Our news is pretty “historic.” This is the page you will want to check on a regular basis. It contains news and articles featuring historic articles, events, and other interesting items relating to the history of Erie County and some surrounding areas. It is the perfect place to keep up with all the latest news.
CEREMONY REMEMBERS 1878 LYNCHING DEATH – The long-overdue ceremony remembering William Taylor’s horrific death finally occurred 141 years later. But Saturday’s event, known as the Sandusky Soil Collection Community Project, also helped strengthened his legacy in hopes of, going forward, better educating community members to end racial clashes and senseless violence.
SANDUSKY LYNCHING IN 1878 REMEMBERED – William Taylor’s murder was largely forgotten, even by local history buffs, until the Toledo Blade printed an article in February 2017, “Lynching mars Sandusky’s abolitionist history.” According to the account, a young woman named Alice O’Donnell had disappeared. Taylor, a black man, told police he didn’t do it but came across O’Donnell’s body in a stable in the back of a house on Washington Street where she worked. Taylor said he was afraid to report the crime, so instead, he took a horse and buggy and took the body outside the city, dumping it in the woods. He led police to the body. Her skull had been crushed, her throat had been cut, she was only partially clothed, and a later examination found she had been “outraged,” the newspaper account said.
THE SANDUSKY STATE THEATRE – The walls of the Sandusky State Theatre’s dressing room hallway are speaking. Thousands of names adorn on the walls, sharing the rich history of acts and performers who visited the theatre since at least the 1990s. “The hallway predates many of the people who are here right now,” theatre executive director Chris Parthemore said. “It’s a tradition that when an artist comes into the theatre, they sign the wall.”
NASA WATER LINE STARTED WITH TNT – Construction of the pipeline in the summer of 1941, somewhere between what is now NASA Plum Brook Station and Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve.
HISTORIC COOKE BUILDING TO BE DEMOLISHED – One of Sandusky’s oldest, and most iconic buildings, will soon meet its demise. After more than an hour of discussion and deliberation during a Wednesday meeting, city landmark commission members — entrusted to preserve and maintain structurally significant architecture around town — agreed the Cooke Building must come crashing down.
NEW HISTORICAL MARKER AT THE COOKE-DORN HOUSE – One side will tell the story of Eleutheros Cooke (1787-1864), who founded the first railroad west of the Allegheny Mountains and fathered two famous children, one of them Jay Cooke, known as the “financier of the Civil War.” The other side chronicles the Cooke-Dorn House, built for Cooke and his wife, Martha, in 1843-1844. In the 1950s, it was occupied by Randolph and Estelle Dorn, who founded the Dorn Foundation.
THE KELLEYS ISLAND LIBRARY – A little history and a bunch of dedicated volunteers.
SANDUSKY’S FIRST CONGREGATIONAL UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST CELEBRATES PROMINENT MEMBERS – For its 200th anniversary, Sandusky’s First Congregational United Church of Christ hosted a service of remembrance for nine past members who made a difference: James Madison French, Eunice and Mike Kryeski, Samantha and Moors Farwell, F.D. Parish, Ruth Frost Parker, Rev. Fisher, Jim, Carol, Charles and Roxie Judson, Glenn Everett, Fanny Everett, and Claudia Lickfelt.
GROUP TOURS CASTALIA’S BLUE HOLE – Pictures and some really interesting facts about this landmark which is now closed to the public.
THE COOKE BUILDING MAY BE TORN DOWN – “It’s a combination of bad construction and neglect,” Sandusky ex officio Mayor Dennis Murray said. “It didn’t have good bones to begin with and it wasn’t taken care of over the years.”
THE MILAN MUSEUM & GLASS ARTIST DALE CHIHULY – The Milan History Museum has a glass sculpture by renowned artist Dale Chihuly. The museum draws 5,000 visitors a year, but museum officials hope to lure in more people to view the museum’s excellent glass collection, which has more than 1,000 pieces, its lace collection, its folk art collection and its historic artifacts.
THE CHURCH TOWER & SOME VIEWS OF SANDUSKY – St. Mary’s Catholic Church was constructed in 1873 and is Sandusky’s largest Catholic church. A member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, climbed to the church’s bell tower and took photos from that vantage point. The spire is 200 feet high.
