Mansfield PA and Richmond Township in Tioga County PA
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Mansfield's Bank

The Bank Block in the 1870s when it was new
Facing was added in 1904 which covered the bricks and makes dating photos easier. 
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For over a century the bank block stood on the corner of Mansfield's South Main Street and Wellsboro Street. It symbolized Mansfield's business district. It was razed, along with the entire business block on which it stood, in the 1970s. Chester P. Bailey reviews part of its history below at the time of its imminent doom. Mansfield's residents mourn the loss of this landmark and the whole block of lost history even to the present.

Wellsboro Agitator, January 19, 1916
At a meeting of the stockholders of the First National Bank of Mansfield the following officers were elected: President, Charles S. Ross;  Vice Presidant, Warren D. Rose;  Cashier, Wilton W. Allen;  Assistant Cashier, Lewis M. Palmer;   Directors: C.W. Ross, W.D. Rose, W.H. Husted, C.J. Beach, C.M. Thompson, G.W. Palmer, W.W. Allen.

Bank Block
Submitted by Chester P. Bailey

The rumors continue to run rampant that the First Citizens National Bank is going to tear down the Bank Block, S. E. corner of Wellsboro and Main streets.

I am sure this is not all of the story behind what the Bank plans for the area owned on Wellsboro Street.  However, there are many people in Mansfield and vicinity that are upset because they feel the Bank is about to take down the oldest of the four corner blocks.  The Bank could make a show place of this historic building and feel its removal will erode the downtown business district.

According to the record as reported by Dr. Retan in the History of Mansfield Borough, published by the Borough Council for the Mansfield Centennial in 1957, the Bank Block was built in 1871, the first of the large corner blocks.  The present First Citizens National Bank is the outgrowth of the first bank in Mansfield, established May 2, 1872, by Andrew J. Ross and Philip Williams.  Mr. Ross died in 1875 and his son Charles S. Ross became a partner with Mr. Williams.  On the death of Mr. Williams in 1894, Charles Ross became the sole owner and continued until 1907, when he formed the First National Bank and purchased the building for $15,000.00.

In June 1932, Mr. Ross sold his interest to a group of citizens and soon after retired.  Charles S. Ross died May 13, 1940.

In 1904 the stone facing was placed on the first floor.  In 1934 the stone facing was continued down the front of the building and the interior modernized.

Many would like to see the Bank Block preserved and become a useful part of the Bank complex.  I would like to suggest the building be renamed the Charles S. Ross Building, in honor of Mr. Ross who served so many years as banker and was one of the founders of the Mansfield Fair; a man who had served Mansfield his entire life.

In 1856, Andrew J. Ross, a merchant in Mansfield, and Philip Williams became associated with him.  They built the Bank block in 1871, the first of the four corner blocks.  The bank was started in 1872.

Charles Ross, son of A. J. Ross continued the bank with P. Williams after his father died.  Williams died in 1894, and Charles Ross continued alone until 1907, when the bank was reorganized as a National Bank (First National Bank of Mansfield).

The building was remodeled and the stone was placed on the first story.  In 1954, the part of the front that had housed the Vosburg Restaurant and ice cream parlor was remodeled into the bank.

The bank was reorganized in 1931 with Mr. Ross retiring and the interior again remodeled.

The third floor of the Bank building served as the Community entertainment center, Union Hall, until the Opera House was built in 1888/89.  It was also the lodge hall for the Mansfield Odd Fellows IOOF for many years.

June, 1989

The buildings now being torn down were built before 1907.  The building on the corner of Hoard street was the Saks, Clock and Jewelry store.  In 1907, Saks and Charles Miller built the first movie house behind Saks facing onto Hoard street.  It was known as The Theatorium.  Karl F. VanNorman owned and operated it from 1911 – 1916 when it burned.

Bank about 1980 after the diner and other buildings on the block were already taken down. The diner, I have heard, was moved to Canton where it later burned.

