American Crayon prepped for wrecking ball

The owners of an iconic Hayes Avenue structure aim to raze the dreary building before summer.
Andy Ouriel
Apr 3, 2013


And when the American Crayon building comes down, real estate experts believe the property will present many development options for an ambitious person.

Executives from Texas-based Born Again Salvage own the 112-year-old building and are prepping it for demolition. Their construction workers are removing asbestos and other hazardous materials before demolition begins.

“The actual demolition of the building should take place within the next few weeks,” company representative Terry Hurd said. “Right now, the building is in extremely bad shape. It’s going to fall down if someone doesn’t tear it down.”

Get more on the history of the old factory and plans for the future for the property at the Hayes Avenue subway in today's Register. Click here for the ePaper, for home delivery or buy a Register daily at a newsstand near you.





It's about time... Keller Building take note...


Great neighborhood. Endless possibilities.


Great spot for a pizza house,car wash, coffee shop or a murder. That's about it for the endless possibilities.





2cents's picture


I wonder why they did not rename the company? (Mexican Crayon Co)

"This photograph of employees of the American Crayon Company in Sandusky, Ohio was taken around 1905."

You can zoom in on the faces and also "pan" the photo by left click on your mouse and drag. Interesting photo. Do you recognize any of the faces in the enlarged photo?


Centauri, I see myself! Front row, third from left!! :-)

2cents's picture

Nope! Am I suppose to?


The photo was taken well over 100 years ago. Perhaps great grandparents or other ancestors long gone who used to work there? Get out the old family albums. :)
Ohio jobs long gone.




An eye sore


I remember going there in grade school on a field trip. It's about time they level that eyesore.


Same here from Fremont Atkinson. I remember thinking that the whole building smelled like a new box of crayons!


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Profane, obscene, sexual or derogatory language.


The old tax base


Good point, whocares.

A lot of tax bases left the country and hurt the country to make rich men richer.


That is what capitalism is about....that is why AMERICA is on top. Wouldn't expect a socialist to know that though....derp.


I know that hurting the country is ok with you and GOP- selfish, grasping, twerp.



2cents's picture

Sam Walton, you shop there?


"Keller building could fall at any moment".....that was said how many wind storm and winters ago?
I agree bring it down, but the city has to do the hoops and timelines first.

Cracked Cherry

Terrible neighborhood, Who will want to buy that property?




Smoked a lotta crack in there. Er, I mean look at that cracked smoke stack.

Yellow Snow

A lot of wages were earned here. We always bought American Crayon when we were kids in school. A sad sign of today's times. In many ways, it will be sad to see it gone, much like the grain elevator in Huron. Stuff we grew up with. Progress, I guess.

2cents's picture

(Progress, I guess)

Ever hear the term "progress is the opposite of congress" ?


Yep..My mom worked there when I was a kid..She called it a dungeon, but it kept us out of the welfare line and I love her for that !


Another sign of Sandusky's circling the drain. Think of the other companies we had here in the 40s - 60s now most all of them are gone. It is a sad commentary for what used to be a very vibrant community. I wonder and worry about what my grand children will do for work??

2cents's picture

(what my grand children will do for work)



I have zero knowledge of whether or not the American Crayon (AC) building is in great/good/poor/terrible shape, so I can't support or deny Mr. Hurd's statement that the building is "in terrible shape". But if improvements and general upkeep have/has not been performed over the years, I have to ask: what usages other than as a crayon factory has this building been used for?

As far as real estate experts stating "the property will present many development options for an ambitious person", I have to ask: What options? What else is in the surrounding area other than residential homes? I've actually developed a business plan for opening up a brewpub, and my plans encompass utilizing an old brick building to house a brew area next to a pub, separated by a glass wall. It's a tried-and-true success recipe. The AC building appears from the outside to have been a good potential candidate, but the other intangibles aren't there: there aren't other retail establishments in the area to draw people in, and the location isn't "picturesque" such as what one would get with a building downtown next to/near the Lake. So again I ask: What options? A retirement living center? A storage facility?