MEIER’S WINE CELLARS BUILDING MAY ESCAPE DEMOLITION – Sandusky officials indicated a potential buyer is interested in salvaging the former Meier’s Wine Cellars on Campbell Street.
MEDUSA PORTLAND CEMENT-BAYVIEW – From 1892 until 1960, the Medusa Portland Cement Co. employed many area residents. The company, originally named the Sandusky Portland Cement Co., was founded by three brothers in 1892: Spencer, Arthur and William Newberry. The men were all sons of well-known geologist John Strong Newberry.
COOKE BUILDING RENOVATIONS ON HOLD – Renovation work at the Cooke Building in downtown stopped earlier this month after project developers ran into unexpected complications. Renovation and construction of a 140-year-old building brings a litany of conditions, including material problems with basement support, floor joists, building supports, support for the front-end corner of the building, support beams and the entire back wall of the building. Some of these items require a total rebuild or complete replacement. There are more potential problems on the second and third floor.
FIRST CONGREGATIONAL UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST’S HISTORY – First Congregational United Church of Christ is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year. The church’s cornerstone was placed in 1819, when the congregation formed. It was one of Sandusky’s first churches.
BARNES BUILDING SURVIVES STORM, SELLS FOR $85K – A development company now owns two of the three downtown Sandusky buildings badly damaged in a severe summer storm this past year. Sandusky-based Renaissance Too recently acquired the Barnes Building on East Water Street. It’s located across from Daly’s Pub and situated right next to the Biemiller Building, another property Renaissance Too owns.
January 2019 – SANDUSKY CITY HALL PROJECT – SNEAK PEEK – The $11.5 million Columbus Ave. Revitalization initiative in downtown Sandusky involves repurposing three empty buildings, which will eventually house a new City Hall, public market and wine bar, 18 apartments and spaces for future commercial tenants in storefronts. Officials vowed to salvage all three structures, each at least 100 years old which housed companies such as the Western Security Bank, the Manhattan Clothing Co. and Crosby Shoes in the early 1900s.
Hancock Street was old ‘German corner’– An interesting article from 2001 about Hessen Cassel or Hessekassel, a nickname given to a section of Sandusky around Hancock and Monroe Streets. By 1890 the German-speaking immigrants had become a major force in Sandusky, finally outnumbering descendants of the earlier English settlers. Locally they formed singing societies, concert orchestras, guilds, gymnastic societies and ethnic newspapers. The early German immigrants were craftsmen, people who opened small businesses and congregated in German neighborhoods. Their language and heritage were precious to them until the two World Wars devastated German cultural interests.
December 29, 2018 – Grace Episcopal Church – It’s roots go back to 1835. Grace Episcopal Church, at 315 Wayne St., is credited with helping found a number of Sandusky entities, including the former Good Samaritan Hospital, which merged with other hospitals to form Firelands Regional Medical Center; Safe Harbor Domestic Violence shelter
December 12, 2018 – The Lunch Box, a popular downtown restaurant, may close due to extended construction in the Cooke building. From the $20 million, they committed about $8.5 million for renovating the Cooke Building, a storied structure almost falling into a blighted state due to years of neglect, including: Repairing the facade to its late 1800s appearance; connecting the first floor stores into an arcade of sorts where people can easily access all the building’s businesses; restoring the third floor into a ballroom and theater for intimate performances; and public events and improving egress to all floors while adding an elevator.
November 17, 2018 – St. Peter Catholic Church, Huron – The church formed in the late 19th century. In December 1887, after years of fundraising occurred, one lot of land was purchased by Father M.S. Smith for $300. In the 1960s, a new circular church, which features twelve arches that represent the twelve apostles, was erected in order to conserve space on the small lot and also to bring the people of the congregation closer to the altar for a feeling of unity.
November 24, 2018 – Former Cedar Point GM, H. John Hildebrandt, releases memoir – ALWAYS CEDAR POINT – Hildebrandt began work in February 1974 and shares his stories including; The GEMINI ROLLER COASTER, which opened in 1978, became a huge success, but it had a few bumps along the way, there are some closely-guarded secret or two. In 1977, one of the monkeys in the “JUNGLE LARRY” attraction escaped in the middle of the summer season. The book includes vivid sketches of the people who contributed to the rise of Cedar Point and Hildebrandt’s favorite celebrity visitors (actor Rob Lowe and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon).
