Sunday, October 19, 2014

Lewis M. Lea, Jeweler and Optician

Lewis M. Lea was born in Sandusky in 1843 to James D. and Caroline (Mackey) Lea. James D. Lea was successfully engaged in the lumber yard business in Sandusky for many years. When Lewis M. Lea was twenty years of age, he enlisted in Co. B of the 145th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. After the end of the Civil War, he began a long career in the jewelry business, working as a jeweler and watchmaker in Sandusky in 1866.  He was first in partnership with other jewelers, including Joseph Bixby, Henry Dehnel, and a Mr. Greenfelder. In the 1888 Sandusky City Directory, Lewis M. Lea was listed as the sole proprietor of a jewelry business at 135 Columbus Avenue. He stayed at this location until 1917, when he moved the jewelry business to the Lea building at the southwest corner of East Market and Wayne Streets. 

Besides selling watches, clocks, jewelry and silverware, Lewis M. Lea was also an optician. An advertisement in the May 1, 1891 issue of the Sandusky Register stated that residents could secure their spectacles from Lea, the “graduate optician.”

An article in the December 9, 1911 issue of the Sandusky Register stated that Lewis M. Lea’s life was “like an open book.”  Mr. Lea was said to have large and well-selected stock, featuring “novelties of every selection” and a complete line of optical goods. 

On August 18, 1918, Lewis M. Lea passed away after an illness of six months. His obituary, found in the 1918 Obituary Notebook, stated that Lewis M. Lea had been one of Sandusky’s best known business men. Funeral services were held at the Masonic Temple. Several Ohio leaders in the Masonic order attended Mr. Lea’s funeral, which was solemn and impressive, according to an article in the August 22, 1918 issue of the Sandusky Register. At the funeral, Grand Commander Barton Smith presented Lewis M. Lea’s 33rd degree Masonic ring to his son, Jay D. Lea.  Lewis M. Lea was survived by his wife, one son, seven grandchildren, and a sister and brother. A son, Lewis W. Lea, had predeceased him. Lewis M. Lea was buried in the family lot at Oakland Cemetery. At the Follett House Museum you can view eyeglasses and silverware which were purchased from Lewis M. Lea’s jewelry store.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Group Photographs on the Steps of Sandusky High School

Sandusky photographer Ernst Niebergall took many images of people and places in and around Erie County during most of the first half of the twentieth century. He was a native of Germany, and during times of war, he had his cameras confiscated, as government officials considered him a potential threat to the country. (Read more about Mr. Niebergall at the April 2004 edition of Paper Trails, from the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center.) 

A popular location for some of Niebergall’s group pictures was on the steps of the old Sandusky High School, later Adams Junior High School.  Below is a photograph of the War Bond Group of the Sandusky Chamber of Commerce, taken on May 27, 1918. A large American flag is hanging over the middle door on the western portion of the school building.

Two more group photos of members of the Sandusky Chamber of Commerce were taken by Mr. Niebergall on June 25, 1919. In the picture below, the men are all wearing hats.

It appears that Mr. Niebergall was a stickler for detail, or he had an unusual sense of humor, as another picture of the same group is nearly identical, except that the men have removed their hats.

Several years later, Niebergall took this picture of the Sandusky High School Band on the steps of Sandusky High School. Over sixty members of the band are pictured with their instruments in 1935.

The steps at the old Sandusky High School, facing the Erie County Courthouse look virtually the same today as they did when Mr. Niebergall took the group pictures many years ago.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Union Ticket for Ohio from October 1863 Election

During the Civil War, many Ohioans became members of the Union Party, which was made up of Republicans and Democrats who were in support of the Union cause. On October 13, 1863, John Brough was elected Governor of Ohio on the Union Party ticket. Brough soundly defeated Clement L. Vallandigham, who was against the Civil War, and had been forcibly exiled to the Confederacy. When President Abraham Lincoln heard that John Brough’s majority was over 100,000, he personally wired the Governor-elect. His message said “Glory to God in the highest. Ohio has saved the nation. A. Lincoln.”
John Brough, Ohio Governor 1864-1865(Image from )

Several articles that appeared in the October 16, 1863 issue of the Sandusky Register, reported that Sandusky area residents had a “grand era of good feeling” over the Union party majority during the recent election. The article stated that the hundreds of people from all around Sandusky and Erie County turned out at the Erie County Courthouse. The courthouse was illuminated from top to bottom, and bonfires were ablaze at the parks on Columbus Avenue. The Union Band played patriotic music, and at 8 p.m. Colonel J.C. Lee of Tiffin addressed the crowd. There was an announcement for the Brough Ball which was to be held at Norman Hall on October 16.

Proceeds from the Brough Ball were for the benefit of the families of Union soldiers.

Business owner C.C. Keech included the words Brough! Brough! in his advertisement for wool. The ad mentioned the 100,000 majority for Brough, along with an ad in which he offered to purchase 100,000 pounds of wool for 73 to 75 cents a pound.  Governor Brough died in 1865, before he completed his two year term as Governor of Ohio.

