kids encyclopedia robot

Sandusky, Ohio facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Sandusky, Ohio
Schade Mylander.jpg
Official seal of Sandusky, Ohio
Location in the state of Ohio
Location in the state of Ohio
Country United States
State Ohio
County Erie
Founded 1818
 • Type City Commission
 • City 21.81 sq mi (56.49 km2)
 • Land 9.63 sq mi (24.93 km2)
 • Water 12.19 sq mi (31.56 km2)
597 ft (182 m)
 • City 25,095
 • Density 2,607/sq mi (1,006.6/km2)
 • Metro
Time zone UTC−05:00 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
Area code(s) 419/567
FIPS code 39-70380
GNIS feature ID 1076832

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 located roughly midway between Toledo (45 miles (72 km) west) and Cleveland (50 miles (80 km) east).

According to 2020 census, the city had a population of 25,095, and the Sandusky, Ohio Micropolitan Statistical Area had 75,622 residents.

Richard R. Brady (D) is the current Mayor of the City of Sandusky. This is Brady's second term as Mayor. He won re-election at the first legisative meeting of January 2022. Much of his focus as Mayor has been on the COVID-19 pandemic and overseeing the recovery of the city from the pandemic.

In 2011, Sandusky was ranked No. 1 by Forbes as the "Best Place to Live Cheaply" in the United States. The city has a median family income of $64,000.

Sandusky is home to the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, which owns large amounts of property in Sandusky. These properties include Cedar Point, Cedar Fair's flagship park and one of the most popular amusement parks in the world, as well as Cedar Point Shores, adjacent to Cedar Point itself.

The National Arbor Day Foundation has designated Sandusky as a Tree City USA.


The accepted etymology is that the name "Sandusky" is derived from the Wyandot word saundustee, meaning "water" or andusti, "cold water". In his 1734 history of New France, Charlevoix transliterated the phrase as "Chinouski". The name "L.(Lac) Sandoski" appears on a 1733 map. Sandusky Bay is identified as "Lac (Lake) Sandouské" on a 1718 map by Guillaume DeLisle.


The city of Sandusky 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 Street.

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 the 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.



SanduskyOhio ISS012-E-15050
Muddy brown water fills Sandusky Bay, just south of Lake Erie in this astronaut photograph.

Sandusky is located at 41°26′48″N 82°42′33″W / 41.44667°N 82.70917°W / 41.44667; -82.70917 (41.446741, -82.709092).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 21.91 square miles (56.75 km2), of which 9.73 square miles (25.20 km2) is land and 12.18 square miles (31.55 km2) is water.


Sandusky has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa), typical of much of the central United States, with very warm, humid summers and cold winters. Winters tend to be cold, with an average January high temperature of 32 °F (0 °C), and an average January low temperature of 19 °F (−7 °C), with considerable variation in temperatures. Sandusky averages 28.4 inches (721.4 mm) of snow per winter. Summers tend to be warm, sometimes hot, with an average July high temperature of 82 °F (28 °C), and an average July low temperature of 66° (19 °C). Summer weather is more stable, generally humid with thunderstorms fairly common. Fall usually is the driest season with many clear warm days and cool nights.

The highest recorded temperature in Sandusky of 105 °F (41°C) was set on July 14, 1936, and the lowest recorded temperature of −20 °F (−29 °C) was set on January 19, 1994.

Climate data for Sandusky, Ohio
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 73
Average high °F (°C) 32.2
Average low °F (°C) 18.9
Record low °F (°C) −20
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.87
Snowfall inches (cm) 8.8
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 10.8 9.4 11.0 12.3 12.1 11.2 9.7 9.7 10.1 10.2 11.8 12.0 130.4
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 6.2 4.2 2.1 0.4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.5 3.6 16.8
Source #1: Midwestern Regional Climate Center (normals 1971−2000)
Source #2: Weather Channel (extremes)

Local areas

Historically, "Sandusky" is a name that can refer to multiple locations in northern Ohio; often in historical documents, the word "Sandusky" was not clarified as to which specific location was meant, and any historical references to "Sandusky" might mean any one of the following locations, depending also on the date of the reference.

