Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Officers Row at the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Home

Several houses on Dewitt Avenue in Sandusky were built as homes for officers of the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home, now known as the Ohio Veterans Home. The picture above was taken about 1910. The postcard below is dated 1920.

In the 1910 United States Census, three of the residents of Officers’ Row are enumerated at the top of the survey page:

William Burnett is listed with his wife Mary. William was the Commandant of the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home in 1910. He served with Company A, Fourth Battalion, Ohio Independent Cavalry during the Civil War, and once was the Mayor of Springfield, Ohio.

Nathan Holloway was the Quartermaster of the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailor’s Home. He continued to live in Sandusky, Ohio after retirement, and died in 1928 at the age of 91.

Jonathan D. Wheeler achieved the rank of Captain in the Civil War. He was the Adjutant at the home in 1910. A mention of Mrs. Emma L. White visiting Captain J.D. Wheeler and his wife at their “cozy home” in Officers’ Row appeared in the Sandusky Register on July 12, 1907.

The homes built for Officers’ Row are now privately owned. To read more about the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home, see several posts at the Sandusky History website.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Christmas Season in 1922 Sandusky

Browsing through newspapers from Sandusky in 1922, one finds a multitude of advertisements for food and gifts ideas to celebrate the holiday season. Martin’s sold candy “for everyone” ranging from 30 cents to $1.25 a pound.

An article in the December 10, 1922 issue of the Sandusky Register, “Christmas Business in Local Stores to Exceed that of 1921,” reported that stores hired extra clerks to accommodate the holiday rush. George J. Schade said that even his theater was doing well; for the first time in three years his theater was not experiencing the Christmas slump. The Commercial National Bank was already looking forward to Christmas of 1923, offering a Christmas Savings Club, in which small amounts could be contributed weekly to prepare for next year’s holiday season.

A Toyland was featured in an advertisement from the Scheuer-Frankel Company. Gifts for children included dolls, wagons, teddy bears, bicycles, scooters, and many more delights for little ones.

The Sandusky Star Journal of December 22, 1922, reported that “Santa” had gifts for people who worked at the Erie County Courthouse. The law firm of King, Ramsey, Flynn and Pyle left cigars and candy in every office, while attorney Hewson L. Peeke passed out gifts for all Erie County officials and employees from a half bushel basket.

Esmond Dairy sold several varieties of Christmas treats, including brick ice cream with a bell, Christmas tree, or star in the center.

On the Thursday before school let out for Christmas break, 400 students at Campbell School gathered in front of a brightly lit Christmas Tree and sang “Silent Night,” following a visit from Santa Claus.

You can take a look through old Sandusky newspapers, available on microfilm at Sandusky Library, or through Newspaper Archive, one of many research databases available via the Sandusky Library website.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Wilbert W. Henkelman, Community Engineer

According to Who’s Who in Engineering (John W. Leonard Corporation, 1922), Wilbert W. Henkelman was born in Sandusky, Ohio on July 31, 1892 to Henry and Amelia Henkelman. In 1915 he earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Ohio State University. During World War I, he served as a Corporal with the 1st Replacement Regiment Engineers. He married Leora Holzaepfel in 1920.

In his long career, Wilbert Henkelman worked as an engineer for several different communities, including Huron, Willard and Vermilion. From 1939 to 1944, he was the District Deputy Director for the State Department of Highways for Huron and Erie Counties, and for a number of years was associated with the Judson Engineering Company.

After the building of the Commercial Banking and Trust Company in Sandusky in the 1920s, Mr. Henkelman obtained a bound booklet containing 39 photographs of the bank under construction. He donated the booklet to the historical collections of the Sandusky Library. Below are two of the photographs of the historic building project.

The first photo was taken June 15, 1923:

The second photograph was taken November 28, 1923:

Because of Mr. Henkelman's foresight, we can view the progress of the building of the Commercial Banking and Trust Company, now home to Vita Sandusky. The interior details of the building including chandeliers, marble floors, and copper sculpted ceiling can still be seen today.

The July 31, 1962 issue of the Sandusky Register reported on a surprise birthday party held for Mr. Henkelman after a Huron Council Meeting.