November 3, 2018 – Milan Presbyterian Church celebrates 200 years – Among the interesting items in its history, Thomas Edison was baptized in the original church, which was built in 1837, but burned in 1888. Edison donated a light fixture for the chapel which still hangs.
October 19, 2018 – The owners of the properties at 125, 131 and 141 E. Water St. in Sandusky intend to rebuild, and not tear down, their structures, damaged in a straight-line wind storm in July. The storm made parts of these structures uninhabitable for tenants and businesses.
October 18, 2018 – First Presbyterian Church’s history dates back to the city of Sandusky’s founding. In 1819, Congregationalist and Presbyterian missionaries came to the area to establish churches. After years of disagreements, 26 people broke away from the Sandusky Congregational Church to form the First Presbyterian Church in 1852 with the first organizational meeting in January 1853, according to the church’s website.
The History of Bay Bridge – On Feb. 2, 1929, the Sandusky Bay Bridge was dedicated, providing a direct route for automobiles across the bay between Erie and Ottawa counties. This marked the first time automobile traffic could cross Sandusky Bay.
October 1, 2018 – Warren Ferrell, of Youngstown, and his relatives on Saturday donated a War of 1812 tomahawk to the Ottawa County Museum, in Port Clinton. Warren Ferrell’s great-great-great grandfather, Sgt. John Myers (1783-1842), a U.S. soldier during the war serving in the militia, is believed to have wielded the tomahawk in fighting against the Native American allies of the British during the War of 1812.
September 8, 2018 – Sts. Peter & Paul Church – This was the third Catholic church in Sandusky following Holy Angels (1845) and St. Mary’s (1853). The cornerstone was laid on July 22, 1866 and completed in 1871.
September 8, 2018 – Huron United Methodist Church’s mission to share God’s word dates back more than 150 years as Evangelical families began meeting as early as 1864. This church building was completed in 1875.
September 1, 2018 – Sandusky’s Zion Lutheran Church’s history – The congregation was established in the mid-1800s, but its current building wasn’t constructed until about 1898 at Columbus Avenue and Jefferson Street. George Feick, a church member, helped design and build the church. The church had two previous locations in Sandusky. “The church was built from limestone in the Victorian Romanesque style,” according to the Sandusky Library history blog, and was dedicated Nov. 12, 1899.
August 18, 2018 – John Hildebrant, President of the Erie Co. Historical Society, shares his top 10 list of the most significant events in the last 200 years of Sandusky’s history.
August 17, 2018 – Holy Assumption in Marblehead – Tsar Nicholas II was a key component to the establishment of Marblehead’s Holy Assumption Orthodox Church, which houses gifts sent from Russia by the tsar. Holy Assumption’s beginnings sprung forth in the late 1800s, when a group of Orthodox Christian immigrants from the Austro-Hungarian Empire immigrated to Marblehead and Kelleys Island in search of work at what was then Kelleys Island Lime and Transportation Company. The Christians established a parish in 1898 and sought Nicholas’ help in funding the construction of a church. Nicholas sent Bishop Tikhon to help. Tikhon, who headed the Russian Orthodox Church’s Diocese of Alaska, which included all of North America, aided the congregation as they constructed their first church in 1899 on land they had purchased from the quarry.
August 11, 2018 – A history of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Sandusky, built in 1855.
August 11, 2018 – Update on storm damage to Biemiller and Barnes buildings.
August 10, 2018 – Sandusky’s Cholera Cemetery is rededicated – As 357 spirits rest in peace at the Cholera Cemetery, its overall spirit remains alive and well throughout Sandusky. About 30 community members attended Wednesday’s rededication ceremony, in which officials outlined several recent upgrades happening at the Harrison Street green space.
August 9, 2018 – Tour the North Ridge of Oakland Cemetery on Saturday.
