Mansfield has lost much in the way of civic architecture, including its Victorian era courthouse and two former City Halls. The first building specifically built to serve the community as a post office continues to stand to this day, however, over 100 years after it opened to the public.
The city’s first center for mail delivery was said to have been a hollow log located near the intersection of Third and North Main.The first post office was recognized on July 1, 1811, and after other locations it was housed for some thirty years in the old Masonic Temple building, which occupied what is now a parking lot next to Martini’s on Main (hence the name, “Temple Court”).
Shortly after 1910, the United States Government approved construction of a new, stand alone post office and federal building on the southeast corner of West Fourth and North Mulberry Streets for the growing city of Mansfield. Some $70,000 was appropriated, which included $20,000 for site acquisition. Speaking at the cornerstone ceremony in November, 1912 was former Congressman Jay Laning, who had been instrumental in securing the building for the city; Laning remarked that his first visit to Mansfield had been as a young boy to attend the Ohio State Fair (which was held here in 1872 and 1873).
The 34,000 square feet Buckeye Gray sandstone building features large arched windows, decorative stone insets, and a wide eave with brackets and dentils. Stone came from the Ohio Quarries Company of Cleveland. Plans were created by the office of US Treasury Supervising Architect James Knox Taylor. Begun in 1912, it went into full operation in June of 1914 and was the center for a 40 employee operation.
After the new Mansfield Post Office and Federal Building opened in early 1973, built at a cost of some $8 million, the City of Mansfield expressed interest in acquiring the old post office. This offer was soon withdrawn, however; the City built the current Municipal Building complex, and the Old Post Office was transferred to Mansfield City Schools for use as a central Board of Education and staff office.
Today, the renovated Old Post Office houses the Weldon, Huston & Keyser law firm.
Sources, Photo: Mansfield News Journal, Stone: An Illustrated Magazine, January, 1914