The names of several local candidates also appeared on the ballot in the fall of 1863, including W.D. Lindsley, who was elected to the Ohio Legislature; George Morton, elected Probate Judge; George O. Selkirk, elected as Clerk of Common Pleas Court; George W. Smith, elected Erie County Auditor; Calvin Caswell, elected Erie County Commissioner; and John Wines, elected Infirmary Director. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Movie Posters from Schine's State Theater

In the late 1920s, the State Theatre in Sandusky was known as “Schine’s State Theatre.” It was then a part of the Schine circuit of independent theaters, which a major chain of theaters until it broke up in 1965. The post card pictured above was created by E.B. Ackley. On November 30 and December 1, 1929, the silent movie “Our Modern Maidens” played at the Schine’s State Theatre. It starred Joan Crawford, the second in a trilogy of movies put out by MGM. 

On December 9 through 11, 1929, the movie “The Mighty,” starring George Bancroft, was featured at the theatre. This film was about a ruthless gangster who gets drafted into military service.

On December 12, 13, and 14, “Halfway to Heaven” played at the State. This film featured Charles “Buddy” Rogers, who was once known as America’s Boy Friend.

Mr. J. Robert Hoffman donated these movie posters, which are now a part of the collection of the Follett House Museum.

Monday, October 06, 2014

I.F. Mack’s Address on “The Four Pioneers”

On June 8, 1881, I.F. Mack, the well-known publisher of the Sandusky Register, gave an address at the twenty fifth annual meeting of the Firelands Historical Society in Norwalk, Ohio.

His address, entitled “The Four Pioneers,” featured sketches of four well known pioneer attorneys in the Firelands area.

In the eight years prior to the 1881 meeting, four respected judges from Erie County had passed away. They were: Walter F. Stone, William G. Lane, Joseph M. Root, and Cooper K. Watson. Mr. Mack had known each of these men personally. He gave a brief biography of each of the deceased attorneys, and then he examined the character of each of the men. According to Mack, Walter F. Stone was very gentle in nature, and was a man of peace. “He was a gentleman always, in the practice of his profession as well as social life.”  

William G. Lane was described as having the combination of diffidence, mental strength, fidelity to the highest duty, patience and courage. Mr. Mack also said that Judge Lane had “sincerity, coupled with unquestioned purity of thought and feeling,” and claimed that he was the “wisest counsellor we ever had at our bar.” 

About Joseph M. Root, I.F. Mack said that he was sincere, honest, and brave, but “his prejudices were too intense to make him an agreeable social companion.” When someone disagreed with Joseph M. Root, his wrath was often excited and he was known to “draw forth a torrent of abuse.” Mr. Mack said simply that Root “was not a great lawyer.”

According to Mack, Cooper K. Watson “possessed legal ability of the highest order.” He had a consummate knowledge of the laws, and a thorough understanding of the intricate rules and modes of practice, and was known to be severe in the sentencing of criminals. Mack wrote that Judge Watson “read books, law, theology, poetry, history, romance, and science greedily, remembered what he read, and made it useful, in the practice of his profession and in his intercourse with friends.”

Mr. Mack concluded by stating that all four of the pioneer lawyers were regarded as honest men, in a profession popularly believed to contain its full share of dishonest men. He stressed the importance of honesty and integrity as the chief cornerstone of character, to be regarded as more important than owning lands, stocks and bonds. 

To read I.F. Mack’s address “The Four Pioneers,” see the Firelands Pioneer of June 1882. His address is found on pages 62 to 70. You can see a framed picture of each of the four attorneys discussed in Mack’s speech on the third floor of the Erie County Courthouse.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Interior Views of Sandusky Library from the 1940s

Here is a view of a portion of the adult section of the Sandusky Library from the 1940s:

The framed Audubon prints seen in this picture are now in the Quiet Reading Room of the Library. The door on the far right of the picture led to the director’s office. Miss Mary McCann was the director of the Sandusky Library at that time. This area served as a music hall, known as Carnegie Hall, until around 1929, when it was replaced by more library space. The western portion of the original Sandusky Library building is labelled “Music Hall” in this 1905 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map:

 The charging desk in the adult section of Sandusky Library was new in 1941. It featured a modern filing system, which allowed employees to sort the cards according to fiction and nonfiction.

The decor of the Sandusky Library in the 1940s was functional and modest, yet the library’s resources were definitely appreciated by local residents as they faced the challenges of the Great Depression and the Second World War.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Harley Hoffman’s Photographs of Sandusky High School in 1957

Harley Hoffman took this aerial picture of Sandusky High School from an airplane in 1957. Notes with the original picture state that the airplane was going 200 miles an hour at the time the picture was taken. The new Sandusky High School opened at 2130 Hayes Avenue in 1957. Prior to that time, Sandusky High Students attended school at what later became Adams Junior High School.  Large areas of farmland can be seen in this picture. Now the portion of Perkins Avenue opposite Sandusky High School is filled with restaurants and other businesses. The longer building to the east of Sandusky High School was Mark’s Market, later known as Mark’s Pick-n-Pay. The small building opposite the high school was the Stadium Dairy Bar, which was run by John J. Poggiali. 