List of locations, with approximate dates of usage:

  • Sandusky/Sandusky City - about 1817* to present, village/city on southeast side of Sandusky Bay (*-any "Sandusky" reference dated prior to 1817 would not refer to this village, officially established by this name in 1818).
  • Sandusky Bay - 1700 to present; early variants were "(Lac d')Otsanderket", "(Lac d')Otsandoske", "Lake Sanduske".
  • Sandusky River - 1740s to present.
  • Fort Sandusky - various locations: from c. 1749 to c. 1754, a French fort ("Fort Sandoské") on the northwest side of Sandusky Bay; or from 1761 until 1763, a British fort on the southeastern side of Sandusky Bay; or from about 1812/1813 a fort (later called "Fort Stephenson") on the Sandusky River, near (now) Fremont, Ohio
  • Lower Sandusky - 1760s to ?, area or village at the (now) city of Fremont, Ohio.
  • Upper Sandusky - 1760s? to present, area or village at the (now) city of Upper Sandusky. Upper Sandusky is south of Sandusky. While a common first impression is that "Upper" implies "north of", here "Upper" refers to "upstream", as in upstream of Lake Erie by means of the Sandusky River.
  • Upper Sandusky Old Town - 1760s? to ?, a Wyandot/Huron tribe village, about 12 miles (19 km) north of the (now) city of Upper Sandusky.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1830 593
1840 1,433 141.7%
1850 5,087 255.0%
1860 8,408 65.3%
1870 13,000 54.6%
1880 15,838 21.8%
1890 18,471 16.6%
1900 19,664 6.5%
1910 19,989 1.7%
1920 22,897 14.5%
1930 24,022 4.9%
1940 24,874 3.5%
1950 29,375 18.1%
1960 31,989 8.9%
1970 32,674 2.1%
1980 31,360 −4.0%
1990 29,764 −5.1%
2000 27,844 −6.5%
2010 25,793 −7.4%
2020 25,095 −2.7%

2010 census

Largest ancestries (2010) Percent
German 34.4%
Irish 15.9%
English 8.4%
Italian 6.8%
American 3.7%

As of the census of 2010, there were 25,793 people, 11,082 households, and 6,415 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,650.9 inhabitants per square mile (1,023.5/km2). There were 13,386 housing units at an average density of 1,375.7 per square mile (531.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 70.4% White, 22.0% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 1.1% from other races, and 5.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.9% of the population.

There were 11,082 households, of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.9% were married couples living together, 19.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.1% were non-families. 35.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.93.

The median age in the city was 38.5 years. 23.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.2% were from 25 to 44; 27.7% were from 45 to 64; and 15% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.6% male and 52.4% female.


Sandusky has a tourism industry fueled by Cedar Point, the neighboring islands, boating, and more recently by its many indoor and outdoor water parks. It is also noted for being the location of the (fictional) "Callahan Auto Parts" in the movie Tommy Boy.

Cedar Point

P5240011 Cedar Point Ohio
View of Cedar Point from Lake Erie

In 1870, Louis Zistel, a local businessman, opened a beer garden, bathhouse, and dance floor on the Cedar Point Peninsula. Over the years, the area became a more and more popular destination for relaxation and leisure. In 1892, the park's first roller coaster, the Switchback Railway, was built. A hotel called the Bay Shore Hotel was opened in 1899. Cedar Point's second roller coaster, the Figure-Eight Roller Toboggan, opened in 1902. As the years went on, more and more rides and attractions were added to the park, including midway games.

Before 1914, the park could only be reached by steamboat, but in that year a roadway was opened connecting the park to the mainland and Sandusky's major roadways. The Cedar Point Marina, one of the largest on the Great Lakes, was completed in 1959.

In 1964, Blue Streak, a wooden roller coaster, was built and named for the local high school's mascot. It is currently the park's oldest operating roller coaster. In the latter half of the twentieth century, Cedar Point shattered countless roller coaster records with rides like Corkscrew (first coaster with three or more inversions), Gemini (tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world when constructed in 1978), Magnum XL-200 (tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world when constructed in 1989), Mean Streak (tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in the world when constructed in 1991), Raptor (tallest and fastest inverted roller coaster in the world when constructed in 1994), and Mantis (tallest and fastest stand-up roller coaster in the world when constructed in 1996).

