History & Tourism

Landmarks Of Mansfield: Downtown Mansfield Historic District

24 Jul , 2021  

By 1812Blockhouse

It would come as no surprise that a good number of previous Landmarks of Mansfield posts are located in downtown Mansfield, an area that has been a social, economic, and civic hub for well over 200 years.

While the central part of the city has seen tremendous change, and while important pieces of local and state history have been lost over the years, a good deal of historic fabric remains. As such, it can rightfully considered a landmark in its own right.

This was the conclusion of the National Park Service, which designed a section of downtown as a National Register Historic District back in 2019.

Like its counterpart for individual buildings, the National Register of Historic Places, National Register listing does not provide general protections as it does in other countries, other than for federally funded projects. Protection comes from local legislation — in the case of Mansfield, through the City’s important historic preservation ordinance.

Listing does serve the gateway to important financial incentives for building rehabilitation efforts. It also gives the area a leg up in applying for certain types of state and local grants for overall revitalization activity.

In its recommendation for approval, the Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board shared the following description of the area:

“The proposed historic district reflects Mansfield’s growth and development from the 1860s to 1968. Central Park, or the square, a focal point of the district, is a feature of the original plan of Mansfield, which was settled in 1808. Mansfield evolved from a rural county seat to an early railroad junction starting in the 1840s, then into a regional center of commerce and manufacturing from the late 19th century through the 1960s. Buildings in the proposed district date from the 1860s, when the former H.L. Reed Co. on the square was completed, to 1968, when the fifth Richland County Courthouse, also on the square, was finished in a style known as New Formalism, favored at the time for major public buildings like Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center. The historic district includes nearly 100 downtown buildings illustrating a variety of Victorian and later architectural styles, many by noted Mansfield architects such as Vernon Redding, Althouse & Jones and Thomas G. Zaugg.”

The Downtown Mansfield Historic District is roughly bounded by Fifth Street to the north, Diamond Street to the east, Second Street to the south, and Mulberry Street to the west. It contains approximately 100 buildings.

Much of the downtowns of both Shelby and Plymouth also constitute National Register Historic Districts.

Photo: 1812Blockhouse

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