Monday, June 29, 2020

“Along the Wharves” in Sandusky

“Along the Wharves” was the title of a popular column that appeared in the Sandusky Star and the Sandusky Morning Star newspapers in 1898 and 1899; it reported on the activities of commercial vessels in the port of Sandusky.

The sinking of the sandsucker Mary H. was discussed in the October 18, 1898 issue of the Morning Star, along with news of vessels that loaded and unloaded coal and lumber in Sandusky.

The steamers Ogontz, American Eagle, and Cumberland were mentioned in the December 13, 1899 issue of the Sandusky Star.

Pictured below is the Ogontz in the late 1890s.

Sandusky, Ohio has long been known as one of the finest and most well-protected harbors on the Great Lakes. At the Sandusky Dock, owned by Norfolk & Southern, and operated by the Sandusky Dock Corporation, millions of tons of materials are shipped out each year, with coal being the major commodity. Pictured below is the Edward Smith at the coal docks in Sandusky in the 1890s.

During the warm weather months, commercial ferries come to Sandusky to transport visitors to and from the Lake Erie Islands, sharing the waters of Sandusky Bay and Lake Erie along with many privately owned boats and yachts. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to learn more about the history of Sandusky through historical photographs, newspapers on microfilm, and a wide variety of local history books and online resources.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Kolb & Osberghaus, Inventive Business Owners

From about 1869 to 1880, Adam Kolb and Charles Osberghaus worked as machinists in Sandusky. In the earlier years, the firm was named A.Kolb and Co., but by 1878, the business was known as Kolb & Osberghaus.

In 1877 Adam Kolb and Charles Osberghaus were issued Patent Number 192,438 for improvement in sash balances. In 1880 another patent was issued to Kolb & Osberhaus, this time for a fastening for the meeting rails of sashes.

The advertisement in the 1878 Sandusky City Directory for Kolb & Osberghaus stated that the company manufactured the Perfect Sash Balancer & Ventilator. Nickel plated sash balancers sold for $1.25 (about $33 today), and brass bronzed sash balancers sold for $1.00. An illustration of a sash balancer made by Kolb & Osberghaus appeared in Scientific American in 1877.

In the late 1870s, there were three separate sash and blind manufacturers in downtown Sandusky: Jay C. Butler, Schoepfle & Gfoehr, and Thorpe & Fosdick. Most likely Kolb & Osberghaus’ products helped to balance the sashes that were made locally.

Both Mr. Kolb and Mr. Osberhaus were of German descent. They were both members of the Erie Encampment No. 27, Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Sandusky. After 1880, there are no more listings for Kolb & Osberghaus, but the company made sash balancers for locally produced sashes for several years.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Leo A. Sacksteder Sold “Shoes that are Different”

Mrs. Norman Steinert donated the buttonhook pictured above to the historical collections of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. The buttonhook came from Leo A. Sacksteder’s shoe store. It was an instrument used for pulling buttons through the button holes of shoes and gloves.

From about 1915 through the 1920s, Leo A. Sacksteder sold shoes in downtown Sandusky. He had several locations through the years, including on East Market Street, West Market Street, and two different locations on Columbus Avenue. Mr. Sacksteder came from a large Catholic family who had settled in Dayton, Ohio. His mother, Mrs. Helen Burkhardt Sacksteder, was originally from Baden, and his father, Nicholas Sacksteder, was a native of Alsace Lorraine.

In 1915 and 1916, advertisements for Leo A. Sacksteder’s shoe store were featured in the Fram, the yearbook of Sandusky High School. An ad which appeared in the January 1916 Fram states that “Shoes for graduation must have Character and Style and what Sacksteder says is so.”

This advertisement, from the November 1915 Fram, hints that if you buy shoes from Leo A. Sacksteder, your team will win the big football game.

