Private developers plan to demolish, by December, all six buildings at the vacant American Crayon facility.
Executives from Texas-based Born Again Salvage, the company that owns the 112-year-old Hayes Avenue facility, are covering all razing costs, including environmental assessments. They’ve declined to reveal the project’s price tag. “Right now, the building is in extremely bad shape,” company representative Terry Hurd said. “It’s going to fall down if someone doesn’t tear it down.”
Hurd said his company will sell the 6 acres to whoever makes the best offer after demolition.
Officials have wanted to tear down the building for years, but they faced legal problems with the property’s past owners.
In a 2011 attempt to expedite demolition, Sandusky fire Chief Paul Ricci submitted an affidavit in Erie County Common Pleas Court to tear down American Crayon.
He said homeless people living inside the factory were lighting fires to keep warm.
American Crayon’s unstable structure poses a threat to anyone living in or around the property, Ricci said.
City firefighters marked the abandoned building with a white X on a red background, signifying the place is an extreme fire hazard. In short, if a fire starts inside American Crayon, emergency workers won’t enter the building unless someone is trapped inside.
The demise of the American Crayon building continues a positive trend of removing blights throughout the city. This summer, crews have already demolished the Apex Building on First Street, as well as partially razing Wisteria Farms on Campbell Street.
City officials have already outlined plans to demolish the Keller Building on West Shoreline Drive and the Sandusky Cabinets property on East Washington Street, as well as restoring the DC Filter facility on Fifth Street. “For the residents, demolishing these buildings reduces the fire risk that would be present in these areas,” Ricci said.
And for those who live near the American Crayon site, it should improve the quality of life.
“Hayes Avenue is a popular corridor in our city,” Ricci said. “To have that big, vacant building removed definitely improves the aesthetic look to that corridor.”
American Crayon facts
• The American Crayon Co.’s local origins date back to 1850, when Sandusky resident William Curtis began experimenting with chalk.
• Beginning in 1860, the company made the first chalk for tailors, carpenters and railroads under the name J.S. Cowdery Manufacturers and Western School Supply.
• In 1890, the company merged with Tiffin Crayon Company and the Parmenter Crayon Co. to officially form and establish the American Crayon Co.
• In 1901, crews built the factory standing today after a fire destroyed the former factory found at Hayes Avenue and Polk Street.
• The company manufacture red crayons, chalk, blackboards, erasers, watercolors, pencils, paste, cleaners and more industrial items.
• In 2002, the company closed and has remained vacant ever since. The company provided a major source of employment for the local community.
Source: Sandusky Library
Sandusky firefighters post a large sign, marked with a white X on a red background, on the exterior of hazardous commercial buildings.
In emergencies, firefighters will only enter these buildings if someone’s life is in danger.
The hazardous buildings:
• American Crayon on Hayes Avenue
• Behnke’s Answering Service on Huron Avenue
• DC Filter on Fifth Street
• Keller Building on West Shoreline Drive
• Meyers Winery on Campbell Street
• Sandusky Cabinets on East Washington Street
• Universal Clay on First Street
The following buildings, previously marked with an X, have been demolished in the past few years:
• Apex Building on First Street
• Bosco’s or Wagon Wheel Restaurant on Cleveland Road
• C&W Body Shop on Hayes Avenue
• G&C Foundry on West Monroe Street
• Gunworks on First Street
• Sandusky Cabinets Truck Repair Garage on East Market Street
• Portions of Wisteria Farms on Campbell Street.