Wednesday, September 27, 2023

What Products did Barney and Ferris Sell?

F.T. Barney and B.F. Ferris owned the Barney and Ferris hardware store at the northeast corner of Jackson and Water Streets in the 1870s and 1880s. The building still stands in Sandusky today. 

The building the housed the former Barney & Ferris store, circa 2016

All varieties of hardware were sold at Barney and Ferris, including nails, paint, mantels, grates, hearths and glass. You could even purchase agricultural implements there. By 1881 the company branched out into selling sporting goods to hunters and fishermen. Several different kinds of gunpowder were sold by Barney and Ferris, many from the Oriental Powder Company.

An advertisement from1886 referred to Barney and Company as the “Old Pioneer Hardware House.” At that time, Barney’s was an agent for products like the Nickle Barn Door Roller and the Eureka Mower.

After the deaths of F.T. Barney and B.F. Ferris, other individuals operated hardware stores at the same site, including Pierre Van Alstyne and members of the Donahue family.

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to learn more about the former businesses that were a big part of the lives of the early residents of Erie County, Ohio.

Friday, September 22, 2023

A German Church with Connections to Sandusky

This watercolor painting of a church in SohnstettenGermany was created in 1864. It was donated to the historical collections of the Sandusky Library and Follett House Museum from the Lange estate, and is on display in the Follett House Museum. Norbert Lange’s great grandfather Carr (sometimes spelled Karr) was a pastor at this church. The church in Germany, built in 1856, still serves the community in the district of Heidenheim.

This is a portion of Norbert Lange's family tree:

The pastor of the church in SohnstettenGermany was the father of Norbert Lange’s paternal grandmother. Bertha Emilie Carr and Franz Robert Lange were married in Erie CountyOhio in 1852, according to Erie County Probate Court records. Both had been born in Germany.

Dr. Norbert Lange was a well respected professor of chemistry at the University of Michigan, Case School of Applied Science, and Western Reserve University. He authored the classic text Handbookof Chemistry. Dr. Lange and his wife Marion Cleaveland Lange were the benefactors of the Lange Trust, which provides for “The promotion of cultural and educational enterprises in the city of SanduskyOhio and the adjacent area within Erie CountyOhio.”

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Dedication of the Supplementary Education Center at Sandusky High School

Pictured above is Sandusky High School Superintendent Mr. Wallace Glenwright giving a briefing to dignitaries prior to the dedication of the Supplementary Education Center on September 17, 1967.

The Sandusky Register of March 18, 1967 described the forthcoming Center in a feature article.  Funding of the Supplementary Education Center was from a combination of funds from the National Defense Education Act, Title III, which were matched by the Sidney Frohman Foundation, estimated at over $500,000. The five major areas on which the Center focused were: instructional materials, cultural, planetarium, a teacher’s professional library, and an educational resource center. Schools from 30 separate districts, along with students from Bowling Green State University and its Firelands Branch would all have access to the Supplementary Education Center. Several 16mm and 8mm films were available for schools to borrow, while paying only for insurance and postage to and from the Center.

Project coordinator Theodore Seaman spoke at the dedication of the Sandusky Supplementary Center:

The ribbon cutting was performed by Superintendent Glenwright and Elnora (Mrs. Sidney) Frohman.

An American flag was presented to the Supplementary Education Center on behalf of the Commodore Perry Post of the American Legion:

The dedication attracted a number of dignitaries and guests:

The Sandusky Register reported on the Dedication of the Center on September 18, 1967.

While the educational resource center and library are no longer in operation, the Sidney Frohman Planetarium and Sandusky Cultural Center are still serving the educational and cultural needs of the greater Sandusky community. 

Monday, September 11, 2023

Gus Kelley, Erie County Commissioner and State Representative


Gus Kelley was born in 1882 in Huron Township to Charles E. and Charlotte Kelley. His father’s ancestry was Irish, and his mother’s side was English. In 1901, he married Jane Margaret Hinde. Gus was a farmer for most of his life, and he was an active member of the Huron Grange. During the fall of 1924, he ran for Erie County Commissioner. This advertisement appeared in the Sandusky Star Journal of November 1, 1924:

In 1925, Gus Kelley was elected to serve as an Erie County Commissioner. He held that office until January 1933. Later in 1933, after the death of Fred Powers, Mr. Kelley was appointed to serve again as Erie County Commissioner until 1936. In that year, he ran for the General Assembly of the state of Ohio. He began his term as Ohio State Representative in January of 1937 and served in the General Assembly for four years. Some of the issues with which he was involved as a Representative were the development of  state parks along the lake front, pensions for senior citizens, and the change of authority of the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home being switched from the Welfare Department to the Adjutant General’s Office.

