History & Tourism

Landmarks Of Mansfield: St. Matthew Lutheran Church

5 Mar , 2018  

This might be the first time we have posted about a Landmark of Mansfield that is currently for sale.

Such is the case with the beautiful St. Matthew Lutheran Church, which has set at the corner of Penn Avenue and Sherman Place since it opened its doors in 1917.

The congregation of St. Matthew was formed in 1903 with 50 original members. Originally occupying space near the corner of East Fourth Street and North Diamond, the church decided to build a new structure to house its expanding congregation. The choice was made to build one of the first churches in Mansfield constructed outside of the central business district.

While it is said in some places that the church was modeled after a church somewhere in Europe, it is known that the architect was the prolific Frank B. Hursh of Mansfield. Hursh had many other local commissions in his career, including the Eagles Building which still stands on North Main; the Mayflower Memorial Church; and several residential houses including the Fraser House, also included in the Landmarks of Mansfield series.

The style was claimed at the time to be “Romanesque and Greek,” and the building featured a large stained glass over a cross-shaped auditorium that sat 450. Two parlors were included near the front, which has a colonnade on the south. The exterior was said to be of “tapestry brick,” the columns and other trimmings of “Bedford sand stone.”

The construction cost was $30,000. Another $15,000 spent on a parsonage. One of the most prominent members at the time was William F. Voegele, who died just before the building was complete. Services were held in the basement as of May 1917, and the entire building was dedicated on April 7, 1918.

In the 1950s, St. Matthew Lutheran Church had over 1,000 baptized members, but by the start of the present century that number dwindled to less than 15, leading to a difficult decision to close and sell the building in 2015.

Three years later, it is available for purchase again, with a listing price of $350,000.

Sources: 1812Blockhouse, Mansfield News Journal, Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

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