History & Tourism

When Mansfield Welcomed: Ralph Waldo Emerson

18 Nov , 2021  

By 1812Blockhouse

It is said that the winter of 1867-1868 was a uniformly cold one, though a late season snowstorm wreaked havoc on the eastern part of the country.

It was during that winter that a man arrived in Mansfield and checked in at the Wiler House hotel. The establishment was frequented by travelers arriving via coach in the city. It had been established about 1820 at the corner of North Main Street and Dickson Avenue, not far from the current Richland Carrousel Park.

When registering, the man put down the name “Ralph Waldo Emerson” in the guest registry. From that time on, it has been claimed that that man was THE famous lecturer, essayist, and poet, perhaps best known for development of the philosophy of transcendentalism. More about his rich life and career can be found here.

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History & Tourism

When Mansfield Welcomed: Old Tippecanoe

11 Nov , 2021  

Editor’s Note: In honor of Veterans Day, we repost this story about a remarkable national military leader who once visited Mansfield.

By 1812Blockhouse

William Henry Harrison is perhaps best known as an answer to a trivia question as to which President of the United States has had the shortest term. This is unfortunate, as Harrison had a busy and successful career in military service long before his short tenure in office.

It is also the answer to the question “Which US President first visited Mansfield at some point in his life?” On at least two instances, he made a visit here — the second about 28 years after the first. 

Born in Virginia, Harrison is often claimed by Ohio to reinforce its “Mother of Presidents” claim. He did settle in Ohio and was elected from here. More…

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All About Richland

When Mansfield Welcomed: Jayne Mansfield

1 Oct , 2021  

By 1812Blockhouse

It has been 54 years since the tragic death of an American actress, a lady with a very familiar last name and who paid at least one visit to Mansfield and Richland County.

It was on the night of June 28/29, 1967 that Jayne Mansfield and her attorney were killed on a car trip from Biloxi, Mississippi to New Orleans, Louisiana. At 2:25 AM, the car slammed into the back of a tractor trailer which had slowed behind and was obscured by a truck spraying mosquito fogger. Mansfield’s three children escaped with minor injuries.

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History & Tourism

When Mansfield Welcomed: The Good Witch Of The North

5 Sep , 2021  

By 1812Blockhouse

Certain Hollywood actors and actresses who have had long and successful careers are largely remembered for a single role.

Such might be the case for actress Billie Burke, whose career spanned over four decades. It began with a stage appearance in London where she had toured with her father, a clown for Barnum & Bailey Circus, and included Broadway shows, movies, and plays. Her final film was released in 1960.

In 1910 she made a trip to Ohio. More specifically, she came to Mansfield to appear at the Memorial Opera House, which was attached to the Soldiers and Sailors Building on Park Avenue West. One of her first Broadway plays, Mrs. Dot, had run at the Lyceum Theatre on 45th Street in New York City from January to March, after which the company appeared for a short time in Washington. D.C. at the New National Theatre.

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History & Tourism

When Mansfield Welcomed: The Investigative Journalist

30 Aug , 2021  

By 1812Blockhouse

Although she disliked the moniker, there is little question that Ida Tarbell was a muckraker – or, in modern terminology, an investigative journalist. In 1926, the famous muckraker paid a visit to Mansfield.

In fact, Tarbell basically created the field in becoming the foremost woman journalist of her time. She set the standard by taking on the largest monopoly the country had ever known.

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History & Tourism

When Mansfield Welcomed: Paul Robeson

21 Aug , 2021  

By 1812Blockhouse

There are many Mansfielders who today would not recognize the name of Paul Robeson.

That is unfortunate. Robeson was an extraordinary talent who, as Wikipedia shares, “…became famous both for his cultural accomplishments and for his political activism.” A man large in stature, he had an oversized influence in American musicals and in the Civil Rights Movement.

He was also someone who made a visit to Mansfield to perform in concert. More…

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History & Tourism

When Mansfield Welcomed: The Ohio State Fair

12 Aug , 2021  

By 1812Blockhouse

The online, pandemic-shuttered Ohio State Fair recently concluded. Here’s a trivia question for you – when was the last time that the Fair was held outside of Columbus, and where was it held?

You might be able to guess the answer to that question from the title of this post.

Mansfield was home to the Ohio State Fair in 1872 and 1873, one of only 10 cities statewide to ever hold that honor. More…

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History & Tourism

When Mansfield Welcomed: The World’s Greatest Coloratura Soprano

8 Aug , 2021  

By 1812Blockhouse

Mansfield music fans were in for a treat back in 1921 when someone billed as the world’s greatest coloratura soprano came to town to perform.

