Friday, July 21, 2017

Interior Views of the Erie County Courthouse

In the picture above, taken in 1938, George P. Lydens, Deputy Clerk for Erie County Clerk of Courts, is seen in the Clerk of Courts office. Below is a view of the Common Pleas Courtroom at the Erie County Courthouse from the summer of 1952.

Here is how a Common Pleas courtroom looked shortly after the courthouse was built in 1874:

Have you ever heard that there is a tunnel that leads from the Erie County Courthouse to the old Erie County Jail? You can see the close proximity of the two buildings in this picture, taken sometime before the renovation of the Erie County Courthouse in the 1930s.

According to an article which appeared in the Sandusky Register of February 11, 1992, there is indeed a tunnel that connects the Erie County Courthouse to the old jail building. However, Erie County employee Bill Higgins told the Register reporter that the tunnel contains the service water main. The tunnel is inspected by maintenance crews every year, and the height of the tunnel is only four feet by four feet. Most likely, prisoners were never transported through the tunnel because of the very small space it occupies.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Snapshots from Dorothy Wieland’s Photograph Album

Descendants of the Wieland family donated a photograph album to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. The album once belonged to Dorothy Wieland, the daughter of Frank and Blanche Wieland. Though not all the people in the pictures have been identified, by looking through the album one can get a sense of what everyday life was like for a family in Sandusky in the 1910s through the 1930s. The family took several trips, and often had family gatherings, which provided plenty of opportunities for picture taking. Dorothy Wieland married Rev. F. Plummer Whipple. Together, Rev. and Dorothy Wieland Whipple published the pictorial monthly publication Lens in the late 1940s. Dorothy was an artist and a freelance writer, and she was included in both Who’s Who in American Art and Who’s Who in American Women. Below is a picture of Dorothy as a youngster.

This selection of pictures includes Dorothy’s parents, Frank and Blanche Wieland, as well as a group of family and friends at Bay Point. Sadly, Mrs. Blanche Wieland died at the age of 38.

Frank Wieland and his brother in law Lewis Arend posed by a sign for the Sea Swing on the Cedar Point beach.

Below we see Blanche and Frank Wieland, standing next to Lewis Arend and Lil Arend, the sister of Blanche. In the front are cousins Eloise Arend, Mary Wieland, Howard Arend, and Dorothy Wieland.

This unidentified person is enjoying the beach at Cedar Point.

Thanks to the Wieland family for allowing us to get a glimpse of the past through Dorothy’s photograph album.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Popular Silent Film at the Schade Theatre in 1924

The silent movie “George Washington, Jr.” played at the Schade Theatre in Sandusky in July of 1924. The movie was based on a well-known musical play written by George M. Cohan in 1906.  Wesley Barry played the lead character in the silent film version of “George Washington, Jr.” The popular song You’re a Grand Old Flag was written by Cohan for this musical comedy. The Schade Theatre featured air conditioning in 1924. Pictured below is a picture of the Schade Theatre on West Market Street in 1918. The Schade Theatre was later known as the Ohio Theatre. (It is no longer in existence.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Summertime in Vacationland

For decades, the pleasant summer weather in the Lake Erie Islands region has provided a terrific spot for local residents and tourists to spend some leisure time. Here are just a few images from the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center that capture some of those moments. Above is a snapshot of swimmers and boaters at Marblehead in 1957. Below is a picture of Ruth Beach, Verna Bornhauser, and Helen Rheinegger, at the Hotel Victory swimming pool in the summer of 1919.

The guests at Cedar Point in 1946 were walking along the Moon Rocket ride, long before Apollo 11 landed on the moon in July of 1969. In the 1940s visitors to the amusement park dressed much less casual than today’s visitors. This attraction was only at Cedar Point for a few seasons.

Notes that were attached to the original picture indicate that these people were fishing at the Bay Bridge Beach in June 1923. What a catch!

You can see the enthusiasm of the youngsters getting off the train in downtown Sandusky about 1940. Perhaps they were getting ready to board a boat to one of Lake Erie Islands.


