|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.
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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
The Grand Army of the Republic was organized in 1875 and met at first over the M. L. Clark store. In 1886 it moved to the Pitts Block and in 1893 to the Allen Block where it remained until disbanded.
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows was organized in 1889. Until 1914 the Lodge met in the Pitts Block. At that time it moved to its present quarters in the Bank Block.
The Universalist Church congregation of twelve members organized in 1880 and for many years was served by Rev. Emma Bailey, 1882-87 and 1890-95. They met first on the second floor of the Bank Block over the drug store, but purchased the old Methodist property, corner of W. Elmira and N. Main Streets, in 1882 and worshipped there until 1926 when the property was taken over by the Seventh Day Adventists.
The Tioga Valley Grange was started in 1890 and met at first in Pitts Hall. In 1894 it moved to the Allen Block. In 1910 the land was bought and in 1917 the present Grange Building was built.
The Lions Club in Mansfield was chartered in 1939 and has been very active in promoting community and charitable causes, especially the swimming pool and recreational projects, Polio drives, etc.
The State Police established a headquarters here as early as 1925 over Husted’s Chevrolet Garage. Ralph Day was the first Trooper assigned here. Their headquarters were changed frequently at first; being located a year or two each at 131, 116, 217 S. Main Street. In 1930 they moved to 55 N. Main Street and remained there until, in 1954, a home for the unit was built at 300 S. Main Street.
The Business Men’s Association
The Mansfield Business Men’s Association is composed not only of businessmen, but also includes teachers, preachers, farmers, professional men, and, in fact, anyone concerned with the civic needs of Mansfield and vicinity. Neither membership nor activities are limited.
The organization was formed in 1913 by progressive citizens who felt much more could be accomplished in the way of borough improvements through an organization. The main objectives at the beginning were improved roads in the borough and hardtop highways leading to and from Mansfield. Howard Vosburg was the first president, and was followed by Leon Baynes and others. It was revitalized after the war and Herbert Peterson was president for several years. More recently Oscar Lutes was president for several years.
It would be difficult to list all the accomplishments of the association, but the following are the more important which have been initiated or sponsored.
Main Street pavement; Pickle Hill and Newtown Hill macadam roads; present Route 6 to Wellsboro, saving several miles over the old road by Richards Bridge; development and improvement of both Routes 6 and 15; uniforms for the High School Band; substantial funds for the College Athletic program; lobbying successfully several times against moves to close the college by legislative committees; pavilion at Smythe Park for campers; summer playground at Smythe Park; Christmas Street decorations; Halloween Parade; Fourth of July celebration; securing Carnegie Library; securing the State armory; first motor Fire Engine and Pumper; Memorial swimming pool.
For several years, and at present the one principal objective of the Association has been to attract new industry to Mansfield. Some results have been achieved. Armco Iron, a nationally known industry has established a plant here. It will ever be the prime aim of the Association to be on the alert for, and to promote, that which is in the best interest of the community.
The American Legion
Following preliminary meetings held later in 1919, Austin-Cox Post 478 was formally organized a charter granted in memory of Charles Austin and John Cox who lost their lives while in the Service.
The Charter Members were: Herbert Peterson, Donald Hoard, Ransom Keeney, John Doane, Harry Taylor, Robert Palmer, Harold Strait, John Hatfield, Fay Kilgore, Guy Brown, Charles Ross, Anson Smith, Ronald Kichline, Casper Gillette, and Wade Judge.
At first meetings were held in the Red Cross Rooms over Straits Hardware. For a short period a room in the Borough building was used as headquarters. Then, for about thirty years, the Post occupied the third floor of the Judge Block. In 1952 the present American Legion Home, located on the corner of College Avenue and S. Main Street was acquired. This is a fine property, conveniently located, and will be a permanent home and headquarters.
Membership in the Post is comprised of veterans from Mansfield, Covington, Mainesburg and surrounding townships.
The Post has been active since the beginning in sponsoring or participating in community betterment, and recreation and education. It has been loyally supported in all of its activities by the American Legion Auxiliary. Among some of the better-known projects of the Legion have been:
Purchase and installation of the original boulevard lights at the corners of Main and Wellsboro Streets.
Purchase, installation and maintenance of the original children’s playground equipment at Smythe Park, and provided for the employment of supervisors of the playground.
Conducted the Fourth of July celebration and Memorial Day exercises for many years.
Awarded medals annually to outstanding students in the local schools.
Junior League Baseball and, at various times, Boy Scout Troops.
The Post has supported the continuing activities of the National Organization for proper care, hospitalization and rehabilitation of disabled veterans, child welfare, education and adequate national defense.
The Fire Department
The earlier Hose Companies have been mentioned in the periods in which they were active. Beginning about 1906 the Citizens Hose Company was formed, the older companies having become inactive. The only records up to 1914 are those dealing with the annual New Years parties and the use of the social rooms. From 1914 to 1917, when the company was reorganized, minutes are available. Robert Crossley was president in 1914 and Earl Shaw, secretary. Earl was also secretary of the Mansfield Hose Company most of the time until 1950, over thirty years of service. The Citizens Hose Company was active in the Fireman’s Association and competed regularly in the events at the regional meetings of the Association, wearing distinctive uniforms.
In January 1921, the American Legion planned to start a second Hose Company. The Citizens Hose Company thought this was unnecessary and proposed a merger of the of proposed company with the old company. This idea prevailed and twenty-six interested citizens formed the new organization with the name, "Mansfield Hose Company," with Dr. H. C. Kutz as president and W. R. Avery as chief. This company is still very active and has rendered wonderful service to the community without any reward other than the respect and support of the citizens.
In July 1926, the minutes contain mention of agitation for the purchase of a pumper. Later that summer, a Carnival was sponsored and $150.00 cleared. In March of 1927 a bazaar was held in the Grange Hall. The proceeds of this, together with a donation of $1,000.00 from the college and many others from merchants and citizens, more than paid for the first Pumper. In August of 1934 an auxiliary fire truck was purchased by the Company from the city of Lyons for $375.00. In 1946 and in 1956 new pumpers were bought by the Council. The efficiency of the Company brought about a considerable reduction in fire insurance rates in the Borough. The members of the company have attended schools of instruction and demonstrations. An auxiliary fire police unit is very efficient. Within the past two years a short wave radio system has been put in operation throughout the County and mutual aid plans worked out with the neighboring communities. All Mansfield equipment is a part of this system. In 1956 a tank truck has been purchased for use in fires outside the Borough. These townships pay regularly for fire protection. The Borough Council supports the Company in every way possible.
The two oldest Women’s Clubs in Mansfield are the Columbian Literary Exchange, which was organized in 1892, and the Mansfield Literary Club, organized in 1896. These clubs, together with the Outlook Club and the Utopian Club, which were organized considerably later, have been active in promoting civic welfare through their civic committees.