Mahala Block, ca. 1900. Image courtesy of Sandusky Library Archives Research Center

Washington Building / Mahala Block

In 1894, William West built a four-story commercial structure on East Washington Row between Columbus Avenue and Wayne Street called the Mahala Building.

“Mahala” was the middle name of his wife, nee Lydia Mahala Todd.

William West and his brother, Abel, had built and operated the West Hotel, located at the present site of the State Theater at the southwest corner of Columbus Avenue and Water Street.

Washington Building Mahala Block Fire - Erie County Ohio Historical Society

Mahala fire, 1909. Image courtesy of Sandusky Library Archives Research Center

The Mahala Block housed a variety of successful businesses and was considered one of Sandusky’s finest buildings. It was destroyed in 1909 in a devastating fire. Sanduskian George B. Knoepf was awarded a Carnegie Hero Commission Award for his dramatic fourth floor rescue of Emma Keyes.

Today the Key Bank Building and the Waldock Building occupy the site of the former Mahala Block.

Located just east of the Mahala Block, the Washington Building was originally built for the Eagles #444 in 1932. The contractor hired by the Eagles to construct the building was Alfred Schnurr. Unfortunately the Great Depression affected the Eagles so dramatically that the building was sold at a sheriff’s auction for $50,000. A. C. Routh Sr. purchased the building and it has served as offices for a number of businesses to this day.