Monday, May 21, 2018

Our American Cousin Played in Sandusky

On May 19, 1875, the play Our American Cousin was presented at the Sandusky Opera House in Sandusky by the Sandusky Amateur Dramatic Association. Admission to the play was fifty cents, and proceeds were donated to the Young Men’s Christian Association. Of course Our American Cousin is best known as being the play that President and Mrs. Lincoln were watching on the evening of  the President’s assassination at Ford’s Theatre on April 16, 1865. 

In 1875 the building known as the Sandusky Opera House was Norman Hall, on the north side of Water Street between Jackson and Decatur.

The building later known as the Sandusky Opera House, the Biemiller Opera House, was not built until 1877. 

Ulysses T. Curran, superintendent of Sandusky Schools, played the part of Lord Dundreary.

Two of the local play’s performers, Miss Jennie M. West and Mr. C.L. Hubbard, would marry in 1877. 

A brief article which appeared in the May 20, 1875 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that, “The play was received in the best possible manner, and that it deserved such a reception will not be gainsaid by anyone who saw it. The members of the Sandusky Amateur Dramatic Association deserve the highest praise for their faultless interpretation of the many difficult characters in the piece.”

Friday, May 18, 2018

Oscar F. Cook Majestic Stock Company

From about 1905 to 1908, Oscar F. Cook operated a stock (theater) company in Sandusky, Ohio. The May 15, 1905 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal reported that the Oscar F. Cook Stock Company performed a play entitled The Convict’s Sweetheart, in a large tent at the corner of Columbus Avenue and Monroe Street in Sandusky.  This small advertisement announced a play performed in May of 1905. The four act comedy-drama offered “polite vaudeville” between each act.

In September of 1905, the company appeared at the Cedar Point Theater. During the winter of 1905-1906, the company was to open a winter season in Piqua, Ohio.  By February of 1907, Mr. Cook announced that he had leased Link’s Hall on West Washington Street. He planned to put on stock company performances at that location, to be known as the New Family Theater. 

On January 7, 1928 the Sandusky Star Journal  reported that Mr. Cook and his family had moved to Kingston, Ontario, Canada, where he had been named president of the Colonial Coach Lines, which operated buses in Kingston and Ottawa, Ontario. Oscar F. Cook passed away at his home in Kingston, Ontario on March 28, 1947. His remains were brought back to Sandusky, Ohio for burial in Oakland Cemetery

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Pied Piper of Hamelin at Jackson Junior High

On May 14, 1937, Sandusky students performed the opera, “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” at the Jackson Junior High School. Miss Eulalie Shaw, the first director of Sandusky High School’s A Capella Choir, directed the one hundred seventy five students in the production. The lead role was played by Delbert Persons. Joe Freeman portrayed the Mayor, and the little lame boy was played by Dick Burton. Joyce White portrayed the dream lady, who sang of the joys of childhood in the mystic forest. The opera included a large chorus, and several children played the parts of the townspeople of Hamelin, toys, soldiers, dolls, jumping jacks and sprites. The opera was well attended, and the audience gave enthusiastic applause throughout the production. 

An article in the May 15, 1937 issue of the Sandusky Register listed the named of every student who took part in the performance of “The Pied Piper of Hamelin.” 

Jackson Junior High School opened in 1928, and served as a community center for dozens of school and civic events from the late 1920s through the 1940s. The school auditorium can be seen in the picture below, when Cryle’s Orchestra performed.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mothers and Grandmothers

In honor of Mother’s Day, here are some images taken from the historical photograph collection of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. Mrs. Mary F. Eschenberg is holding her baby grandson Robert Merrill in this picture from 1890.

Mrs. Anna Hauser Lange, mother of professor Dr. Norbert A. Lange,  is tidying up the yard around her home in this postcard.

Mrs. Mary Ellen Johnston and her children are pictured below in a picture taken about 1898. Mary Ellen’s daughter, Mary Elizabeth Johnston, became a librarian and bequeathed several thousand dollars to Oberlin College after her death.

Mrs. Helen Wagner Frohman, the mother of local historian and business man Charles E. Frohman, seems to have an expression on her face that shows the wisdom of her years.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Mothers and Babies on National Hospital Day

Seated on the steps of the former Providence Hospital in Sandusky are several babies and young children with their mothers on National Hospital Day on May 12, 1930. Ernst Niebergall was the photographer. Both Good Samaritan and Providence Hospital held on Open House on this date, and offered guided tours of the hospitals to visitors who wished to see the various departments of each facility.

Monday, May 07, 2018

John B. Tichenor, Portrait and Animal Painter

This advertisement appeared in a late nineteenth century Postal Guide, which was distributed to local residents, compliments of the employees of the Sandusky Post Office. Although John B. Tichenor was a native of Sandusky County, Ohio, for a brief time he had an art studio in the Lea Block, on Market Street in Sandusky, around 1895 or 1896.

The hours of the art studio in Room 3 of the “new” Lea Block were 9 a.m. to Noon and 1 to 4 p.m. 

