Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Frank A. Link, Longtime Sandusky City Manager

In the photo above, former Sandusky City Manager Frank A. Link speaks at the ceremony to re-dedicate the Sandusky City Building in May, 1983. Mr. Link, who passed away on February 1, 2023, was the longest serving city manager in the history of the city of Sandusky. An article in the April 7, 1991 issue of the Sandusky Register, reported that “Frank Link has gone beyond the call of duty in his nineteen years as city manager of Sandusky.” He retired in 1993.

Mr. Link was well respected in the community. He was a graduate of St. Mary’s High School in 1948 and  the University of Notre Dame in 1952. Through the years, he earned many honors in recognition of his leadership and commitment of service to his community, family, and faith. To read more about the life of Frank A. Link, see his obituary which appeared in the February 4, 2023 issue of the Sandusky Register. Thank you for many years of service to your community, Mr. Link.

Frank Link’s family history leads back to Morris Link, an ancestor who also was very active in the city of Sandusky.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Souvenir Flour Sack from the Balcony

Notes with the original item indicate that the flour sack pictured above was given to patrons of the Balcony, a tavern located at 301 Camp Street from 1933 to 1963. The sack advertises Wooden Shoe lager beer, and features illustrations and musical notes that accompany a German song called “The Schnitzelbank Song.” The song has several verses that teach German words to the singers. There are several videos on YouTube that will give you an idea of what “The Schnitzelbank Song” may have sounded like long ago at the Balcony. One video includes singing, while another video by Polkadelphia shows the song leader pointing to each illustration as the song is played. 

Helen Hansen and Virginia Steinemann wrote an article for the Sandusky Register of May 26, 1991 entitled “Balcony Conjures up Smiles.” The article explains that in 1933 Otto Ketterer established the tavern, which served beer and soft drinks. Otto played the piano, as patrons sang along.

The tavern known as the Balcony had previously been a saloon and boarding house operated by Leopold and Charles Wildenthaler. Later Emma Wildenthaler Ketterer and her husband Albert Ketterer continued the business. During Prohibition the business was a pool hall and served soft drinks. Otto Ketterer was the son of Emma and Albert Ketterer. To read the complete article about the Balcony, visit the Sandusky Library, where several decades of microfilm of local newspapers are housed.

Monday, June 19, 2023

Edmund G. Ross: Sandusky Student, U.S. Senator

Image credit: Wikipedia

Edmund G. Ross is best remembered as the Senator who cast the deciding vote against the conviction of President Andrew Johnson during his impeachment trial in 1868. He is also one of the Senators about whom former President John F. Kennedy wrote, in his best selling book, Profiles in Courage.

Edmund G. Ross was born in Ashland, Ohio in 1826. When he was 11 years old, he apprenticed as a printer at the Commercial Advertiser, an early newspaper in Huron, Ohio. By 1841, he had moved to Sandusky, where he worked at the Sandusky Mirror, a newspaper owned by his brother Sylvester Ross. He was a longtime opponent of slavery, and served in the 11th Kansas Volunteer Cavalry during the Civil War. He served as U.S. Senator from Kansas from 1866 to 1871.

Hewson Peeke included in his book The Centennial History of Erie County, Ohio (Cleveland Press Co., 1925) a letter from C. M. Eldis, which listed the names of the directors, instructors, and students in the class of Sandusky High School for the academic year 1845-1846. Edmund G. Ross was one of the 1846 graduating students, along with Richard Rush Sloane, later a Mayor of Sandusky, who was known as Rush Sloane in his adult life. Most likely the students who graduated in 1846 attended classes at the former Academy Building in Sandusky, which was located next to Emmanuel Church.

A program from an Exhibition by Sandusky school students in February of 1846 lists the names of both Edmund Ross and Richard Rush Sloane. Edmund’s oration was on the topic of Capital Punishment, and young Sloane’s topic was The Nineteenth Century.

Each of these young men went on to make history, Edmund Ross on a national level, and Richard Rush Sloane in the community of Sandusky. Rush Sloane was known as an ardent abolitionist. His paper on “The Underground Railroad of Sandusky” appeared in the July 1888 issue of the Firelands Pioneer.

Many students who graduated from Sandusky High School went on to make important contributions to our community, state and country. It shows us that early Sandusky leaders placed a great value on education.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

C.S. Coler, Educator

Cyphrian Seymour Coler, often known as “Professor,” was the Principal of Sandusky High School from 1892 to 1897. He was born in Morgan County, Ohio in 1858. He put himself through college by working as a coach and tutor, earning degrees from Ohio University and Ohio State University, and later studied at Johns Hopkins University. After working for a time as an investment agent, he returned to the field of education. While in Sandusky, C.S. Coler and his family lived on Fulton Street. Professor Coler was a popular speaker at Teachers’ and Farmers’ Institutes. 

This is a portion of an address he gave at Sandusky High school in January of 1894:

In 1897, he wrote a book entitled Character Building: A Book for Teachers and Parents.

His book was based on several speeches he had given during his career as an educator. The full text of the book is available  at the Hathi Trust. The first chapter began with a discussion of discipline.

In 1897, Professor Coler moved to Upper Sandusky to be the principal of the public high school in that community. Eventually he moved to Coshocton County, Ohio, where he died in 1944 at the age of 85. He was buried in the Deerfield Cemetery in Morgan County, Ohio.

