Wednesday, July 23, 2014


The Graham family operated a drug store in Sandusky from 1845 until 1926. John A. Graham established the drug store, and was succeeded by his son W.A. Graham. The Graham Drug Store was at what is now 102 Columbus Avenue beginning about 1868.  In the picture above, from the late 1880s, the name W.A. Graham is on a sign above the store, and the name of Dr. A.J. Gawne appears on a window in an office on the second floor of the Graham building. 

An article in the Sandusky Register of March 15, 1915 reported that W. A. Graham “was one of the best known and best prepared druggists in this part of the state.” The Graham Drug Store building is featured in the Old House Guild’s Downtown Architectural Walking Tour of Sandusky, Ohio, which lists 1868 as the date the building was constructed.  Ellie Damm wrote in her book Treasure by the Bay, (Bucknell University Press, 1989), that the Graham Drug Store building was in the Second Empire style, constructed from limestone, and faced with sandstone.  Jay Meek operated a drug store at this location in the 1930s and 1940s. From the early 1950s through the late 1980s, the Echo Tavern did business at 102 Columbus Avenue. Daly’s Pub now occupies the building.


 See a previous Sandusky History blog post to view some trading cards that were distributed by the Graham Drug Store.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Sandusky's Coal Docks


Sandusky, Ohio has long been known as having one of the finest and most well-protected harbors on the Great Lakes. Since the late 1890s, the transfer of coal from railway cars to vessels has been taking place in Sandusky. For many years, the Pennsylvania Railroad owned the docks at the foot of King Street on Sandusky’s west side, and the transfer of coal from the railway cars to ships was done by the employees of the Lower Lake Coal Docks Co. The Twin Anniversary Edition of the Sandusky Register and Star News, from November 24, 1947 featured an article which explained how the process of loading coal went from manually dumping coal from wheelbarrows to the ships, to a steam operated crane, and finally to machines that are electrically operated. The postcard below, by E.B. Ackley featured the electrically operated coal loader #3.


 Several ships can be seen in this 1937 photograph of the coal docks.



This picture taken by the Torow Studio in the late 1940s captures the view of the coal docks at night.


Currently, the Sandusky Dock is owned by Norfolk Southern Corporation, and is operated by the Sandusky Dock Corporation. The average loading capacity is over 2,600 tons per hour. After dark, the lights from the docks can be seen for miles, causing us to take note of this vital part of the Great Lakes economy.



Saturday, July 05, 2014

Aerial of View of the Sandusky Drive-In Theater


According to an article in the May 24, 1948 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News, the Sandusky Drive-In Theater was slated to open at 9:15 p.m. on May 24, 1948. The single feature film on opening night was “Copacabana,” starring Groucho Marx. The movie ran at 9:15 and again at 11:15, along with short subject and news reels. In 1948, the Sandusky Drive-In Theater was owned and operated by the Seitz Amusement Company. The theater was located on a fifteen acre field on Cleveland Road, not far from the entrance to Cedar Point. The Selby Engineering Company erected a 60 by 58 foot steel tower, for a 39 by 52 foot screen. RCA supplied the speakers, enough for 608 cars.  There were also speakers for a row of seats in front of the automobiles, for individuals who walked in to view the movie at the drive-in. The Drive-In theater provided inexpensive entertainment, and people could dress very casually. Often children attended the drive-in theater in their pajamas. The Berlo Vending Company provided refreshments in a concrete building below the picture booth where the Simplex projectors were housed. In the 1950s, there were swing sets for the youngsters to enjoy while waiting the for the first movie to begin. Shows were changed three times a week, on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday nights. The speakers were connected with waterproof wires, so that the movies could be shown even in rainy weather. Eventually there were double features shown at the Sandusky Drive-In.  The Sandusky Drive-In Theater closed in 2001. An article which appeared in the May 24, 2010 issue of the Sandusky Register featured memories of a former employee of the drive-in. Tim Bretz spoke about the complex dual projector system which had been used at the drive-in. The Sandusky Drive-In provided inexpensive entertainment to Sandusky area for many season. 

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

The Erie County Children’s Home


According to the book Treasure by the Bay, by Ellie Damm (Bucknell University Press, 1989), in 1898 the voters of Erie County approved the construction of a Children’s Home to be built on a five acre site just north of the intersection of Cleveland Road and Sycamore Line in Sandusky, Ohio. The Erie County Children’s Home opened in May of 1901. The building was designed by the Cleveland architectural firm of Lehman and Schmitt, and the general contractor was George Feick.


 The building was constructed of native limestone, and featured a large entry portico with pillars, with the windows and doors arranged symmetrically. Dormitories were located on either side of the main building. Girls were housed on the first floor of the right side of the building, and boys were on the first floor of the left side of the building. Each child was assigned an individual locker for his or her belongings. The dining room was located on the first floor of the main building. On the second floor of the main building was a hospital, quarters for the maids, and the rooms of the superintendent and his wife. The first superintendent of the Erie County Children’s Home was Eugene Peake. An epidemic of scarlet fever caused the residents of the home to be under a strict quarantine during July of 1901. The schedule for the Erie County Children’s Home was printed in the Sandusky Register of December 1, 1901. The daily routine included: rise at 6 a.m.; family worship at 6:20; breakfast at 7; school at 8:30; lunch at noon; school from 1:30 to 3 p.m.; supper at 6 p.m.; and bedtime at 8 p.m.  In December of 1926, the local Kiwanis Club sponsored a Christmas party for residents of the Children’s Home.


While the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center does not have extensive records from the Erie County Children’s Home, we do have some snapshots taken during the 1940s in our historical files.


The Erie County Children’s Home ceased operations in 1960. In the early 1960s, the building that formerly housed the Children’s Home was used for offices by Erie County. In 1992, the property was purchased by Stein Hospice, which opened at 1200 Sycamore Line in the summer of 1993.