Mr. Leo A. Sacksteder passed away on March 12, 1956. In his later years, he was a salesman for the Goodman Beverage Company of Lorain. Mr. Sacksteder was survived by his wife Antoinette, four daughters, two brothers, and three sisters. He was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Sandusky.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Michel Brothers Cooperage

In 1880, August Michel began his career as a cooper in Sandusky, Ohio. Soon after he opened his own business, his brother Robert joined the venture. The Michel Brothers manufactured barrels and casks for wine, whiskey, and beer, and their products were especially known for being watertight. Originally on Townsend Street, the Michel Cooperage Company was incorporated in 1902. By 1905 the business took up an entire city block, bordered by Warren, Market, Perry and Washington Streets, as seen in the 1905 Sanborn Map below.

Both August and Robert Michel died in the year 1906, at which time August’s son George A. Michel took over the cooperage business. Three of George Michel’s brothers also worked in the family business.

In May of 1909 President Taft won a barrel of sauerkraut from an Elks’ Fair held in Sandusky. The barrel which held the sauerkraut was manufactured by the Michel Cooperage Company in Sandusky.

Karl Kurtz wrote in an article in the June 18, 1977 issue of the Sandusky Register that after Prohibition was enacted, Sandusky cooperage firms made barrels for bootleggers and home brewers, along with making containers for sauerkraut, lard, pickles, and other products.

The Michel Cooperage Company was severely damaged in the 1924 tornado, and the company closed soon after.

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to learn more about the historic businesses of Sandusky and Erie County. Books, county histories, photographs, and other documents can help you gain facts about those who have gone before us, and the places where they conducted business.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Kelley’s New Life Medicine

Not the section of the advertisement in German. Many German immigrants lived in Sandusky during the late 19th century.

In a program from the Grand Theater close to the turn of the twentieth century, W.H. Kelley advertised his patent medicine called New Life Medicine. This formula was supposed to cure chronic catarrh and dyspepsia, and claimed to prevent one from catching a cold. Mr. Kelley offered a $1,000 reward for any “germ disease” that Kelley’s New Life Medicine did not destroy. A portion of the advertisement was written in the German language, and featured a testimonial from Mrs. Rachel Lathrow of New Jersey. Customers could find Kelley’s New Life Medicine at local druggists, or order it through the mail.

In an advertisement in the August 31, 1921 issue of the Sandusky Register, William H. Kelley told of having recovered from failing health by taking his own medicine, after several medical doctors and specialists were unable to help him. Though he had both legs amputated as a result of serious illness in the past, by 1921 Mr. Kelley lived on his own, made a good living, and was back in good health again.

By 1922, an ad in the Sandusky Star Journal claimed that Kelley’s New Life Medicine was a treatment for Bright’s disease, rheumatism, gout, diabetes, jaundice, coughs and colds, and also was good for blood purification.

Mr. Kelley ran a second hand shop at 408 East Water Street in Sandusky for several years, in addition to manufacturing the New Life Medicine. In the 1910 U.S. Census, Mr. William H. Kelley was a 42 year old widower, living in Sandusky, Ohio, with his teenage son, William H. Kelley, Jr. The place of birth for both father and son was listed as Pennsylvania. After 1922, William H. Kelley, Sr. did not appear in any Sandusky City Directories. It is possible that he moved out of the area, or he may have died in the early 1920’s. Mr. Kelley was successful at marketing his New Life Medicine for over twenty years. To read about another Sandusky businessman who sold patent medicine see our previous blog post about Dan Schaffer’s Wonderful Liniment.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

George M. Rinkleff

George M. Rinkleff was born in June of 1864 in Sandusky, Ohio to Frank and Caroline (Molter) Rinkleff.  In 1885 he married Louise Taubert. Sadly, Louise Taubert Rinkleff died in 1887, when her daughter was just an infant. The Rinkleff infant had the same name as her mother, Louise Rinkleff. Louise, the daughter, was about three years old in the picture below, taken at the studio of C.W. Platt in Sandusky.

Mr. Rinkleff married Olive Orton in 1895, and they had a son, Roy, in 1899.

George Rinkleff started his hardware business in Sandusky in 1885. The store dealt in wholesale and retail hardware and building supplies, as well as supplies for ships. Besides operating the hardware store, Mr.. Rinkleff also served as president of the Klotz Machine Company and vice president of the Sandusky and Islands Steamboat Company, and was a director of the Third National Exchange Bank. He was the owner and operator of the steamer Chippewa.