In May of 1930, a news article in the Sandusky Star Journal reported that when the Sandusky Studebakers played the Red Caps of Wakeman, former major league ball player George (Jerry) Upp was to throw out the first pitch, and Gus Kelley was to catch the ball.

Gus Kelley died on January 29, 1964, at his home on East Perkins Avenue. He was survived by his three sons. Mrs. Kelley had died in 1962. Funeral services for Gus Kelley were held at the Charles J. Andres Sons’ Funeral Home, and burial was in Oakland Cemetery.

Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Sandusky School Children in 1919-1920

Pictured below is a group of children from classes 3-A and 4-B at Sycamore School in 1919. While the students have not been identified, we know that Polly Smith is among the children in the picture. Sycamore School was built in 1876; by 1984, the school was closed and the new owner re-purposed it as an apartment building.

The four young men below were on the second team of the Eagles basketball team in 1920. The surnames of the boys were listed on the back of the original picture. From left to right are: Meinzer, Schemenaur, Stephens, and Pusateri.

The next picture shows class 3-B from Campbell School in 1919. There are 45 children in the group, but only one person has been identified. Thomas Rotsinger, the donor of the photograph, is the fourth person from the left, second row from bottom.

Campbell School, designed by J.C. Johnson, was built in 1885 by Adam Feick and brothers. The former Campbell School is now home to Nehemiah Partners of Sandusky, a nonprofit group that benefits area youth.

Friday, September 01, 2023

Rene J. Zouary, A Popular Concessionaire at Cedar Point

Cincinnati Enquirer, Sept. 4, 1965

Rene J. Zouary was born in Bordeaux, France in 1886. In an article in the September 4, 1965 issue of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Rene told about his long career in show business.

My father started in the World's Fair in Paris, I wasn't born yet, and in 1878 came to the World's Fair in Philadelphia," Rene says, then rattles off dates of expositions in St. Petersburg (now Leningrad) Russia, Sweden, Norway, Hungary, Rumania, Berlin and others in which the family took part. Rene came to the United States in 1901 to operate an exhibit at the Pan American Exhibition in Buffalo, N. Y. He intended to return to France but was attracted to New York's Coney Island where he set up shop and stayed from 1902 until 1904. After the St. Louis Fair his odyssey of shows took him all over the country and back to Coney Island several times. His memory for reciting the various fairs, expositions and amusement spots and their dates in chronological order is a tribute to the clear mind of a man who will be 80 next April 28. Among the concessions that made R. J. (the nickname Rene acquired somewhere along the way) famous were his ‘Streets of Cairo,’ ‘Chinese Village,’ and ‘Tunisian Village’ (with Bedouins from North Africa merchants, artisans and others presenting their works). If there is any one of the many concessions, R. J. recalls more fondly it was the ‘Bouquet of Life,’ an embryological exhibit that traced life from the beginnings through the various stages of development. ‘This was done by photographs, dozens of them, and we had nurses and others explaining the show. It always drew thousands,’ he says. In 1941 R. J. went back to Cedar Point, Ohio, where he had two fun houses and an animal show. I also had a 'Honeymoon Express', a 'dark' ride, and the Eli Ferris wheel, but in 1960 a new management took over, and most of us concessionaires had to sell and get out," R. J. says, with a dark frown. ‘All of us took a loss.’ 

An article in the Sandusky Register Star News of June 4, 1941 lists the attractions that R.J. Zouary featured on the Midway and Concourse at Cedar Point in the summer of 1941.


Often Rene’s brother assisted him with various attractions. An article in the Sandusky Register Star News of June 6, 1951 indicated that Ellie Zouary was the trainer of the monkeys in Rene J. Zouary’s midget auto attraction, and that two of the monkeys had become ill.

Ellie Zouary died on September 1, 1961, and was buried in Sandusky’s Oheb Shalom Cemetery.

After new management at Cedar Point did away with the concessionaires, Rene took out an advertisement in Billboard on August 22, 1960, to sell off his performance equipment.

For a time, Rene J. Zouary worked at LeSourdesville Lake, near Middletown, Ohio. Rene’s wife Maria, who was born Countess Marie Bentivolglio of Italy, died in Ohio in 1964.  Rene eventually moved to California, where he died on November 26, 1965.