THE STONE BUILDING
SE corner of Columbus Ave. and E. Market St. Stone’s Block, ca. 1910. Image courtesy of Sandusky Library Archives Research Center
Early commercial development of the southeast corner of Columbus Avenue and East Market Street began in 1870 when local attorney Walter F. Stone constructed a frame building for stores.
After Walter’s death, his widow Cordelia Stone inherited the property and in 1882-1883 built the Stone Building on this site. Walking by the Stone Building in the late 1800s and early 1900s you would have noticed its red brick walls and the galvanized iron cornice along its roof. The first floor generally housed retail stores. The Lake Shore Electric Railway Company operated its ticket office here for several years, as did an ice cream parlor, but the building is best remembered as the home of the S. S. Kresge Company which opened its first Sandusky store here in 1920. There was an ice cream parlor, too.
This is Columbus St. looking north towards the lake. On the top of the right side you can see the Schnaitter block, then the Cooke block on one side of the intersection, then the Stone Building on the other side of Market St. This photo was taken around 1910 and you can see that there are both
automobiles and horse drawn carriages on the street.
Kresge’s eventually took over the entire first floor of the Stone Building around 1940, and was renamed the Jupiter Discount Store in 1965 when the Kresge Corporation began to focus more heavily on its new Kmart stores. The red bricks of the Stone Building were later repainted to their current color scheme to reflect the Jupiter store colors. Jupiter closed in July of 1987 and the building remained vacant for several years until the first floor was redeveloped into the short-lived Bourbon Street bar and restaurant.
Cabana Jacks took over the space in 2002 and operated there until 2014. Small City Taphouse, the building’s current owner, opened in the building on June 25, 2014.
F. W. WOOLWORTH & THE MOORE & WHITWORTH BUILDINGS
220 Columbus Ave. – S. S. Kresge was on the corner and the next storefront to the south was F. W. Woolworth.
In 1898, the three-story Moore Building was constructed by Cordelia Stone’s daughter Mary Stone Moore to the south of the Stone Building. The two-story Whitworth Building also was built next to the Moore Building at this time. Both the Moore and Whitworth Buildings became best known as the original Sandusky location of F.W. Woolworth, which occupied both structures.
This is a scene of the east side of Columbus Ave. at with Market St. on the far left. The photo was taken on January 5, 1960 after a fire at the Woolworth building. Both the Kresge (left) and F. W. Woolworth (right) buildings can be seen.
The F. W. Woolworth store in downtown Sandusky was located on Columbus Avenue and opened in 1915.
The Fire – January 5, 1960 – The blaze started in the basement and ripped through the building, destroying it and the offices next door. Later the same day, the fire broke out again, further damaging the structure. The building was so engulfed in flames that a crowd stood outside and watched as all of the city’s firefighters fought the blaze. Despite the destruction, F. W. Woolworth rebuilt the store and kept it open until December 1971.
Like Kresge, Woolworth’s had two stores in Sandusky at the time. The second was located in the Perkins Plaza, and for a time the Sandusky Mall also had a Woolworth’s, located where the T. J. Maxx Store is presently.
In 1993, the Sandusky Mall would lose the last remaining original tenant that opened inside the mall in 1976 when F. W. Woolworth Co. closed the store and cafeteria at the end of January. Store officials said the store was closing because it was no longer profitable.
The Woolworth Store Fire – On the morning of January 5, 1960, both the Moore and Whitworth Buildings were engulfed in a massive fire that started in a basement the evening before and “burned through the floor in the middle of the building” during the night. Firefighters from both the Sandusky and Perkins Township departments battled the blaze for hours in freezing temperatures using nearly 2 million gallons of water to extinguish the fire. Despite their efforts, however, the entire Woolworth store was destroyed and both buildings were a total loss. In the days after the fire, Columbus Avenue experienced massive traffic jams from out-of-towners who wanted to see the aftermath of the blaze.
Woolworth Closing and Later Uses – Woolworth later reopened its store in the reconstructed two-story building now standing at this location in the mid-1960s, but declining business led Woolworth to close this location in late 1971. The building later housed Rite Aid’s downtown location beginning in the late 1980s until it also closed in the late 1990s. The Erie County Public Defender’s Office has occupied a portion of the former store space for the past several years.