Mansfield PA and Richmond Township in Tioga County PA
Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Historic Businesses of the Tri-Counties
Strait's Hardware, Mansfield PA
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

School Children and a dog posed in front of Strait's Hardware to celebrate the promotion of the New Majestic Range. 
Business: Strait's Hardware 
Township:  Mansfield Borough, Tioga County PA
Year: 1890s to 1970s
Photos from Chester P. Bailey
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Wellsboro Agitator, 28 July 1885
Mansfield Notes
The front and windows of the Allen block are being re-painted. Mr. Charles Slingerland is the artist.

Wellsboro Agitator, 4 December 1888
Local & Minor Matters
The Orphan School building and the Allen block at Mansfield have been furnished with fire escapes.

Wellsboro Agitator, 19 August 1896, p3
Messrs. Augustus A. Cass and Frank Longbothum are to establish a grocery and meat market in the Allen block at Mansfield, expecting to open it for business today.

Strait's Hardware was located for many decades in the Allen Block on the NE corner of Main and Wellsboro Streets in Mansfield. Harold Strait ran it in the mid twentieth century until it closed.
1899 Tioga County Directory Listing for Mansfield Borough:
STRAIT GEORGE L, hardware, stoves, tinware, plumbing and furnace work, bicycles, 61 Main, h Main cor Elmira
1908 Tioga County Directory Listing for Mansfield Borough:

Allen Block
The Allen block in Mansfield, built in 1878, is being remodeled, and when finished will be one of the finest buildings of its kind in this section. The block is three stories high and is fifty by one hundred feel in size. The first floor was formerly used as a hardware store, the second was divided into offices and living rooms, and the third served as a lodge room for the Odd Fellows and Grangers. --- Advertiser. June 1916

Wellsboro Agitator, 4 September 1918, p5
Right About Home
The wall on the Wellsboro side of the Allen Block is being prepared for making a permanent record of the Mansfield boys who are in the service of Uncle Sam. There will be a white background with appropriate border and decorations, and space within to paint the names of all our boys in the service. Mansfield Advertiser

Inside Strait's Hardware 1890s Apparently part of the Majestic Stove Promotion as above. 
Allen Block with Strait's Hardware and The Wright Shop in 1940s
Fire Station & Howard Davis Garage behind it.
1934 Ad in Carontawan (Mansfield State Teachers College yearbook)
The Allen Block (Center with red tree in front) in fall 2002. Many businesses have 
occupied the space that Strait's Hardware held for so long. Presently it is vacant,
On A Roll just having vacated it recently. A second hand  & craft shop is in the 
back part of it. A Video Store is in the portion formerly occupied by The Wright Shop.

Wellsboro Gazette, September 6, 1973, p.8
Harold L. Strait - This is Your Life
by Etta Kay Olmsted

Mr. Harold L. Strait was born August 12, 1898 right across the street from his present address - 60 Main Street, Mansfield. He attended the local Elementary and High School. In June of 1917 Mr. Strait graduated from Mansfield Normal, presently Mansfield State College. During the first year that lapsed from graduation till May of 1918 when he enlisted in the Army, Harold worked diligently in his father's store, which then was Strait's Hardware. Today the business is called Gerry's Hardware and is still located on the corner of Main and Wellsboro Street in Mansfield. In January 1919 Harold was discharged from the Army. Immediately he stated helping his father full time. Eventually after his father's death, he inherited the store and all the responsibilities that went with it. On January 1st, 1971 Mr. Strait sold the business to Gerald Calkins of Mansfield. The business was one of Mansfield's oldest started by E.E. Allen in 1876. George L. Strait, Harold's father entered the business in 1891. It was Strait and Wood, then Strait and Retan and G.L. Strait and Sons in 1910 when Harold and his brother, Walter W. entered the business. After WWI Walter left the business and it became G.L. Strait and Son. Following the death of his father, the business has been known at Strait's Hardware with Harold as the sole owner.

