Monday, June 28, 2010

The First Edition of “The Gleaner”

While the Sandusky High School Alumni Directory lists the first graduating class of Sandusky High School as taking place in 1855, there were school students in Sandusky, Ohio prior to that date. The first edition of The Gleaner came out on June 28, 1850. The masthead stated that The Gleaner was edited and published monthly by the superintendent and students of the Sandusky City High School. In 1850, M. F. Cowdery served as both the Principal and Superintendent of Public Schools in Sandusky.

The first page of The Gleaner was to be devoted to articles about the operation and history of the public school system in Sandusky, and was to be edited by the Superintendent of Public Schools, while the remaining three pages of the publication were edited by the students. The Board of Education for the Public Schools in Sandusky was made up of: F. M. Follett, President; C. Leonard, Secretary; F. T. Barney, Treasurer; and members Earl Bill, H. F. Merry, and Thomas Hogg.

Student editors for the June 28, 1850 issue of The Gleaner were Miss Martha Hastings and Miss Henrietta T. Day. Some of topics in this issue discussed were governing the tongue, maintaining a good carriage (walk), and how the use of ardent spirits was leading young men to ruin and destruction. A student writer identified only as Leonora wrote a ten stanza poem in memory of the steamer G.P. Griffith, which went down in Lake Erie on June 17, 1850. Hundreds of people lost their lives in this shipwreck.

Visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center to view a copy of The Gleaner. Ask the Reference Services Staff for Assistance.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Sandusky Schottisch

A schottisch or schottische is a round dance of German origin, similar to a slow polka. It was very popular in the mid to late nineteenth century. The dance combines the movements of a slow tempo polka with a circular hop. In a letter to his brother Orion Clemens, Samuel Clemens tells of dancing the schottische with a Miss Castle. A clip of dancers performing the schottische is found on YouTube.

George F. Doll composed “The Sandusky Schottisch” for the guitar about 1860. He dedicated the musical composition to his Sandusky friends. George F. Doll was the son of Sandusky businessman Theodore Doll. German born Theodore Doll had a variety of local businesses, including an ice cream shop and an oyster saloon in a building known as Doll’s Brick Building. He was listed as hotel keeper in the 1850 Erie County Census.

In the 1860 Sandusky City Directory George F. Doll’s occupation was music teacher. By 1880, George had married and moved to Fremont, Ohio. George and his wife Martha had four daughters. George F. Doll died in Fremont in 1881, when only 41 years old. You can view “The Sandusky Schottisch” and several other vintage sheet music by visiting the Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Sandusky, Milan & Norwalk Electric Railway

Pictured below is Car No. 9 of the Sandusky, Milan & Norwalk Electric Railway, near the northwest corner of Monroe and Hancock Streets in Sandusky. William Brehm’s dry goods store is visible at the left. Notes with the original picture indicate that Walter Rieger is one of the boys in the photograph.


The Sandusky, Milan & Norwalk Electric Railway was in operation from Sandusky to Milan beginning in July of 1893. The line from Milan to Norwalk began running in September, 1893. The track connected with the Peoples Electric Railway in Sandusky. The electric railway car below is in Norwalk, Ohio.

In 1901 the Sandusky, Milan & Norwalk Electric Railway became part of the Lake Shore Electric Railway. The Lake Shore Electric Railway was closed out in 1938, with the Lake Shore Coach Co., a bus transportation facility taking its place. The Lake Shore Coach Co. was sold to Greyhound in 1949.

An earlier streetcar line in Sandusky, the Sandusky Street Railway Company, was drawn along the tracks by horse. Chapter XVII of Charles E. Frohman’s book Sandusky's Yesterdays, entitled “Trolley Days,” provides historical information about early transportation in Sandusky. A sixteen page illustrated booklet by R. G. Morrison, The Sandusky, Milan and Norwalk Electric Railway, is housed in the Transportation Collection of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. To view this item, inquire at the Reference Services Desk in the lower level of the Sandusky Library.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Crossword Puzzle from 1925 Sandusky High School Fram

The crossword puzzle below, by Elizabeth Alton, took its clues primarily from local businesses that placed advertisements in the Fram. How many can you guess?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Program Announcement: Culture and Commerce - A Walking Tour of Downtown Sandusky

Take a walk back in time as we stop at some of downtown Sandusky’s most interesting buildings - past and present. Join us on Wednesday, June 23, or Saturday, June 26, at 10:30 a.m. and learn how our waterfront city bustled with shops, banks, factories, restaurants, saloons, an opera house, theaters, hotels, and more. Nineteenth Century photographs of downtown Sandusky will illustrate the changes that have occurred over the last 150 years. As this is a walking tour, please wear appropriate shoes and outerwear and be prepared to stand or walk for at least an hour. Registration is required. To register, call 419-625-3834 and press 0 to speak with a switchboard operator (10-5, Monday-Friday) or press Option 6 to leave a message.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Minnie Riccelli’s Three Generation Photograph