In 2000, Millennium Force was built, at 310 feet (94 m) tall, and 93 miles per hour (150 km/h) top speed. In 2003, Cedar Point debuted Top Thrill Dragster. When it was built it was the tallest (420 ft or 130 m) and the fastest (120 mph or 190 km/h) roller coaster in the world. Cedar Point brought its roller coaster total to 17 in 2007 with the construction of Maverick. The park has been known for several years for having the most roller coasters and amusement rides in the world. It has long been nicknamed "America's Roller Coast". It has also been ranked the best amusement park in the world by the Golden Ticket Awards for 15 consecutive years. In 2013, Cedar Point added a 16th coaster called Gatekeeper. It broke records for the tallest, fastest, longest, and steepest winged coaster as of 2013.


May thru August every year, Sandusky residents and incoming tourists flock to the neighboring islands north of the city, with many transportation options leaving right from downtown. The islands include Kelleys Island, South Bass Island (host of the popular village known as Put-in-Bay), Middle Bass Island and North Bass Island.

Themed parties are a common occurrence in the summer season throughout Sandusky and on the neighboring islands, such as "Island Fest", "Rock on the Dock", and "Christmas in July"; thousands of residents and tourists join in the festivities annually. In 2008, the residents of Sandusky hosted their first annual "Barge Party", where boats from as far as Toledo and Cleveland came to dock up their boats together at the sandbar, just inside Sandusky Bay. The barge party ensues twice every year, typically in late June and late July.


Kalahari, an African themed indoor waterpark just outside Sandusky

The tourist draw produced by Cedar Point has attracted resort businesses and waterparks to the area. Major waterparks in and near Sandusky are:



  • Castaway Bay, owned by Cedar Fair
  • Great Wolf Lodge (Perkins Township)
  • Kalahari (Perkins Township)
  • Maui Sands Waterpark & Hotel
  • Rain Indoor Waterpark Located in Quality Inn & Suites


Sandusky Transit System (STS) runs a full-service transit system across the Greater Sandusky Area. Its main station is downtown on the corner of Washington St. and Wayne St.

Blue Line: serves the suburban area, route 250, Sandusky Mall, and Kalahari Resort. Red: Serves the East side and Downtown. Yellow: Cedar Point, Sports Center. Orange: Midtown Purple: Serves the south side. Green: Serves the west side.

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Sandusky. There are four trains daily, all arriving in the late night/early morning hours: the Capitol Limited between Chicago and Washington, D.C., via Pittsburgh; and the Lake Shore Limited between Chicago and New York/Boston via Buffalo. The Sandusky Amtrak Station is also home to a Greyhound Lines bus station.

Several ferry boats and routes serve Sandusky. These depart from the Jackson Street Pier, except Jet Express which departs from an adjacent pier.

  • M/V Goodtime I - Seasonal daily service to Kelleys Island and South Bass Island. Also provides special party cruises and charters.
  • M/V Pelee Islander - Seasonal scheduled service to Pelee Island connecting to Leamington, Ontario and Kingsville, Ontario.
  • Jet Express - Provides seasonal daily service to Kelleys Island, South Bass Island, and Cedar Point which connect to Port Clinton, Ohio. It also provides excursion and cruises. Departs from former Cedar Point pier downtown.

The city was previously served by Griffing Sandusky Airport until its closure in 2013. The community is currently served by Erie–Ottawa International Airport in nearby Port Clinton for general aviation and limited commercial service to the Lake Erie Islands. Today, flights from Detroit Metropolitan Airport, John Glenn Columbus International Airport, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport serve Sandusky.

In terms of road access, Sandusky is a short drive off the Ohio Turnpike (Interstate 90 and Interstate 80), enabling easy transportation to Sandusky from cities like Toledo, Cleveland, and Erie, Pennsylvania via those roads. U.S. Route 6 runs through Sandusky, and both Ohio State Route 4 and U.S. Route 250 converge on Sandusky.

Perkins Township

Perkins Township is a township that lies south of Perkins Avenue, which bisects what is informally considered the Sandusky Metropolitan Area. The Sandusky Mall and the Sandusky Speedway are located south of Perkins Avenue, and therefore lie in Perkins Township. Perkins Township does not have its own main post office, so the township uses Sandusky city's ZIP code of 44870.


Top employers

According to Sandusky's 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Cedar Point 6,070
2 Firelands Regional Health System 2,067
3 Sandusky City School District 750
4 Erie County 596
5 Providence Care Center 361
6 City of Sandusky 264
7 JBT Corporation 239
8 LEWCO, Inc. 219
9 Stein Hospice Service 180
10 Okamoto Sandusky Manufacturing 131


Sandusky, Ohio birdseye map (1898). loc call no g4084s-pm007070
Illustrated map of Sandusky in 1898

• Sandusky Public Schools enroll 3,775 students in public primary and secondary schools. The district operates 10 public schools including five elementary schools, one middle school, one traditional high school, an alternative high school, a school for gifted students in grades 3–12, and a career center with programs for adults.

