Shakespeare penned, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” conveying the idea that things which are intrinsically beautiful and meaningful could be called anything and still retain their character.
Such might be the case this week at the northwest corner of Third and Mulberry Streets in downtown Mansfield. What was long assumed to be the history of the current home of the Richland Area Chamber of Commerce has a significant twist, based on brand-new research published on Thursday by the Richland County Historical Society and Oak Hill Cottage. With that information, the Dr. James W. Craig House might properly have a new surname added to its moniker.
Our post on the house in our Landmarks of Mansfield series, which can be read here, shares the history which has been accepted for decades. Much of it remains true; Dr. James W. Craig did purchase the property in 1885 as indicated. What he did not do was build the house, as the article by Cleveland historian Craig Bobby shows.
That article, which can be read here, reveals three surprises about the house’s construction. First, it was built for Mansfielder Orin H. Booth, Superintendent of the telegraph lines of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and not Dr. James W. Craig. Second, it was built in 1880, not 1890. Lastly, the suspected architect was verified to be Levi T. Scofield, the Cleveland architect that designed The Ohio State Reformatory, the Cuyahoga Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Cleveland’s Public Square, the “These Are My Jewels” statue on the grounds of the Ohio Statehouse, and other significant commissions. Another Scofield design is now to be added to his canon of work.
Documentary evidence to support these conclusions comes from newspaper clippings and also the 1882 City of Mansfield Atlas, which includes property owner names as well as building configurations and materials (brick, frame, etc.). That 1882 map shows that in that year, Dr. Craig lived on the northeast corner of Market Street (now Park Avenue West) and Mulberry Streets.
Having died in the house in December of 1883, Orin H. Booth is buried in Mansfield Cemetery.
Back to the name. Naming conventions for houses typically include the original family and those of significant residents; in keeping with that tradition and consistent with what was shared by the Historical Society, we will refer to it for the time being as the Booth-Craig House.
1812Blockhouse will be creating a revised Landmarks of Mansfield post for the house and posting it soon.
Sources: Richland Shield and Banner; Photo: Public Domain