Sandusky has a wonderful collection of historic sites, historic markers and history museums. Check out this list.
Cooke-Dorn House Historic Site
1415 Columbus Avenue, Sandusky OH 44870
Managed by the Old House Guild of Sandusky, this three story Greek Revival limestone home is one of the most well-known homes in Sandusky. It was built in 1843 by Eleutheros Cooke (1787-1864), father of Civil War financier Jay Cooke, at the southwest corner of Columbus Avenue and West Washington Row. Cooke was one of early Sandusky’s most notable citizens, Sandusky’s first lawyer, a real estate developer, congressman, state legislator and railroad promoter. Cooke was one of the founders of the Firelands Historical Society in Norwalk in 1857.
In 1878, the home was purchased by a prominent Sanduskian, Rush R. Sloane, who had the house dismantled and moved to its present location further south on Columbus Avenue. The home was donated to the Ohio Historical Society in 1994. The home features a ruby and cranberry glass collection, antique furnishings, greenhouse and gift shop.
In 2019, the Cooke House received its historic Marker.
Follett House Museum
404 Wayne Street, Sandusky
Located in the former home of prominent Ohio political figure, Oran Follett (1798-1894), the Follett House Museum focuses on the history of Sandusky. Exhibits feature the War of 1812, the Civil War, and Cedar Point and local business and industry. The building is considered one of the finest examples of Greek Revival residential architecture in the state of Ohio. The museum is owned and operated by the Sandusky Library.
Maritime Museum of Sandusky
125 Meigs Street, Sandusky
Facebook: Maritime Museum of Sandusky
This museum focuses on the rich maritime history of the Sandusky Bay area through exhibits and educational programs, including ice harvesting, commercial shipping, recreational boating, shipwrecks, boat building, lake steamers and lighthouses, and Sandusky’s role in the Underground Railroad. The museum hosts a number of special events annually. The museum has an impressive collection of archival photographs and documents relating to the area’s maritime history.
301 Jackson Street, Sandusky
Facebook: Merry Go Round Museum
This museum’s mission is to celebrate the art and history of the carousel. The museum’s highlight is a working carousel, made up of horses and other figures from a number of different machines as well as horses carved at the museum. The museum’s collection of carousel horses is one of best in the United States. The Merry-Go-Round Museum is located in the beautiful and historic Sandusky Post Office building. Take a tour of the museum with this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc-vj-S2HcE
Ohio Veterans Home Museum
3416 Columbus Avenue
(419) 625-2454, ext. 1447
Located in the historic I.F. Mack Building at the Ohio Veterans Home, the museum houses an outstanding collection of photographs, documents, weapons, maps, and other military artifacts from the Civil War through Iraq and Afghanistan, including a special display of Johnson’s Island Confederate Prison artifacts. While the museum is in the City of Sandusky, the Confederate Prison during the Civil War, has its own page on this site. For more information on the Johnson’s Island Prison click HERE.
Old House Guild of Sandusky
1415 Columbus Avenue, Sandusky, Ohio 44870
The purpose of The Old House Guild of Sandusky is to promote historic preservation and restoration of significant buildings, houses, sites and objects in the Sandusky, Ohio area. To encourage the rehabilitation and/or adaptive re-use of such properties. To accomplish these purposes by means of meetings, publications, surveys, tours or whatever other means may be chosen by the corporation. To act as a non-profit organization and to apply for and accept any grants that may be appropriate to further the cause of historic preservation.
There are several Walking tours of the Sandusky including the Downtown area, Washington Park and the Underground Railroad. the Old House Guild produced a brochure with 58 important architectural structures identified. You can download it Sandusky Old House Guild Architectural Tour.
OLD MAPS of the City of Sandusky can be found HERE.
HISTORIC MARKERS – There are an incredible 34 Historic Markers in Sandusky. You can view them HERE.
Take a walk through Oakland Cemetery and learn about the Erie County soldiers who died during World War I HERE.
Civil War Soldiers at Oakland Cemetery – click HERE.
Underground Railroad cemetery walk at Oakland Cemetery – HERE.
BOOKS About Sandusky:
Ellie Damm, Treasure by the Bay: The Historic Architecture of Sandusky, Ohio, Western Reserve Historical Society Publication Number 169, Associated University Presses, 1989. This well-illustrated book contains detailed information on the architecture and the history of many of the early homes and commercial buildings still standing in Sandusky.
Ron Davidson, Sandusky, Ohio, Arcadia Publishing, 2002.
Charles E. Frohman, Sandusky’s Editor, The Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio, 1968. This book offers a view of the history of Sandusky through the eyes of Isaac Foster Mack Jr. the owner and editor of the Sandusky Register from 1869-1909.