For businesses to consider Sandusky as a potential development area, they are looking for a trained workforce, local government tax incentives, and the potential for low infrastructure costs (existing "brick-and-mortar" locations, potentially low-cost transportation costs if applicable, utilities, and an abundance of available and inexpensive natural resources if applicable). I'd like to see city leaders develop a comprehensive set of options/plans to lure potential industries to the Sandusky area. Here's one idea to use as an example . . . software development is quite literally being done worldwide, and software development is still a HUGE growth opportunity for years and decades to come. Working with the state, Sandusky could offer Software Developers the tax incentive to move to Sandusky and pay no state or local taxation on income earned as long as the developers purchased and resided in a Sandusky-area home. And a further incentive would be low-cost home loans to purchase/renovate existing structures, with a slightly higher home loans rate to build a new home in city limits. This is very similar to a recipe a country such as Romania is using to keep skilled Romanians in their country.

I hate to use the old "think out of the box" phrase, but we really do need some visionary ideas from Sandusky's city leaders to help first attract and then retain new business opportunities in Sandusky. If new growth can be created and nurtured, additional growth will follow, and the offshoot revenue to existing businesses will also increase . . . as the residential population increased with folks how had moderate-to-higher incomes, their disposable income could be spent on local goods and services, thereby increasing both local tax income and local job demand. And with that growth would come additional growth. But again, it's going to take development of a visionary plan that looks beyond the traditional industries in Sandusky.


Good luck with that Buckeye. With Sandusky's population decline it's time we get rid of some of the chiefs sitting on council. Change the charter to have 5 commissioners instead of 7 and perhaps change to wards with 3 wards and 2 at large commissioners.

Didn't Commissioner Smith suggest this when he ran for office. Must have amnesia or no he is focusing all his efforts on wasting tax dollars moving city offices downtown.


If you have that much capital to afford, I suggest that you send a photographer and a Realtor to check it out, OSUBuckeye59. Or go look for yourself.

It certainly isn't the greatest part of Sandusky. Day or night.


@luvblues2, agreed it certainly isn't the greatest part of Sandusky...doesn't have any retails establishments around it, has a terrible view (RR tracks), etc. As I wrote, only the building had the "potential", but everything else says "don't go near it!". The folks who started AC there did so most likely because of cheap transportation for goods in/out. The site doesn't have good potential usage for retail of any sort that I can see.

The Bizness

Your comments about high tech software are great. You forgot to mention how it would bring in younger workers as well.


@OSU...a few years back, when one of the past councilmen came to our front door, my husband made this very suggestion to him. It went in one of his ears and out the other. Instead all he did was care about "other projects" . He did nothing about work forces. The present council members have done little to nothing to do anything about business either, which this town desperately needs.

The ready types of buildings you are talking about do exist in some ways, but the old American Crayon bldg isn't one of them. It simply has sat idle for too many years and it has no value or hopes of being renovated. A friend of ours was inside to give them a demolition quote and it NEEDS to come down. It is beyond all hope. The software buisness buildings that you would need would be much more suited for other sections of Sandusky.

I think I understand the "Romanian" idea of the real estate/business ideas of which you are discussing. I have seen this in real estate and corporate studies and with the law classes at Terra and with the Judge. That truly are an interesting concept if you can "sell" them to the area in which you are trying to do business. There are a couple of suggestions I can come up with that might be unique and interesting as a project concept as a test case for trial with this entire plan. It's not as off the wall as you might think. What's lost at one level is made up at the other: more like a tax at the rear in two sections bringing the levels up, in some cases to a higher level, than if the corporation tax where paid up front.


OSUBuckeye59 appears you and I are on the same wavelength.

I was born and raised in Sandusky, but haven't lived in the area for many years. But I remember the AC bldg. In looking at its location, I have no doubt it was built at that location to take advantage of cheap transportation; i.e. the railroad. But it appears that decision ended up condemning the bldg to be single-use only.

When I spoke about the potential of using the building, I was writing in terms of using an old brick building for a brewpub, not for software development. The AC building, that being an old brick building, is the type of building many developers have used to renovate and turn into successful, flourishing brewpubs. Software development, on the other hand, doesn't necessarily require commercial property. Many developers enjoy the freedom to work out of a home office. It certainly can be advantageous to have a cadre of developers working out of a central location, but it's not always necessary.

I've witnessed first-hand how cities/communities throughout the U.S. have provided tax incentives to companies to attract and keep new business. There are pros and cons, of course, but the success stories are those where the local government leaders realize the incentives need to be seen as part of a long-term relationship. Once a business relocates or sets up new business in an area, the tax incentives provided cannot be viewed as a one-time event, meaning it needs to be made clear that future incentives will be considered in relation to a promise of new jobs added as a result of additional/continued incentives. And the addition of new business ventures breeds more new business ventures in an area as other companies see the potential opportunity. Very similar to how restaurants will open in high-traffic areas where there are already thriving, growing restaurants. Success breeds more success. And even though the businesses relocating to these areas may get corporate tax breaks, the local economy and tax revenues grow as a result of an infusion of disposable income spending by the new residents. But wait . . . there's more: with an increase in specialized/skilled labor, as companies invest more and hire additional resources, often-times the legacy resources choose to start their own businesses, thus attracting yet more people, capital and "angel" funding. City leaders need to be reminded of the #1 rule of Economics: incentives matter.

I'd like to see City leaders plan for and execute a strategic planning and development process, with the end result being a visionary plan they both share with the public and then execute. Sandusky is ripe for change, and could have a very bright future, but it's going to take City leaders considering a novel approach they may not have considered before. Change isn't always easy, but the end-result rewards can truly be game-changing. Question is: are City leaders ready to try something new and different?


@OSU...This is where you get more than just the Council involved, you get city planner or MainSteet people involved as well. Project plans get developed and presented so that they can be presented to bankers and lawyers AND the council to get all on board at the same time. It's easier to present at a meeting if you have them in the room together, not so much as a "sit down" finalization, but as a "presentation' or proposal of what you are thinking of doing and give them facts first.

Then give them some things to consider, let them "chew" on it for a bit and then go back to them with your needs individually and together again a bit later....maybe a week. That way no one is shocked out of their minds.

This sometimes gives them a little while to ease into the breach of a new idea and get used to it if you have given them time to absorb from the first presentation. Big, new ideas sometimes take that first step to "teach" the idea, then reinforce it But it is do-able.

There are a great many plans that could be done for Sandusky that way from new businesses to new homes, from Downtown to businesses by first street to just outside town via Venice Rd. lots of space.

You would be surprised if the city commission would listen to the new stuff what could be accomplished by several smart people who want to make a difference and how it is presented.


Train viewing station.

wiredmama222 about a park for that side of town? I don't think there is one near that side of town, is there? And there is a daycare center near by so it would be nice for them. Also, trains do stop at the Depot for Amtrak. Nice idea...viewing station.

2cents's picture

Be careful what you say, Erie Metro Parks will want to grab the property : )


There's a small park across from the highschool


Wiredmama222:: I thought you hated parks and see them as a waste of money?


I never said I hated your misquotes. I said too many parks used only by the water that don't pay back are a waste of money. Can you keep that one straight now???? LOL.

There is a small park across from the school, so I guess we don't need another park by the tracks, now do we. I thought it might be nice to have one there, but someone said there is already one down there. So maybe the land would be better used for housing? Increase more tax base instead.

You should have left sleeping dogs lie, now shouldn't you have? Shame on you for that one. LOL



Here is some homework for you. Go to the auditors web-page and take a look at 401 Shoreline Drive. Do a search of the properties and see most of the folks listed as owners live outside Sandusky meaning they are not paying income tax. Ditto for any such development in the waterfront parks you suggest we get rid of.


Tearing down all the old factories and places of employment makes it easier to forget that Sandusky and Erie County were once a very nice place to raise a family with many choices of employment. These businesses provided a solid tax base for local government and the schools. Everytime a factory closes the door it's more taxes that have to be absorbed by individual taxpayers. It gives me a sick feeling to see these many place of employment fall to the ground, Like the "Twin Towers" but obviously, on a much smaller scale.


@EZOB, Sandusky & Erie County can still be, or once again be a very nice place to raise a family, but it's going to require local government leaders think and act differently. Sandusky/Erie County has much to offer. Local leaders need to develop a long-term vision and strategy, and then execute to it.


I worked there very briefly about 15 years ago. In the old basement, with the old wooden floors and trains going by, we were damn lucky there wasn't a cave in.


Where was ECEDC and the City of Sandusky years ago to market this building for cubical businesses. With relatively short distance to Route 2 and rail access this would have been a great spot for micro-industry

Lack of decades long leadership


@paradise, even if the building was in decent shape two years ago, the relatively short distance to either Route 2 or the Ohio Turnpike might be an advantage, but rail access wouldn't necessarily be that much of an advantage in terms of attracting cubical businesses. Additionally, cubical businesses do need a skilled workforce, and I don't know that Sandusky has that right now.

2cents's picture

There is a whole strip of these in Huron that Hoty built and tried to make fly, I have visited many but only in larger cities. Office out front, small factory or warehouse in rear.


......if your going to run for commissioner mama, KNOW your city! Schafer (sp) is 2 blocks away !