Wilbert W. Henkelman died on February 12, 1965, following a brief illness. He had been a member of the First Congregational United Church of Christ, Ohio and American Society of Professional Engineers and Surveyors, Perseverance Lodge 329, Erie County Conservation League, and the Huron Chamber of Commerce. He was survived by his wife, two daughters and a son, seven grandchildren, and a sister. His final resting place was Oakland Cemetery in Sandusky, Ohio.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

The Martin Eldis Family

Martin Eldis (originally Itlis) was among the earliest of German born residents to settle in Sandusky. In 1828 he opened a bakery and provision store on Water Street, next to a hotel. The hotel had many different names through the years, including the Exchange Hotel, Hotel Wayne, the St. Lawrence, and much later the Porterhouse. His bakery was located on Lot 29, bounded to the north by Water Street and Wayne Street to the west.

Pictured below is the Hotel Wayne, which was at one time next door to the Eldis property. The structures that once were the Eldis bakery and this hotel no longer stand. Where they once stood is now a parking lot for Civista Bank.

In the fall of 1852, Martin Eldis died, leaving Mrs. Louise Eldis a widow with several children. According to the History of Erie County, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich, Mr. Eldis left his wife and children “an abundant share of earthly goods.” Louise carried on the bakery on Water Street for several years.

An article in the January 14, 2002 issue of the Sandusky Register stated that Mrs. Eldis received compensation for losses which occurred when the 103rd Regiment of the New York Volunteers occupied her building from November 1863 to May 1864 during the Civil War. Mrs. Eldis died on December 19, 1888. She was thought to be the oldest resident of Sandusky at the time of her death. 

Martin and Louise Eldis and their children are buried in Lot 8 of Block 9 at Oakland Cemetery. As you view the Eldis monument, you can read the names of their ten children on the panels of the tombstone. 

There are also individual stones for several members of the family.

You can read about the Eldis family and many other former Sandusky residents of German heritage in the book Sandusky Then and Now, available at the Sandusky Library in both the German language (Sandusky Einst und Jetzt) and its English translation.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Harry Mewborn and the Development of Phone Service in Sandusky

Harry Mewborn was named the Commercial Manager for the Ohio Bell Telephone Company in Sandusky on January 1, 1939. He started with Ohio Bell in Toledo in 1925, and worked in several positions, including outside representative, credit manager, assistant unit manager, and unit commercial manager. During his time in Sandusky, telephone service in Sandusky, Castalia and Bloomingville was greatly expanded, and local telephone equipment was converted to dial operation. (Before the advent of the rotary dial telephone, an “operator” was needed to connect anyone making a telephone call to the party to whom they wished to speak.) 

Below are Sandusky operators in the 1930s demonstrating their work to a group of observers. A poster on the wall stated that “The 9700 Sandusky subscribers make 45,000 local calls each day. These calls are handled by a force of 75 operators.”

During Harry Mewborn’s time in Sandusky, there was no area code in use. Sandusky phone numbers started with 625; Castalia phone numbers started with 684, and Bloomingville phone numbers began with 359. Older readers may recall when Sandusky telephone numbers were in the “Main” exchange and Castalia numbers were in the “Mutual” exchange. By correlating the first two letters of each of those exchanges to the telephone buttons, the numeric equivalent for MAIN is 62, for MUTUAL is 68. For example the Sandusky Register telephone number in 1958 was MA 5-5500, or 625-5500. Now the area code 419 is needed to make a call to the Sandusky Register. The MAIN and MUTUAL exchanges were discontinued in 1962, as phone numbers were switched to all numeric dialing.

Mr. Mewborn was active in civic affairs in Sandusky. In 1942 he was the chairman of the campaign committee of the annual Sandusky Community Fund appeal. He was a director of the Citizens Banking Company, member of the Rotary Club, Sandusky Yacht Club, and Telephone Pioneers of America. He was also active in the Masons. He was on the Board of Good Samaritan Hospital, on the Board of the Erie County Chapter of American Red Cross, past president of the Chamber of Commerce, former director of the Salvation Army, former director of the Kiwanis Club, and he served on the Civilian Defense Executive Board.

