Mansfield, Ohio

Mansfield (On the Highway since 1913) Pop: 51,600. County seat.

Early settlers came to this area for the streams that provided water amidst the dense forest. Mansfield was founded in 1808 and became the Richland County seat in 1809. The city was named for Surveyor General of the United States, Col. Jared Mansfield. Mansfield was primarily agricultural prior to the coming of the railroads in 1846. Then the city's farm equipment and stove manufacturing industries ushered in Mansfield's greatest period of industrial expansion. Eclipse Stove (later called the Tappan Company) was started in 1889. In the late 1920s, Westinghouse was the City's largest employer, specializing in electric lighting and home appliances.

In Mansfield's early days, the Lincoln Highway ran along West Fourth Street. Businesses along Park Avenue used to change the route signs to get travelers to pass their shops instead. Finally in 1928, the route was moved to pass through the center of town on Park Avenue. There is a replica LH concrete post on Park Avenue East near the courthouse.

Famous Mansfield natives include Senator John Sherman; Louis Bromfield, Pulitzer Prize winning author & conservationist; Johnny "Appleseed" Chapman planted apple trees here; and Frank Lahm, a military pilot who learned to fly with the Wright Brothers.

  • The Mansfield Blockhouse was built during the War of 1812 for protection from Indian attacks. A replica stands near its original spot today.
  • Oak Hill Cottage (built in 1847) is considered to be one of the finest Gothic Revival style houses in the US. Louis Bromfield played here as a child and later wrote about it in his book "The Green Bay Tree." 310 Springmill St. (419) 524-1765.
  • 1847 Oak Hill Cottage

  • The Ohio State Reformatory (built in 1886) closed in 1990 as a prison. Since that time it has been used in the filming of Shawshank Redemption and Air Force One and is open for tours and ghost hunts. 100 Reformatory Rd. (419) 522-2644
  • Tours of the closed 1886 Ohio State Reformatory are available.

  • Kingwood Center was the home of Charles Kelly King. Visit both the mansion (built in 1926) and the gardens. Kingwood Center, 900 Park Ave. West, (419) 522-0211
  • Kingwood Center

  • Soldiers & Sailors Building (1888) & Mansfield Memorial Museum houses Elektro, the First Robot built by Westinghouse.
  • The Renaissance Theatre (1928) 138 Park Avenue West (419) -522-2726 Box Office Hours: M-F 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Administrative Office Hours: M-F 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
  • Renaissance Theatre

  • The Mansfield Art Center. Tues-Sat 11am-5pm; Sun 12 noon-5pm; Closed major holidays. 700 Marion Avenue, (419) 756-1700
  • Bible Walk. Ohio’s only life size wax museum. 500 Tingley Avenue (419) 524-0139
  • Carrousel Park, 4th and Main.
  • Carrousel Park, 4th and Main.

  •  Oak Park Tavern, originally a Lincoln Highway camp ground east of the city.                                                 2919 State Route 430, (419) 589-2637
  • Skyway East. 2461 Emma Lane (US 30 at Reed Rd Exit) (419) 589-9929.
  • Coney Island Diner (since 1936), 98 N Main St. (419) 526-2669
  • Coney Island Diner

  • Richland County offers 1500 lodging rooms with a great variety including full service hotels, quaint Bed & Breakfasts and campgrounds.
  • The Mansfield Playhouse
  • Visit the Richland Carrousel District for galleries and unique shops including the Squirrel's Den where they make their own chocolate.
  • The Carrousel District

  • B&O Bike Trail runs 18.2 miles on the former Baltimore & Ohio Railway through scenic parts of North Central Ohio and connects Mansfield, Lexington, Bellville, and Butler.

For more information, call 1-800-642-8282 or visit


They taught us how to build roads.

By the time the Lincoln Highway Association was formed, there were virtually no paved roads outside of city limits and when it rained the water sat on the road turning to mud. All roads went over or around hills. We had no idea how to build roads for automobiles.

Within ten years, things were changing as shown in this photo taken in Richland County. We were cutting the tops off of hills and moving the fill to the valley below in an effort to level the path. We were paving with concrete, macadam or in this case, brick. There were ditches on the side for drainage and lanes were marked with divider lines.