View many more historical pictures from Sandusky and Erie County at the Sandusky Library Local History Archives online.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

The "Letters from Home Club"

In 1944 and 1945, Sandusky had a “Letters from Home” club. Members sent a monthly letter to more than 2000 men and women in military service during World War II. Pictures of the officers of the club appeared in the July, 1945 copy of letter sent out from the club. Mrs. Harrison W. Pratt was the president, Mrs. W.A. Carnes was vice president, Mrs. J.L. Sampson, Jr. served as secretary, and Mrs. Frank D. Schneider was the club’s treasurer. The letter included details about the potluck held at Lions Park, at which Cpl. Kenneth Stauffer spoke. An article which appeared in the September 11, 1943 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News reported that people in military service listed “letters from home” as what they most desired, followed closely by snapshots from home.  In June of 1944, serviceman Bernard Palmer wrote back after he read a letter sent to him from the club: 

“Out here in the South Pacific a fellow is always glad to hear from the folks at home. This is a land of perpetual summer. All these tropical islands are spots of everlasting green on the beautiful blue Pacific, but regardless of all this, give me dear old Sandusky, the best spot to me on all the earth. Walking down Columbus Ave. is just another thing to you people, but to us, and I mean all of us out here, it would be a privilege worth everything.”

One of the activities of the “Letters from Home” club was a baby contest in which local residents voted for the favorite son or daughter of Sandusky men and women in the service. Below are a few of the young boys in the contest.


Here are some the young ladies entered in the baby contest.

Besides the baby contest, the “Letters from Home” club also had contests in which they selected a pin-up girl and a pin-up grandmother. If you would like to read a copy of one of the letters from home, stop by the Reference Services desk. 

Monday, July 03, 2017

The Sea Swing at Cedar Point

From about 1914 to the 1930s, the Sea Swing was a popular attraction at Cedar Point. The ride was located in the water of Lake Erie, about 100 feet from the bathhouse along the Cedar Point beach. It operated in a fashion similar to a Merry Go Round, but being shaped like hexagon, the riders dipped into the water as the swing went around, instead of going in a direct circular motion. The Sea Swing was powered by electricity.

An earlier apparatus in the water at Cedar point, date unknown

An article which appeared in the August 6, 1914 issue of the Sandusky Register reported that with fees collected from riders the Sea Swing would “pay for itself” in just one or two seasons. As you can see in the photograph below, the Cedar Point beach was quite popular.

A member of the Andres family donated this family vacation picture to the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center. Could the youngsters be thinking about riding the Sea Swing?


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Oscar Zistel Ran a Wholesale Fish Business

Oscar Zistel was born in Germany in 1854, the son of Louis Zistel and his wife the former Anna Rosenkranz. Mr. and Mrs. Louis Zistel and their young son Oscar came to the U.S. about 1858. Louis had been to the U.S. earlier, but he returned to Germany after the outbreak of cholera. Louis Zistel was involved in fishing and boating, and he also ran the Atlantic Pleasure Gardens. After working with his father in the fishing and boating businesses, Oscar Zistel eventually ran his own wholesale fish business. 

The fish company was located at 316 Meigs Street. A previous post in Sandusky History discusses how the business in Sandusky shipped 4000 pounds of live carp all the way to Philadelphia in May 1911. 

Oscar Zistel had married Martha Von Camien in 1878, and the couple had three daughters, Elsa, Norma and Vera. In December of 1907, Oscar Zistel wrote a letter to his daughter Elsa, who by that time had become Mrs. Carl Sonntag.

A transcription of the letter reads:

My Dear Girl Elsa, 
            I suppose you will be surprised to hear me as you know how well I like to write. Your mommy tells you all the news, so I won’t undertake to contradict her and can only thank you and Carl for the cigars. They are fine and thank you very much. Now Elsa your mommy has been buying you all the presents for Christmas now I don’t want to get left altogether and I have enclosed yours for New Years. Thought it best to let you buy what you like than to pick than to pick it out myself and wish you both a very very Happy New Year.
I am your loving daddy

Oscar Zistel built a cottage at Cedar Point in 1910, for family fun during the warm weather months.


