History & Tourism

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About: Mansfield’s Glessner Avenue

16 May , 2021  

By 1812Blockhouse

Glessner Avenue was named in honor of a Mansfield newspaper man who was a towering local figure in local business and civic affairs.

His name was John Y. Glessner.

Glessner was originally from Somerset County, Pennsylvania, which is where he started in the media business when he and his brother purchased a local paper. Moving first to St. Clairsville in southeast Ohio and then to Columbus, Glessner came to Mansfield in 1841.

From that time until his death in 1882, he owned and published the Richland County Shield and Banner.

John Y. Glessner

His obituary in his own paper read in part: “While not wealthy in material things, he was well-to-do. He counted his wealth in intellectual accomplishments and by friendships gained by an upright life and a steadfast adherence to the principles of right and justice.”

A nice way to be remembered!

John Glessner was the uncle of Chicago’s John J. Glessner, whose residence, designed by noted architect Henry Hobson Richardson, is a National Historic Landmark. You can read about that Glessner House here.

Glessner Avenue started life in two ways. To the west, it was originally named Pine Street and ran between Wood and Crouse Streets, and then an additional block to a dead-end named Chestnut Street. When the road was extended to South Main Street adjacent to Glessner property, city leaders named it after the family.

The extension occurred sometime around 1890, according to local historical maps and atlases.

The Glessner House was a beautiful brick Italianate residence which sat on the southwest corner of South Main and Glessner Avenue. Completely restored as recently as 1954, it is one of an unfortunately large number of local landmark properties which have been lost.

Glessner Avenue is perhaps best known as the address for what is now OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital (pictured as first buitl), still known locally as “Mansfield General Hospital.” The hospital opened on May 10. 1918 after more than 6,000 people donated $150,000 — in the midst of World War I — for its construction.

These days, the street is a part of the proposed West End Development Plan recently presented to Mansfield City Council.

Sources: Richland County Shield and Banner, Ancestry.com, Find-a-Grave

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