August 7, 2018 – The history of the Cooke building and block is where many businesses got their starts. 1850s: Sandusky’s Cooke Block, at the northeast corner of Columbus Avenue and Market Street, came into existence. Ellie Damm wrote in “Treasure by the Bay” that the north section, known as the Union Building, was built first, along Columbus Avenue.
August 7, 2018 – The first Erie County Fair, in 1855, was in Sandusky. But for the following five years, the host city for the Erie County Fair was Huron, which outbid Sandusky for the privilege ($1,000 to $850). In 1860, the society voted to hold the next five years of the fair in Sandusky, but the annual event was suspended during the Civil War. By 1865, the Erie County Agricultural Society decided to purchase land to make a permanent home for the fair.
August 4, 2018 – The history of the Castalia Congregational United Church of Christ dates back to 1835.
July 28, 2018 – The history of Christ Episcopal Church in Huron dates back to 1838.
July 28, 2018 – A history of the Marblehead Lighthouse – The tower, which opened in 1822, is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the Great Lakes.
July 21, 2018 – Rededicating the Cholera Cemetery-August 8 at 2 pm. Sandusky officials honors the Cholera Cemetery on Harrision Street, redicating the Cholera Cemetery on August 8.
July 21, 2018 – The history of Holy Angels Catholic Church – Holy Angels’ roots go back almost 200 years.
July 16, 2018 – On Saturday, August 18, Zion United Methodist Church on Kelleys Island will celebrate 125 years in its current building. Zion was first formed as the German Evangelical Church in 1854. A small church building, now a home, was built in 1873, and a parsonage was built in. The present Church was built in 1893. The German language was used in worship until the year 1910. There is a nice timeline history of this congregation.
July 14, 2018 – Several photographs of Kelleys Island, Put-in-Bay and Lonz winery taken by Harley Hoffman, a commercial photographer who had a studio in Castalia, Ohio in the 1950s.
July 25, 2018 – Dr. E. C. Fields of Memphis TN will portray General Ulysses S. Grant on Wednesday, July 25 at 7:00 at the North Fairfield American Legion.
July 14, 2018 – First Presbyterian Church’s history dates back to the city of Sandusky’s founding in 1819. The rear portion of its present building ‘the Chapel’ was erected and first occupied in November 1853. Discover a little more about this magnificent building.
July 7, 2018 – The Ottawa County Museum in Port Clinton is closed until July 10 so the museum can carry out carpet cleaning and minor repairs following the recent flooding in Port Clinton. The collection includes artifacts from Native Americans, early settlers, farmers, commercial fishing, the military (including the Battle of Lake Erie and the Bataan Death March), materials from local businesses, a firearms collection and more.
July 5, 2018 – Event helps mark Sandusky’s bicentennial on Fourth of July – Ron Davidson, special collections librarian at Sandusky Library, offered that fact and many more when he gave a talk in the cafeteria at the Adams Building on daily life 200 years ago and 100 years ago. Sandusky Science Lodge No. 50, 304 Wayne St., also is marking its 200th anniversary. Hector Kilbourne laid out Sandusky’s streets in the center of town. He arranged the streets to show the compass and square that is the symbol of masonry. Sandusky is the home of Toft’s Dairy.
June 25, 2018 – Erie County Historical Society Board members visit Gettysburg. They have made this trip five times already and this time they sent photos.
June 23, 2018 – Discover the history of the streets near the Sandusky Post Office. Who were the men after which these streets were named? Parish, Caldwell, Follett, Cowdery and Sadler. The Sandusky Library has a great BlogSpot that tells some of the more obscure histories of some of Erie County’s most interesting persons, places and things. https://sanduskyhistory.blogspot.com
May 27, 2018 – New history museum in Ottawa Co. opens June 16. The new museum will open with an exhibit on the ice harvesting industry that flourished in the area years ago. Ice harvesting for iceboxes was a big industry until the development of refrigerators.
June 25, 2018 – Huron to dedicate 5 new historic markers. The markers tell the story of the Huron docks and the impact they made on Huron’s history and culture, a joint project of the historical society, the Huron Joint Port Authority — which will spend about $8,000 to cover the cost — and the Huron parks and recreation department. These items will find a home in one of the museums in the area.
