Thursday, August 17, 2017
The Sandusky Register of August 17, 1872 reported that while the afternoon crowd was not very large for Dan Rice’s Circus, every seat was filled at the evening performance. One of the favorite parts of the circus was when Frank Gardner did a double somersault over ten horses. Dan Rice kept the audience entertained with his “lively witticisms.” A blind horse named Excelsior, Jr. was also very much admired by the audience. Prof. Menter’s band was “the best we have seen in connection with any circus.”
Dan Rice had a long and interesting career in traveling entertainment. After he died on February 22, 1900, a lengthy article about him appeared in the February 27, 1900 issue of the Sandusky Star. The article reported that he had been a frequent visitor to Sandusky, Ohio. Born Daniel McLaren in New York City in 1823, his father nicknamed him “Dan Rice” after a well-known Irish clown. The new Dan Rice made his own way in the world as a young man. After working for a time in Pittsburgh as a stable boy and a hack driver, he began traveling around the Midwest with his trained pig. In 1845 he began performing with the Seth B. Howes Circus. Eventually he became known as the “Shakespearean Clown,” as he performed dramatic readings while with the circus. It is said that Dan Rice was the first person to train and perform with a trained rhinoceros. After traveling with several entertainment shows and circuses, he created his own traveling show. Though he achieved great prominence, he earned and lost three fortunes during his long career, and he died a poor man. A blog post from the New York Times stated that some believe Dan Rice was the model for “Uncle Sam.” To read more about Dan Rice, borrow the book Dan Rice:The Most Famous Man You’ve Never Heard Of, by David Carlyon available through the ClevNet system
Monday, August 14, 2017
On August 14, 1963, the Hills Department Store opened in Sandusky, Ohio in the Perkins Plaza. Alden Wintersteller, a local photographer, captured images of the grand opening. You can tell by the number of cars in the parking lot, that area residents welcomed the new store.
Officials cut the ribbon at the front of the store.
A full page advertisement for Hills appeared in the August 14, 1963 issue of the Sandusky Register. The ad stated that customers could shop between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. in air-conditioned comfort. There was plenty of free parking, and any item could be returned for a “cheerful exchange.” Customers could cash their paychecks at no cost. The toy section in the Hills store made it seem like Christmas every day. Clothing was sold for every member of the family. Tools, sporting goods, housewares and lawn and garden equipment could all be purchased under the roof of one store at Hills.
Customers in the picture below were eager to make their purchases at the new department store.
Through the years, Hills Department Store had special events for its customers. Santa Claus would arrive in November, often on a fire truck, and then Santa would make his way to the “throne” in the store, where boys and girls could tell him their Christmas wish list. Fireworks were set off in the parking lot on July 4th. Hills was a popular place to shop for back to school clothing, and the lay-away service allowed customers to pay off the bill in weekly payments. Popcorn and Icees were favorite items at the snack shop at the front of the store.
In December 1998, the Ames store chain acquired Hills, and took over operation of the former Hills store in Sandusky. By 2002, Ames went out of business. Eventually the building that was home to Hills Department Store in the Perkins Plaza was razed, but many Sandusky residents still have fond memories of the once booming department store.
Friday, August 11, 2017
Ernst Niebergall took this picture of the Steamer Lakeside as it was coming in through icy waters, around 1905. The Lakeside had been built in 1901 by the Craig Shipbuilding Company. An advertisement from the Sandusky Register of August 10, 1908 provides us with the prices for round trips aboard the Lakeside from Sandusky to Cleveland and Sandusky to Detroit (about $13.50 and $20 in today's money).
In 1911, the name of the steamer Lakeside was changed to the Olcott. During the summer of 1911, the Olcott was chartered by the Buffalo, Lockport and Rochester Transit Company, to ferry passengers from Olcott, New York to Toronto, Canada. The Olcott returned to Sandusky in October, 1911. The Niebergall photo below shows the Olcott travelling through open waters.
The photograph below, by Ernst Niebergall, shows the Olcott as viewed from the rear.
In 1916, the Olcott was sold to the Government of France, and never returned to the Great Lakes region.
Tuesday, August 08, 2017
In 1964 Lawrence Tetzlaff, known as “Jungle Larry,” a highly respected zoologist, opened a wild animal exhibit at Cedar Point. By 1965 Jungle Larry’s exhibit was located in the lagoon area of Cedar Point known as Safari Island.
