Cooke-Dorn House

The Cooke-Dorn House Museum is open seasonally.

Hours:

The Cooke-Dorn House Museum is open for the 2024 season.
For times to visit the museum, call site manager Ed Stout at 419-357-7473 to arrange a tour date and time. If you prefer email, his address is ed.stout@oldhouseguild.org. Tours times are from 8:00am through 8:00pm Sunday thru Friday.  A 24 to 48 hour advanced notice is required.  For larger groups or a lengthier tour, arrangements should be made to accommodate more time.  During the off season from November through mid April when the museum is closed, tours may still be arranged using the above parameters.

 

History of the Cooke House

Eleutheros Cooke, Sandusky’s first lawyer, originally constructed this home in 1843-1844 on the corner of Columbus Avenue and West Washington Row in downtown Sandusky, which today is the site of the downtown offices of Erie County.

Eleutheros Cooke, Sandusky’s first lawyer, originally constructed this home in 1843-1844 on the corner of Columbus Avenue and West Washington Row in downtown Sandusky, which today is the site of the downtown offices of Erie County.

Image courtesy Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library
Image courtesy Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library

Mr. Cooke was a prominent leader in many of the city’s early institutions, served four terms as a representative in the Ohio Legislature and was elected to represent Ohio’s 14th congressional district in the 22nd United States Congress in 1831 as an anti-Jacksonian candidate. His son Jay Cooke gained notoriety by assisting the United States government in financing the Union Army effort during the Civil War.

After the deaths of Eleutheros Cooke and his wife Martha, the home was purchased from the Cooke heirs in 1879 by local attorney Rush R. Sloane. Rush wanted the one quarter section of the downtown city block the home sat on to build his large Victorian Sloane House hotel. He commissioned workers to dismantle the home stone by stone and reassemble it in its current location. Folklore that was told for years said the home was given as a wedding present by Rush to his newlywed son Thomas and daughter-in-law Sarah, who was a granddaughter of Eleutheros Cooke. In actuality, Thomas purchased the home and property from his father in November of 1880 and he married Sarah eight months later in June of 1881. Thomas was a lawyer, then later a probate judge, held many positions on boards of directors for both business and civic organizations, and was a high official in the Episcopal Church.

Judge Roy Williams
Judge Roy Williams

Roy H. Williams
The Sloane family retained ownership until 1922 when the property was sold by their sons to Judge Roy H. Williams. Mr. Williams served as a judge for the Erie County Common Pleas Court, the Ohio 6th District Court of Appeals, and finally as an Ohio Supreme Court Justice.

 

 

 

Verna Lockwood Williams
Verna Lockwood Williams

Verna Lockwood Williams
Judge Williams and his wife Verna Lockwood Williams owned the home until 1950.

 

 

 

Randolph J. and Estelle Dorn began negotiations with the Williams estate and planning changes they wished to make to the home early in 1951. Purchasing the home in January of 1952, they undertook major renovations to the home, still maintaining its historic qualities, and in the spring of 1953 they moved in. Mr. Dorn, the owner and president of Sandusky’s Barr Rubber Corporation, lived in the home until his death in 1965. Mrs. Estelle Dorn continued to reside there until her death in 1994. She bequeathed the property to the Ohio Historical Society, now known as the Ohio History Connection, to become this museum.

Today, the home is much like it was when the Dorns lived there. Future plans for the home are to change certain rooms within to reflect how the home would have looked when the original Cookes resided there. We invite you for a tour to experience this unique residence and learn fascinating facts about Sandusky’s early history that the Cookes accomplished.

Stereo card of the Cooke House in its original location at West Washington Row and Columbus Avenue in Sandusky, Ohio (If you gaze past the screen, you may be able to see the image in 3D! )
Stereo card of the Cooke House in its original location at West Washington Row and Columbus Avenue in Sandusky, Ohio (If you gaze past the screen,
you may be able to see the image in 3D! )
Cooke House - Image courtesy of The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library
Cooke House – Image courtesy of The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library
Cooke House - Image courtesy of The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library
Cooke House –
Image courtesy of The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library

link to COOKE-DORN HOUSE HISTORIC SITE at Ohio History Connection

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