According to Wikipedia, a coloratura is a type of operatic soprano voice that specializes in music that is distinguished by agile runs, leaps and trills.

Her name was Amelita Galli-Curci, and she was a huge recording star in her day, recording exclusively for Victor records. Her native city was Milan, Italy, where she studied at the local conservatory.

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History & Tourism

When Mansfield Welcomed: President Rutherford B. Hayes

3 Aug , 2021  

By 1812Blockhouse

It is almost certain that President Rutherford B. Hayes made several visits to Mansfield and Richland County during his life

The first of those may well have occurred on the evening of August 21, 1868, just three years after the Civil War. At the time, Hayes was serving in his first term as Governor of Ohio.

On that evening, Hayes spoke to a meeting of the “Grant Club,” a gathering of Republican party leaders also known as a “Union Republican Meeting.” Hayes’ speech that night took place in Miller’s Hall, the city’s first large speakers and performance venue. His appearance was something of a surprise; it had been announced just the day before. More…

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History & Tourism

When Mansfield Welcomed: Buffalo Bill

21 Jul , 2021  

NOTE: This post in our “When Mansfield Welcomed” series has been updated with recently-discovered information.

By 1812Blockhouse

It was a brilliant Saturday in July, 1896 when Buffalo Bill came to town. Not just Buffalo Bill, mind you – his famous “Wild West Show” was in tow and put on two performances in a lot on East Fourth Street. This was not his first visit to Mansfield, nor would it be his last.

Buffalo Bill, born William Frederick Cody in 1846, grew up on the frontier and loved every aspect of that way of life. As he grew older, some of the titles he earned, or at least ascribed to himself, including buffalo hunter, U.S. Army scout and guide, and showman, as well as Pony Express Rider, Indian fighter, and even author. Whatever Cody’s titles, he was destined for fame. More…

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History & Tourism

When Mansfield Welcomed: England’s Greatest Actor

11 Jul , 2021  

By: 1812Blockhouse

He was considered by many to be the greatest English actor of the nineteenth century. Yet underneath the veneer of accomplishment was someone who, it is said, never actually liked performing on the stage.

And on Thursday, March 30, 1916, he visited the city of Mansfield for the only time in his career. His performance that night was one in a series of highly significant moments in the worldwide history of theatre. More…

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History & Tourism

When Mansfield Welcomed: The Fisk Jubilee Singers

24 Jun , 2021  

NOTE: The story, first published in 2018, has been updated with newly-discovered information about this groundbreaking concert. See below.

By: 1812Blockhouse

Did you know that Mansfield is one of the places where American musical history was made?

In fact, it was made over 148 years ago, on November 29, 1871. More…

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History & Tourism

When Mansfield Welcomed: The Greatest Show On Earth

25 May , 2021  

By 1812Blockhouse

In 1872, entertainment history was made when the first large circus to travel by rail appeared in small and mid-sized communities across the Midwest. America’s Greatest Showman was behind the entire endeavor.

On June 22, that tour included a stop in Mansfield. The Greatest Show on Earth – a slogan used for the very first time in publicity for that very trip – came to town for three shows. Actually, it was more fully known as “P.T. Barnum’s Great Traveling Museum, Menagerie, and World’s Fair – consisting of museum, menagerie, aquarium, polytechnic institute, international zoological garden, and Dan Castello’s chaste and refined circus.” More…

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History & Tourism, Sports

When Mansfield Welcomed: Baseball’s Greatest Shortstop

31 Mar , 2021  

By 1812Blockhouse

We continue our series of baseball stories this week in celebration of Opening Day week for many MLB teams. Cleveland launches its 2021 season on Thursday, traveling to the Motor City to play the Detroit Tigers.

It would be difficult to overestimate the storied reputation of Honus Wagner in the world of professional baseball. Over 100 years after winning his eighth and final batting title – a National League record which remains in place to this day – Wagner is also well-known for the record prices set by the sale of his baseball cards. He was also, for a short time, a Mansfielder. More…

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History & Tourism

When Mansfield Welcomed: The Ohio State Corn Show

12 Mar , 2021  

By: 1812Blockhouse

The competition was fierce early last century as Columbus, Alliance, Marietta, Toledo, Fostoria, Marion, and Mansfield vied for the prize – host city for the 1914 Ohio State Corn Show. At the 1913 show in Lima, the winner was announced, and Mansfield was chosen.

Amazingly, both the 1913 and 1914 Corn Shows took place in the dead of winter – mid to late January. Still, thousands attended such events. More…

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