Notes on the back of this family photograph indicate that the photograph was taken in 1932, after the funeral of Fred Scheuss. The women in the photograph are: Mrs. Lucia Baird, Maybelle Baird Barnett, and Minnie Barnett Riccelli. Lucia is Minnie’s maternal grandmother, and Maybelle is Minnie’s mother. According to the 1930 Census, Minnie Barnett Riccelli was the wife of Sandusky businessman Ruggerio Riccelli.

By entering the names of these individuals into genealogical databases, more details about these women can be learned. For example, the 1920 U.S. Census, accessed through Ancestry Library Edition, lists the name of Maybelle Barnett, and four of her children living in Sandusky on Market Street. The 1910 Census gives Maybelle’s husband’s name: John W. Barnett. By searching Family Search Labs for the name Lucia Baird, we find that Lucia’s husband was William P. Baird, and her parents were John Tuttle and Philena Bond.

If you have old family pictures, try searching Ancestry Library Edition, Heritage Quest Online, and Family Search Labs, to learn more information about your ancestors. While Ancestry Library Edition is able to be accessed only while in a ClevNet Library, Heritage Quest Online and Family Search Labs are available at home or at the library.

Mayflies, or June Bugs

The photograph above pictures mayflies in the street at the corner of Jackson Street and Washington Row in the summer of 1940. At the very corner of the photograph the sign for Merchants Finance Co. can be seen. In 1940, Merchants Finance was located at 257 Jackson Street, between the Mahala Laundry and the First Presbyterian Church.

From the genus Hexagenia, some of the names that these insects are called include: mayflies, June bugs, or Canadian soldiers. An online article from the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that in Ohio, mayflies emerge from Lake Erie, fly inland and molt, and then mate and die. This process all takes place within a time span of 24 to 72 hours.

To read more about these annual invaders, see Fact Sheet 069 from the Ohio State University’s Sea Grant publications, which reassures us that the insects are harmless and can be used in composting.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Main and Mutual Telephone Exchanges in Erie County

When dial telephone service was begun, telephone numbers often consisted of the first two letters of a word, followed by five numerals. Glenn Miller’s band played the song “Pennsylvania 6-5000,” and the title of the John O’Hara novel Butterfield 8 was a reference to the telephone exchange of the characters.

Between 1958 and 1962, the telephone exchange for Sandusky was MAIN, and the exchange for Castalia was MUTUAL. By correlating the first two letters of each of those exchanges to the telephone buttons, the numeric equivalent is 62 for MAIN and 68 for MUTUAL.

As demand for telephone service grew, the decision was made to switch to all number calling, which allowed for more efficient use of the supply of numbers. An article from the May 11, 1962 Time magazine entitled “By the Numbers” referred to the all number calling plan as a “numerological nightmare.” Dr. Leo Goldberger stated that the use of seven numbers without the letter exchange was similar to an Army serial number, with a loss of individual identity. He continued “one becomes…not only an insignificant cog in a great machine, but anonymous as well.”

Of course, now in the U.S. telephone numbers must include the area code, with the result of each phone number having a total of ten digits. Cellular telephones and phone service through Cable have added exponentially to the number of telephone numbers that exist. The Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library owns historical city directories for several decades. Browsing through these directories, you can find the names of people and businesses from the past, sometimes with a telephone number listed.

Before the advent of direct dialing, operators placed telephone calls for customers. Pictured below is a group of telephone operators from Sandusky from the 1930’s or 1940’s.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ohio’s Lake Erie Vacationland

The warm summertime weather and access to water in the Sandusky Bay and Lake Erie Islands region have been popular with vacationers for decades. Visitors to “Vacationland” can enjoy beaches, parks, fishing, boating, camping, and of course the popular amusement park, Cedar Point. An advertisement in 1904 from the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway promoted railroad travel to several destinations, including the southern shores of Lake Erie.

Local residents also enjoyed the pleasant summer weather and time off from work and school during the summer months. Some families had a home in Sandusky, and a summer cottage closer to the beach. The Lange cottage at Cedar Point is pictured below:
Several articles in the Sandusky Register from the 1920’s through the 1930’s mention house parties. According to the August 25, 1920 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal, Eulalia Peterson hosted a “delightful house party at the summer home of her parents” on the Cedar Point Chausee. Several young ladies enjoyed outdoor diversions during the daytime, while young men joined the girls in the evening to enjoy dancing with music form the Victrola on the veranda.

