A building with a rich past and an unknown future, the Mansfield Savings Bank Building sits majestically on the northwest corner of North Main and West Fourth Streets, anchoring the Carousel District and serving as a backdrop for civic festivals and events.
For those who visit, the inside of the building matches the extraordinary presence of the exterior.
This “marvel of construction in every detail,” as it was described by the Mansfield News the day after it opened on New Year’s Day, 1915, was designed by Mansfield’s own architect Vernon Redding. Redding designed many of the city’s large commercial and civics structures and residences, including several we have previously profiled as Landmarks of Mansfield, including the Mechanics Bank Building, Mansfield’s Carnegie Library, the Farmers Bank Building, the Barrington Building, and the Rigby and Kern Houses.
The Mansfield Savings Bank was organized in 1873 by several prominent businessmen of the day, including General Roeliff Brinkerhoff. Its original bank building was located in the same spot, and after two remodelings and a decision to abandon plans to build a new seven story structure to house the bank, an adjacent lot was purchased on the current building started in September 1913.
Described as “Italian Renaissance architecture throughout,” the Mansfield Savings Bank is clad in Concord granite and features six engaged columns with Ionic capitals. The main banking lobby had a base story lined with ten feet of French tavernelle marble, crowned 35 feet overhead with a stunning art glass skylight.
The Director’s Room on the mezzanine floor had wainscotting eight feet high and panels of vermilion mahogany. A stone manteled fireplace graced the room, which together with an adjacent room could hold 75 to 100 people. The massive bank vault weighed over 25 tons.
A leading national trade journal described the entrance this way: “Entrance is gained from West Fourth Street. On each side of the main entrance are two massive solid bronze lamps that illuminate very well the exterior of the building. Two heavy bronze sliding doors are at the entrance to the vestibule. During banking hours, 9 to 3, these doors will remain open while at other times they will be closed and form the outer protection. Two pairs of swinging solid bronze doors enclose the vestibule, which is lined with marble throughout.”
Mansfield Savings Bank merged with another bank before becoming part of the venerable First National Bank.
The Mansfield Savings Bank Building was opened for the Forbidden City Tour in June 2012. Hosted by Downtown Mansfield, Inc. and Preservation Ohio. Hundreds toured the structure, including urban blogger and photographer Sherman Cahal; three of his photographs and some additional history details can be seen and read here.
The interior of the bank remains largely intact, albeit altered with the addition of a second floor over a false ceiling on the first floor. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
UPDATE — On Sunday, we became aware of a postcard found in a box of family photos related to this post. Click below for details.
Timing sometimes comes into play here at 1812Blockhouse. This weekend, the serendipity was startling and a wee bit mysterious. On Sunday, we ran our latest post in the Landmarks of Mansfield series, this one focusing on the beautiful Mansfield Savings Bank Building at the corner of Fourth and Main.
Sources: Mansfield News, The Bankers Magazine, Vol. 90