Harry Mewborn retired from Ohio Telephone Bell Company in 1958, due to declining health. He died on September 20, 1960, and was buried in Oakland Cemetery. Mr. Mewborn made significant contributions to the Sandusky area through his work at Ohio Bell Telephone and through the many hours he donated to community organizations

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

One of the First Motorized Fire Trucks in Sandusky

An article in the December 24, 1913 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that the city of Sandusky had purchased a motorized fire truck for $9500 ($268,000 today) after testing it out thoroughly. The “motor propelled triple combination Ahrens-Fox fire truck” was approved by Board of Control in Mayor George Lehrer’s office, and it was then turned over to Fire Chief Al Hegemer. A mechanic from the factory was to remain with the new fire truck until members of the Sandusky Fire Department were properly trained in its operation.

The two tests of the new fire truck were conducted by R.S. Tucker of the Ohio Inspection Bureau, assisted by H.R. Farnsworth of the Sandusky Foundry and Machine Company. The engine pumped as high as 850 gallons of water, with 120 pounds of water pressure.

The Sandusky Register of December 31, 1922, said about the motorized fire truck being added to the Fire Department, “Jim and Prince, the gallant fire horses, were ousted then and the corn crib was replaced by a gasoline tank.” By 1914, there were two motorized fire trucks in use by the Sandusky Fire Department, as well as an automobile for the Fire Chief, “to ensure speedier runs by him.”

To read more about the history of the Sandusky Fire Department, see the Erie County Historical Society’s website, where the document “The Sandusky Fire Department: A Look Back at History, 1830-2002” is located.

Friday, December 02, 2022

The Ohio State University Lake Laboratory at Cedar Point

From about 1903 to 1917, the Ohio State University had a fresh water marine biology laboratory at Cedar Point. Notes from Dr. Norbert Lange indicate that the lab was located at approximately 2029 Cedar Point Chausee. George Feick was selected to construct the lab. G.A. Boeckling, Jacob Kuebeler, and attorney W.E. Guerin, Jr. met with officials of the Ohio State University, to negotiate the details of the lake laboratory. The property for the lab was donated by the Cedar Point Pleasure Resort Company. The lake laboratory was two stories high, and faced the lake. Students were to study the insect and aquatic life of the region. A map by Professor E.L. Moseley was published in the Sandusky Register to show the location of the Lake Laboratory.

In 1904 the staff included professors of botany, zoology and entomology. Instructors came from Ohio State University and other universities around the U.S. Students were offered outings to various sites in the area, including Lakeside, the Blue Hole in Castalia, the Marblehead Life Saving station, the Lake Erie Islands and the gypsum beds in Ottawa County. Some students stayed at the laboratory building, while others boarded in Sandusky for a fee of $3.50 to $4.50 a week. Professor E.L. Moseley from Sandusky High School gave a lecture on “Physiographic Features of Sandusky Region” during one of the first summer sessions at the Lake Laboratory.

Professor E.L. Moseley

The American Microscopical Society held its annual meeting at Cedar Point in 1905, and attendees visited the Lake Laboratory. Members of the Ohio Academy of Science were invited to all the lectures. On July 5, 1905, a public lecture was given by the American Microscopical Society at Carnegie Hall, inside the Sandusky Library.

Professor Henry B. Ward from the University of Nebraska gave the address at Carnegie Hall, titled “The Relation of Animals to Disease.” Some of the topics he covered were yellow fever, typhoid, and leprosy, and how these diseases may have been spread by insects.

In 1918, Ohio State University moved the Lake Laboratory to South Bass Island. Since 1925, the laboratory has been known as the Franz Theodore Stone Laboratory on Gibraltar Island, not far from Put in Bay on South Bass Island.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

The Phil T. Beer Cafe


A mirror from the Phil T. Beer Café has a saying at the top, “Look at yourself, but think of us.” Phil Beer (a great name for a tavern owner) operated the tavern from about 1910 to 1919, at 301 East Market Street. Grace Episcopal Church now operates a thrift shop at this location. In an advertisement in the Sandusky Register on June 28, 1912, readers were informed that they could “while away an idle hour” or play pool, or eat a meal at Phil’s Café.

