Monday, December 30, 2019

African American Barbers in Sandusky

There have been barbers for as long as history has been recorded.  Razors have been found dating back to the Bronze Age, and shaving is mentioned in the Bible. In Sandusky there were many barber shops located within local hotels, for the convenience of out of town travelers.  Pictured below is the J. and F. Bock Barber Shop, at 810 Water Street around 1886.  Joseph and Frank Bock’s father Matthias G. Bock was listed as a barber in the 1855 Sandusky City Directory.

Barbering was one of the few professions open to black men in the nineteenth century, so several shops in Sandusky were operated by African Americans. In the Firelands Pioneer of July 1888 Rush Sloane states that Grant Ritchie, an African American, opened the first barber shop in Sandusky. Ritchie “was the earliest and most active agent of the line [Underground Railroad] and always successful in his operations.” Another African American agent of the Underground Railroad was John Lott, who barbered in Sandusky in the 1840’s and 1850’s.  It is thought that many discussions and plans for the freeing of fugitive slaves via the underground railway took place in barber shops, where African American men could speak freely.

Mr. Lott’s advertisement appeared in The Daily Sanduskian on January 31, 1851.

John Lott was among the several African American citizens of Sandusky who presented Rush Sloane with a silver headed cane in appreciation of his efforts on behalf of seven fugitive slaves whom he represented in 1852. You can still see this cane at the Follett House Museum. Unfortunately, no known photographs exist of Mr. Ritchie or Mr. Lott.

Barber shops continue to thrive all over America, particularly in the African American community, where people can get a haircut as well as catch up on the local gossip. Barber shops have been the inspiration for books, magazine articles, barbershop quartets, and even a major motion picture in 2002.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas Greetings, With a Christmas Card Inspired by Sandusky’s Washington Square

In 1966, Eileen Detlefsen created a series of Christmas cards which were inspired by scenes from old Sandusky.  Mrs. Detlefsen used the linoleum block print technique to make the scenes on each holiday card. Each handmade card was stamped “Eileen’s Originals” on the back.  The card above features Sandusky’s public square, also known as Washington Square, about 1863. Buildings featured in the print include Grace Episcopal Church, the old Academy building, the former Congregational Church building, and at the far right, the First Presbyterian Church. An undated (and unsourced) photocopy in our historical files appears to be a copy taken from the page of a nineteenth century book. While the photocopy is not identical to the print created by Eileen, both images are quite similar.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Sandusky Residents Helped “Stamp Out” Tuberculosis

Several sheets of Christmas seals, ranging in dates from 1950 to 1993, are in the historical collections of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. The 1951 seals featured Santa, along with the familiar American Lung Association logo:

By 1969 a statement on top of the page of seals indicated that by purchasing the holiday seals, the purchaser was supporting the fight against tuberculosis and emphysema as well as air pollution.

Helen Hansen and Virginia Steinemann wrote an article for the December 26, 1993 issue of the Sandusky Register, “Stamping Out TB.” Tuberculosis, sometimes known as consumption or scrofula, was a common cause of death in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Oran Follett (below), a prominent Sandusky resident, lost his first wife and two daughters to the dreadful disease.

In 1907, when tuberculosis was the leading cause of death for Americans, an American Red Cross volunteer, Emily Bissell, helped to promote a fund-raising campaign in which seals were sold and funds were used to help build hospitals for tuberculosis patients. A similar campaign had been successful in Denmark. Several Sandusky women sold stamps near the Post Office. By 1920 the National Tuberculosis Association took over the sale of Christmas seals. Children could purchase the small seals in their classroom for a penny apiece. The Tuberculosis and Health Association of Erie County purchased x-ray equipment in 1932, and later a mobile x-ray truck, to help in the diagnosis of tuberculosis among local residents.   

By the year 1940, tuberculosis dropped to being number seven in the cause of deaths of Americans. Now the funding group for Christmas seals is known as the American Lung Association, which still sells them each holiday season. You can read about the history of Christmas seals online.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Early Christmas Cards

Now in the historical collections of the Follett House Museum, these Christmas cards date back to 1880. Underneath the image of each young lady on these vintage cards are the words “A Christmas greeting with love.” Each card is decorated with fringe.

