When it was finished in 1929, the Park Avenue Baptist Church building was referred to as “one of the most beautiful churches in Ohio.”
Still standing at 296 Park Avenue West and now home to a Christian congregation known as MOSAIC, the structure has long been unique to the community. When it was built, it housed the only local Baptist church and it also reflected an architectural style which was not seen in other Mansfield religious buildings before or since.
The congregation of Market Street Baptist Church built their large, brick, two-towered church at the northwest corner of then-Market and Walnut Streets in 1863, in the middle of the Civil War. It served them well until 1928, when the congregation accepted a purchase offer by Farmers Bank and decided to build some distance to the west. That corner became the location for the Farmers Bank Building, previously profiled in our Landmark of Mansfield series.
Those funds joined with others on hand to give what was then Park Avenue Baptist Church the opportunity to go “all out” on their new building. At a cost of $205,000, the structure was designed along English church models and built of variegated Bedford limestone with Gothic detailing. The firm of Althouse and Jones was at the top of their game in designing Park Avenue Baptist, as the detailing closely adheres to traditional style guidelines. It was built by Simon Small and Sons, the Mansfield firm responsible for many of the city’s larger stone construction projects.
The interior was finished in the Jacobean style, with stained glass windows, vaulted arches, and ceiling murals. It also boasted a brand-new $12,000 Skinner organ at its dedication; the service that day included a sermon by the minister of the Tremont Baptist Church in Boston. The educational wing housed 47 rooms with a capacity of 600 church school attendees.
Park Avenue Baptist Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
Sources: National Park Service. Photo: Public Domain