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August 2, 1984


PIX #1 - A new nursing home, badly needed, was completed in 1979 and dedicated on Memorial Day.

PIX #2 - One of the typical resident cottages. There are 16 for veterans.

PIX #3 - The home's well-stock library.

PIX #4 - COL. JOHN WEEKS Administrator

PIX #5 - JIM SINGLER Registrar

PIX #6 - RALPH CLINK Chaplain

PIX #7 - Entrance to Administration Building.

(AUTHOR'S NOTE: Many readers have heard that there is an institution in Ohio for veterans of wars in which this country has been involved. But probably only a few know much about the institution, how it came to be, the services it provides and the extent of the facilities. Harry Stoneberger, a World War I veteran and actively engaged in all veteran programs, suggested this article and assisted in making contacts at the facility for data and photos. Here is the complete and enlightening story.)

In 1886 a patriotic group of Ohio citizens headed by Mr. I.F. Mack, Sandusky, determined that this state should provide a home to care for honorably dis- charged veterans of the Civil War from Ohio who were disabled or required assistance. They prevailed upon the legislature to submit a bill creating such an institution and in that same year during the administration of Gov. Foraker, the bill gained approval. It required the governor to appoint a com- mission or board of trustees and empowered them to select a site and arrange for the construction of the home.

The board selected for the undertaking was comprised of I.F. Mack, Sandusky; P.I. Brown, Zanesville; W.P. Orr, Piqua; Thomas Dill, Mansfield; and Thomas Paxton, Cincinnati. The first meeting of the board was June 3, 1886, and Mr. Mack was elected chairman with Mr. Brown elected as secretary.


During that meeting proposals were solicited from various cities desiring to offer land for the home. The trustees visited 14 communities that were in- terested in the project and finally selected a site three miles south of Sandusky.

An agreement was entered into by the trustees and the City of Sandusky which provided the present site containing approximately 100 acres be deeded to the State of Ohio. The city was required to provide water mains, gas mains, electric lines and street car tracks to the home site.

Sandusky further agreed to furnish an ample supply of water at the cost of $25 per year for 13 years. After that time the home would be charged the same rate as were industries in Sandusky. The trustees proceded with construction of various buildings and on Nov. 19, 1888, the home opened with 17 members being admitted on that first day.


Gen. Manning F. Force, the first commandant, served from 1888 to 1889. Frank- lin I. Bayes, a Civil War Army veteran from Fulton County was the first member admitted to the home. He died there March 8l, 1889, at the age of 45.

Since that time more than 45,000 have entered the home. The peak of member- ship was reached May 11, 1910, when 1,737 members were enrolled. Membership consists of veterans from all services and the National Guard who served hon- orably in the Mexican Border War, World War I, World War II, the Korean Con- flict and the Vietnam War.

In 1969, the law governing admission to the home was amended by the Ohio legislature to include female veterans. On Oct. 10, 1969, Burnice M. Dufour, a World War II Navy veteran from Mogadore (Portage County) became the first woman and the 22,225th veteran admitted to the home.


The name of the home was officially changed from the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Home to the Ohio Veterans's Home in Sandusky in 1979. It is a little city within itself with administration building, kitchen, dining hall, heating plant, commissary, and carpentry, machine, paint and electrical shops. The home also has its own laundry facilities, library, greenhouse, relic room and bowling alley.

Poppies sold by the American Legion and its auxiliaries throughout the state are made in Poppy Shop by non-compensated disabled veterans.


More than 280 civil service employees and 100 veteran members are employed at the home. Two full-time chaplains offer Protestant and Catholic church ser- vices in the home's chapel.

Twelve commandants have been in charge of the home since it opened in 1888. They are Manning F. Force, A. Anderson, Thomas Anderson, J.W. Cline, W.K. Bur- nett, Perry I. Null, John C. Volka, Roy T. Rogers, Don A. Wheeler, James Delong, John W. Parker and Robert H. Borders.

In 1981 the title of commandant was changed to director. Col. John F. Weeks was appointed to that position May 4, 1981, and is still there.

The home is under the direction of a board of trustees apointed by the gover- nor. These include J. Ernest Griffin, Bellaire, chairman; Kenneth Robey, Dayton, vice-chairman; Harry J. Ebert, Sandusky, secretary; and board members William C. Seiler M.D., Sandusky; Howard Kabler, Ripley; William Denihan, Cleveland; Ned T. Dunn, Columbus.

(NOTE: Due to the amount of information and the many interesting photos available to describe the home, this article will be continued next week. I am sure this is an article that will be saved by readers because of its his- torical value and human interest.)

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