Saturday, May 29, 2021

Dramatic Entertainment, May 29, 1874

On May 29, 1874, a program of Dramatic Entertainment was given at the Sandusky High School, now known as Adams Junior High School in Sandusky. It was considered “A Very Serious Drama in Two Acts.” The first act was “Among the Breakers,” and the second act was “The Day After the Wedding.”

An article in the May 29, 1874 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that the dramatic entertainment was put on by the Sandusky Dramatic Association, and was a most enjoyable affair. Many familiar names were part of the cast. George P. Barker, cast in the leading role, was later a Major during the Spanish American War. Oran Follett Foster, who portrayed Larry Divine, was the grandson of Oran Follett, a well known publisher. Jessie and Allie Stem were the daughters of former Indian agent Jesse Stem, who was killed in Texas in 1854 when his wagon was ambushed. Miss Emma Marsh later married C. Webb Sadler, and they were the parents of C. Webb Sadler, Jr., once the City Manager of Sandusky, Ohio. Charles Livingston Hubbard married Jennie M. West, the daughter of early Sandusky businessman William T. West.

Major George P. Barker, during the war with Spain

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to view this program, and many other primary sources from Sandusky and Erie County, Ohio.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

"This Was My Home"


In 1941, Sandusky High School student Eleanor Downing wrote an essay for the Fram entitled “This Was My Home.”

Eleanor wrote that she always loved living in the country, with its blue skies, sunshine, and starry, still nights. She enjoyed the sights and sounds of rural Erie County, Ohio, and war seemed far away from her happy home. In 1941, the United States War Department acquired 9,000 acres of farm land in Perkins Township, to make way for a munitions factory. 150 families had to find homes elsewhere. The Plum Brook Ordnance Works was named for a creek which ran through the land. Later the site was occupied by NASA for nuclear research. The Plum Brook Station is now called the NASA John H. Glenn Research Center at the Neil A. Armstrong Test Facility.

By doing a bit of research on Ancestry Library Edition, Rootsweb, and the Ohio Obituary Index, we were able to determine that Eleanor Downing was a descendant of the House family, who were among the early settlers in Perkins Township from Connecticut. The land was a vital resource to those pioneer residents, who had large farms on which they raised crops and livestock. Eleanor wrote a poignant article about how much she appreciated her home in the country, and how soon the things that she had “loved and looked forward to” would become things of the past. Visit the Sandusky Library to view the original article by Eleanor Downing in the April 1941 copy of the Fram.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

The Blue Streak

The Blue Streak roller coaster, which made its debut at Cedar Point on May 23,1964, it was the first major coaster built at the park since 1929. It was named after the mascot of Sandusky City Schools. 

David and Diane DeMali Francis wrote in their book, Cedar Point: The Queen of American Watering Places (Amusement Park Books, 1995), that the Blue Streak was designed by coaster engineer Frank Hoover. Crews worked on construction of the coaster in the winter months, battling high winds and snowstorms. Three tons of nails and 200,000 feet of lumber were used in the construction of the Blue Streak, which was 72 feet high and 2,400 feet long. 

Two pictures taken by Sandusky photographer Alden Wintersteller show the Blue Streak under construction. Several workers can be seen on the frame of the Blue Streak roller coaster, on January 21, 1964. 

Park officials viewed the Blue Streak roller coaster as construction continued in late January, 1964.

The Blue Streak coaster celebrated fifty years at Cedar Point during the 2014 season.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

A Business Letter from E.B. Sadler to J.J. Dauch

On August 2, 1882, Sandusky attorney E.B. Sadler wrote a letter to J.J. Dauch, regarding a debt that Mr. Dauch owed him. A transcription of the letter reads:

J.J. Hinde, Esq.

My Dear Sir,

It is right and proper that you should be fully informed as to your matters in my hands. I have spent nearly two days in drawing off and adding up your accounts and enclosed send you a copy from my books, which you can examine at your leisure. You will perceive that I have received and paid out within the last two years over $36,000. I also send you a memorandum of the notes, mortgages and of yours I have in my hands. You ought to possess this information and I therefore send it to you. I know you put the greatest confidence in me and I mean to deserve, but you and I both may die and those who come after us will wish to and should know how matters stand with us.

Most kindly


E.B. Sadler

Hudson paid up his interest to day $326.74 and I deposited it to your credit.

($36,000 is equivalent to almost a million dollars today.)

In 1882, Ebenezer B. Sadler was a seasoned attorney, and a former judge aged 74; J.J. Dauch, a young 25, was a partner in a wholesale lake ice business, as well as one of the proprietors of the Buckeye Business and Telegraph College, later the Sandusky Business College. J.J. Dauch would go on to be one of the founders of the Hinde and Dauch Paper Company.

