Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Do You Remember Vacationland Stamps?

From the mid 1950s till about 1980, Vacationland stamps were given to customers who shopped at local merchants who were part of the Vacationland Stamp Association. One stamp was given for every ten cents that was spent at a participating store. When the book was filled, it could be redeemed for $3.00 at any merchant who participated in giving and redeeming Vacationland stamps.The large advertisement below stated: “It’s Like Receiving Free Money.”

In 1976 the value of a book filled with Vacationland stamps increased to $4.00.

Though the stamp program no longer exists, hundreds of thrifty Sandusky shoppers once enjoyed the savings they earned when they shopped at stores that gave and redeemed Vacationland stamps.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Business Thermometer

In September of 1898, the Alvord-Peters Company (publishers of the Star Journal newspaper) published The Business Thermometer. It was a series of free monthly publications, promoting businesses in Sandusky. To date, only one issue has been found in our historical files.  In a column called Trade Notes, various products made in Sandusky were highlighted.

In the editorial section, the publishers suggested that additional streets in Sandusky should be paved, since the paving of Wayne Street was completed.

The West House Pharmacy took out a full page advertisement in Volume 1, Issue 1:

In 1898, the Alvord-Peters Company advertised selling prints of a lithograph “Bird’s Eye View of Sandusky.” The print was 19 by 38 inches, and sold for $1.00 (about $30 in today's money).

A copy of the print is on display at the Follett House, and an enlargement of this image is located in the Adams Street entrance of the Sandusky Library.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Vim Motors Were Made in Sandusky

The boat above, owned by Ed Hinkey and a Mr. Pfeil in 1911, was powered by a 35 horsepower motor manufactured by the Vim Motor Company. On the reverse side of this picture postcard is the owners' positive description of the Vim Motor and its performance.

An article in the April 12, 1907 issue of the Sandusky Register stated that the Vim Motor Manufacturing Company had recently been incorporated by C.P. Barber, W.L. Fiesinger, H.W. Parsons, Herman Kugel and E.C. Knopf. The business was established at the southeast corner of Hancock and Market Street, but by 1911 the company had re-located to the southwest corner of Water and Meigs Street, close to Battery Park. Eventually the company had a plant on the west end of Monroe Street, and a repair shop at 636 East Water Street. In 1911 the Vim Motor Company made nineteen different sizes of marine engines, ranging from 3 to 55 horsepower. “Put real Vim in your boat” was the slogan used in this 1916 advertisement which appeared in a Power Boating magazine in 1916:

By that time, the Vim Motor Company had branched out into farm engines as well as marine engines. This advertisement appeared in Popular Mechanics in January, 1916:

During World War I, the Vim Motor Company merged with the Sandusky Forge Company, and began manufacturing munitions for the war effort. After the war’s end, the company faltered, and went into receivership in 1920. In the 1950s, Ruby’s Fisheries was located at the site of the former Vim Motor Company, now the parking lot for the Erie County Senior Center.

Monday, December 04, 2017

William J. Schweinfurth’s Grocery Store

From about 1900 until his death in 1932, William J. Schweinfurth ran a small neighborhood grocery store at the northwest corner of Perry and Jefferson Streets. Mr. Schweinfurth and his family lived just around the corner, at 529 East Jefferson Street. You can see both the address of the grocery store, at 433 Perry Street, as well as the Schweinfurth residence on Jefferson Street in this close-up view from the Sanborn Map.

The Schweinfurth grocery store was one of several stores that were part of the Home Service Stores group. The Home Service Stores were a group of individually owned grocery stores which organized for the purpose of collective buying. This organization was in existence in the Sandusky area from 1923 through the early 1950s. On March 29, 1930, an advertisement in the Sandusky Star Journal featured several Easter specials on sale at local Home Service Stores, including the William Schweinfurth grocery.

In the window of the Schweinfurth grocery store in the photo above is a sign for Salada Tea, which was a popular product at that time. Salada Tea advertised heavily in newspapers in the twentieth century, including newspapers published in Sandusky. The ad below appeared in the Sandusky Star Journal of November 17, 1922.

Friday, December 01, 2017

A Look Back at Area Depots

Ernst Niebergall took this picture of the New York Central Depot in Sandusky in 1920. This depot still stands today, where it also serves as home to the Sandusky Transit System. 

From the late 1800s until 1938, a depot for the interurban lines was located at Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home (now the Ohio Veterans Home.)

The Lake Shore and Michigan Southern railway built a small depot in Bay Bridge, Ohio in the 1870s. A telegraph office was also at this location for many years.

Greyhound’s bus depot was on Columbus Avenue in 1939, between Joe Weske’s barber shop and Weber’s men’s clothing store. Newspapers were also sold at the bus depot.

To view more vintage pictures of Sandusky and Erie County, visit the website of the Sandusky Library’s Past Perfect Local History Archives.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Sandusky Wheel Company

After having started in 1860 as a business that made wheel hubs and bent stock, the Sandusky Wheel Company was incorporated in 1867. Eventually it became an important manufacturer of wheels and wheelbarrows, and had over 200 employees. The entire stock and shops were destroyed by fire in 1872, but the company rebuilt and the business was back in operation by the summer of 1873.  

The 1886 Sanborn Map below shows that the Sandusky Wheel Company took up a large portion of an entire city block, along Water Street between Shelby and McDonough Streets.

Besides wheels, the Sandusky Wheel Company made all the wooden components for buggies, carriages, and wagons. A variety of woods, in different qualities, allowed for a full range of pricing for the vehicle companies that sent orders to the Sandusky Wheel Company. 

