NOTE: Park Avenue West was recently named to the 2023 List of Ohio’s Most Endangered Historic Sites. Our story about that listing is here.
On a fall evening in 2016, the setting sun cast a golden glow on western facing buildings in Mansfield. Included among those was the Alexander Fraser House, sitting as it does on a rise on Park Avenue West overlooking the entrance to South Park (see photo above).
Fraser was the owner of a granite manufacturer and wholesaler which bore his name. Before building the Park Avenue West house, the family resided at 202 South Diamond Street. He was born about 1860 in Kincardinshire, Scotland, and learned the granite and marble business in Aberdeen. Fraser then emigrated to the United States about 1889 with his wife, Maria.
Business boomed in Mansfield from the firm’s long-time location at the corner of South Diamond and Flint Streets. Both of the Fraser’s sons were educated at the prestigious Phillips Andover Academy. Dr. Herbert Fraser then studied in Scotland, and later became an internationally known speaker and writer on trade policies and head of the Economics Department at Swarthmore College.
Alexander Fraser died in 1918, and Maria in 1927. Both are buried in Mansfield Cemetery in a plot which includes, as one might expect, a beautiful granite grave marker.
The Fraser’s house was built about 1910, and was designed by Mansfield architect Frank B. Hursh. Hursh, a Richland County native, attended Ohio Northern University, and began his architectural practice in Mansfield in the late 1890s. Other Hursh designs include the Mayflower Memorial Congregational Church, St. Matthew Lutheran Church, and First United Brethren Church; and the residences of G.F. Krause, George Stodt, George Bricker, Joseph Hoffer, J.S. McFarland, and others in Mansfield.
The Alexander Fraser House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
Click here to visit all the properties included in our Landmarks of Mansfield series.
Sources: Wikipedia; A Centennial Biographical History of Richland and Ashland Counties, Ohio; Find-a-Grave; Stone: An Illustrated Magazine; Preservation Ohio; Mansfield Daily Shield