We do not have records that indicate if or when Mr. Dauch settled his account with E.B. Sadler, but both men went down in local history as being well respected in their fields. This letter suggests that  Dauch called upon Sadler for financial assistance in his early business ventures. 

E.B. Sadler died on March 25, 1888, and J.J. Dauch was killed in an automobile accident on August 15, 1918. The final resting place of both of these former Sandusky leaders is Oakland Cemetery.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Isaac Curtis Brewer III and IV

A portrait of Isaac Curtis Brewer III is among the many photographs taken by Willard A. Bishop of prominent Sandusky men from the late eighteenth and early twentieth centuries. This Mr. Brewer was the husband of the former Sarah Morton, and was well known as a civil engineer. He was born in Massachusetts in 1824, but moved to Conneaut, Ohio by 1870. In 1872 he bought a home in Sandusky, at 519 Huron Avenue. From 1864 to 1887, he worked for the Lake Shore Railroad. Mr. Brewer died on June 5, 1896, and he was buried in Conneaut, Ohio following Masonic services. 

Isaac Curtis Brewer IV was born on January 29, 1868. The younger Mr. Brewer worked as an assistant engineer in the city engineer’s office, but by 1900, he was the superintendent of the Jarecki Chemical Company, which made fertilizer from the byproducts of fish. Isaac C. Brewer IV is pictured below, with other employees of the Jarecki Chemical Company, next to a load of fish. He is the second man from the right.

The first marriage of Isaac Curtis Brewer IV, to Annette Fitch, ended in divorce. Following the divorce, Annette Fitch Brewer left Sandusky with her young son, Isaac Curtis Brewer V. She wrote a book chronicling her cross country adventure, as well as the child custody dispute. By 1920 Isaac Curtis Brewer, IV had married Martha Anthony. 

On June 29, 1933, I.C. Brewer IV fell to his death in Sandusky Bay, near Battery Park. Dr. John Yochem reported that Mr. Brewer, who had a history of heart trouble, had either suffered a stroke and fell into the bay, or possibly he had slipped and fallen into the bay to his death. Funeral arrangements were handled by the Charles J. Andres Sons' Funeral Home, and burial was at Oakland Cemetery

A page from the Brewer family Bible, now in the collections of the Sandusky History Archives Research Center lists the birth of Isaac Curtis Brewer V as August 14, 1899 in Ashtabula, Ohio. He attended college at Kenyon College, and served in the U.S. Army during World War I, he later married and moved to Iowa.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Jacob Hemminger Saloon Building

The building at 333 West Market Street, where the Now and Then Shoppe was located, was originally the site of Jacob Hemminger’s saloon. The Ohio Historic Places Dictionary states that the building was constructed between 1884 and 1886, and was built in the High Victorian style. Decorative brackets are visible along the top of the structure, and decorative trim adorns the tops of the windows.

When Jacob Hemminger ran his saloon, he rented rooms out on the upper floor. The saloon was popular with Sandusky residents of German descent, and it served wines and beers that were produced locally. 

A typical saloon in the 19th century, this one at an unknown location on Market Street

In the 1910s and 1920s, the Erie Hotel was in this building. Other hotels at this site were the Starbird Hotel and the Paris Hotel. Businesses later in the twentieth century at 333 West Market Street included Brinnon’s Paint store, Bernie’s Paint and Wallpaper, and the Worth-More Furniture store. 

For more information on the historic architecture of Sandusky, see Ellie Damm’s book Treasure by the Bay.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Sketches in Europe, by George Feick, Jr.

George Feick, Jr. was a member of a long line of architects and builders in his family, spending much of his career in the family firm, the George Feick and Sons Company. According to his obituary in the November 30, 1945 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News, he spent a year in Europe and the Near East studying building designs following his graduation from the Cornell University School of Architecture. A book of his architectural sketches is in the collections of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. 

Dated in 1906 (when he was about 25 years old), the sketch book features drawings created while he visited Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and several other locations.

To learn more about the Feick family, see Building America: A History of the Family Feick, by Anita Gundlach Feick,  in the Family Histories collection of the Sandusky Library.

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Cholera Cemetery Headstones

Have you ever wondered why there are only three headstones in the Cholera Cemetery? It has been something that has bothered me since my first visit to that cemetery. In preparation for an upcoming program, I decided to dig into this question, and the real answer was strange and just raised more questions. Just as a refresher, the largest outbreak of cholera here in Sandusky was 1849. All of those who died, 382 people, were buried in what is now called the cholera cemetery. This cemetery did exist before the outbreak, but after the cholera epidemic it was mainly thought of as the cholera cemetery. Shortly after the outbreak was over, the cemetery was abandoned, and Oakland Cemetery became the new city cemetery. Once Oakland Cemetery was opened, the cholera cemetery fell into disrepair and was not maintained.  