W. J. Comley and W. D’Eggville wrote in their book Ohio, the Future Great State (Comley Bros, 1875) about the Sandusky Wheel Company: “The unexampled success of this company in the manufacture of carriage woodwork has followed, as the legitimate result of well-digested plans and sound principles of construction. Discarding alike all foreign precedents and crude American examples, the officers of this company, by the application of scientific principles, careful observation, and mature judgment, influenced and corrected by practical experience, have brought to perfection a class of work which in material, design, proportion, and details of construction have not been excelled in this or any other country.”

In 1889, the Sandusky Wheel Company became a branch of the American Wheel Company, which had its headquarters in Chicago. By the mid-1890s, the company was known as the Standard Wheel Company. On the evening of July 7, 1900, the Standard Wheel Company was destroyed by fire, with losses estimated at $100,000. In the 1920s, ruins of the former company were still standing.


Saturday, November 25, 2017

G.B. Hodgman Manufacturing Company

Above is a receipt for goods sold to Frank Rittman from the G.B. Hodgman Manufacturing Company in Sandusky in 1893. The company was located on the very eastern end of First Street along the waterfront. 

The G.B. Hodgman Company started out as a cooperage in the 1870s, and later became a lumber mill; it was founded by George B. Hodgman, who served as president of the organization. O.A. Knight was vice-president, and Henry Knight was the secretary-treasurer.

An article in the Sandusky Register of July 30, 1881 reported that the G.B. Hodgman Manufacturing Company gave constant employment to over one hundred workmen. At that time the factory sat on two acres, and had two docks for shipment of products. There was a branch factory in St. Louis, Missouri. The book History of Erie County, ed. by Lewis Cass Aldrich (D. Mason, 1889) described the company as sitting on twenty acres, which included a warehouse, sawmill, band factory, cooper shop, stables, blacksmith shop and wagon shop. The buildings had incandescent lighting, and the company had its own generator. Products were shipped throughout a large portion of the United States, and the proprietors were known for “business integrity and thoroughness.” The 1890 Sandusky City Directory listed the company as a manufacturer of lumber and cooperage, specializing in fish, syrup, lard and pickle packaging. 

During the Panic of 1893, the G.B. Hodgman Manufacturing Company went into receivership, as did many companies throughout the United States. Mr. and Mrs. Hodgman moved to Chicago, where George worked in wood manufacturing, and later they moved to St. Louis, Missouri. George B. Hodgman died in St. Louis on May 8, 1934. His remains were returned to Sandusky, Ohio for burial in Oakland Cemetery. 

Marian Hodgman, a sister to George, was an early member of the Board of Trustees of the Sandusky Library.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Play “Witches of New York” Played in Sandusky in 1871

Albert W. Aiken, who wrote the play “Witches of New York” brought his company of actors to Sandusky, Ohio on November 22, 1871. The play, in which Aiken also starred, appeared at Fisher’s Hall for one night only. Mr. Aiken and the performers in the theatrical production signed the guest book of the West House, where they stayed during their time in our city. The West House register is now on display at the Follett House Museum.

An article which appeared in the November 23, 1871 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that the play was full of sensations, and kept the audience interested. Mr. Aiken is said to have performed his role exceedingly well, and his manner was “far from being stagey.” Mr. Aiken and his company were taking the show to Toledo, Ohio following the performance in Sandusky.

Fisher’s Hall was located at the northwest corner of Wayne and Water Streets in downtown Sandusky. This property is still a vital commercial property in Sandusky today. For many years the street level of the structure was occupied by businesses, and the upper floor was used as a theater. Concerts, lectures and wrestling matches were held at Fisher’s Hall from the 1860s through the 1930s.

Below is a picture of the former Fisher’s Hall (now the Cable Block), taken by then-Follett House curator Helen Hansen in the early 1990s.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The “All Nation’s Pageant” in 1932

Several ladies from the Sandusky and Erie County Federation of Women’s Clubs participated in the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s “All Nation’s Pageant”, held at Cleveland’s Public Hall. This event was part of the International Exposition presented in Cleveland from November 19 to 28, 1932. While thirty-eight women participated, only sixteen were present for the photograph above. 

Pictured are: Back Row: Ada Parker, Leona Love, Carrie Beatty, Nettie Beatty, Ms. Drummond, Emma Phillips, Dorothy Drummond, Adeline Rosekelly, Florence Wright. Front Row: Mary Louise Blanckey, Annette Lockwood, Lois Miller, Attie Hawley, Harriet Ruggles, Virginia Caswell, and Marie Harris. 

Several scrapbooks, membership lists, secretary’s record book and photographs from both the Erie County and Sandusky Federation of Women’s Clubs are housed in the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Bernard Lodick Sold Carriages and Wagons

From about 1860 until his retirement in the 1910s, Bernard Lodick had a carriage and wagon shop at the corner of Washington and Jackson Streets.

Mr. Lodick had several “elegantly furnished” vehicles on display at the carriage hall at the Fair, according to the September 30, 1870 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal. He made and repaired carriages and wagons.

The Lodick shop was next to the old Methodist Church building, as seen on this 1893 Sanborn Map.

By 1911, William Thom and Son operated a horseshoeing business at the former Lodick Carriage Shop.

In 1916 and 1917, there was a garage at the same location, run by the Sandusky Motor and Vulcanizing Company.

A news article in the March 25, 1916 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that the former Lodick site was favored for the construction of a new Post Office building.

Ground was broken for the new Post Office on November 1, 1925, and the new Post Office officially opened in March of 1927. The former Post Office is now home to the Merry Go Round Museum.