In the Toy Room of the Follett House Museum is a beautiful portrait of Frank G. Sloane, painted by Caroline L. Ormes Ransom. Frank Gilkeson Sloane was the son of former Sandusky Mayor Rush R. Sloane, and his wife, the former Sarah E. Morrison. Caroline L. Ormes Ransom was an artist who spent time in Sandusky, Ohio in the mid-nineteenth century. Caroline was known for painting portraits. Her portrait of President James Garfield can be seen at the James A. Garfield NationalHistoric Site in Mentor, Ohio. Young visitors to the Follett House Museum are often surprised to learn that the child in the portrait is a male, because he has long curls. Visit the Follett House Museum to see many artifacts from Sandusky’s historic past.
Friday, December 19, 2014
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Herman Engels was born in Germany in 1827. He and his wife Louise immigrated to the United States in 1874. Herman’s uncle, Jacob Engels had come to the Sandusky area in 1848, where he became active in importing wine and in the culture of grapes. Jacob Engels founded the Engels Wine Company in 1863. After Jacob’s death in 1875, Herman Engels took over his uncle’s wine company. Herman’s children assisted their father with the business. In 1878 the firm became known as Engels and Krudwig, after R.P. Krudwig joined the company. Engels and Krudwig was located at the southwest corner of Water and Hancock Streets.
Engels and Krudwig produced several varieties of red and white wines, both sweet and dry. In the late 18th century, a bottling works was connected to the main facility by an underground tunnel.
Herman Engels died on July 6, 1899. His obituary, which appeared in the July 7, 1899 issue of the Sandusky Star read, in part: “Mr. Engels was a man who was admired and esteemed by all who knew him. He was a man of broad culture, unostentatious in manner he attracted all by his simple kindliness. He held nature above everything else, and was known for his strong love the beautiful. He admired flowers and was never happier that when at work upon the park commission, lending his aid and advice upon matters tending to beautify the city.”
Herman Engels was buried in the family lot at Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery. His sons ran the winery after their father’s death. Later, the sons-in-law of Carl Engels operated the E & K Wine Company until the business closed in 1961. Herman Engels was one of Sandusky’s most highly respected business men at the time of his death.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
John G. Bing was born in Sandusky in 1889 to Philip and Rachel Bing. During World War I, he served as a pilot in the Enlisted Reserve Corps, training at Souther Field Flying School in Americus, Georgia. He achieved the rank of Lieutenant, and was honorably discharged on December 6, 1918. After military service, he moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where he worked as western manager of the Carney Cement Company. An article which appeared in the August 20, 1922 issue of the Sandusky Register, told of Mr. Bing’s marriage to a young lady from Omaha, Nebraska.
The article stated that the couple had a “church choir romance.” John G. Bing married Miss Martha J. Barsch on August 10, 1922 at the First Congregational Church of Omaha, Nebraska. Later the couple moved to Cuyahoga County, Ohio, where they raised their two daughters. Mr. Bing died on October 25, 1967 at the age of 78, and was buried in Omaha, Nebraska, his wife’s home town. Mrs. Martha Barsch Bing lived to age of 102. She died on June 28, 2004, and was buried next to her husband.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
According to the July 1888 issue of the Firelands Pioneer, the first barber shop in Sandusky was operated by Grant Ritchie, an African American who was also active in the Underground Railroad in the Sandusky area, a network of individuals who aided fugitive slaves find their way to freedom in Canada. In the 1850s, most of the barber shops in Sandusky were in the downtown area of the city. Though the picture below is not in color, the J. and F. Bock Barber Shop, located at 812 Water Street in 1886, featured the familiar red, white, and blue pole in front of the shop. The red and white pole (with blue usually added in American poles) has long been a symbol of the barber’s trade.
The 1902 Sandusky City Directory listing for barber shops included the names of thirty three barbers. Harry Parker’s barber shop was in the Sloane House hotel at that time. In the first part of the twentieth century, several hotels in Sandusky had their own barber shops for the convenience of their guests. Barbershops were found in the West House, Commercial Hotel, Murschel House, Hotel Rieger, the Wayne Hotel and the Hotel Breakers at Cedar Point. Below is a photograph of Jerry McMahon’s barber shop in the Hotel Rieger about 1935. Jerry McMahon is on the right. The other barbers in the picture are: Bill Foley, Chet Martin, and Bill Wells. Charles Alexander, in the back of the shop, worked as a shoeshine porter.
John Martin Luipold worked as a barber in Sandusky for over sixty years. In this picture of his barber shop on Hayes Avenue in 1915, you can see a wooden rack holding the shaving mugs of several of his regular customers.
