It was undoubtedly an interesting time for Directors of the new Richland Trust Company when, on November 2, 1929, they opened their monumental eight-story headquarters at the corner of North Main and Park Avenue West. Just the week before, the infamous Black Tuesday had seen the New York Stock Exchange lose 12% of its value in one day.
In Mansfield, however, the same period saw the completion of a nine-month project to give a newly merged bank a glistening new building.
The Richland Trust Company was created the same year with the merger of the Richland Savings Bank, established in 1898, and the Bank of Mansfield. The pre-crash merger optimism resulted in the construction of an eight story structure; with 34,000 square feet of space, it was the largest office building constructed to that date in Richland County. At its opening, it also housed a new Crafton-Fogle Shoe Store (with “x ray fitting”) and the Isaly Store.
The opening reception was on a Saturday. The evening before, a special edition of the “Richland Trust Hour” brought together two Mansfield boys who were making names for themselves in the broadcasting industry. At the microphone was Harold Arlin, who we have profiled before (see our story here); the guest performer was tenor Richard Maxwell of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) in New York City.
The reception itself lasted from 2:00 PM to 9:00 PM, and featured live music from Maurice Spitainy and his Orchestra, billed as “one of the most famous” in the state. Roses were given to women who attended. Visitors were amazed at the giant vault door guarding some 1,100 safety deposit boxes.
The Richland Trust Building was designed by the architectural firm of Althouse & Jones, who were also responsible for the former Mansfield Senior High School, the Farmers Bank (Chase Bank) Building; the Park Avenue Baptist Church, and the Ohio Brass Office Building. Contractor for the project was Simon Small & Sons.
Like its nearby neighbor, the Farmers Bank Building, the Richland Bank Building was a part of the 1920s and 1930s downtown Mansfield building boom that also brought the WalPark Building and the Leland Hotel. It is constructed in the Neo-Classical style typical of large bank buildings of its era; it has more elaborate ornamentation than its neighbor, however. Beautiful terra cotta decoration tops the upper floor windows. The ground floor features a two story arched arcade with medallions. The building shows Althouse & Jones at the top of their game.
The Richland Trust Building remains the home of Richland Trust’s successor, Richland Bank.
Sources: Wikipedia, Mansfield News, National Register of Historic Places; Photos: 1812Blockhouse