LAKE ERIE'S YESTERDAYS is hosted by the History & Archival Collections database of the OhioLINK Digital Resource Commons (DRC). Intensely interested in the history of the Erie Islands and Lake Erie's western basin, local historian Charles E. Frohman developed a significant research collection of original manuscripts, cartographics, books, and more than 20,000 photographs.
Four thousand of the images are the work of Sandusky, Ohio commercial photographer Ernst Niebergall. From ice harvesting and railroads to early aviation and island leisure activities, the Niebergall photographs richly depict the everyday lives and activities of Lake Erie's southern shoreline residents. The photographs, taken between 1909 and 1915, provide a record of communities in transition as old methods gave way to advances in industry and technology. Following Niebergall's death in 1954, Charles Frohman preserved the collection and included them in his donation to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museums.
Also featured are candid photographs of the Jay Cooke family during annual visits to their summer home on Lake Erie's Gibraltar Island. Dating from the 1880s until 1920, the photographs are primarily the work of Jay Cooke's son, Reverend Henry Cooke.