By 1812Blockhouse

If this house had a nickname, it might well be “The House That Candy Built.”

One of the mansions of Mansfield that, while standing, have been altered substantially for commercial purposes, the Charles H. Voegele House at 514 Park Avenue West was home to a remarkably energetic figure in late 19th century and early 20th century Mansfield — and someone who performed a truly heroic act in his youth.

Charles Voegele was born in Germany in 1854, and came to Mansfield with his parents at the age of one. Attending school here, he went to New York City and became employed in the E. Greenfield & Sons Candy Company.

On December 20, 1877, the factory was rocked by an explosion and the entire complex burned to the ground, killing 13. Five of the female employees were personally saved by the actions of Charles Voegele, who was badly burned in the melee.

Charles H. Voegele House

The fire was described in this manner by a New York City newspaper:

“About ten minutes after five o’clock yesterday afternoon people in the vicinity of Barclay street and College place, New York, were startled by a loud explosion, and simultaneously the wall of No. 63 Barclay street fell into that thoroughfare. In quick succession came flames from amid the ruins. The explosion was that of a defective boiler in the cellar of the candy factory of E.Greenfield & Sons, at 63 Barclay street and No. 1 College place, the premises forming an L. The walls of this building and two adjoining structures were shattered. Three fire alarms were sounded, and although the responses were speedy, Nos. 61, 65, and 67 Barclay street were already burning when the engines arrived.”

In 1879, Voegele moved back to Mansfield, and soon joined in opening the Stevens, Voegele & Dinning Confectionery Company. By 1897, the company was prosperous enough to build a new facility, and so Charles, together with his brothers William and Albert, built what is now known as the Voegele Building on North Main Street. That structure was renovated 20 years ago into apartments, and in January 2021 was outfitted with new striped awnings on the ground floor.

Voegele was active in other Mansfield businesses as well, serving as a founder and/or officer of The Ideal Electric & Manufacturing Company, Barnes Manufacturing, and Mansfield Savings Bank. He was also active in civic affairs, and at one point was Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of Ohio Knights Templar. He also had a passionate love of sports, and was an avid supporter of the various Mansfield baseball clubs.

He died in 1926 and is buried with his wife in Mansfield Cemetery.

As the below Google Maps view shows, the Voegele House has changed greatly in its time. Likely dating from the late 1880s or 1890s, the house is an example of the Queen Anne Style of architecture with its irregular massing. It still features its corner tower. Some suggestions of its original curved, wrap around porch also survive, as does the projecting central roof dormer.

It is quite likely that more exterior features survive under the siding and other additions.

Sources: FindaGrave, History of North Central Ohio, New York Tribune

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