Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wehrle Hall on Middle Bass Island

The Wehrle family founded the wine business that first gave Middle Bass Island its fame. The winery Wehrle, Werk, and Sons was one of the earliest businesses on the island. The elder Andrew Wehrle emigrated from Germany in 1852, and established the business on Middle Bass. Achieving success, he erected a large hotel and dance pavilion on the island (shown above). It is said the Grover Cleveland made the Wehrle Hotel his headquarters during his fishing trips on Lake Erie. The Wehrle family ended operation of the winery shortly after Andrew Wehrle, Sr.'s death in 1896; the business was eventually taken over by the Golden Eagle Wine Cellars. In the 1920's a fire destroyed the wine cellars, hotel and dancing pavilion.

Andrew Wehrle, Jr. was said to be the first child born Middle Bass Island. He achieved his own prominence through a coal business in Sandusky, which he operated until 1900. The old steamer A. Wehrle, Jr. was named after him. Andrew Wehrle, Jr. died on Jan. 4, 1931.

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