History & Tourism

Updated — Rescue Efforts Underway For Ohio State Reformatory Architect’s Mansion

2 Jul , 2018  

UPDATED JULY 2, 2018 (first published October 28, 2016) While many of Mansfield’s 19th and early 20th century’s large residences and commercial buildings were designed by local architects, including Vernon Redding, Frank Hursh, and others, the Ohio State Reformatory came from a different architectural vision.


When construction on the prison began in 1886, the plans were drafted by Cleveland architect Levi Tucker Scofield. Born as Levi Schofield before changing his surname spelling, he served in the Civil War before training as an architect. His practice concentrated on massive institutional structures for government functions, such as hospitals, prisons, mental health (“lunatic” or “insane”) asylums, and some civic sculpture and monuments.

Levi Scofield

Levi Scofield

Of the latter, his best known are likely the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Cleveland’s Public Square and the “These Are My Jewels” monument on the grounds of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.

Scofield designed penitentiary buildings in both Ohio and North Carolina, each of stone construction with castellated (castle-like) exterior ornamentation, towers and turrets, etc.. He was the first Clevelander to be a part of the American Institute of Architects, and was a golfing companion of the famous John D. Rockefeller.

Seveal of Scofield’s buildings remain standing, including OSR. As this Cleveland.com article points out which was published on Thursday, his own house faces a precarious future.

As it states, “now local nonprofit groups are mounting a last ditch — and admittedly risky — campaign to save the Scofield mansion.” The article shares details on the 6,000 square foot house, its strange recent past, and the Cleveland-based preservation efforts to rescue it. Also included is a photo essay of the property, with both original and current images.

It’s a Cuyahoga County story with a strong Mansfield connection.

UPDATE:

A recent post on the Preservation Leadership Forum, part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, details progress on the Scofield Mansion. The nonprofit group efforts referred to above have been joined by volunteer labor and materials from leading preservation and restoration contractors. Now stabilized and secured, the Mansion is being marketed to new preservation-minded buyers. This post can be accessed at this location.

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