Harley W. Hoffman had a photography business in nearby Castalia in the 1950s. Mr. Hoffman took several other photographs of Sandusky High School in 1957. A large crowd can be seen gathered in front of the school for the flag raising at the dedication of the new school building.

Industrial Arts students had a new large classroom, equipped with tools and workbenches:

Here is a view of the band room in 1957:

A brand new cafeteria awaited the incoming students:

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to see hundreds of historic photographs of  the people and places of our local community. We appreciate the generosity of the many donors who bequeathed  the numerous historic documents, books and photographs now housed in our collection.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Postcards of the Third National Exchange Bank

The postcard above is from the historical postcard collection of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. Founded in 1872 as the Third National Bank, the Third National Exchange Bank was at 220 West Market Street from 1914 until the mid-1960s. Henry Millott was the architect, and G. William Doerzbach and Brother were the contractors for this building. According to the book, Treasure by the Bay, by Ellie Damm, the Third National Exchange Bank building was built in the Neoclassic style. The portico features Ionic style shafts, and double cornucopias are located above the entrance. The post card below, which pictures the interior of the Third National Exchange Bank, was created by the Alexander Manufacturing Company.

Local photographer Jay Hoehlein took this photograph at the bank in the summer of 1936:

In 1961 the bank’s name was listed as the Third National Bank of Sandusky, Ohio. By 1965 the Third National Bank of Sandusky, Ohio had its downtown office at 220 West Market Street, and a Perkins office at the corner of Columbus and Perkins Avenues. In 1969, there were three locations of the Third National Bank, but the bank was no longer in operation at 220 West Market Street. In 1993, the Third National Bank of Sandusky began operating under the "National City" name when it was consolidated with National City Bank in Cleveland. National City was acquired by PNC in 2008. The building at 220 West Market Street in downtown Sandusky is now home to the Bailey Legal Group.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

J.D. McFall Men’s Clothing Store

In 1890 and 1891, Jasper Dean McFall operated a store in Sandusky at 121 Columbus Avenue. He sold clothing and gents’ furnishings.  The business was begun by J.D. McFall’s father, William H. McFall, Sr. In 1882 there were two men’s clothing stores operated by the elder Mr. McFall, one at 107 Columbus Avenue, and one at 708 Water Street. 

From about 1886 to 1888, the store was run by the McFall brothers, three sons of the elder Mr. McFall. J.D. McFall was the manager of the McFall Brothers store in 1888, and by 1890, he was the proprietor. This advertisement for J.D. McFall’s store appeared in the March 31, 1891 issue of the Sandusky Register. The surname McFall surrounds the advertisement which highlights spring suits and overcoats.

According to an article in the February 25, 1922 issue of the Sandusky Register, in 1897, J.D. McFall moved from Sandusky to Detroit, where he studied music.  He moved to Washington D.C. and later to the state of Oregon. While in Washington D.C., he was the director of music at the Sunnyside Methodist Church. He served in a similar position at the Arleta Baptist Church, until poor health forced him to retire.  At a memorial service for President William McKinley, held at Chase’s Theater on October 6, 1901, J.D. McFall was in charge of the music for the service.

J.D. McFall died at his home near Jennings Lodge, Oregon on February 5, 1922, at the age of 52. He was fondly remembered by Sandusky residents, who recalled his fine baritone voice.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fountain at the Foot of Columbus Avenue

A public fountain was at the foot of Columbus Avenue in downtown Sandusky in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, not far from the waterfront.  In the picture above, the Post, Lewis and Radcliffe building, which dates back to 1866, can be seen just to the east of the fountain. Ellie Damm wrote in her book Treasure by the Bay, (Bucknell University Press, 1989), that the square where the fountain was located was often filled with activity as people gathered to meet the trains and boats as they arrived in Sandusky.  

The photograph below was taken sometime before 1903. The steamer "Arrow" is at dock; the "R.B. Hayes" is approaching (or leaving) the dock; another unidentified steamship is visible in the background, heading out into the bay. A fruit stand is at the lower right of the image; a newsstand/cigar shop is next to the dock; the Sandusky Fish Co. is slightly visible at the extreme left of the image.

We know that this photograph was taken in either 1903 or 1904:

Just past the railroad tracks, to the northwest of the fountain, the building with the large balcony was the Terminal Inn. This business opened in 1903 and was destroyed by a massive fire on June 21, 1904. Today a modern fountain at the Schade-Mylander Plaza welcomes visitors to historic downtown Sandusky.