The exuberant Queen Anne style house at 350 Park Avenue West in Mansfield holds a bit of a surprising anecdote. More about that and the end of this post.
It was built by Winfield S. Ward, a man who made a good living as a manufacturer of “elastic web,” that being the elastic material comprised of woven textile or rubber fibers and primarily used for garters and suspenders.
Winfield Ward was born in Pennsylvania, educated in Trenton, New Jersey, and came to Mansfield about 1889. At the time, he was a real estate agent, and the The Weekly News of April 28, 1892 profield him as one of “Mansfield’s wide aware real estate agents.”
Real estate lasted only a short while, however. Ward was soon named Secretary-Treasury of the Mansfield Elastic Web Company. Suspenders were big business in Mansfield at the turn of the last century. In 1906, not long after the company was established, the Ohio Elastic Web Company, in which Ward was the largest stockholder, built a big new factory on Park Avenue East.
By the early 1910s, however, fortunes had changed and the company, and Ward, ended up in bankruptcy court.
At the time of the house’s construction in 1893, Winfield Ward was a newly-married man. His first wife, Ella Selover, had passed away two years earilier, in the 1892 he married Sarah Susan Day.
The Winifred Ward House is a prime example its style. Distinctive features of American Queen Anne style (rooted in the English style) may include “…an asymmetrical façade; dominant front-facing gable, often cantilevered out beyond the plane of the wall below; overhanging eaves; round, square, or polygonal tower(s); shaped and Dutch gables; a porch covering part or all of the front facade, including the primary entrance area; a second-story porch or balconies; pedimented porches; differing wall textures, such as patterned wood shingles shaped into varying designs, including resembling fish scales, terra cotta tiles, relief panels, or wooden shingles over brickwork, etc.; dentils; classical columns; spindle work; oriel and bay windows; horizontal bands of leaded windows; monumental chimneys; painted balustrades; and wooden or slate roofs.”
You can see many of these elements on the Ward House.
The interior is also richly decorated. This 2016 Richland Source story, which profiles the efforts of owners Bill and Laura Anliker to restore the house, contains several images which you can view.
The Winfield Ward House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on July 8, 1983.
And what is the surprising anecdote?
There is strong circumstantial evidence that Winfield Ward was a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers). He is buried in a Pennsylvania Quaker Cemetery. It seems surprising that a member of the denomination drawn to simplicity would choose such a flamboyant style for his primary residence!
Source: Wikipedia; Photo: Public Domain