horatio’s grandfather was Zalmon Wildman, one of the proprietors of the city of Sandusky. When addressing the Firelands Historical Society at its fall meeting on October 10, 1895, Horatio Wildman recalled his grandfather’s connection to the city of Sandusky. He said about Sandusky, that “Zalmon Wildman said the Almighty meant this location for a town. As a natural location it is unsurpassed by any in Northern Ohio.”  

Horatio Wildman was a graduate of Yale University. After studying law in Connecticut, he moved to Sandusky in 1848. By 1851, Mr. Wildman was the Mayor of Sandusky. In the 1870s, he served as the city solicitor. 

In the 1860 Sandusky City Directory listed Horatio Wildman and his wife Emma (sometimes listed as Emily) as boarding at the Townsend House, along with their two young sons Horatio and Augustus. Soon a third son, Seymour was born.

Eventually the family moved to a home at the northwest corner of Washington and Lawrence Streets in Sandusky. 

After suffering serious health issues, Horatio Wildman died on May 16, 1909. An obituary appeared in the Obituary Record of the Graduates of Yale University.

A lengthy obituary also appeared in the Sandusky Register of May 20, 1909. The article reported that the funeral was held at the family residence at the corner of Lawrence and Washington Streets, with the Ref. W. Ashton Thompson of Grace Church officiating. Members of the Erie County Bar Association attended as a body. Honorary pallbearers included Judge Thomas M. Sloane, E.B. King, Malcom Kelly, U.T. Curran, C. Webb Sadler, T.B. Hoxey, and Hewson L. Peeke. John T. Beecher, an honorary pallbearer, could not be present. Active pallbearers were George C. Beis, W.J. Feisinger, C.H. Cramer and R.B. Fisher. There were numerous floral tributes. A circular wreath was given by the Bar Association. The B and O Railway Office sent a star and crescent tribute. Horatio Wildman was buried in Block 57 of Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery. Mrs. Wildman passed away in 1915, and she too is buried at Oakland.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Lake Erie Island Pictures by Harley Hoffman

In the “Neighboring Communities” collection of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center are several photographs taken by Harley Hoffman, a commercial photographer who had a studio in Castalia, Ohio in the 1950s. Above is a picture of ferry boat passengers approaching Middle Bass Island. You can see the Lonz Winery on the shore. 

The picture below was taken at the Put-in-Bay dock. A sun bather can be seen soaking up the sun on the pier.

Vintage vehicles are visible along the streets of Kelleys Island in this picture of the business district. Businesses pictured include Matso’s Place and the Island Market.

Mr. Hoffman snapped this picture of someone standing by the sign at Inscription Rock along the lakefront at Kelleys Island.

The community oven at Kelleys Island allowed residents to bake bread in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

These men are enjoying an afternoon of fishing at Kelleys Island.

Harley W. Hoffman passed away in 1986. His obituary, which appeared in the May 28, 1986 issue of the Sandusky Register, stated that he had been a salesman for the Mr. Wiggs Department Store. In the decade of the 1950s, Mr. Hoffman is credited with dozens of photographs that appeared in the Sandusky Register Star News. Because of Harley Hoffman’s photographs, we have a better understanding of what everyday life was like in a by-gone era.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Vintage Views of Cedar Point Beach

The Sandusky Library Archives Research Center is fortunate to have in its collections several photographs and post cards from Cedar Point. Above is a scene featuring the boardwalk along the Cedar Point Beach in the early twentieth century. Below are three individuals watching the boats on Lake Erie as the waves roll in.

In the summer of 1914, Tony Jannus thrilled crowds by offering daily flights in a "hydroplane." The brief air flights were offered for a fee of fifty cents per person. (About $8 in today's money -- not bad!)

During the 1930s, several amusement rides were located very close to the beach.

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to learn more about the rich history of Sandusky and Erie County. Historical photographs may be viewed online at

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Annual Outing of Booth Fisheries Employees

Mrs. H.C. Lehman donated this undated picture postcard of employees of the Booth Fisheries on their annual outing. The manager of Booth Fisheries, J.J. Schrank, is the fourth individual on the left in the back row. The men are all lined up at the pier, waiting for the trip to begin aboard the Major Wilcox. While we are not positive which year this picture was taken, an article in the July 2, 1917 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal provides us with a vivid description of the annual outing from 1917. The headline of the article stated that the outing was a great success.

Over fifty employees of the Booth Fisheries, and some of their friends, left aboard the company docks, in spite of threatening weather. Louis Beverick served as master of ceremonies, and “Bumps” Biehl was the chef. The group was served turtle soup and fried fish. After dinner, the group returned to Sandusky to unload equipment, and they returned to the Major Wilcox for a boat ride around the Lake Erie Island, while another round of refreshments was served. If you would like to read the article in its entirety, visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center, to view the Sandusky Star Jounal of July 2, 1917, now on microfilm.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

A Popular Silent Film at the Schade Theatre in 1924

The silent movie George Washington, Jr. played at the Schade Theatre in Sandusky in July of 1924. The movie was based on a well-known musical play written by George M. Cohan in 1906.  Wesley Barry played the lead character in this film version. Cohan wrote the popular song You’re a Grand Old Flag for this musical comedy. The Schade Theatre (pictured below in 1918) featured air conditioning by 1924. The theater, on West Market Street, was later known as the Ohio Theatre until it was razed in the 1980s.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Earl Dean Alexander, Lawyer and Educator

Earl Dean Alexander (spelled Earle in the 1916 Fram) was born in Sandusky, Ohio in 1898 to Mr. and Mrs. William Alexander. Earl graduated from Sandusky High School in 1916. While in high school, Earl was a member of the debate team. He attended college at Ohio State University, where he was a member of the OSU debating team.

In 1918, he served in the Students Army Training Corps, a program similar to ROTC. He received an honorable discharge after only a few months service. He earned his law degree from the Western Reserve University Law School. In 1922, he married Catherine Thompson. Mr. Alexander worked as a lawyer in Cleveland, Ohio for two years, then he and his wife moved to New York City. 

An article which appeared in the  Sandusky Star Journal of January 26, 1924,  discussed three young African American men from Sandusky who were on their way to becoming a lawyer, a doctor, and a dentist. Earl Alexander was the Sandusky High School graduate who was determined to become a lawyer.

In 1938, Earl Dean Alexander earned a Master’s Degree in Education from the College of the City of New York. He taught at Seward Park High School, the alma mater of several celebrities, including Tony Curtis, Walter Matthau, and Estelle Getty. 

On April 15, 1983, Earl Dean Alexander, Sr. passed away in the state of New York.  He was buried at the Long Island National Cemetery. An obituary for Mr. Alexander was carried in the April 27, 1983 issue of the Sandusky Register.