Now, fast-forward to December of 1893. The Sandusky Register runs an article about the Cholera Cemetery. It states that the headstones are stacked in the corners of the cemetery and the cemetery itself has been plowed for planting crops, and pigs may have been butchered in one corner. This caused an uproar in the community. The Sandusky City Council formed a committee to investigate what happened. In less than a month this special committee reports to the City Council. They find that the head of the Cemetery Committee, Voltaire Scott, paid a Peter Cann to move all the headstones from the Cholera Cemetery to Oakland Cemetery. Cann was paid $25.00 to move the headstones (about $733 today). It seems that Scott asked each member of the Cemetery Committee if they would agree to having the headstones moved to Oakland Cemetery. While each member of the committee did agree to this, there was never formal vote at either a Cemetery Committee Meeting or a City Council meeting. It also seems that Scott never checked to see if the headstones were moved. This resulted in the stacked headstones as described in the Register article. Scott, after only consulting with one committee member, leased out the land to be farmed by a local farmer. It is interesting to note that Scott was invited to be interviewed as part of the special committee’s investigation to this but decided not to show up.


Once all of this comes out, the City Council decides to act! First, they hold a vote that the headstones should be replaced in the cemetery at the expense 
of Voltaire Scott. This vote fails by a small margin. There is never another vote to move the headstones back to the Cholera Cemetery. Next, a motion is made to impeach Scott since all his actions were done without authority by the City Council and made those acts illegal. This motion is tabled to be brought up another time but as far as my research goes, Scott was never impeached or punished for his actions in anyway. Finally, the City Council votes to build a fence around the cemetery and put up a monument to honor those who died during the first cholera outbreak. This project will be funded by selling off land that is technically part of the Cholera Cemetery. I can find no record of the city ever selling land that was connected to the cemetery. An iron fence was built sometime before 1924 but I was unable to find out when that fence was built. The current monument in the cemetery was built in 1924 and funded by private donations.  

Of course, none of these answers the question where are the headstones from the cemetery? The short answer is, who knows! I was able to track down about a dozen of the headstones that are now in Oakland Cemetery. The rest are, unfortunately, lost to history. There may be something in the old legend that they were broken up and used in paving projects around town. Sandusky was doing some major road work in 1894 and those headstones would make good gravel. It also raises the question, where did the three headstones that are currently in the Cholera Cemetery come from. Are they originals that made their way back into the cemetery or were they put there later? If they are the original, how did they get back in the cemetery? If put in later, then who put them there? As I said in the beginning, the story of the missing headstones is strange and raises many more questions that will probably never be answered. 

Monday, May 03, 2021

Mr. and Mrs. John Hauser

John Hauser was born on December 4, 1826 in Wuerttemberg, Germany. He emigrated to the United States in 1847. In 1855 he married Margaret Schmidt, a native of Bosenbach, Germany; though Margaret was not yet age eighteen, her mother gave written permission for the couple to be married. Below is a portrait of Margaret Schmidt Hauser in her later years.

Henry Hauser, their first child, died in infancy.  The Hausers had five more children, three sons and two daughters. 

John Hauser was a painter by occupation. He worked as a master painter for the Sandusky, Mansfield and Newark Railway (later merged with the Baltimore and Ohio) and the Mad River Railway, which became a part of the Big Four. During the Civil War, he served with Company B of the 145th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. When he wasn’t working, several hobbies kept him busy: he was quite fond of music and drama, and he was associated with German theatricals in Sandusky for several years. Additionally, he was an avid hunter and an enthusiastic botanist. He also was known as an expert in the repair of stringed instruments. 

On February 23, 1900, John Hauser passed away at the age of 73. Funeral services were held at the home of a daughter, Mrs. Emma Wirth, on Market Street. Burial was at Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery. Mrs. Margaret Hauser died on December 22, 1901 in Sandusky. She was survived by five children. An obituary in the December 23, 1901 issue of the Sandusky Register stated about Mrs. Hauser, “The deceased was a highly respected citizen of this city and her death came as a shock to all who knew her.” 

Two of the grandchildren of John and Margaret Hauser were well known in academic circles. Dr. Norbert Lange was a chemistry professor at Western Reserve University, who is known for writing the classic text Handbook of Chemistry (now in its 17th edition). Dr. Lange and his wife were the benefactors for The Norbert A. and Marion Cleaveland Lange Trust of Sandusky Library, which has provided cultural and educational programs for Erie County residents for over twenty-five years. 

Norbert Lange’s cousin, Dr. Elmer H. Wirth, was a professor at the University of Illinois from 1922 through 1947, serving as Head of the Department of Pharmacognosy for several years. He was the author of seven books and more than 300 articles on pharmacy.