It’s a property that was nearly lost to history several years ago, and one which still seeks a more certain future.
The brick house at 331 Prescott Street, which sits on a rise of land not far from Oak Hill Cottage, has ties to Mansfield’s industrial past. It was built in the early years of the Civil War by Henry D. Keith, and then purchased by local civic leader Joseph Allonas a few years later.
331 Prescott was constructed in the Italianate style, in what could also be termed the “Italianate Villa” style, a part of the romantic movement in mid-19th century architecture that echoed medieval Italian farmhouses. The style was particularly popular in the early industrial Midwest, and most north central Ohio cities retain houses and commercial buildings with its trademark wide eaves with decorative brackets and trim. This house was originally crowned with a central, windowed cupola.
Judge Henry D. Keith was a Richland County Probate Judge who was born in 1839 about two miles north of Mansfield, and who lived until 1907. Joseph Allonas was a Superintendent of the Aultman and Taylor Company, a local concern which made steam engines, threshing machines, and other agricultural-related machinery. He resided in the house for only a few years; at his death in 1879, some 200 Mansfielders traveled to Canton for his funeral. His obituary shared, “He was a mechanic of a high order and a man who secured the respect of all who knew him.”
The house was the focus of discussion in the early days of neighborhood stabilization funded demolitions in Mansfield, when it was slated for removal. Through the efforts of many, it was saved from the wrecking ball.
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