OLD CITY HALL / CENTRAL FIRE STATION
South side of Market Street between Columbus Avenue and Jackson Street
Old City Hall, vintage, ca. 1950. Image courtesy of Sandusky Library Archives Research Center
Sandusky was founded in 1818 as a village. It was incorporated as a town in 1824. The community became a city March 6, 1845. As a municipality, Sandusky had a mayor and city councilmen. The first office of the mayor was at the corner of Columbus Avenue and Market Street where the Cooke block is now. City Council met in the Mayor’s office and all city business was conducted out of that office. The Mayor’s office was “City Hall” from 1845 until 1888.
A lot on East Market Street and a lot on West Market Street were designated as public markets. A two story wood frame building was constructed on each lot. City officials wanted to move their office to the second floor of the west public market but the citizens voted this down. In 1887 a stone building replaced the wood structure at the west public market. City Officials were permitted to occupy an office on the second floor. That was “City Hall” from 1888 until a fire gutted the building in 1913.
The third “Office of Mayor” was on the third floor of the Kingsbury Building at the Northeast corner of Columbus Avenue and Washington Row. It was “City Hall” for one year.
By 1913 the fire department was changing from horse drawn steam powered pumpers and wagons to gasoline trucks. The two story Central Fire station on the south side of Market Street between Columbus Avenue and Jackson Street was too small for the new fire trucks. The fire department moved to a new building on West Market Street. The Mayor and City Councilmen were allowed to renovate and occupy the old fire station. Finally Sandusky had a true “City Hall.” For years people complained that City Hall smelled of horses.
Just to the right of the parking garage is a vacant lot.
The vacant lot is not just a vacant lot, but a hole in the ground that ‘might’ have been the basement of the Old City Hall.
In 1958, city hall finally moved into its new quarters on Meigs Street. This is a great article on the Dedication of new city hall 1958.
See that short white building squeezed in between the Old City Hall and the brick building?
That small building with the bay windows still stands.
It sits next to the parking lot and the bay windows are still there.
Take a closer look at the wall. You have to wonder why that building has a limestone wall that does not quite match the rest of the building. We think it was probably a support wall from the Old City Hall that was married to the smaller building and would have resulted in demolition of both buildings had it been removed. So even though the Old City Hall building is gone, a few pieces of it still remain for the observant eye to see.