These Christmas cards do not feature the bright Christmas green and red so often used in modern Christmas cards, but rather have muted colors. They were donated to the Sandusky Library’s historical museum by Mrs. Arthur Crosskill, the former Millicent West Hubbard. Millicent West Hubbard was born in Sandusky on September 21, 1880 to Charles Livingston Hubbard and Jenna West Hubbard.  Her grandparents were Mr. and Mrs. Lester Hubbard and Mr. and Mrs. William T. West, all pioneer residents of Sandusky, Ohio. 

To learn more about the history of Christmas cards, see this article from Smithsonian magazine.

Monday, December 16, 2019

A Look at a Classroom at Sandusky Business College in 1908


This picture post card of a young woman in a classroom at the Sandusky Business College was created in December of 1908 when the school was in the Mahala Block on Washington Row.  At the front of the classroom was a large calendar from Buerkle and Lermann, a local insurance and real estate company. At the top of the chalkboard is the date December 17, 1908.

Vintage light fixtures -- probably only recently converted from gas jets to electric light -- are suspended from the ceiling, and shorthand characters are visible on the chalkboard. Instead of individual desks, the students in this class sat at sturdy wooden tables and chairs.

While today's students often use computers and tablets, students in 1908 used books, paper and pen as their main educational tools. 

The Sandusky Register of December 17, 1908 featured articles about President-Elect William Howard Taft, who had recently been elected. Employees of the Enterprise Glass Company were negotiating for higher wages. The suffragists were planning a convention to continue their quest to earn the right to vote for American women. Also in the Register was an ad for Hood's Sarsaparilla, which claimed to be helpful for troubles of the blood, liver, stomach and kidneys. Locally, Frank Schnaitter sold suits at his tailor shop for prices ranging from $25 to $50. The Manhattan men's store carried a full line of "union suits." Grocer Herman Bremer gave out Eagle stamps at his grocery store at the corner of Monroe and Clinton Streets with every cash sale. The Donahue Hardware Store on Water Street offered several suggestions for Christmas gifts, including pockets knives for twenty cents, skates for sixty cents, and sleds for fifty cents and up. By viewing this post card, and the local newspaper of the day, we can get a good idea of what was happening in Sandusky on December 17, 1908. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to view microfilmed copies of Sandusky newspapers dating back to 1822.

Friday, December 13, 2019

When Sandusky Had Twelve Channels on Cable TV

Subscribers of cable television through the former North Central TV, Inc. in Sandusky in 1978 had access to twelve channels. The channels are listed below in a brochure.

Cable subscribers could have access to more channels, better reception, and no need for an antenna, according to the brochure from the cable company. 

An informational exhibit from Washington and Lee University, states that in 1978 were 72,900,000 American households with televisions. The top four television programs in 1978 included Laverne and Shirley, Three’s Company, Mork and Mindy, and Happy Days. You can read more about the history of television in Cleveland in the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Cotillion Soiree Held in 1850

At the top of the invitation to the Cotillion Soiree held on December 11, 1850 at the Townsend House in Sandusky is a portion of a poem by Milton.  It reads:

Come, and trip it as you go,
On the light fantastic toe.

(From this poem, to “trip the light fantastic” became a way of describing dancing.)  
The Townsend House, which opened in the 1840s, was at the northwest corner of Market and Decatur Streets.

A young Rush R. Sloane was one of the floor managers of the Cotillion Soiree. He would later go on to build the Sloane House hotel, and serve as Mayor of Sandusky. He was also known for his bold abolitionist views and actions during the time of the Underground Railroad.
image from the Internet Archive
Other floor managers of the Soiree were: John W. Wetherell and G.J. Francisco. Honorary managers were Ebenezer B. Sadler, E.S. Flint, Pitt Cooke, J.G. Camp, Jr., J.E. Follett, and Theodore Hosmer. These were some of the earliest and best known pioneer residents of Sandusky. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research to learn more about the history of Sandusky and Erie County, Ohio.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Victrolas Sold at the Scheuer-Frankel Store

The Scheuer-Frankel Company, in the Grafe Building on East Market Street, sold the Orthophonic Victrola in downtown Sandusky during the holiday season of 1926. 