Mr. Rinkleff was active in the Masons, the Rotary Club, and the Plum Brook Country Club. On June 9, 1934, George M. Rinkleff died at the age of 69. Funeral services were held at Grace Episcopal Church, and burial was at Oakland Cemetery.

Pictured below is the Rinkleff Hardware Store at 710 Water Street during the winter of 1913.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Miss Mary McCann, Longtime Head Librarian of Sandusky Library

Mary McCann was a 1923 graduate of Sandusky High School, and served as the secretary-treasurer of her class. A verse next to her senior picture in the 1923 Fram read, “She was as tidy as a cherry blossom and her steady, frank , blue eyes looked out from the intrepid depths of an unshadowed soul.” Miss McCann was a graduate of the Western Reserve University, now known as Case Western Reserve University.

The Sandusky Star Journal of June 9, 1939 reported that Mary McCann had been appointed the Head Librarian of the Sandusky Library effective September 1, 1939. During her tenure, around1949, the library acquired a Bookmobile that took library books out to residents of Erie County who were not served by other libraries. The Bookmobile was in operation through the early 1970s.

During World War II, Miss McCann served as a Junior Hostess at the U.S.O. in Sandusky. For many years, she was often the featured speaker at Sandusky area clubs and civic organizations. Her professional accomplishments were recognized in several professional library periodicals, especially regarding the popular film showings at the Sandusky Library in the 1940s and 1950s. In the February 19, 1954 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News, Miss McCann stated that there had recently been a shift from reading for pleasure to reading for information. She said, “ The old idea of a library as a place where women and children got story books to read has gone out with ‘Silence’ signs. Nowadays people call for useful information, questions, how to make or do things, facts, technical books, and so on. However a good book, read for pleasure, is still the library’s greatest gift to its patrons.”

Miss McCann retired as Head Librarian of the Sandusky Library in 1976. On June 19, 1991, she passed away at the Huron Health Care Center. She was buried at Oakland Cemetery, near her parents, James and Lizzie (Kratz) McCann. Miss McCann had been one of the founding members of the Erie County Historical Society. She was a member of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, the College Club, Women's Civic Club, the Harlequins, Ohio Library Association, North Central Arts Council, Sandusky Federation of Women's Clubs, and the Sandusky Business Women's Club.

Miss McCann is pictured below with several other Sandusky Library staff members in the 1940s.

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Norma Zistel’s Diploma

Miss Norma Zistel graduated from Sandusky High School on June 19, 1902.  At that time the superintendent of Sandusky City Schools was H.B. Williams, and the High School principal was H.N. Morton. William Graefe was the president of the School Board, with Charles Kubach serving as secretary.

Norma Zistel was the daughter of Oscar Zistel, and the granddaughter of Louis Zistel, an early German immigrant to Sandusky. In the summer of 1938, Norma won $2,500 in a contest sponsored by Oldsmobile. (About $45,000 in today's money.) Her essay “Why I Like Oldsmobile’s Safety Transmission” won first place in the contest. Throughout most of her adult life, Norma worked at the American Crayon Company, where she served as the advertising manager. In her leisure hours, Norma was active with the Art Study Club. In the picture below, Norma Zistel is the person on the right. She and other members of the Art Study Club were dressed in historic costumes.

Norma Zistel died in July of 1966. She was buried in Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Picture Postcards by Louis Pesha

Louis Pesha was a photographer who was well known for his photographs of the Great Lakes area in the early twentieth century. The Pesha Postcard Company was located in Marine City, Michigan.

Pictured below is a Pesha postcard of Scott Park in downtown Sandusky. Scott Park was the original home of the Boy with the Boot statue, along with two maids of the mist statues.

The Erie County Courthouse can be seen in the postcard below, which features a fountain in Washington Park.

The steamer G.A. Boeckling is just one of the many Great Lakes vessels photographed by Louis Pesha. The G.A. Boeckling was christened on June 12, 1909, and transported guests to Cedar Point until 1951.

Tragically, on October 1, 1912 Mr. Pesha died in an automobile accident as he was traveling to visit his childhood home in Euphemia, Ontario.