Downtown, History & Tourism

Secret City Surprises

7 May , 2017  

On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of visitors to downtown Mansfield could be seen walking up and down Fourth Street, North Main, and Park Avenue West; clutching red, white, and blue tickets; and looking for clusters of balloons.

As in years past, the Secret City Tour provided opportunities for these visitors to experience history in a very tangible way. Eight tour stops were featured.

Once inside, visitors explored long hallways and remarked on both the past and the future. “We’re not crossing downtown off our list,” one lady was overheard remarking to a friend, noting that visiting the spaces had rekindled a desire to consider living in central Mansfield. In another building, youngsters turned into sleuths looking for clues on how spaces functioned.

S. Lindsey painting, downtown Mansfield

One of the most intriguing tour stops this year was the Gothic Revival-styled brick Schuler House at 159 North Walnut Street, known from the book “The Corner of Fifth and Walnut” by Mary Eileen Levison. Built in 1860, the house is in remarkably good condition for standing 60 years without a resident.

On Secret City Tours, turning any corner provides the opportunity for surprise. In some areas, unique woodwork and fireplaces tempt the eye; in others, large windows provide views across the downtown skyline which are rarely seen.

One second floor door featured folk art which may well be the work of noted 19th and early 20th century artist Seymour (or Seymore) Lindsey. Lindsey, who was from the Lexington area, was often hired to do so-called “faux painting” (graining) to give wood a more expensive appearance, and was known to introduce animals and plants into his artwork.

We visited several of the tour locations, and have photos to share. Click on any for a larger image.

The Secret City Tour was presented by Downtown Mansfield, Inc. and was part of RichHistory Weekend.


On Monday, 1812Blockhouse will share photos from a Sunday afternoon visit to the Raemelton Therapeutic Equestrian Center, a historic horse farm also open during RichHistory Weekend. Here is a photo from that visit:

Photos: 1812Blockhouse

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