|We now have a local history museum in Mansfield representing the area
in and near Mansfield including Sullivan, Rutland, Covington and more
Visit the History Center on Main Street at 83 North Main Street. We also have a locaton at 61 North Main Street.
Regular hours are noon to 3 T, W Th or by appointment.
by George A. Retan, Ph.D.
Pictures Collected by Chester P. Bailey
Published by The Council of Mansfield Borough 1956
Copyright Mansfield Advertiser 1957
Reprinted on Tri-Counties Site by permission of Chester P. Bailey, former owner of Mansfield Advertiser
Eighth Street was legally opened but there was some confusion in the names of what are now seventh and eighth streets and what would be fifth and sixth streets. The old names, Lincoln Avenue and Elm Street as given on the old Putnam Map, were often used.
The installation of a sewer system was perhaps the worst problem the Borough Council had to consider, both because of the expense, and because of the lack of natural drainage in the southern part of the town. The Council finally decided to spread the expense over several years and to put in the sewers on Elmira, Sherwood and North Academy Streets first. An overflow sewer was put in from the junction of Elmira Street and North Main Street, to Corey Creek in 1897. In 1898 a trunk sewer was built from the river through Smythe Park across Main Street to St. James Street with secondary sewers on St. James, First, Second, and East main Streets. In 1899 a sewer was laid up South Main Street to Fourth Street. In 1902 a storm sewer was laid under Main Street north of the Park entrance. Bonds in the amount of $5000.00 were issued in 1899 and considerable sums were borrowed from time to time to cover this and other expenses.
Until the installation of electric street lights the oil lamps were cared for by a man who was also janitor of the Borough Building. He received $35.00 a month and feed for his horse. His horse and wagon carrying oil, ladder and cleaning apparatus was a familiar sight in the village.
The night watchman was paid about the same and one-half the amount was paid by the merchants. The Borough purchased a clock for $37.50 which he had to carry and by which he could be checked.
The water system made a much better system of fire protection possible. The Council purchased a hose cart and 1200 feet of hose at once and from time to time bought nozzles and other supplies for the hose companies. A fire alarm bell (still there) was placed over the Borough Building, costing $500.00. After the telephone lines were installed connection was made so that the bell could be rung from the central office. A tower for drying hose was built at a cost of $102.00 and is still in use. One hose company, the Neptune, disbanded, but the other two maintained their organizations and joined in electing a Chief to have complete control in case of fire. There was much competition between the two companies as to which one would have the first hose laid. Frequent meets were held with other towns in Tioga and Bradford Counties in which the Mansfield companies made an excellent showing. Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 continued to hold annual parties in the Opera House, considered the outstanding social event of the year.
The floods of December 18, 1901 did considerable damage, especially along Corey Creek. The bridge erected on Academy Street in 1894 was washed out and a new one built in 1902. The Erie Railroad was requested to enlarge its bridge over the creek to prevent damage by backwater. The bridge over Ellen Run on the Hollow Road was also washed out and had to be replaced and the road repaired.
The Council continued to have much trouble making citizens keep their walks in repair. They were more careful than ever about this after paying $200.00 to a woman who was injured on an icy walk. In 1893 Bentley and Curtis laid the first cement walk in the Borough around the Ross property, corner Academy and Normal Avenue.
In Accordance with a new State law a Board of Health was set up. The Borough was divided into five sections and a member appointed by the Burgess, ratified by the Council, for each section. Dr. Wentworth Vedder was very active on this board for several years.
The Mansfield Fair continued to be very successful and the buildings and grounds were greatly improved. In 1900 the track was enlarged to a full half mile and the ball grounds were moved to its present location and in 1902 new grandstands built (the ball grounds were originally on the west side of the park with the home plate at the south end). The present gateway was built in 1893. In only one year of the ten was the weather bad. Thursday was the big day and the attendance reached over 20,000 persons. Excursion trains were still run from all sections of the county and from Corning and Elmira.
It was in this decade that the triangle where Sullivan Street intersects Academy Street was improved and a Cannon with large canon balls at its side was mounted on a concrete foundation. This was a fixture until the old cannon was used for scrap metal in World War II and the present cannon replaced it. The Borough Liberty Pole was maintained on the square; in 1899 a new flag was bought at a cost of $30.00 and in 1901 the pole was moved to the triangle.
In 1899 Dr. Albro resigned as Principal of the State Normal and Dr. Andrew Thomas Smith was elected to the position by the Board of Trustees. In 1895, on Arbor Day, a considerable number of trees were planted on the hill back of the school. In 1900 an addition furnishing toilet facilities for the boys was built at the back of South Hall. In 1894 the central portion of North Hall was rebuilt and an elevator installed.
If the previous decade was notable for roller skating, this one was for bicycling. The traffic problem on the sidewalks was so bad that ordinances were passed requiring licenses to ride on the sidewalks and forbidding riding on the walks after the electric lights were on. Some of the most prominent citizens were arrested for violating this ordinance. Since the only lights were in the houses, a standard excuse was that the rider did not know they had been turned on. There were bicycle clubs making long trips, as to Buffalo or New York City. A state law was passed making it possible for counties to build bicycle paths alongside the roads. There was one along the river between lambs Creek and Mill Creek to avoid the hill. As mentioned under "Businesses", there was for many years a bicycle repair shop in town.
In the same way the livery business was very important in this period. There were two livery stables in town, one back of the Adams Block and one which was where the rear of Johnson’s Truck Lines and the Atlantic and Pacific Store are. A part of this stable now forms a part of these buildings. There was a stage line to Troy and two to Wellsboro, following different routes. Hitching sheds were maintained for the farmers on Center Street and on Sassafras Alley. The livery business was at the end soon after Ed Ross brought the first automobile to town and stages were discontinued after the establishment of R. F. D. routes as there was no contract to be had for carrying mails to small rural postoffices.
During this period many homes were built. Also the Presbyterian Church was enlarged by an addition at the rear. Bert Vedder started to build a large factory on W. Elmira Street for canning pickles, but laws were passed, at the instance of the Heinz concern, which put him out of business and hurt many producers of cucumbers in this section.
High School Principals in this period were: G. B. Strait, 1893, Hugh Sherwood, 1895; J. C. Doane, 1899; A. S. Lent, 1900; E. A. Retan, 1901.
Lawyers were: Frank Clark, Leon Channell came in 1895; Costley left in 1894.
Doctors were: C. V. Elliott (retired), Moody, F.. G. Elliott, F. G. Wood after 1895 and Edith Flower (Wheeler) after 1899.
Dentists: J. E. Williamson after 1899; H. W. Bailey in 1900; O. Newell