Walter B. Rideout wrote in his book Sherwood Anderson: A Writer in America (University of Wisconsin Press, 2006) that Karl Anderson, the brother of author Sherwood Anderson, received painting lessons from Mr. Tichenor, when they both resided in Clyde, Ohio. In an article in the Sandusky Register of September 11, 1970, staff writer Ron Hall wrote an article about Sherwood Anderson, and other former residents of Clyde, Ohio. Hall interviewed local historian Thaddeus Hurd, who stated that at one time there was a group of artists in the community of Clyde, Ohio, and John B. Tichenor was probably the best-known of all the artists.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Farrell-Cheek Foundry Baseball Teams

This picture of a Farrell-Cheek baseball team is undated, and unfortunately, we do not know the name of any of the men in the photo. An article in the Sandusky Star Journal of July 8, 1916, reported that there was a series of ball games between the African American and white baseball teams, both made up of Farrell-Cheek employees. The games were often played at Huron Park. A star player on Farrell-Cheek's African American team was center fielder John Moses. 

In the 1920s, a team from Farrell-Cheek participated in the Factory Leagues. Below is a listing of the games played, as well as batting averages for the Farrell Cheek team up to June, 1920.

A cartoon of the cover of this Farrell-Cheek newsletter noted that their team won the baseball championships in the Factory League in 1919 and 1920.

In the 1940s, Granville “Red” Haley was the manager of Farrell-Cheek’s African American ball team.  He had previously played on an integrated baseball team in Bismarck, North Dakota, where one of his teammates was Satchel Paige. 

While we do not have detailed records of the local baseball teams in Sandusky, it is clear that the sport was enjoyed by many of the hard working men who put in long hours of work at local factories during their shifts. Many of the factory men could be seen heading to the ball park on their nights off and weekends.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Sandusky City Street Sprinklers

Pictured above is an old water sprinkling apparatus, seen outside of the old Sandusky Water Works before that structure was demolished. Water from the barrel was sprinkled along unpaved streets to help keep the dust down. It appears that a rider could sit on the seat alongside the barrel, and the cart would have been drawn by a horse. The street sprinkling process also kept the city air a little healthier, as it diluted the amount of manure and urine left on the streets from horses used to draw buggies and carriages before automobiles became the more common mode of transportation. 

Gottlieb Epple was one of the men employed as a street sprinkler in Sandusky.

Below is the listing for the Epple and Son business in the 1908 Sandusky City Directory:

An article in the May 1, 1901 issue of the Sandusky Register announced that the beginning of May would also be the beginning of water sprinkling for the season.

Eventually street sprinkling became obsolete as most of the city’s streets became paved. 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Home Economics Classes at the Follett House

Several pictures taken at the Follett House when Sandusky High School held Home Economics classes there are now in the historical photograph collection of the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.  Home Economics classes were held at the Follett House from the late 1930s through the mid 1950s. Courses included sewing, cooking, child care, and general household management.

 An article in the Sandusky Star Journal of February 20, 1941 stated that the students would be learning how to do laundry, house cleaning, and serve meals in an environment that closely resembled an actual home setting. This was easy to achieve at the Follett House, since it had actually been a family home for many years.

Besides learning during classroom time, the students also participated in fun activities like style shows, teas, and taffy pulls. During World War II, a class was held for male students. The Sandusky Register Star News of  December 4, 1942 reported that the young men would report to the basement of the Follett House, where they were instructed in how to launder the towels, napkins and tablecloths that were used in the Home Economics cooking classes. This class was intended to help the young men help at home with their own family’s chores, since so many mothers of school aged students had gone to work in defense plants. Another wartime activity of the Home Economics students was the sewing of clothing for the Red Cross. Each garment that was to be sent overseas had a tag that read “American Junior Red Cross Erie County.”

Did you have family who attended classes at the Follett House?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Operation “BIT” in Sandusky in 1958

After several years of good economic conditions in the United States following World War II, the United States experienced an economic downturn in the Spring of 1958.  President Eisenhower spoke with some Cleveland automobile dealers on April 23, 1958, about a “You Auto Buy It Now” campaign. Business owners in Sandusky started a promotion known as “Operation BIT” which encouraged local residents to “Buy it today” in order to boost the U.S. economy. There were prizes for shoppers and special sales prices offered at many area stores. The advertisement below appeared in the May 21, 1958 issue of the Sandusky Register. The current list of prize winners was printed underneath this ad.

Over one hundred stores in the greater Sandusky area participated in the “Buy It Today” campaign. A logo stated “Sales mean jobs. Buy it today. Do your bit.”

The Bill Walters store ran several special prices during the “Buy It Today” promotion.

An article in the May 14, 1958 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that President Eisenhower praised the Sandusky area for its efforts to help the economic situation. He said, “It is mighty encouraging to me to see businessmen throughout the country roll up their sleeves and show the merchandising genius that has helped to make this country strong. Congratulations and best wishes.”  According to the Economic Report of the President, by the end of 1958, “by the end of the year most of the ground lost had been regained.” 

Many of our parents and grandparents probably enjoyed the sales offered in Sandusky in 1958’s Operation BIT. A view of East Market Street shows just a few of the stores in downtown Sandusky in the mid 1950s.