History & Tourism

When Mansfield Welcomed: Ralph Waldo Emerson

25 Sep , 2022  

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

23 Sep , 2022  

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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History & Tourism

When Mansfield Welcomed: Buffalo Bill

9 Sep , 2022  

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: The World’s Greatest Coloratura Soprano

25 Aug , 2022  

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

16 Aug , 2022  

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.

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History & Tourism

When Mansfield Welcomed: The Fisk Jubilee Singers

16 Jul , 2022  

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 Good Witch Of The North

22 May , 2022  

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: England’s Greatest Actor

26 Apr , 2022  

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 Greatest Show On Earth

2 Apr , 2022  

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

24 Mar , 2022  

By 1812Blockhouse

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.

Not only did Honus Wagner visit here, he lived here for a short time and played ball for part of one season with the Mansfield Kids of the Inter-State League. And, while he played with the Kids, something happened in Mansfield which would change the course of baseball history. More…

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History & Tourism

When Mansfield Welcomed: The Ohio State Corn Show

3 Mar , 2022  

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.

The News Journal was effusive about Mansfield’s selection, suggesting that “[T]he exceptional advantages of Mansfield in the matter of transportation facilities” would draw more people to Richland County than Allen County. More…

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History & Tourism

When Mansfield Welcomed: Sir Harry Lauder

5 Feb , 2022  

By 1812Blockhouse

A man once described by Winston Churchill as “Scotland’s greatest ever ambassador” included Mansfield among places he visited during his storied career.

At the time of his March 1916 visit, Harry Lauder was already the highest paid performer in the world. His visit took place at a time of increased anxiety in America, as the county was involved in arming the Allies in World War 1 but was still several months away from joining the fray. More…

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History & Tourism

When Mansfield Welcomed: General Rosalie Jones

24 Jan , 2022  

By 1812Blockhouse.

A bit over one hundred years ago, women voted in a US Presidential election for the first time.

The road to the point was a long and difficult one. Some of the leading proponents of women’s suffrage are now well-known names from history — Susan B. Anthony in the United States, Emmeline Pankrust in England, and others.

One activist for women’s suffrage was certainly just as vocal and, at an important point in her crusade, was a visitor to Mansfield.

It was in July, 1912 when Rosalie Gardner Jones and her friend, Mrs. Elizabeth Freeman, made it to Richland County. More…

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History & Tourism

When Mansfield Welcomed: Its Very First Automobile Show

13 Dec , 2021  

By 1812Blockhouse

Richland Countians love their cars.

The role of the automobile in daily life was a relatively new one, however, on February 24, 1917, the day that Mansfield’s very first automobile show opened its doors.

Just nine years after the Ford Motor Company launched its signature Model T, and just four years after the company’s integrated moving assembly line revolutionized manufacturing, the car owners in north central Ohio decided to hold a show at the brand-new building of the Cotter Transfer & Storage – then, as it still is 100 years later, at 40 West Third Street. More…

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Downtown, History & Tourism

When Mansfield Welcomed: John Philip Sousa

3 Dec , 2021  

By 1812Blockhouse

John Philip Sousa was a musician whose reputation remains strong almost a century after his death.

The scene must have been extraordinary that late October evening in 1892, over 125 years ago, when Sousa came to town. The venue was the brand-new Memorial Opera House, a 565 seat auditorium situated in what was later the site of the Madison Theatre, and is now the parking lot of the Solders and Sailors Memorial Building on Park Avenue West. An October 1892 edition of the Mansfield Daily Shield provided this set up for the concert during the week prior to the event:

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