Today, Sandusky still has several traditional barber shops, though some hair styling businesses cater to both male and female customers. The Acme Barber Shop on Columbus Avenue (below, in 1922) has operated under various owners since 1901.
To read more about the history of barbers in Sandusky, see Article 40 in volume two of From the Widow's Walk, by Helen Hansen and Virginia Steinemann.
Sunday, December 07, 2014
Now a part of BAS Broadcasting Ohio, WLEC Radio began broadcasting on December 7, 1947. At that time WLEC was operated by the Lake Erie Broadcasting Company, an affiliate of the Mutual Broadcasting System. The premiere broadcast on WLEC featured a program which commemorated the Japanese attack on
Pearl Harbor in 1941.
This picture was taken on the first anniversary of WLEC Radio in 1948. From left to right are: Bill Frankel, Al Heiser, John Kohler, Marie Pascoe, Father Hartman, Ed Gangware, Karl Whinnery and Jay Wagner.
Marie Pascoe is seen on the left side in the picture below. In the 1950s, she narrated radio programs on WLEC Radio using the name
Jay Wagner and Dan Appel are on either side of the Landes twins during a WLEC broadcast.
In 1958 WLEC Radio took its mobile studio the dedication of the
Below is a picture of WLEC Radio staff from the 1970s.
Do you have any special memories of listening to WLEC Radio?
Thursday, December 04, 2014
Pictured above is a Sunday School group at St. John’s Chapel, an outreach site of Grace Episcopal Church. The photograph was taken between 1900 and 1910. All the children are dressed in their Sunday best, and the pastor and several other adults are standing behind the Sunday School students. The 1905 Sanborn Map actually shows two buildings associated with the St. John’s Chapel. One was located on Clinton Street, and designated as the St. John’s Sunday School, while the St. John’s Chapel itself was located on West Monroe Street.
Grace Episcopal Church’s original church building was begun in 1835. A marker at the church states that the building is the oldest church building in continuous use in Sandusky. This post card shows the church before the towers were altered.
At the back of a history of Grace Church by Gordon Wendt, is a list of several outreach programs undertaken by Grace Episcopal Church. Under the leadership of Rev. S.A. Bronson, St. Ann’s Chapel was built in the area known as Camptown, on the east side of Sandusky. St. Mary’s Chapel was built in the 1850s on the west side of Sandusky and later became the Sunday School building for St. John’s Chapel. St. John’s Chapel was built in 1876 on West Monroe Street, and was in operation through the 1920s. St. Luke’s Chapel was built in 1881 on Hayes Avenue, between Tyler and Polk Street. It was sold in 1915 to the First Christian Church, and was home to that church for many years. Mr. Wendt wrote that Calvary Episcopal Church started out as a chapel, built in 1870-71 at First Street and Erie Street. In 1899-1900, Calvary’s building at Meigs and First Street was constructed. Old Calvary Church now serves as a wedding venue. Visit the Sandusky Library to read more about the history of Grace Episcopal Church, and many other local churches. The Sandusky Library Archives Research Center holds many reels of microfilmed church records.
Sunday, November 30, 2014
Now used by Amtrak, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, the railroad station at North Depot and Carr Streets in Sandusky, was originally built for the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad. The Sandusky Transit System and North Central EMS now have offices at this location as well. A front page article in the December 19, 1892 issue of the Sandusky Register reported on the new passenger depot, which was described as “very elegant.”
The depot was built by A. Feick and Brother, at a cost of nearly $30,000. Several other local subcontractors were involved in the project. Brohl and Appell were in charge of the plumbing. Copper work was done by J. Mertz and Son. Woodwork and doors were installed by George R. Butler and Company, while the hardware and glass were furnished P.L. VanAlstyne. The only firm connected to the new railroad depot that was not from Sandusky was the architect, Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, from Boston, Massachusetts. The station was built from Amherst buff stone, with blue stone trimming. The roof was a Gothic pitch roof. A baggage station was built just to the east of the main railway depot, and was used by the American Railway Express Company for several years in the 1920s.
The original railroad depot had a general waiting room, as well as a separate waiting room for ladies only. Two marble drinking fountains were located near the waiting rooms in the original building. The article in the Register stated that this new structure was “a credit to the city in point of architecture and improvement.” The Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway Depot in Sandusky was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Today it is served by Amtrak’s Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited routes. Below is a post card of the depot after the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad merged with New York Central.
