Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Nineteenth Annual Meeting of the Firelands Historical Society, 1875

The nineteenth annual meeting of the Firelands Historical Society was to be held in Norwalk on June 30, 1875, according to the Sandusky Weekly Register of June 23, 1875. Former Governor and soon-to-be President Rutherford B. Hayes addressed the group during its afternoon session. An excerpt of his address appears below:
The early history and reminiscences of the Fire Lands have been collected and preserved. Here are your volumes which tell you what you want to know- what these men and women have done who first came to the Fire Lands. 
I have succeeded in getting all these volumes and read every word of them. Your Society has done efficient and noble service, and I trust you will go on in this work. You have made an important addition to it to-day in the record of the old lawyers of the Fire Lands. 
All this is interesting now, and far, far more so will it be in the future. Next year we are to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary since we became a nation, and now can you find anybody who can show any relic or scrap of history showing what his father or grandfather did one hundred years ago that will not point to it with satisfaction and pride? And this is what you are doing to-day – collecting and preserving the interesting history and relics of the past for your children and posterity. This is not only accomplished by these social gatherings, but socially they prove a great benefit by mingling together of the people, and this social feature is in itself a sufficient object for societies of this kind. We Americans have not too many holidays, when we can meet the young and old – men of various ideas and descriptions – and mingle and consult together. The more of these meetings you can have of the old inhabitants and others, the better. I trust you may have many of them.
You can read the full text of future President Hayes’ speech to the members of the Firelands Historical Society in September 1876 issue of the Firelands PioneerSeveral volumes of the Firelands Pioneer are housed in the lower level of the Sandusky Library. This resource contains dozens of historical and biographical articles about the earliest settlers of Erie and Huron Counties. It is clear through he words that R.B. Hayes saw the historical significance of this publication.  

On the same day that Governor Hayes spoke, another presenter was Sandusky attorney J.M. Root, who spoke about “The Old Lawyers of the Firelands.”

In his talk, he mentioned several Sandusky lawyers, including F.D. Parish, Eleutheros Cooke, and Lucas Beecher. You can read Mr. Root’s speech online.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

A Glimpse into the Life of the Samuel Beach Family

Samuel F. Beach and his wife, the former Harriet Jakes, were married in Erie County, Ohio in June of 1900. According to city directories, from about 1906 to 1921, they resided at 1311 Shelby Street.

Mr. and Mrs. Beach’s only child, Ruth Imogene Beach, was born on February 14, 1902. Ruth is pictured below when she was about three or four years old.

For most of his life, Samuel F. Beach was employed as a carpenter, working for many years for George Feick, but in 1915 and 1916, Sam Beach worked as a patrolman for the Sandusky Police Department.

Ruth Beach worked at the Citizens Banking Company for over forty years, retiring in 1964. This photograph of Ruth standing next to an automobile was taken when she was a young woman.

Samuel Beach passed away in 1939 and his wife Harriet died in 1948. Ruth Beach lived to be 73 years old, passing away in 1975. Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Beach and their daughter Ruth are all buried at Oakland Cemetery. Several photographs from the Beach family were donated to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center, allowing us the opportunity to learn more about the life of a local family in our community. If you have old family photographs, you too can learn more details about your family by looking at vital records, city directories, and genealogical databases, such as Ancestry Library Edition, Heritage Quest, and FamilySearch. Visit the Sandusky Library to get started on your family history research.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Dr. H. J. Donahue

Dr. Henry James Donahue was born in 1828 in Washington County, Pennsylvania. After attending St. Joseph’s College and Ohio University, he obtained his medical degree from the Cleveland Medical College in 1853. Dr. Donahue also opened his medical practice in Sandusky, Ohio in 1853.  His office was on Columbus Avenue, not far from the office of Dr. R.R. McMeens. By 1860, Dr. Donahue had married Emily Miller. For over thirty years, Dr. Donahue and his family resided in a lovely home at the southwest corner of Decatur and Jefferson Streets, seen in the bottom right quadrant of the picture below.

Dr. Donahue had a successful medical practice in Sandusky for many years and served in leadership roles in several medical associations. In 1871 Dr. Donahue attended the convention of the American Medical Association in San Francisco, California, where he was named an honorary member of the California State Medical Society. During the Civil War, he was called into service after hearing news of the Battle of Shiloh. He gave both medical and surgical aid to the wounded soldiers. 

Besides being busy with his medical practice, Dr. Donahue served on Sandusky’s City Council, was an active member of the Board of Education, and served as Treasurer of the Sandusky Building and Loan Association for eight years. 

On June 23, 1891, Dr. H.J. Donahue passed away at his residence. He was buried at St. Joseph’s Cemetery. Mrs. Emily Donahue was 82 years old when she died in the summer of 1922.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Cedar Point, That’s the Place

In 1922, J. Otto Martin, of Tiffin, wrote the lyrics to a song entitled Cedar Point (That’s the Place). The music was written by Belle Schrag.  The song was composed in honor of G.A. Boeckling, the president of the G.A. Boeckling Company and owner of the Cedar Point resort. Mr. Martin, who worked as an electrician for the G.A. Boeckling Co. in 1918, received serious injuries in an accident which damaged his spinal cord. In 1922, he and his daughter Mildred spent the summer at Cedar Point to attempt to recuperate. During this time, he wrote this song.

The lyrics of Cedar Point, That’s the Place mention dancing, bathing, rides, and all the pleasures found at the park from June until September. The sheet music originally sold for fifty cents. 

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to view this item and several other pieces of historic sheet music written about the area. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

June is a Popular Month for Weddings

An article appearing in the June 25, 1935 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that 41 marriage licenses had been issued in that month. The highest number of marriage licenses issued in Erie County in the month of June was in 1929, when a record of 55 marriage licenses had been issued. 

