Step back in time at the Marketplace at the Cooke

A walk through the Marketplace at the Cooke is like a step back in time.

Between the modern shops, restaurants, and gaming areas, you’ll find walls, nooks, and crannies filled with history. The black-and-white and sepia-toned photos, along with tangible artifacts, tell a story of Sandusky.

“Many people do not know how important Sandusky was to the world,” Hogrefe says. “Did you know a secret phrase slaves used to say they were running away was ‘I am going to Sandusky’? We are an important part of the Underground Railroad. Corrugated cardboard was invented here. The first railroad in Ohio was in Sandusky.” 

The idea for the interior theme comes from building owner Rick Hogrefe.

“After I bought the Huntley [building], I sat in the middle of the empty space on the floor, closed my eyes and just let my mind flow,” Hogrefe says. “I envisioned a place where people could come in the winter. I love history and felt a story telling how Sandusky impacted the world would be a good way to draw people to downtown. I saw a little history museum in my head that provided a timeline of our past.”

Some of the artifacts were donated by local businesses like Cedar Point and the Follett House, while others were located by design consultant Benny Byington and Hogrefe himself. One item that holds particular significance to Hogrefe is a lathe, which belonged to Hogrefe’s father.

“I grew up watching Dad create miracles with that machine,” says Hogrefe.

Take a step back in time with The Helm as we relive our history and celebrate who we are as a community.

Cedar Point is a focal point for a display at the Marketplace.The lathe that once belonged to Rick Hogrefe's father is on display in the Marketplace.The Chief, a Sandusky-made boat that traveled across the ice in the 1950s, hangs near one of the entrances to the Marketplace.

A vintage sewing machine sits in a wall recess at the Marketplace.A bank of theatre seats pays homage to the various movie theaters that were once in downtown Sandusky: Theatorium (1906-1917); Star Theater (1914-1930); Plaza Theater (1914-1958); Ohio Theater (1915-1979); and State Theater (1926-present).A section of the Marketplace is dedicated to the Sandusky favorite, the New Year's Pretzel.Sandusky was a key player in the ice industry, becoming known in the latter part of the 19th century as the "Ice Capital of the Great Lakes."