Mansfield Bank Building
Submitted by Chester P. Bailey

The Bank Building on Southeast corner of Wellsboro and Main streets in Mansfield recently razed was the oldest of the four corner buildings.   It was built in 1871 by Andrew J. Ross and Philip Williams.  They formed the first bank in Mansfield.

Andrew Ross, born in Bradford County came to Tioga County in 1854.  He formed a partnership with Philip Williams in 1855 under the name of Ross and Williams, engaged in merchandising.  In 1860 they added lumbering operations and opened a loan office.  In 1871 they built the Bank building and established a bank house of Ross and Williams.

Charles S. Ross, eldest son of Andrew, educated at Mansfield State Normal class of 1876, entered the bank overseeing his father’s interest.  Andrew Ross died in 1878 and Philip Williams died in 1895.  Charles Ross operated the bank under the old name as surviving partner.

In 1907 Charles Ross formed the First National Bank and in 1932 sold to a group of Mansfield citizens and retired.

The corner bank building was remodeled at least two times.  First was to place the stone face on the section used by the bank along Wellsboro Street and to the section occupied by the Vosburg Restaurant on Main Street.  In 1953 it was again remodeled and expanded to occupy the restaurant section, more recently used by the Elder Guild on Main Street and into the section formerly occupied by the Dairy store, used last by the Movie store.

According to Mary Strange Rose (“Mate”) in her State Road record, the land on which the bank building stood was cleared around 1825, by Thomas Reynolds, age 18, who came from Sullivan Twp. To help his uncle Asa Mann clear the lot of great pine trees.  Mrs. Reynolds, Thomas’s mother, was Asa Mann’s sister.  They came to the area a year earlier than Asa.

Taken down by the First Citizens Bank also were the rest of the business buildings on Wellsboro Street.  They were the block formerly occupied by a beauty Saloon, the Ella Mae Jennings building and the former McNaney Studio building.

The corner bank building was not only a bank building from 1872 to 1889 when the Mansfield Opera House was built.  The third floor became known as Union Hall and served as the community center and auditorium for all kinds of local activities.  Later it was the IOOF and Rebekahs lodge rooms.

The Mansfield Advertiser started in 1872 by a group of business men was located on the second floor for a short time, according to notes of Ed Coles.  The second floor also housed, until recently, law offices.

The First National Bank became the First Citizens National Bank and built its present bank building in 1970.  In building that building the following business and dwelling buildings were removed.  Eggerton Diner, Johnson Apartments & Johnson Truck Garage, Myers Insurance (now Saunders), Mansfield Water office, etc.

The business block now occupied by the First Citizen National Bank and Brooks Drug store at one time housed – variety stores, restaurants, candy store, drug store, dry cleaners, insurance offices, A & P Food store, truck line garage, Chevrolet garage and individual housing.

Moving the safe deposit boxes from the old bank to the new - right down the sidewalk ca 1970. While the Johnson Apartments and t5he Johnson Garage had been razed for the new bank building, we can still see the A&P standing at the end of the block. State Police car at right.
Details of this major transition can be seen on the Pictorial History of South Main Street page
Wrestling the box past the corner of the old bank-- and into the new one.
Photos from Jim Rieppel collection. 
This bank, builit in the 1970s, was replaced by the still newer one in 2000. They continued to do business here while building around it and tore it down when business could be conducted in sections of the new bank.  It stood on land that had been occupied by the Johnson Apartments and Johnson Trucking Garage and other buildings, and now its own footprint is lost beneath the newer bank complex.
The 1970 bank building was replaced by a still newer one in 2000.
Start  of the [another] new bank construction - August 2000
Photo by Chester P. Bailey
New bank construction September 2000 - the 1970s era bank at right
Photo by Chester P. Bailey
The present First Citizens bank covers the entire block of South Main street from the Wellsboro Street intersection to the College Avenue corner. It was built in 2000 and replaced the building that had so recently [1970s] replaced the 1871 building. 
See the Pictorial History of the East Side of South Main Street for a century of transitions. 

Photo by Joyce M. Tice 2007

Tri-Counties Page 16418

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Published On Tri-Counties Site On 17 OCT 2008
By Joyce M. Tice
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