Local History Collections

Collection ID: LH-15, LH-423
Location: LH-15, LH-423

(Description ID: 595437)

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums

Sandusky County Agricultural Society

LH-15, LH-423

Agency History
Scope and Content

Annual Sandusky County Agricultural Society official premium lists are located in the library’s general collection.

Agency History
Dr. LaQuinio Rawson, one of Sandusky County, Ohio’s most prominent pioneer citizens, owned extensive land holdings throughout Northwest Ohio. Eager to advance the area’s agriculture, Rawson encouraged residents to form an agricultural society. The Sandusky County Agricultural Society was formally organized August 31, 1852 and the first fair held later that fall at a site on the east side of Fremont, Ohio. The first fair included exhibitions of oxen, horses, cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, fruit, dairy, field, and domestic products. From the best yoke of working oxen to the finest wool stockings, each first-place exhibition received a premium.

By 1855, the board of directors negotiated for the purchase of seven acres of land from Downs & Company on the east side of the river. The final payment was made in 1858. The annual fair continued uninterrupted until 1862, when the "unsettled state of the county on account of the war, and the fact that the draft in our county came on the days appointed for our fair," the directors postponed the fair until the following year. There were shade trees and easy access to water, but the site was prone to periodic flooding of the Sandusky River. In 1866, flooding caused the directors to, once again, cancel the fair.

A group of citizens, known as the Driving Park Association, purchased land on a hill east of the river. They encouraged board members to hold the 1867 fair at this location. By 1869, it was apparent that flooding posed a potential threat to future fair ground improvements. Additionally, the fair had outgrown the grounds. The present fairgrounds (on North Street between North Front Street and Rawson Avenue) were purchased in 1870.

Despite a loss of funds in 1873, the organization moved ahead with the building of a grandstand. The following year, the directors made extensive efforts to publicize and improve the annual four-day event. Daily horse racing activities drew large crowds, making the fair an overall success. Improvements such as planting shade trees and erecting buildings as well as the expanding the site dominated the activities of the next years. The directors purchased additional land in 1885 and again in 1905. Hollywood producers found the grounds so attractive that they chose the site for the filming of Home in Indiana in 1948. Future Farmers of America and 4-H clubs became an integral part of the organization through efforts of the county agricultural extension agent.

Scope and Content
Of primary importance to the collection of Sandusky County Agricultural Society records are the minutes of the board of directors which are complete from the organization’s inception in 1852 to the present. They offer a view of change and growth in terms of the organization’s physical expansion and its agricultural exhibits and programs. Through the records, the sense of change and growth in Northwest Ohio agriculture is evident as well. Mechanization, tiling, ditching, and the continued clearing of forests put ever-increasing amounts of the fertile Black Swamp into crop production.

The organization’s administrative records, the fair account books from 1934 to 1942, annual reports, poll books, bank statements, and other financial statements as well as membership books from 1926 to 1938, provide an understanding of the society’s operations, financing of its site expansions, membership and program growth.. Also included are exhibitor lists (1933-1946) and the Secretary’s Uniform Account Books (1927-1930, 1930-1934). The official records of horse races (American Trotting Association) from 1907 to 1940 are also a significant portion of the collection.

6 linear ft.

Box 1

1. Record Book 1852-1885
2. Record Book 1886-1890
3. Record Book 1890-1895
4. Record Book 1895-1908
5. Record Book 1908-1918
6. Record Book 1918-1936
7. Record Book 1936-1941
8. Record Book 1942-1951
9. Distribution of Gasoline 1942-1945
10. Judges Books 1935
11. Premium Lists
12. Centennial History 1852-1952
13. Miscellaneous


Secretary’s Uniform Account Book: 1927-1930; 1930-1934
Exhibitors’ List: 1933, 1935-1946
Harness Racing Record: 1907-1916, 1919, 1922-1924,1927-1928, 1932-1940

Box 2
Fair Account Book: 1934, 1935 (2 books), 1936-1942
Membership Book: 1926-1931, 1938(?)
Check Register, etc.: 1935-1943

Box 3
1. Harness Racing 1936
2. Harness Racing 1937
3. Harness Racing 1938
4. Harness Racing 1939
5. Harness Racing 1940

Ac. 5531

Box 3 (continued)
6. Article Regarding "Home In Indiana"
7. Board of Directors Attendance Record 1942-1974
8. Secretary’s Minutes 1951-1956
9. Secretary’s Minutes 1957-1960
10. Secretary’s Minutes 1961-1968
11. Secretary’s Minutes 1969-1972
12. Secretary’s Minutes 1973-1976
13. Secretary’s Minutes 1977-1978
14. Secretary’s Minutes 1979-1980
15. Secretary’s Minutes 1987
16. Secretary’s Minutes 1988
17. Secretary’s Minutes 1989
18. Secretary’s Minutes 1990
19. Secretary’s Minutes 1991
20. Secretary’s Minutes 1992
21. Secretary’s Minutes 1993
22. Secretary’s Minutes 1994
23. Secretary’s Minutes 1995
24. Secretary’s Minutes 1996
25. Secretary’s Minutes 1997
26. Secretary’s Minutes 1999
27. Financial Reports 1999
28. Board of Directors 2000
29. Financial Reports 2000
30. Laws & Rules - "Redbook" 2000
31. Fairs & Expos 1999-2000
32. Prospective Grandstand Entertainment 2000

Ac. 5542

Box 4

Board of Directors Minutes 1981-1986

LH-423 Addenda

Ac. 5971

Box 5

Minutes and Treasurer's Reports; Nov./Dec. 2006 - July/Dec. 2010

Box 6

Minutes and Treasurer's Reports; July - Dec. 2011 to July - Dec. 2014