• St. Mary Central Catholic High School/SCCS is a private Roman Catholic school associated with Holy Angels Church, St. Mary's Church, and Sts. Peter & Paul Church, all located in downtown Sandusky. SCCS is focused on giving students a faith-centered learning environment.

•Monroe Prep Academy is a private charter school in downtown Sandusky. It is located on E. Monroe St. on Sandusky's East Side.

Sandusky is served by the Sandusky Library, which also operates a branch on Kelleys Island.

Notable people

  • John Beatty (1828–1914), banker, U.S. Representative (1868–73); brigadier general during Civil War
  • Bill Berry, drummer for band R.E.M.; lived in Sandusky 1968–1972
  • Andrew Biemiller, U.S. Representative from Wisconsin
  • Brian Bixler, Major League Baseball player
  • Brandy Burre, actress, played Theresa D'Agostino on HBO series The Wire
  • Roger Carter, professional darts player
  • Chris Castle, folk/Americana singer-songwriter
  • Dandridge MacFarlan Cole (1921–65), aerospace engineer, futurist, author
  • Henry D. Cooke (1825–81), financier, journalist, railroad executive, politician
  • Jay Cooke (1821–1905), Civil War financier, railroad magnate, philanthropist
  • Jay Crawford, sportscaster
  • Corey Croom, football player
  • Thom Darden, defensive back for Cleveland Browns, 1972–1981
  • Robert L. Denig, major general, Marine Corps; Sandusky's highest-ranking sea service officer
  • John Emerson, born Clifton Paden (1874–1956), actor, playwright, director of silent films
  • Chad Fairchild, Major League Baseball umpire
  • George Feick (1849–1932), builder of Wyoming State Capitol, buildings in and near Sandusky
  • Charles Frohman (1856–1915), producer, co-founder of Theatrical Syndicate
  • Daniel Frohman (1851–1940), theatrical producer, film producer
  • Andy Gerold, guitarist with Marilyn Manson
  • Jon Gruden, NFL head coach and TV analyst
  • Fred Kelsey (1884–1961), actor, director
  • Dick Kinzel, CEO of Cedar Fair Entertainment Company
  • Aaron Kromer, NFL assistant coach
  • Jeff Linkenbach, NFL offensive tackle
  • William d'Alton Mann (1839–1920), Civil War soldier, businessman, publisher
  • Scott May, basketball player, NCAA national champion, 1976 Player of the Year, 1976 Olympic gold medalist; NBA player
  • Jackie Mayer, Miss America 1963; section of Route 2 in Erie County is named "Jackie Mayer Miss America Highway"
  • Thomas J. Moyer (1939–2010), chief justice of Ohio Supreme Court from 1987 to 2010
  • Dennis Murray, Democratic member of Ohio House of Representatives
  • George Nichols, light heavyweight boxing champion
  • James Obergefell, LGBT rights activist and United States Supreme Court plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges
  • Catherine Opie, artist, professor of photography at UCLA
  • Orlando Pace, offensive lineman in Pro Football Hall of Fame; played for Sandusky High School, which retired his jersey number
  • Kevin Randleman, two-time Division I NCAA wrestling champion for The Ohio State University, mixed martial arts fighter
  • Blanche Roosevelt (1853–98), opera singer and author
  • Edmund Ross, senator whose vote prevented impeachment of President Andrew Johnson
  • William F. Schaub (1900–1999), U.S. Assistant Secretary of Army 1961–1962
  • Elmer Smith (1892–1984), Major League Baseball outfielder 1914–1925; helped Cleveland Indians win the 1920 World Series
  • Brad Snyder, Major League Baseball player
  • Orville James Victor (1827–1910), theologian, journalist, abolitionist
  • Dave Waddington, powerlifter and strongman; first to break 1,000-pound barrier in squat
  • Alvin F. Weichel (1891–1956), Republican in U.S. House of Representatives (1943–1955)

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Sandusky (Ohio) para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Influential Hispanic activists
Janet Murguía
Nelson Merced
Jovita Idar
Dolores Huerta
María Teresa Kumar
kids search engine
Sandusky, Ohio Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.