This product was said to offer improvements in sound, compared to former models of the phonograph. Below is an advertisement which appeared in the Sandusky Star Journal of November 23, 1927.

On YouTube you can hear a recording played on a 1927 Victor Orthophonic Model 812X by Ted Weems and His Orchestra: “You’re the Cream in my Coffee.”  Click here to read more about the history of the Victor Phonograph. Many residents of Sandusky and Erie County enjoyed sound recordings played on a Victor phonograph.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

P.O.C. Beer in Sandusky

An advertisement in the December 4, 1935 issue of the Sandusky Register announced that the P.O.C. beer, made by the Pilsener Brewing Company of Cleveland, was to be served and delivered by “discriminating dealers” in Sandusky. The local distributorship was located at 1329 First Street in Sandusky, Ohio. 

According to the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, the company was founded in 1892 by Bohemian brewer Wenzel Medlin. One of Pilsener’s most popular brands was P.O.C., which stood for “Pilsener of Cleveland,” though many people thought it stood for “Pride of Cleveland.”

In the Sandusky Register Star News of May 27, 1949, an ad declared that P.O.C. beer was the “pick of the crop.”

The Sandusky distributorship of the Pilsener Brewing Company remained in Sandusky until about 1962. For many years, an ad for P.O.C. beer could be seen on the outside brick wall of Cronin’s Tavern at 1119 West Washington Street, the current location of Joe Sundae’s.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

A View from the Steeple at St. Mary’s Church

This picture was taken in 1911 from the steeple of St. Mary’s Catholic Church. St. Mary’s Parochial School is visible on the right side of the photo, located at the corner of Decatur and Jefferson Streets. Further to the east, at the intersection of Jefferson Street and Columbus Avenue, the tops of three different churches can be seen. The tallest church tower at this intersection is that of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. Zion Lutheran Church is directly across the  street, and the First Congregational Church is at the northwest corner of Jefferson and Columbus.

It looks as though the weather is cold, as you can see people scurrying down Decatur Street in this close up view below.

In 1911 Fred Westerhold had a jewelry and clock store in the 400 block of Decatur Street. He stated that his prices were reasonable in this ad from the November 2, 1911 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal.

Gasper Anastas had opened a shoe repair shop in August of 1911 at 426 Decatur Street.  He promised to bring first-class work and the best materials to his customers.

By looking at city directories from the period in which a photograph was taken can help you understand what a neighborhood was like in a specific era. Visit the Sandusky Library to learn more about the historic businesses and residents of Sandusky and Erie County.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving Dinner at the Opera House Cafe in 1900

According to the November 29, 1900 issue of the Sandusky Daily Star, on Thanksgiving Day in 1900, George A. Boeckling invited one hundred youngsters to have dinner at the Opera House Cafe. Mr. Boeckling asked Truant Officer Ulrich Zuercher to pass out the dinner invitations to needy children in Sandusky.

 The Opera House Cafe was located on Water Street, next to the Nielsen Opera House, seen at the far right in the picture above. Boeckling and Zuercher met the crowd of hungry youngsters at the cafe at 11:00 on Thanksgiving Day. Waiters and waitresses served the children a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings. The Star article reported that the children had their appetites with them and they gave “an exhibition of knife and fork play that has never been rivaled in the cafe.” Mr. Boeckling was making plans to have Santa Claus make an appearance at the lobby of the Nielsen Opera House on Christmas Eve, at which time he planned to pass out one thousand complimentary tickets.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Deputy Sheriff A.A. “Pete” Killian

From about 1936 to 1948, Alfred A. “Pete” Killian worked as a Deputy Sheriff for the Erie County Sheriff’s Department. Pete Killian is the man standing on the left in the picture above. Wanted posters can be seen on the walls of the office. When Pete worked for the Sheriff’s Department, it was located inside the Erie County Jail on West Adams Street, now a part of the Sandusky Library.