For several years, both Jungle Larry and his wife, Safari Jane, could be seen driving this van around the Cedar Point amusement park.
Jungle Larry was very popular with the media in Northern Ohio. He appeared on the Captain Penny show and Gene Carroll’s Uncle Jake's House, local programs out of Cleveland.
In 1966, the Sandusky Register reported on Jungle Larry’s recent rescue from quicksand while he was on safari in West Africa. An article in the Sandusky Register of August 25, 1967 reported on Jungle Larry showing a Cleveland dentist how to clean the teeth of a tiger.
Lawrence Tetzlaff died on February 6, 1984 at the age of 65. A lengthy obituary in the Sandusky Register chronicled his long career as a zoologist. Robin Innes, the Cedar Point public relations manager at that time, said, “Cedar Point was Jungle Larry’s summer home for nineteen years. During that time we got to know him as an entertainer and a conservationist of the highest caliber. Jungle Larry was an institution at the park and we will miss miss him a great deal.” Members of the Tetzlaff family continued the wild animal exhibit at Cedar Point through the 1994 season.
Saturday, August 05, 2017
In the military section of the Genealogical and Local History books at the Sandusky Library is a book entitled With the 308th Engineers from Ohio to the Rhine and Back. The book was published in 1923 by the 308th Engineers Veterans Association. Pictured below are insignia and symbols associated with the 308th Engineers.
The major operations of the 308th Engineers in World War I were in France in 1918, and included the Aisne-Marne Offensive, the Oise-Aisne Offensive, and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. The main tasks of the 308th Engineers were to repair and maintain roads and build bridges. The 308th Engineers were the first American troops to bridge the Rhine. The 308th also furnished Guards of Honor for General Pershing, the Prince of Wales, and Marshall Ferdinand Foch. Several men from Sandusky, Ohio served with the 308th Engineers during this war: Edwin Uhl, Reinhold Ahlers, Henry Baker, Ralph Carney, Vergil Grant, Fred Kranz, Victor J. Moore, John Riesterer, Emil Grahl, Paul Knupke, Robert Mees, Henry Cycoly, Walter J. Kleinfelder, Edward Klueg, Carl Mainzer, Lee Staffler, Guy Norton, Henry Bates, Norman Martin, Charles Hasbrook, Peter Scavio, Charles Voight, and Herbert Textor.
The third annual reunion of the 308th Engineers Veteran Association was held at Cedar Point on August 5 through August 7, 1923. The headquarters for the group during their stay at Cedar Point was at the Hotel Breakers. During the reunion, business meetings were held, along with a banquet, athletic events, and several speeches. A dance was held at the Coliseum on August 5, 1923. Sandusky resident Herbert Textor served as Treasurer of the organization for that year.
Visit the Sandusky Library to see the book With the 308th Engineers from Ohio to the Rhine and Back. Another outstanding resource at the library is Erie County Edition, Honor Roll of Ohio, 1917-1918, which provides brief biographical sketches and photographs of Erie County World War I veterans. Inquire at the Reference Services desk for more information.
Wednesday, August 02, 2017
Watson Hubbard was born in Bloomfield, Connecticut on July 11, 1819. He married Georgiana A. Holcomb in 1845. Mr. and Mrs. Watson Hubbard, along with Watson’s brother Langdon, moved to Lexington, Michigan in 1848, where the brothers began work in the lumber business. The lumber business they founded developed into the firm of R.B. Hubbard and Company.
Watson Hubbard moved to Sandusky, Ohio in 1860, where he lived with his family in the West House for eight years. He had a house built at the northwest corner of Wayne and Jefferson Streets, just down the block from the home of his cousin, Lester S.Hubbard. Watson Hubbard served as Director and Vice President of the Second National Bank, and he was on the Board of Directors of the Sandusky Plow Company and the Nes Silicon Steel Works. He was among the earliest contributors to Good Samaritan Hospital.
Watson and Georgiana Hubbard had three children, but only one survived to adulthood, Elizabeth Hubbard. Elizabeth married Jay Caldwell Butler, a Civil War Veteran who ran a business in Sandusky that manufactured sashes, doors, blinds and other wooden items. Pictured below are the daughter and granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Watson Hubbard, Mrs. Elizabeth Hubbard Butler and Mrs. Elizabeth Butler Harten.
