The Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building, Park Avenue West’s Grand Old Lady, is both a local and statewide survivor. Since it opened in 1889, it has served veterans and the community well. Today it houses an extraordinary museum , provides character and dignity to Mansfield’s principal thoroughfare, and is a remarkable connection to what is arguably the most important conflict in American history.
In the years following the Civil War, the Ohio General Assembly passed laws which facilitated the financing and construction of buildings and monuments to serve and commemorate veterans of that conflict and earlier wars. Some cities, such as Sidney and Toledo, began local efforts even earlier. In total, 14 such structures were erected across the state. More…
If this house had a nickname, it might well be “The House That Candy Built.”
One of the mansions of Mansfield that, while standing, have been altered substantially for commercial purposes, the Charles H. Voegele House at 514 Park Avenue West was home to a remarkably energetic figure in late 19th century and early 20th century Mansfield — and someone who performed a truly heroic act in his youth.
Charles Voegele was born in Germany in 1854, and came to Mansfield with his parents at the age of one. Attending school here, he went to New York City and became employed in the E. Greenfield & Sons Candy Company.
On December 20, 1877, the factory was rocked by an explosion and the entire complex burned to the ground, killing 13. Five of the female employees were personally saved by the actions of Charles Voegele, who was badly burned in the melee. More…
It’s not usually the case that a still-standing 135 year old house can be paired with a still-standing commercial building of similar vintage.
Such is the case for the house at 343 Park Avenue West and the North Main Street structure currently known as the “City Mills Building.”
Frank A. Gilbert was born in 1835 in Oswego, New York, and moved with his parents to New London, Ohio at the age of 15. A year later his father, a miller by trade, died, and as the oldest son Frank took over that business. More…
Mansfielders of today might not recognize the original name of this familiar building, which celebrated its 100th birthday in October of this year.
On Sunday, October 10, 1920, the Grace Gospel Tabernacle was dedicated at 95 East Third Street in downtown Mansfield. The congregation, which had been founded just four years previously, was enthusiastic about their new building — which was already a bit snug. More…
This updated post was first published in January 2018 in honor of the Ohio Theatre’s 90th birthday.
In honor of that anniversary, we shared a special joint post in our “Landmarks Of Mansfield” and “Everything You Always Wanted To Know About” series that centers on that iconic building in downtown Mansfield as it was when it opened in 1928. More…
The imposing brick house at 234 Park Avenue West once belonged to an imposing coal man.
His name was Charles William Upson. Upson, who was born in Tallmadge in 1855, came to Mansfield shortly after his 1879 graduation from Cornell University. A shrewd businessman, he joined with his brother and formed the Upson Brothers Coal Company. Coal remained his life for some 40 years. More…
The Walpark Building at 13 Park Avenue West occupies a unique location in the history of Mansfield.
In 1858, the City of Mansfield – which had become a city from a village just a year earlier – erected a City Hall and market building at the southeast corner of Market (now Park Avenue West) and Walnut Streets. The lot was purchased for $1,500 (an amount which the City actually had to borrow), and the structure cost some $10,000 to construct.
In 1922, the former City Hall was sold to the Walpark Building Company for the sum of $87,000. More…
Sometimes an element of good can come from a tragic event, particularly one that does not involve loss of life or limb.
Such was the case with the Mansfield of one hundred years ago, a place where the economy bustled with activity and investment.
In early 1919, a fire broke out at a downtown establishment housed in the Hartman and Spreng Building at 26 North Main Street. At the time, the building was home to the Mansfield Dry Goods Company. More…
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.” More…
One of the many outstanding houses built along Park Avenue West was constructed for a family associated with, of all things, cigars.
Cigar manufacturing and wholesaling was big business in turn of the last century Mansfield. Large companies such as the American Cigar Company occupied large business blocks downtown. Over 1,000 Mansfielders were employed in these concerns which produced over 200,000 cigars a day!
The arrival of mass produced cigarettes after World War brought a downturn, however, and by the 1930s few such businesses were in operation. One of the giants during of the heyday of cigar manufacture was the Rigby Cigar Company, headed by James Arthur Rigby (known primarily as J.A. Rigby). Rigby brands included the well-known “Dolly Dollar” five cent cigar. More…
The Colonial has graced the southeast corner of Park Avenue West and Benton Street since 1905 with its imposing three story front portico.
The building was erected by local businessman Edward William Dann. Dann, who lived from 1869 to 1950, was initially engaged in the fruit business, and moved to Mansfield from Columbus in the latter years of the nineteenth century. He would eventually become a board member and then president of the Richland Mutual Insurance Company. More…
It sits now as it originally did, anchoring Central Park and providing a pleasant oasis of sight and sound.
The Vasbinder Fountain is a Mansfield landmark of the first order. Dedicated on July 4, 1881, it was removed in the late 1950s during the creation of the then-controversial Park Avenue cut-through, and after storage and a temporary placement at Malabar Farm, it was returned to Central Park in 1979. The move took place after community outcry following announced plans to move the fountain to a neighborhood revitalization program in Springfield, Ohio.
As a commemorative plate shares, the fountain was donated by David and Jane Vasbinder. More…
It is altogether fitting that the house at 544 Park Avenue West is painted in several hues. After all, in its day the house was home to a man whose business regularly dealt with colorful things.
Robert Sandiford was known in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a a master florist and horticulturalist. A native of London, England, Sandiford lived in both Canada and Cleveland before reaching Mansfield about 1870. More…
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. More…
First English Lutheran Church is a stunning survivor.
Stunning, as the structure at 53 Park Avenue West was built at a time when Victorian opulence was at its peak, and no expense was spared in its construction.
A survivor, in that it remains one of the only remaining large downtown churches that still houses its original congregation. More…