Deputy Killian took special training in fingerprinting and identification at the Institute of Applied Science and at the University of Oklahoma. In 1937 he was elected to be a trustee of the Ohio State Association of Identification. Throughout his law enforcement career, Deputy Killian spoke about the science of fingerprinting to several local civic organizations. When he spoke to the Exchange Club in 1946, he pointed out that in collecting millions of fingerprints over fifty years, no two were ever found to be identical.  An article which appeared in the February 24, 1938 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that Deputy Killian had 2,500 fingerprints that had been collected over a ten year period.

A.A. “Pete” Killian died at Providence Hospital in Sandusky on December 7, 1962, at the age of 71. He was survived by his wife, nieces and nephews. We do not know the details of why Deputy Killian is pictured behind "bars" (as a joke by/for friends?), but this photograph is housed in the historical photograph collections of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Odd Fellows in Sandusky

The badge below once belonged to Frank B. Leake, who was a member of  Ogontz Lodge, No. 66 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) in Sandusky, Ohio.

The principal emblem of the Odd Fellows is three links, with the letters F, L, and T, which stand for friendship, love, and truth. Other symbols on the pendant include a Bible, an hourglass, a heart in an open hand, and fasces. The open Bible represents a source of truth, while the hourglass reminds us of how quickly time passes by. The fasces represents strength in unity, and the hand holding the heart is an indication of love and mercy.

Sandusky's former Odd Fellows Hall, located at 231 West Washington Row, was built in 1889 by the Feick brothers. Lodge members met upstairs, and businesses and offices were located at the street level of the building. In 2003 the IOOF building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Now privately owned, and still home to offices, the Odd Fellows Hall hosted many lodge meetings, dinners, and dances, throughout most of the twentieth century. It remains a beautiful historic building in downtown Sandusky. The photograph below was taken at a dance at the Odd Fellows Hall about 1912.

To read more about the history and principles of the Odd Fellows, see the Odd Fellows Manual, accessible at Google Books.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Matern Stove and Furnace Company

Henry Matern was born in Germany in 1827. He came to the United States in 1849, and settled in Sandusky in 1850, opening a stove and tinware business in town in 1856. His store was on the south side of Water Street between Jackson Street and Columbus Avenue. By 1869, his brother Phillip had joined the business with him. In 1889 Henry Matern organized the Matern Stove and Furnace Company. 

The “Jewel Grand” model was considered the grandest stove in America, according to a newspaper ad that appeared in the Sandusky Register in 1889.

Mr. Matern also had a floral shop on Washington Street. Henry Matern, Sr. passed away on April 10, 1898, survived by his widow, and seven children. Following his death, his son, Henry Matern, Jr., took over the stove business, and his widow, the former Lena Linkenbach, ran the flower shop.

The stoves carried by the Matern Stove and Furnace Company had impressive names such as Jewel, Sterling, and Garnet. In the ad below, which was featured in the October 4, 1901 issue of the Sandusky Daily Star, it was stated that a barrel of flour was baked into bread using only ten cents of hard coal. This stove was once demonstrated at the Erie County Fair.

A brochure published by the Detroit Stove Works, with story problems and puzzlers was given away by the Matern Company. It was entitled “Mental Nuts: Can You Crack ‘em?”

Puzzler number 3 read:

The Beggar

A beggar had a brother, the brother died and the man who died had no brother.

The answer to the puzzler is:

The beggar was a woman

The name of the business eventually was shortened to the Matern Stove Company. It went out of business in the fall of 1917. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to find information about the historical businesses and residents of Sandusky and Erie County.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Augustus H. Moss, Pioneer Banker

Augustus Hitchcock Moss was born in the state of New York in 1810. He married his second cousin, Mary Esther Moss, in 1837, and the couple moved to Sandusky, Ohio.  Mr. Moss ran a general store at the western portion of Water Street in Sandusky beginning in 1837.  Later he sold part of his store to his brother Samuel, and kept part of the business as a hardware store until about 1850. 

At that time he became partners with his brothers in law, Truman and Horace Moss, in a banking business known as the Moss Brothers Bank. After the bank was nationalized in 1863, it was known as the First National Bank of Sandusky. By 1883 the bank was known as the Moss National Bank, with Augustus H. Moss serving as its president. In about 1903, the Moss Bank merged with the Second National Bank, to become the Commercial Banking Company. This bank failed in the 1930s during the Great Depression.