Rail transportation has been vital to Sandusky for many years. Ground was broken for the pioneer Mad River Railroad in Sandusky in 1835.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Many area businesses placed advertisements in the Sandusky Daily Register in November of 1906, as
prepared to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Dilgart & Bittner boasted
“A Bounteous Thanksgiving Feast for All.” The store featured a wide variety of
home furnishings, and they offered the installment plan, to make paying for
purchases easy on the budget.
Edward Smith’s Meat Market at
The Mayer Lebensburger store, which sold men’s apparel, placed their ad in the newspaper in the form of a Thanksgiving menu, suggesting that the hats they carried were “creme de la creme.”
J.H. Herman suggested that it would be a “Thankful Day Indeed” if you purchased your furniture, carpets and stoves from their store on
These are just a few of the advertisements from the Sandusky Daily Register during the Thanksgiving season of 1906. Visit the
Center to read historical Sandusky newspapers on
microfilm, dating back to 1822.
Monday, November 24, 2014
In the Twin Anniversary Edition of the Sandusky Register Star News, dated November 24, 1947, Harry Stack featured highlights of an interview he had conducted with John J. Marquart, who at that time had been a resident of Sandusky for eighty five years. Mr. Marquart is pictured below in a photograph taken at the Pascoe photographic studio. (He is seated at the left, opposite C. J. Pascoe.)
John J. Marquart was born in New York City in 1853, and moved to Sandusky in 1862, in the midst of the Civil War. As a youngster, he resided on East Adams Street above the Marquart family grocery store. He helped his father in the grocery store for a time, then around 1890 he became involved in a business which dealt in furniture and undertaking. By 1906, he was a funeral director and embalmer, on the street level of the Odd Fellows Temple on Washington Row, and for a time in partnership with a Mr. Meyers. In 1925 Mr. Marquart took Lee B. Keller on as a partner, and the business was known as Marquart and Keller. For thirty nine years prior to 1932, Mr. Marquart was in charge of the burials of veterans at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home. You can see a portion of Marquart’s funeral business in the Odd Fellows Temple in the picture below, in the early 1900s.
In his interview with Harry Stack, John J. Marquart recalled the pioneer businesses of Sandusky. He personally knew Jay Cooke, and members of the Hubbard family. He recalled seeing Confederate officers arriving by train at the Lake Shore and Michigan Railroad office at Warren Street, before being taken to the prison at Johnson’s Island during the Civil War. He remembered when the harbor of Sandusky was filled with full-sail schooners transporting lumber to and from the city. The ice industry was another vital business in Mr. Marquart’s early days in Sandusky. He recalled when the streets were made of cobble stone, and horse drawn vehicles were used. A quote by Mr. Marquart appeared toward the end of the interview: “I’ve seen many changes and much improvement in the 85 years I’ve lived in Sandusky. It used to be more important than Cleveland, but somehow or other it grew to a certain size and stayed there. Still and all, Sandusky is all right. It’s my home and proud of the fact.” To read the entire interview, visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center where copies of the Twin Anniversary Edition of the Sandusky Register Star News are available in print and on microfilm.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Members of the Zion Lutheran Church Choir are pictured above in front of the organ pipes. The photograph, by Mound Studio in Sandusky, was taken between 1945 and 1955. Lovely stained glass windows are located on either side of the organ pipes. Harold Parker is in the front center of the picture. Mr. Parker, a well known Sandusky architect, directed the church choir at Zion Lutheran Church for twenty five years. The church building, at 503 Columbus Avenue, was dedicated on Sunday, November 12, 1899. The architect and builder of Zion Lutheran was George Feick.
Two histories of Sandusky’s Zion Lutheran Church are found in the local history section of the Sandusky Library. While the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center does not have an extensive history of every church in Erie County, Ohio, five archival boxes are devote to church histories in the Churches Collection of the Archives. Included in these files are histories of two African American churches, the Oheb Shalom Temple, along with historical information from several Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, United Church of Christ, Presbyterian, and Unitarian churches in the area. Church records are available on microfilm at the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center for these churches:
Holy Angels Catholic ChurchSts. Peter and Paul Catholic ChurchSt. Mary’s Catholic ChurchSt. Anthony Catholic Church (Milan)Calvary Episcopal ChurchSt. John Lutheran ChurchFirst Presbyterian ChurchSt. Stephen’s United Church of ChristFirst Congregational Church of Christ
Erie County, Ohio is rich in church history, from circuit riding Methodists, to abolitionist Congregationalists, to German Lutherans and Catholic roots going back to Father J.P. Machbeuf. St. Stephen A.M.E. church was begun by several individuals who had previously been enslaved. Four churches can be seen in the picture below of Columbus Avenue, taken in the first half of the twentieth century.
Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to view the Finding Aid for the Churches Collection.