June 23, 2018 – Sandusky Maritime Museum executive director Annette Wells explained how the Battle of Lake Erie played out, which occurred Sept. 10, 1813, during the War of 1812. The battle involved American naval forces fighting the British to determine who had control over Lake Erie, a vital resource for trade and travel during that time.
June 18, 2018 – Sandusky Masons celebrate 200 years – In June 1818, Sandusky was a small village of about 100 inhabitants, many of which were Masons. In 1919 they formed Science Lodge No. 50 and its officers were: Hector Kilbourne, Samuel B. Carpenter, Henry Fuller, and Eleutheros Cooke. Cooke was the first attorney in Sandusky and went on to become a U.S. senator. Stories include the 1849 Cholera epidemic, the Civil War and Johnson’s Island. The contribution by the Lodge are recognized, the Masonic Lodge caught fire, and Masons fight in several wars.
June 18, 2018 – Maritime Museum curators and volunteers hung up 33 photos as part of their Bicentennial Vintage Maritime Pictures exhibit. Nostalgic images range from popular passenger steamers — the G. A. Boeckling, A. Wehrle Jr., State of Ohio, Frank E. Kirby, among others — from yesteryear, the Sandusky coal docks and World War I draftees boarding a train at Columbus Avenue in 1917.
May 2, 2018 – The Firelands Postcard Club. The local club for picture postcard enthusiasts, or “deltiologists,” has marked the occasion by creating four new picture postcards, all based on photos taken by Ernst Niebergall (1876-1954), a native of Germany whose photography depicts many aspects of life years ago in Erie County.
May 2, 2018 – A new book, “Sandusky’s Photographer: The Real Photo Postcards of Ernst Niebergall” features 246 photographs by Niebergall (1876-1954). Most of the historic photos were originally published as postcards. The Firelands Postcard Club published the book and is selling it.
April 24, 2018 – What may be the oldest shipwreck ever found in Lake Erie has been found east of Kelleys Island, possibly off the Erie County coast. The National Museum of the Great Lakes and Cleveland Underwater Explorers on Monday announced the possible discovery of the Lake Serpent, a sailing vessel built in Cleveland in 1821 and lost in 1829.
April 10, 2018 – John Schaeffer obituary – Dec. 5, 1927 – April 7, 2018 John was a founding member of the Historic Lyme Village and the Heritage Society of Erie County and a member of the Erie County Historical Society.
April 4, 2018 – BYE-BYE TO THE BRICK HOUSE – Structure to be demolished to make way for roundabout at West Bogart Road and Campbell Street. Article contains a really nice history of the building.
March 23, 2018 – Discovery of shipwreck sites announced – The National Museum of the Great Lakes and its partner in the hunt for shipwrecks, Cleveland Underwater Explorers, recently announced the discovery of four shipwrecks in Lake Erie. The shipwrecks include the location of the Margaret Olwill, a steam barge which sank off Lorain in 1899, claiming eight lives, and the locations of three still unidentified shipwrecks.
March 10, 2018 – Erie County Historical Society revamps its website. Updates include a new Home page with quick links to events, walking tours, and history museums. The site us much more user friendly now.
February 18, 2018– State Theatre hosts Bicentennial Banter series, listing of event names and dates for 2018.
October 11, 2017–They’re keeping a promise to clean up the Cholera Cemetery. Since springtime, Sandusky’s public services workers have made many upgrades at the green space located on Harrison Street near AMVETS Park.
September 28, 2017 – Historical society unveils new online walking tour for Sandusky’s downtown – The site at eriecountyohiohistory.com has added a new “Virtual Downtown Historic Walking Tour” under the “Resources” section of the website, for history buffs who want to “walk around” downtown and learn about its history without leaving their couches. Thomas Hutsler, an intern for the City of Sandusky, put together the new item in a couple of days work. Working with an existing walking tour of Sandusky in the “Historic Walking Tours” area of the website, Hutsler put together a new version of the walking tour, mapping the locations and putting together a series of links to provide more information about the various locations.