At the end of May in 1919, the state of Ohio became a “dry” state, several months before the 18th Amendment became a law on October 28, 1919, prohibiting the manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors throughout the United States

The article below from the May 24, 1919 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported on the mock funeral for “John Barleycorn.”

A group of men were to meet at midnight, and pay their respects to old man “Booze” who died from an “overdose of votes.” There was a procession that was to start at Washington Park, and then go to Water Street, past Dan Nolan’s, Baldwin’s, Ted Lauber’s Mulharen’s, the Pabst and the old West House. Next they would shed a tear at the old Annex Cafe, pass by Werner & Wagner, and play slow music as they passed by Phil Beer’s Cafe. It was expected that there would singing and speeches, concluding with the song “We’ll be dry for a long, long time.”

Later in 1919, Phil Beer ran a cigar shop at the Rieger Hotel

Mr. Beer died in September, 1959, and was buried at Oakland Cemetery.

You can read more about the residents of
Sandusky and Erie County at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center, which houses microfilmed copies of decades of local newspapers. A ClevNet database, Newspaper Archive, provides online access to many historical newspapers as well.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Short Line Docks at Foot of Decatur Street

The Sandusky and Columbus Short Line Railway opened in 1893, and it became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad system in 1902. In 1964 the Norfolk and Western Railway acquired the line. The former Norfolk and Western is now part of Norfolk Southern. 

Ships met the railroad at this dock, which was a slip at the foot of Decatur Street. A horse drawn wagon can be seen transporting lumber in the picture above.

Another view of the Short Line Docks appeared in the 1894 publication, Art Work of Huron and Erie Counties:

Coal continued to be shipped from this location until the 1930s and 1940s. In the 1960s, the former Decatur Street slip was filled in as a joint project of Scott Paper and the Westvaco Corporation. Today the Sandusky Boat Basin and Paper District Marina are in the location of the former Decatur Street slip.

Friday, November 18, 2022

A Look Back at 242 Wayne Street

Notes on the postcard above state that the Biemiller Garage was located at 240-242 Wayne Street around 1921. Later operators of the garage at this address were Harry Baldridge, Cecil Smith, and a Mr. Roberts. From the late 1920s to the mid 1960s, the Lee B. Keller Funeral Home was at 242 Wayne Street.

This 1963 image of 242 Wayne Street appeared in the March 10, 1991 issue of the Sandusky Register:

Virginia Steinemann and Helen Hansen wrote in an article titled “Growth Devoured Picturesque Homes” that this home was originally built for the Samuel W. Butler family in 1876.

The building was razed in 1968 when Frisch’s Restaurant built a drive in restaurant at this location. Later Charlie’s Waffle House was in this spot. Now the property formerly known as 242 Wayne Street is part of the Social Security Administration office and parking lot. Below is a view of the 200 block of Wayne Street in Sandusky, Ohio from Google Maps.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

John Jay McKelvey, First Editor of the Harvard Law Review

John Jay McKelvey was born in 1863 to John McKelvey and his wife the former Jane Huntington. The elder John McKelvey and his wife were pioneer residents of Sandusky. McKelvey and Huntington Streets in Sandusky were named after his ancestors. John Jay McKelvey graduated with high honors from Sandusky High School in 1880, from Oberlin College in 1884, and he earned his law degree from Harvard University in 1887; he was one of the co-founders of the Harvard Law Review, serving as its first editor.

In an article which appeared in the Sandusky Star Journal of April 23, 1937, J.J. McKelvey answered those who thought the Harvard Law Review to be “dry, uninteresting, and unleavened with humor.” He said to the critics, “Who would be likely to resort to a legal periodical for its humor? Certainly not a lawyer or judge…the Law Review is the vehicle of thought between legal scholars and the practitioners and judges.”

McKelvey wrote several books on the law, including the Handbook of the Law of Evidence (West Publishing Co., 1907).

As an attorney, his work was in corporate law. He was counsel for the National Wholesale Lumber Dealers Association and the Columbus and Sandusky Short Line, which later merged into the Columbus, Sandusky and Hocking Railroad.

