Sandusky is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Erie County. Situated in northern Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie, Sandusky is midway between Toledo to the west and Cleveland to the east.
The City of Sandusky, Ohio, was established in 1818. Part of the city quickly enveloped the site of another prior small village named "Portland" (established about 1816), and eventually the City of Sandusky also encompassed most of the entire township that had also been called Portland. Some of the City was built on land formerly occupied by a Native-American man named 'Ogontz', and therefore the City is said to have been built upon "Ogontz' place".
Prior to the abolition of slavery in the United States, Sandusky was a major stop on the Underground Railroad. As depicted in Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, many slaves seeking to reach freedom in Canada made their way to Sandusky, where they boarded boats crossing Lake Erie to the port of Amherstburg in Ontario.
Downtown Sandusky was designed according to a modified grid plan, known as the Kilbourne Plat after its designer. The original street pattern featured a grid overlaid with streets resembling the symbols of Freemasonry. Hector Kilbourne was a surveyor who laid out this grid in downtown Sandusky. He was the first Worshipful Master of the first Sandusky Masonic Lodge known as Science Lodge #50. It is still in operation on Wayne St.
Sandusky was the site of groundbreaking for the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad on September 17, 1835. Currently, Battery Park Marina is located on original site of the MR&LE Railroad. The tracks that ran through downtown Sandusky have since been removed. Most of the downtown industrial area is being re-used for other purposes, including mainly marina dockage. The coal docks located west of downtown still use a portion of the original MR&LE right-of-way.
The English author Charles Dickens visited the city in 1842, and briefly wrote of it in his subsequent travelogue, American Notes. Said Dickens, who travelled on the newly constructed MR&LE railroad from Tiffin, "At two o'clock we took the railroad; the travelling-on which was very slow, its construction being indifferent, and the ground wet and marshy; and arrived at Sandusky in time to dine that evening. We put up at a comfortable little hotel on the brink of Lake Erie, lay there that night, and had no choice but to wait there next day, until a steamboat bound for Buffalo appeared. The town, which was sluggish and uninteresting enough, was something like the back of an English watering-place out of the season."
The city was a center of paper-making. The Hinde & Dauch Paper Company was the largest employer in the city in the early 1900s.