Oscar Zistel died at the age of 62, on July 28, 1918, and was buried in Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery. His wife Martha lived in Sandusky until 1952, when she passed away at the age of 94.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Frau Miller’s Saloon

Here is a ledger sheet written on letterhead stationery from Frau Rosina Miller’s saloon known as the Deutsches Wirtshaus, which in English is German Inn. Rosina Miller, often listed in city directories as Rosina Mueller, was the widow of Julius Miller, who operated the saloon before Rosina took it over. In the 1886 Sandusky City Directory, she is just one of the many individuals who ran a saloon. There were 172 saloons listed in Sandusky at that time; with Sandusky's population about 18,000 at the time, that comes to roughly one saloon for every 100 persons,  Below is just a portion of the page from the directory listing for saloons.

Rosina Miller/Mueller ran the saloon in the 900 block of Columbus Avenue until about 1906. She died on September 14, 1914, following injuries she received in an automobile accident. Mrs. Miller was survived by a son and two daughters, and six grandchildren. She had made Sandusky her home for fifty years. Rev. J.H. Holdgraf officiated at her funeral services and burial was at Oakland Cemetery.

The building where Frau Miller's saloon operated still stands. You can see it as it appears today on Google Maps.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Views of Sandusky Library Before 1920

The Sandusky Library has offered library services to residents of Sandusky and Erie County since the nineteenth century; after years of temporary library sites, the original library building (pictured above) opened on July 3, 1901. The exterior of the building was constructed from Sandusky blue limestone. The architects were Albert D’Oench and Joseph W. Yost, who designed the library in the Second Romanesque Revival style. The towers on either side of the Adams Street entrance give the Sandusky Library an appearance that is not unlike a castle. In the first quarter of the twentieth century, the eastern portion of the library consisted of a reference room and two reading rooms. The western portion of the library served as Carnegie Hall, where concerts, lectures, and special events were held. Below is a picture of the children’s reading room in 1917. This area is now used as the Baby Garden.

The adult reading room was in the center of the eastern wing of the original Sandusky Library. If you look closely, you can see that a stained glass window served as a skylight at that time. The two doors under the skylight led to the stacks which held thousands of books. The floor was made of thick glass, to allow for light to be let in to the lower level of the library.

The former adult reading room is now a part of the Children’s Services area of the Sandusky Library. The original pillars can still be seen in the library today.

Many other architectural elements of the 1901 library building remain in today’s Sandusky Library, including the lovely wooden doors leading to the Adams Street entrance, and several stained glass windows in the lobby. The art glass, in hues of green and gold, was designed by Jessie May Livermore.

See the website of the Sandusky Library for more information about the history of the library. In 2004, the Sandusky Library celebrated the completion of a large renovation and addition project which incorporated the former Erie County jail with the Sandusky Library, thus uniting two historical buildings in Sandusky into one library which remains a vital part of the community today.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Local Recruiting for the Civil War

The poster above was placed in various public places around the Sandusky area in June of 1863. The recruiting office for the Cavalry was on the upper level of Reber’s Block on Water Street. A “competent officer” staffed the office to inform potential soldiers about pay and rations. The poster stated that service in the Civil War was “glorious - - full of dashing adventure.” 

Thomas Reber’s name appeared at the bottom of the recruiting poster. The son of Sandusky lawyer George Reber, Thomas Reber enlisted in Company K, 88th Ohio Volunteer Infantry in 1862. Later he transferred to the Ohio 196th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. At the time of his discharge in 1865, he had achieved the rank of First Lieutenant and Quartermaster. He moved to Louisiana after the close of the Civil War, where he was a Parish Judge, then, in 1872, he took up residence in Natchez, Mississippi. He became interested in the history of that city, and wrote the book Proud Old Natchez.  The Thomas Reber Collection is housed at the University of Mississippi, and contains several letters sent to individuals in Sandusky, Ohio.