In 1842, Mr. Moss bought property from Oran Follett, at the northeast corner of Wayne and Jefferson Streets in Sandusky.

The Ohio Historic Places Dictionary states that the Follett-Moss-Moss residences in the 400 block of the eastern side of Wayne Street “provide a capsule history of the 19th-century styles in stone architecture in the city.” The A.H. Moss home was built in the Gothic Revival style. The home of Oran Follett, a personal friend of Augustus Moss, was located at the southeast corner of Wayne and Adams Street, at what is now 404 Wayne Street. The son of Mr. and Mrs. Augustus Moss, J.O. Moss, and his family lived next door at what is now 414 Wayne Street.

Augustus H. Moss died on December 6, 1888, after a brief illness. He had been known and respected among bankers throughout the United States. Mr. Moss was on the vestry of Grace Episcopal Church for over forty years. He was a trustee of Kenyon College for several years, serving on the Finance Committee. A lengthy obituary for Mr. Moss appeared in the December 7, 1888 issue of the Sandusky Register. It read in part, “A gentleman of quiet, dignified bearings, yet courteous, genial and frank, his familiar form and face will be greatly missed from our business circles, from the street, from the church and the social circle in which they have so long been seen.” Funeral services for Augustus H. Moss were held at the family residence on December 8, 1888. Many local business men attended the funeral, and all the banks in Sandusky were closed from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in memory of Mr. Moss. Rev. R.L. Howell, rector of Grace Episcopal Church officiated at the funeral services. Pallbearers included Rice Harper, Oran Follett, R.B. Hubbard, W.P. Chapman, Homer Goodwin, John M. Boalt, Clark Rude, and J.A. Graham. Private burial services were held at Oakland Cemetery.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Sandusky Automobile Company

In 1902, the Sandusky Automobile Company was incorporated with James J. Hinde as President; Edward J. Cable, Secretary; F.P. Zollinger, Treasurer; and J. S. Bennett, Vice President. The factory was located on the west side of Sandusky, on Camp Street, and  manufactured an automobile called the Sandusky.

The Sandusky Automobile Company re-organized in 1904, and a new line of automobile called the Courier was manufactured. The Brown family is pictured below in a “Courier” automobile in 1904.

Within a year of its reorganization the Sandusky Automobile Company went bankrupt. The building was later used by the Brown Clutch Company for several years.

J. J. Hinde was associated with other successful businesses. He was the senior partner in the Hinde and Dauch Paper Company until 1910.  He is said to have been the man who introduced the tractor to Henry Ford. His obituary in 1931 stated that he was a “farmer, industrialist, and globe trotter.” He was long considered a booster of the Sandusky community.

The Fall 1980 issue of the Northwest Ohio Quarterly, available at the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library, features the Sandusky Automobile Company in its lead article by John L. Butler. The second volume of From the Widow's Walk by Helen Hansen and Virginia Steinemann also contains an article about Sandusky’s early automobiles.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Hospital at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home

The postcard pictured above was created by the Alexander Manufacturing Company, and was taken of the hospital at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home in 1918. Below is a view of the hospital in 1928, with a closer view and a slightly different angle.

The original hospital at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home (now the Ohio Veterans Home) opened in January of 1899, with seven trained nurses employed to care for those veterans who needed in-hospital care. An annual report from the Home in 1902 gave this description of the hospital.

In the early 1950s, a new hospital opened at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home. It was known as the John T. Haynes Memorial Hospital, named for the former chief surgeon of the Home, Dr. J.T. Haynes.

Fifty nursing home beds had become available at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home in 1950. Today’s the nursing home facility at the Ohio Veteran Home has 427 beds in three separate units: the Giffin Wing, Secrest North and Secrest South. In continuous operation since it opened in 1888, over 50,000 honorably discharged veterans have been admitted to the Ohio Veterans Home in Erie County, Ohio. 

You can see some vintage pictures of the former Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home at a previous blog post on Sandusky History.