In 1955, the former home of Watson Hubbard and his descendants, at 429 Wayne Street, was razed, to make room for an office for the telephone company. Before the house was razed, a neighbor, Mary Dauch, made this sketch of the home at 429 Wayne Street.
To read a biographical sketch about Watson Hubbard, written by his daughter Elizabeth, see the April 1925 issue of the FirelandsPioneer.
Sunday, July 30, 2017
From about 1898 to 1902, Albert and Maude Popke ran a store at 623 Hayes Avenue. (This location is now in the 1500 block of Hayes Avenue.) The store carried “gents’ furnishings” and other dry goods. Mr. Popke can be seen in front of the store, which has several men’s shirts on display in the window.
Maud and two of the Popke children are pictured on a porch on the side of the business, which is also where the Popke family resided.
Albert Popke came to the United States from Germany in the early 1880s. He married Maud Capman on December 21, 1893, according to records at Erie County Probate Court. Mr. and Mrs. Popke had three children, Charles Popke, born in 1896; Irene Popke, born in 1896; and Clarence Popke, born in 1897. By 1915, the Albert Popke family had moved to Perkins Avenue, and Mr. Popke was a foreman at the American Crayon Company.
Tragedy struck the family when Clarence Popke died of tetanus while he was in military service during World War I, just one month before the end of the war.
Sadly, tragedy struck the Popke family again on August 17, 1934. Three members of the Popke family were killed when an automobile driven by Mrs. Popke collided with a Lake Shore Electric Railway passenger car. Irene Popke and her niece Virginia Popke died instantly, and Mrs. Maud Popke died at Providence Hospital a short time after the accident.
Albert Popke went on to work for fifty years at the American Crayon Company. He passed away on February 16, 1945, and was buried at Oakland Cemetery where so many of his family had also been interred. Albert Popke must have had an amazing strength of character. He left his homeland, started a business, lost his wife and two of his three children in untimely deaths, and worked well over fifty years.
If you have ancestors in Sandusky or Erie County, please visit the Sandusky Library and its Archives Research Center, where you will find a variety of print and online sources. City directories, county histories, census records, old yearbooks, obituaries, and many other resources can help you trace your own family roots.
Thursday, July 27, 2017
The Historical Pageant of Sandusky was presented in Central Park, From July 26 to 29 in 1916. The production was staged by the John B. Rogers Producing Company, and was presented locally under the auspices of the City Federation of Women’s Clubs. George F. Anderson was the musical director, and Gladys Pusch and Ruth Lerman performed on piano. An advertisement in the July 24, 1916 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal stated that the Pageant of Sandusky would be the “greatest spectacle ever seen here.”
Tickets sold for twenty-five cents and fifty cents. There were six different committees that worked on the organization of the pageant.
Besides the cast of principal characters, over one thousand young people took part in the pageant. Several scenes portrayed various times throughout history, beginning with creation. “Father Time” was the first character to appear in the pageant. The first scenes included Native Americans, the War of 1812, and the laying out of the plat of Sandusky. Next were scenes that portrayed the Underground Railroad and the visit of General Harrison to Sandusky. Two ballets were performed with the themes of Civil War and Industries. The various industries represented were paper, quarries, fisheries, farming, wine and the crayon industry.
Throughout the Pageant of Sandusky, James Ryan (pictured below at Cedar Point) played the role of the Pioneer Man, while the Pioneer Woman was played by Mrs. W.C. Scott.
In August, several reels of film of the Pageant of Sandusky were shown at the Schade Theatre in downtown Sandusky. To our knowledge, these films were not preserved locally. How interesting it would be to see the filmed version of the Pageant of Sandusky from over one hundred years ago.
Monday, July 24, 2017
Under a sunny sky, the third annual Soap Box Derby parade took place in Sandusky on Saturday, July 24, 1954. An article in the July 16, 1954 issue of the Sandusky Register Star News showed the exact placement of all the parade participants.
Several of the floats carried the Soap Box Derby cars, which were driven in the vehicles of the sponsors. Other parade participants were public officials, local civic organizations, and several marching units including the Moose majorettes and the Sandusky High School marching band. Below is a float from the Elmer Borchardt Company of Castalia, Ohio.
This float from the Sandusky Safety Council appears to have pulled by an old steam-powered tractor:
The Eagles Club float features a large flag on the front of the truck:
Friday, July 21, 2017
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
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
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
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.