Charles E. Frohman, Sandusky’s Yesterdays, Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio, 1968. Charles Frohman was the last president of the Hinde and Dauch Company and served a term as president of the Ohio Historical Society. He amassed a large collection of books, newspaper files, photographs, and documents relating to the history of Erie County and Sandusky that is housed at the Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont, Ohio. This books contains a detailed history of the Sandusky Region in the years prior to its settlement and describes the founding of Sandusky and various topics in the town’s history.
Charles E. Frohman, History of Sandusky and Erie County, The Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio, 1965. This short, sixty-page book is a well-illustrated account of the founding of Sandusky with sections on selected topics in the city’s history.
Charles Frohman, Sandusky’s Third Dimension, The Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio, 1971. The first of a series of three pamphlets containing short articles based on articles from early issues of the Sandusky Register.
Charles Frohman, Sandusky Area Miscellany, The Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio, 1973. The second of a series of three pamphlets containing short articles based on articles from early issues of the Sandusky Register.
Charles Frohman, Sandusky Potpourri, The Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio, 1974. The third of a series of three pamphlets containing short articles based on article from early issues of the Sandusky Register.
Helen Hansen, At Home in Early Sandusky, Sandusky Register, Sandusky, Ohio, 1975. This well-illustrated book is based upon the “Stately Old Homes” series which was published by the Sandusky Register. It includes detailed information on many of the older homes still standing in Sandusky.
Helen Hansen & Virginia Steinemann, From the Widow’s Walk: A View of Sandusky, Sandusky Library and Follett House Museum, Sandusky, Ohio, Vol. 1, 1991. The beautifully illustrated book is based upon a series of illustrated articles entitled “Follett House Scrapbook” that appeared in the Sandusky Register in the years 1987, 1988, 1989 & 1990.
Helen Hansen, & Virginia Steinemann, From the Widow’s Walk: A View of Sandusky, Sandusky Library and Follett House Museum, Sandusky, Ohio, Vol. 2, 1996. A continuation of the previous book with articles that appeared in the Sandusky Register through 1996.
Historical Sketch and Official Souvenir Program of the 100th Anniversary of the Incorporation of the City of Sandusky, Centennial Executive Committee, Sandusky, 1924. This well-illustrated program includes both a great deal of information on the early history of Sandusky and a view of the city in its centennial year.
William T. Martin, Our Old Town As She Used t’ Be, Pageant Press, New York, New York, 1959. This amusing book offers the reader a view of Sandusky through the eyes of William Martin who was born in Sandusky in 1889. It covers the period from his birth to approximately 1910.
W.D. Root, City Guide and Business Directory: First Annual Issue, Steam Press of Bill, Cooke & Co. Register Office, Sandusky 1855. W.D. Root begins this, the first Sandusky City Directory with the first published history of the town.
Sandusky Library – http://www.sanduskyhistory.blogspot.com/ This blogspot contains illustrated articles on a wide variety of topics relating to the history of Sandusky.
Sandusky Library – Sandusky Newspapers (microfilm,” Obituary Index and Notebooks, most City Directories, and Old House Guild Historic Nomination Notebooks available in the in the reference room and genealogical sections.
Sandusky of Today (Historically Reviewed) Its Facilities and Inducements for the Investment of Capital, Comprising Sketches of Its Extensive Fisheries, Its Lumber Interests and Complete Rail-Road Connections While Affording All the Advantages of a Lovely Lakeside Residence, I.F. Mack & Bro. Printers and Binders, Sandusky, Ohio, 1888. This small, illustrated volume offers a view of Sandusky and its Commerce as it existed in the 1880’s. It is available online on the Sandusky Library Website under Follett House Museum downloads and media.
Kristina Smith, Lost Sandusky, The History Press, Charleston, S.C., 2015.
Gordon Wendt, In the Wake of the Walk-In-The-Water: The Maritime History of Sandusky, Ohio, Commercial Printing Company, Sandusky, Ohio, 1984. This well-illustrated book is an exhaustive, well indexed, maritime history of Sandusky.
What: Souvenir of Sandusky, Ohio, Compiled and Published by Hill & Dolly, Printed by I.F. Mach & Bro., Sandusky, Ohio, 1903. A great view of Sandusky and its commerce in 1903.
Ernst von Schulenburg, Sandusky: Then and Now, Publication No. 115 of The Western Reserve Historical Society, Translated from the original 1889 addition by Norbert and Marion Lange, Cleveland, 1959. This book originally published in German as “Sandusky Einst und Jetzt“ provides is a detailed history of Sandusky’s German Community and its many contributions to the development of Sandusky.