Saturday, June 10, 2023

When Picnics Were in the News


On Kelleys Island

Picnics in Sandusky and the Lake Erie Islands area were held quite often, by families, church groups, companies, and clubs. The proximity to Lake Erie provided nice lake breezes for the picnic-goers. Local newspapers frequently reported on picnics held in the area. The Sandusky Register of September 8, 1868, announced the “Grandest Pic-Nic of the Nineteenth Century” when students of the Buckeye and Great Western Business College chartered steamers for a picnic at Put in Bay.

In 1911, the Castalia Telephone operators enjoyed a picnic at the Blue Hole, while two other Castalia groups met at Rye Beach with their lunch baskets.

The Sandusky Star Journal of July 30, 1931 reported on a picnic at Bay View Park held for members of the Sandusky Typographical Union, #237, who were employees of the Sandusky Register and the Sandusky Star Journal. A ball game between the two newspapers started off the festivities. Other contests included horseshoe pitching, egg throwing, nail driving, a wheelbarrow race, and a blindfolded fly swatting contest.

In 1942, about 300 members of the Eagles Club and their families had their annual picnic at Lions Park. Some of the events were rolling pin throwing, balloon blowing, and a peanut scramble.

Cedar Point has been a popular picnic destination for large group picnics for over a century.

The Jaycees held a picnic at Cedar Point in August of 1954.

In this picture, it appears as though the employees of the Sandusky Library in the 1920s had an impromptu picnic outside the library building:

If you would like to see if the names of your family members ever appeared in local newspapers, whether for a picnic or other news event, browse through the historical Sandusky newspapers on microfilm at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center, or check Newspaper Archive, accessible from home with a Sandusky Library card number.

Tuesday, June 06, 2023

John Emmett Tanney, Erie County Probate Judge

John Emmett Tanney was born in Sandusky in 1892 to John G. Tanney and the former Caroline Weingates. As a young teen, John worked at the Cedar Point Bathhouse. He is number 1 in the picture below.

John E. Tanney was a graduate of Sandusky High School, and studied law at the Ohio State University. He was admitted to the Bar in 1917, and in that same year he entered into military service. 

A biographical sketch of Judge Tanney, which appeared in The Centennial History of Erie County (1925), by Hewson L. Peeke, gives an account of Tanney’s service during World War I:

On the 7th of November, 1917, he enlisted in the Seventeenth Field Artillery of the United States Regular Army, and was at first stationed at Camp Robinson, Wisconsin. On the 14th of December, 1917, he sailed with his command from the port of New York City for the stage of conflict, and he landed in Brest, France, on the last day of that month. That he was at the forefront in connection with the operations of the American Expeditionary Forces needs no further voucher than the statement that he was with his battery in the Verdun sector, in the battling at Chateau Thierry, and the engagements at Soisson, Toul, St. Mihiel and Champagne, besides having been in service with the allied Army of Occupation in Germany after the armistice brought active hostilities to a close. He finally embarked for the home voyage, and on the 20th of August, 1919, he received his honorable discharge. He returned to Sandusky, and here he has since been engaged in the practice of his profession, as a member of the law firm of Tanney & Webster.

John E. Tanney served three terms as Erie County Probate Judge. An article in the December 13, 1926 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal gave an account of an interesting experience for a young couple wishing to be married. The couple appeared before Judge Tanney, but one of the young people needed to have the permission of both parents. The mother had given her permission, but the father was traveling on a train. Judge Tanney drove his car to the train depot, got permission to have the train halted, and promptly got the necessary signature so the wedding could take place. The couple went on to Monroe, Michigan, where there the judge waived the five days requirement usually required from the time of the marriage application until the wedding date, and the couple was married.

Judge Tanney was a popular speaker at civic and school organizations, and he often gave patriotic addresses at Memorial Day and Armistice Day celebrations. He was twice married. His first wife, Olive Turpin Tanney, died in 1917. John and Olive had an infant son who died in 1916. His second wife was Kathryn Richter. Miss Richter was a stenographer in the Erie County Probate Court.

Sadly, Judge John E. Tanney died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 45. Funeral services were held at the Charles J. Andres’ Sons Funeral Home and St. Mary’s Church on July 4, 1938. Military services were held at the burial at St. Joseph’s Cemetery.

Friday, June 02, 2023

When Johnson’s Island Was Known as Bull’s Island

An early map of Sandusky Bay, published by H.F. Wheeler, is in the map collection of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. (A copy of this map was used as evidence in a case before the Ohio Supreme Court in 1844, "B. Lockwood and others v. Wildman, Mills, and others.") The island was first owned by Epaphras W. Bull, an early settler of the Firelands region, who died in 1812. In 1852, Leonard B. Johnson, a native of Ireland, purchased the island from the Bull family, and re-named it Johnson’s Island.

Leonard B. Johnson, 1808-1898

The epitaph on Mr. Johnson’s tombstone at Oakland Cemetery mentions Johnson’s Island.

During the Civil War, Johnson’s Island was selected as the site for a prison camp which housed Confederate prisoners of war. Many soldiers died at Johnson’s Island, and a cemetery on the island is the final resting place of 206 (or more) Confederate officers and soldiers. Today the Confederate Stockade Cemetery on Johnson’s Island is operated by the National Park Service. The website of the Johnson’s Island Preservation Society includes a listing of all the soldiers buried at the Confederate Cemetery on Johnson’s Island.