John Jay McKelvey died on October 14, 1947. Here is a portion of an article reporting on his death, from the November 3, 1947 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News:

In April 2022, Mr. McKelvey was honored for his preservation efforts in the Spuyten Duyvil section of The Bronx.

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Ira C. Krupp, Veteran of the First World War

The image above of Captain Ira Charles Krupp appears in the Honor Roll of Ohio, 1917-1918, Erie County Edition. He served as a Captain in the Fourth Corps Artillery Park during World War I.

Ira C. Krupp was the son of funeral director Charles J. Krupp and the former Ida May Palmerton. At the turn of the twentieth century, the Krupp family resided at 404 Wayne Street, the former home of Oran Follett, which is now known as the Follett House Museum.

In 1901, Ira Krupp graduated from the Renouard training school for embalmers in New York City. By 1905, he was an assistant at the Krupp Mortuary Chapel. The Sandusky Star Journal of February 27, 1905 reported that he was seriously ill with blood poisoning that he had contracted through a small cut on his skin while embalming someone who had died from the same ailment. For a time, doctors thought they may have to amputate young Krupp’s arm. Fortunately, he recovered.

In 1906, he took a job as a sales representative with a large chemical manufacturing company, working in Boston, and traveling throughout New England. He married Emeline Moss in 1907; she was the daughter of Sandusky banker Charles H. Moss and the granddaughter of Judge William Griswold Lane.

The December 5, 1908 issue of the Sandusky Register featured an article that stated Mr. Krupp was now the proprietor of “Ye Oak Meadow” stock farm and dairy, on South Hayes Avenue. He had recently been at a large farm and dairy exhibit in Chicago, where he purchased a Guernsey bull, Messmate of Ingleside. He said about the animal, “It is one of the finest specimens I have ever seen in all of my experience and is bound to attract the attention of stockmen near and far.”

In 1917 and 1918, Ira C. Krupp achieved the rank of Captain with the Fourth Corps Artillery Park. While in military service in Germany during the war, Ira was the editor of the first American newspaper printed in Germany. The paper was called the “Fourth Corps Flare,” and was considered the official organ of the Fourth Corps Artillery Park. An article in the March 25, 1919 issue of the Sandusky Register featured an article about the publication.

After returning home from military service, Mr. and Mrs. Ira Krupp sold their land in Perkins Township, and moved to Black Hall, Connecticut, where they lived for several years. Ira Krupp died in 1935. His remains were returned to Sandusky. The final resting place of both Mrs. and Mrs. Ira Krupp is in the Lane family lot at Oakland Cemetery in Sandusky, Ohio.

Mrs. Ira Krupp, the former Emeline Moss, was once on the Board of Trustees of the Sandusky Library Association. Mrs. Krupp died in 1957 in Connecticut.

Though Ira and Emeline Krupp lived their final years in Connecticut, they had strong family ties to Sandusky and Erie County, Ohio. Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center if you would like to research your own ancestors from Erie County, Ohio.

Sunday, November 06, 2022


OLEIDA is an acronym for the Ohio Lake Erie Island District Association, which was an organization that promoted tourism in the north central portion of Ohio, later known as “Vacationland.” In July of 1931, uniformed Boy Scouts passed out OLEIDA booklets and area maps at the southeast and northwest corners of Wayne and East Washington Streets.

An advertisement in the July 3, 1930 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal stated that the Lake Shore Electric Railway was the direct line to “Oleida.”

The Sandusky Star Journal of July 11, 1931 announced that Put in Bay would be celebrating “Oleida Day” on July 14, during the Interlake Regatta.

In the winter of 1932-1933, Sandusky area merchants sponsored a contest in which young ladies in Sandusky could win a trip to Bermuda, while ladies from the region outside Sandusky could win a trip to New York and Washington D.C. For every dollar spent at each merchant, 100 votes would be cast for the lady of your choice. The Sandusky Register of January 18, 1933 reported that Alice Mix was chosen as “Miss Oleida” and Mildred Cullen had won the title of “Miss Sandusky.”

During the Depression years of the 1930s, Sandusky area residents’ days were brightened by the promotional activities of the Ohio Lake Erie District Association, and visitors from other parts of the state and country were introduced to the joys of fishing, boating, and other activities found in the north central part of Ohio.