At this point I asked Mr. Strait if he missed the hardware business since it was his sole life for so many years. He answered, "I don't miss the business, but I do miss the people. I wouldn't live in any community unless I could be a part of it. I really enjoy people."

And Mr. Strait has been a very active member of his community.

Harold Strait has been very active in Mansfield business affairs and has served in many capacities in Church and fraternal organizations. He joined the American Legion in 1919 and is one of the original Charter members in Mansfield. He is still an active member of this organization, and has held almost every office possible. In 1927 he attended the Paris Legion Convention and toured most of Europe. He also attended many national conventions that were held in Texas, California, Nebraska, and Philadelphia, to name a few.

One of Mr. Strait's biggest honors is that he is a 33rd degree Mason. In September of 1919 he joined the Friendship Lodge F&AM and progressed through the various chairs for 50 years. In October 1931, Harold was a delegate to the 200th Anniversary in Free Masonry which was held at Philadelphia. "That was quite an affair."

He is a past District Deputy, Grand Master of the 17th Masonic District, which he served for 10 years. He joined Zebulum which is a royal arch chapter 296 in April of 1920. A year later he joined the Williamsport Consistory - a little higher and possibly more selective in its membership.

In the early 1920's he was Secretary of the Businessmen's Association which is today the Chamber of Commerce. In May of 1962 he served as president of the Southern Tier Association of the Chamber of Commerce. "Through this organization I have met a lot of people. We were all interested in furthering the common interests of the Southern Tier cities, towns, and communities." Mr. Strait is also a past member of the Mansfield Chamber of Commerce and President of the Appalachian Thruway Association of Tioga county. He was Director of the Route 15 Highway Association and Chairman of the Highway Committee for County Planning. In September of 1952 Mr. Strait received his 50 year award from the Chamber of Commerce.

In 1941 Mr. Strait helped to set up the Draft board in Tioga County and served as Chief Clerk till 1946. He was County Coordinator of the Speaker's Bureau which was established back with Governor Scranton.

A few years ago Mr. Strait joined the Kiwanis Club. And on March 29 of this year for 15 days he and his sister attended the Tenth Anniversary of the Kiwanis European Mission. While in Europe they traveled through many countries, including Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway, and Iceland.

Harold met his wife [now deceased] on a blind date many, many years ago. On their first date he took her to a school dance. "She was an excellent dancer." On August 24th, 1930 they were married. Unfortunately no children were born to this couple. Two and a half years ago, in March 26, 1971, Mrs. Helen Strait passed away. Her memory will always remain vivid in the minds of those who knew and loved her. Helen contributed a great deal of her time and talents to the community projects and was one of the most widely known and highly respected women in Tioga County. She was Mansfield's "Woman of the Year" in 1969 and was selected by the Lions Club of Tioga County as the County's "Outstanding Citizen."

The American Freedom's Foundations, Valley Forge, cited her in 1966 for her work in Americanism and citizenship training as a teacher of social studies.

Mrs. [Helen Stepler] Strait, a native of Chambersburg, was a graduate of Wilson College. She immediately joined the Mansfield High School faculty and spent her entire teaching career there.

After her retirement, former students has a bronze plaque prepared with her picture and a tribute. It has been placed in her former classroom which has been named "The Helen Strait Room." They have also established the "Helen Strait Scholarship Fund" with an annual award to be given a senior who will run the second mile.

Mrs. Strait was an active member of the First Baptist Church, serving as its clerk for many years. She and her husband presented a Baldwin Sanctuary Piano to the church just before she died.

She was a past president of the Business and Professional Women's Club and the American Legion Auxiliary, and was identified with a number of community projects.

Both Mr. & Mrs. Strait have been great assets to the town of Mansfield and the Tioga County area. They will both always be remembered with affection and admiration.

Many heartfelt thanks to you Mr. Harold Strait, for sharing "your life" and the life of your noted wife, Mrs. Helen Strait.

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 08/11/2003
By Joyce M. Tice
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