Boating has been popular with local residents as well as visitors to the Sandusky Bay and Lake Erie area for many years.
Swimsuits were much more modest in days gone by, as seen in this photo from the Cedar Point Beach, taken before 1940.
Besides recreational activities, many historical attractions are within driving distance of Sandusky including the Thomas Edison Birthplace, the R.B. Hayes Presidential Center, the Cooke House and The Follett House Museum. The Marblehead Lighthouse has been guiding boats and ships on the Great Lakes since 1822. A ride aboard a ferry boat can take you to South Bass Island or Kelleys Island, where even more attractions may be enjoyed.

Two books about Lake Erie’s Vacationland can be borrowed from the Sandusky Library: Ohio's Lake Erie Vacationland in Vintage Postcards, by R. Wayne Ayers, and Lake Erie Vacationland in Ohio: Revisiting a1941 Travel Guide to the Sandusky Bay Region. The latter title was originally compiled by the Ohio Writer’s Program of the Work Projects Administration, and was reprinted in 1999 with an introduction by Connie Smith Girard. The Sandusky Library Archives Research Center features books, photographs, brochures, and historical newspapers on microfilm which cover the history of the Vacationland area, including Cedar Point and the Lakeside Association.

Monday, June 07, 2010

The Sidney Frohman Lodge

Sidney Frohman was born in Sandusky in 1881, the son of David and Rachel Strauss Frohman, who were both born in Germany. Known as the “Dean” of the corrugated box industry, Sidney Frohman served as President of the Hinde and Dauch Company for thirty four years, and chairman of the board for seven years. During his years at the helm of Hinde and Dauch, he led the company through a steady expansion program. He was a generous supporter of civic organizations in the Sandusky area, and formed the Sidney Frohman Foundation charitable trust in 1952.

From 1935 until 1960, the Sidney Frohman Lodge was a focal point for entertainment on the East Point of South Bass Island. Mr. Frohman used the lodge to entertain friends as well as business associates. The lodge featured a main home with 24 rooms, five small cottages, banquet facilities, and a large boat dock.

On June 7, 1936, a group of Hinde and Dauch employees visited the Sidney Frohman Lodge at Put in Bay.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Zipfel’s Meat Market

Constantine Zipfel founded a meat business in Sandusky. It was in operation from the 1860’s through the early 1900’s. Pictured below is the Zipfel Meat Market in the 1890’s.
Constantine Zipfel was born in Norsingen, Baden (Germany) on May 21, 1839. He married Mary Daniel on December 31, 1858. Constantine and Mary were the parents of seven children, all born in Ohio: Carl, Joseph, Elise, Marie, Ida, Laura, and Alfred. Mrs. Mary Zipfel passed away on January 28, 1886. Constantine married Catherine Liess, and they had a son named Wilbert in 1889. Constantine Zipfel died on June 3, 1894, after he had unsuccessfully sought health in the spas of Germany. He is buried in St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Sandusky. One of the original bells at St. Mary’s Church was the gift of Constantine Zipfel.

An image of Constantine Zipfel appears on Plate III, Image 1, in Sandusky Einst und Jetzt, by Ernst Von Schulenburg. This title was translated into English by Norbert Adolph and Marion Cleaveland Lange in 1959. See Sandusky Then and Now, available at the Sandusky Library, to read more about the early German residents of Sandusky. An every-name index helps researchers find specific names easily. Ernst von Schulenburg wrote in the preface to the second edition of Sandusky Einst und Jetzt, about the early German residents of Sandusky, “They are indeed dead-yet they still live.”

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Businesses in the 600 Block of Hancock Street in 1888

In 1888, three different businesses were in operation at the southeast corner of Hancock and Madison Street in Sandusky. The proprietors of the businesses, along with family members and employees are seen standing in front of their stores.

August M. Koegele had a dry goods store at 600 Hancock Street. “Gents Night Shirts” sold for fifty cents, and yards of percale fabric sold for under $1.00:
John L. Rieger, who also built the Rieger Hotel in 1912, sold boots and shoes at 602 Hancock Street:
Claussen Bros. Grocery was located at 604 Hancock Street. Canned goods can be seen in the window, and brooms and baskets were for sale outside the store. An advertisement on the door read “Drink Grain-O.” Grain-O was a cereal based coffee substitute, popular in the late nineteenth century.
A variety of businesses were in operation at this location throughout the years. Wholf Hardware was in business at the 600 block of Hancock Street from 1952 through the mid-1990’s. This property is now privately owned.