Several wedding related items are housed at the Follett House Museum and the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.  Below is an undated picture which shows the interior of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church during a wedding ceremony.

This bride had her picture taken at the former Sandusky Business Women’s Club. Though we do not know the name of the bride, the photograph was taken by Torow Studio.
The wedding of Arthur Moosbrugger and Lucille Holtz also took place in 1938, at St. Mary’s Church.

Laura Elizabeth Cooke was the daughter of Pitt Cooke and Mary Townsend Cooke. Laura is pictured below in her wedding dress on December 8, 1886. Laura’s groom, Franklin S. Barker, was a photographer in business with Mr. W. A. Bishop at the time of his wedding.

In 1891, Sakie Prout married Charles Merz. Dr. Charles Merz was a physician in Sandusky, as well as an expert on Masonic history. Dr. Merz’s best man was George Prout, and Sakie’s maid of honor was Mary Bookwalter Prout.

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to view these and many more historical photographs.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Sandusky High School’s Graduating Class of 1914

Pictured above is a composite picture of the 1914 graduates of Sandusky High School, created by Sandusky photographer W.A. Bishop. Most of the female members of the graduating class wore their hair swept back away from their face, and several girls wore a middy blouse, which was a popular style at that time.  

In his senior year, Lloyd Weninger wrote both the words and music to the Sandusky High School Victory Song. He went on to become a professor of Dramatic Arts at Carnegie Tech for thirty-one years, retiring in 1961.

  The principal of Sandusky High School in 1914 was R.E. Offenhauer. In 1937, Roy E. Offenhauer became the second president of Bowling Green State University. 

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to view more historical pictures from Sandusky and Erie County.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Picnickers at Cedar Point in the Early Years

A group of family and friends gathered for this group photograph while at a picnic at Cedar Point in the 1890s. It was probably taken in a photo studio on the park grounds. The names of the individuals in the picture were listed on notes with the original item. In the first row are: Lee A. Woolsey, Jessie Anthony, Louise Alvord and Charles Schuck. In the second row are: Frank Sawyer, Ida Woolsey, Minnie Sawyer, Martha Anthony, and M. Scranton. In the third row are:  Jessie Jay, J.L. Anthony, Elsie K. and Lydia Scranton. After looking through several genealogical databases and obituaries, we have determined that Ida Woolsey, Minnie Sawyer, Martha Anthony, and J.L. Anthony are all children of Lorenzo Dow Anthony, the first commandant of the Sandusky Yacht Club. Most likely the individuals not related to members of the Anthony family are close family friends. Though this picture is not of perfect quality, it is interesting to see a group of people gathered together from an era long ago.

The picture above (taken circa 1906) probably represents a typical picnic scene at Cedar Point during that era. The people in this photo are unidentified.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Sandusky’s Busy Waterfront

As Leola M. Stewart pointed out in her article Sandusky, Pioneer Link Between Rail and Sail, Sandusky has one of the finest natural harbors on the Great Lakes. In the picture above, three excursion boats can be seen in Sandusky’s harbor around the turn of the twentieth century. After the passengers got off the steamships, this is what they might have seen:

Visitors flocked to Sandusky by rail and by steamer in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Cedar Point was a popular destination for many.

By 1920 automobiles parked at the foot of Columbus Avenue. At this time, streetcar lines ran down Columbus Avenue as well.

 In this scene from the mid to late 1950s, you can see cars from the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad which was still in operation in downtown Sandusky. The Cedar Point boat dock had a festive sign which was brightly lit at night.

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to view this and hundreds of other vintage photographs of Sandusky and Erie County. An article by Leola M. Stewart is found at the website of the Ohio Historical Society.  Sandusky, Pioneer Link Between Rail and Sail provides historical background on the natural harbor found at Sandusky Bay, as well as the development of transportation and natural resources found in this area of the Great Lakes region.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

A Postcard Scene of Washington Row in the Late Nineteenth Century

In the collection of historical postcards at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center is a postcard which features a view of East and West Washington Row in the late 1800s. In the close up view below, you can see two men looking toward the west down Washington Row from the doorway of Charles J. Krupp’s Funeral business in the Mahala Block:

The Sandusky City Business College, later known as the Sandusky Business College, was in operation in the middle of the Mahala Block.

On the left side of the picture, you can see the Kingsbury Block, at the northeast corner of Washington Row and Columbus Avenue.  At the northwest corner of Washington Row and Columbus Avenue was the Sloane House hotel. In the distance, you can see the former home of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel B.Caldwell, next to the Presbysterian Church, which is hidden by the trees. Horse and buggy was the normal mode of transportation at this time.

On November 18, 1909, a massive fire destroyed the Mahala Block, with losses estimated at approximately $250,000.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Leisure Moments in Sandusky and Erie County


In the collection of historical pictures at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center are several photos of people enjoying their leisure time. Men are pictured above relaxing in a garden in Sandusky in the early twentieth century. While not all the men have been identified, some of the men in the photograph are: Charles Metzger, Harry Green, Christy Koehler, Ossi Baumeister and Gus Schoepfle. 

A freelance photographer took this picture of two unidentified children playing dress up on Reese Street in 1912:

About 1920 the Sprau family gathered at Winnebago Park, now known as Lions Park. You can see Sandusky Bay in the background:

Members of the Sandusky Daily News baseball team posed for a picture at Huron Park in May, 1937:


These men are fishing at the Rockwell Trout Stream in Castalia in 1940:


This candid picture was taken at  the Boy with the Boot fountain in Washington Park on July 28, 1955: