The brick house at 188 South Diamond Street, which occupies the northwest corner of Diamond and Flint Streets, is an important survivor in a neighborhood which has lost much of its historic fabric.
It is also a structure closely tied to an important figure in Mansfield’s architectural history.
This 2,204 square foot house was a childhood home of architect Herbert S. Jones, a man who left his mark on the city through the design of several public buildings.
Jones was born in Lucas in 1889 to David and Martha Jones, and was their only child to live past infancy. The family moved to 188 South Diamond Street when Herbert was young, and after David died in 1895, Martha worked as a dressmaker and she and her son invited roomers to live in their home to help pay expenses.
After graduating from Mansfield High School, Jones studied architecture with his uncle and with noted local expert Vernon Redding. Then, in 1915, he joined in the firm of Althouse and Jones.
Herbert Jones was responsible for many important local public buildings, including: the Richland Trust Building (story here), Park Avenue Baptist Church (story here), Mansfield Senior High School, Arlin Field, Richland Hospital, Westbrook Country Club, and others.
This house would qualify as a landmark even without the Jones connection. It falls into a category of architecture which has been referred to as “I Houses,” named after the prevalence of this style of house in Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa. Such houses featured symmetrical massing, a central hallway, and a chimney at one or both ends.
That shared, this is a larger and more substantial example than many of its type and it also retails many of its original features. There are corner returns on the gable ends, front porch, and central top pediment. Semi-circular gable and front pediment windows are also featured.
It is very likely that 188 South Diamond Street dates from the 1850s and, as such, is an important and rare remnant of early Mansfield.
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