This building takes up much of the north side of E. Market St. It was constructed in 1939 after a devastating fire destroyed the original Graefe building. A newspaper article announced plans by Frankel and Sears to occupy the building and noted that plastering was still underway and light fixtures needed to be purchased. 

Both Frankels and Sears opened in January 1940 as this article from 1939 shows. Sears occupied the east side of the building while Frankels moved into the west end of the building.

WILLIAM S. FRANKEL – Lea Block - Frankels - Erie County Ohio Historical SocietyFrankel’s opened its doors in early 1940. Image courtesy of Sandusky Library Archives Research Center

By 1915, the Scheuer Brothers moved to the 100 block of East Market Street. In 1919, William S. Frankel acquired the interests of A. J. Scheuer, and the store became known as the Scheuer-Frankel Company. Around 1929, William S. Frankel, Sr. became the sole owner of the business, and it was known as the William S. Frankel Company. After William S. Frankel, Sr. passed away in 1949, his son William S. Frankel took over the business. Frankel’s was a popular department store for area residents until the mid 1960’s.

The north side of East Market Street, starting near Columbus Avenue and moving east toward Wayne Street, found a variety of business in 1956. These included: Cassidy’s Fine Foods (baked goods); Jean’s Frocks (women’s clothes); Neisner Brothers (a five-and-dime); The William S. Frankel Store (women’s apparel); Walter’s Shoe Store; Sears and Roebuck; Joseph’s Store (women and children ready to wear clothes).

This was the original Graefe Building. In 1939 a devastating fire swept down E. Market Street and turned nearly an entire block into ruins. Commonly known as the Herb & Myers fire (or the Market Street fire) because it was believed to have started in the M.R. Herb department store on East Market Street, the fire quickly destroyed many business on the 100 block of East Market Street. Among the businesses destroyed in the fire werHerb & Meyers; the Sears & Roebuck store, the W. S. Frankel store, the McLellan Dollar store, all in the Graefe Building,  and E.B. Ackley’s cigar store and office on Water Street.

The Sandusky Library has a great article on the devastating fire HERE.

Lea Block - Sears - Erie County Ohio Historical Society


This photo shows a portion of the Cooke Block (with the fire escape) and the north side of East Market Street on September 3, 1955. At this time Donald Smith ran the Smith Drug Store, where Holzaepfel’s would later operate a sporting goods store. When you take a closer look, you can see a sign in the shape of an LP record over the door of Meggitt’s Music Shop.

Further down is the sign for Sears. A highlight of the Holiday season at the Sears store, was Santa, who would visit with youngsters. Joseph’s Department store was to the east of the large Sears store.

More Recently – When San-Bay, a restaurant equipment and supplier which had occupied the building for many years, relocated to Cleveland Road, City officials purchased the Graefe Building for $64,500. They spent an additional $5,500 in local money to check for possible hazards, such as lead and asbestos testing. In 2016 plans were presented to open a brewery and tap room; however, in 2018, the site has not yet opened.