September 23, 2017 – New historical marker unveiled in Huron park – The Erie County Historical Society remembered Flemmond by unveiling a new historical marker at Huron City Park Saturday, a short distance north of the Huron Boat Basin. Flemmond (1770-1827), a French Canadian trader, opened a trading post in 1805 on the east side of the Huron River, about two miles from the river’s mouth. It was at the trading post that a famous Ottawa Indian chief closely associated with Sandusky, Ogontz, killed another chief. (The killing was ruled to be self defense).
September 20, 2017 – A new book, “Above the High Water Mark,” based on letters that Corker wrote before, during and after the Civil War, offers a look at what life was at the Civil War POW camp on Johnson’s Island in Ottawa County. During the war, it housed captured Confederate officers. The book, priced at $20, is available from Amazon. The book was written by John C. Hall Jr., an accountant who lives in Dublin, Ga. Hall is Corker’s great-great grandson. The letters cover the period from 1859 to 1872. The Civil War took place from 1861 to 1865, so “it really tells you the story of the South,” Hall said.
September 16, 2017 – New history museum planned on Catawba Island – The historic old Union Chapel in Port Clinton is the Catawba Island Historical society’s new museum location. the new museum is slated to open in 2018.
June 14, 2017 – Temporary exhibit gives history of the former New Departure-KBI plant in Sandusky. At one time 4,000 people worked there. The plant’s history is being remembered in an exhibit of artifacts and papers that can be viewed Wednesday in a temporary museum on plant property. The exhibit was put together by Charles “Chuck” Sage, a longtime plant employee who also served as an unofficial history of the plant and its parent companies.
May 5, 2017 – Famous theater producer from Sandusky died when the Lusitania sank. Charles, Daniel and Gustave Frohman are honored with an historical marker on Poplar Street in Sandusky. Charles’ legacy is shared in this article.
July 5, 2016 – New Historic Marker for Holy Angels Church in Sandusky. new marker at Holy Angels Catholic Church, 428 Tiffin Ave. The church is the first Catholic Church in the Sandusky area, and also the oldest church building in the Catholic Diocese of Toledo.
August 3, 2016 –The Heritage Society of Erie County displays vintage items including a a 1917 farm tractor made in Sandusky by the Jacob Dauch Mfg. Co., A 1922 Courier car also made by Dauch. Other unique items are a mattress stuffed with straw on a rope frame (sleep tight), A 332.5 crayon made by the American Crayon Co., a train station bench and some old road signs.
August 6, 2016 – Perkins launches digital cemetery database – Anyone with Internet access can log on to the township’s website and view precise locations of roughly 2,000 grave sites, all located off Milan Road near Ohio 2.
August 20, 2016 – Sandusky’s Kingsbury Building to get makeover as the City looks for a new location for City Hall. Adjoining Calvary Temple might be included.
November 29, 2016 – New book published, “History of Ottawa County: The First 175 Years,” by Patrick Lawrence O’Keeffe. The book is lavishly illustrated with about 350 photos, and many of the photos come with a story. About 40 percent of the photos came from the society’s Ottawa County Museum, but images also emerged from farmhouse attics, small museums and local libraries.
AND A FEW WE FOUND FROM EARLIER YEARS
February 22, 2015 – Remembering Ruth Parker – Philanthropist worked tirelessly for community. Parker, 92, Sandusky, died Feb. 14 after a long illness. Local residents remember some of her most recent efforts to help the community.
November 14, 2014 – Sloane House added to Underground Railroad network – The National Park Service has put the Rush R. Sloane House, 403 E. Adams St., in the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. Sloane was vice president of the Firelands Historical Society in 1895 and a former mayor of Sandusky. According to Ohio History Central, he bought Cedar Point and took the first steps to turn it into a vacation destination. But he’s best known as a abolitionist who worked to help the Underground Railroad. His home was a safe house for runaway slaves.
February 4, 2013 Sandusky’s Second Baptist Church boasts its own historical marker in the front, has gone by several names in its 164 years. Seven former slaves and black freemen formed the church in 1849, under the name Zion Baptist Church. It was an active station on the Underground Railroad. Before the Civil War it was reorganized under a new name: First Regular Anti-Slavery Baptist Church.
February 12, 2012 – Where these Sandusky streets got their names – Decatur Street, Meigs Street, Perry Street, McDonough Street, Shelby Street, Madison Street, Harrison Street.