If you’ve been to the main library recently, you may have noticed renovations being done on the Caldwell & Bloor building located behind the Chamber of Commerce at 80 West Third St. The 96-year-old building, designed by Mansfield architects Althouse & Jones, was originally built to house a Dodge dealership owned by A. M. Colby. Colby made significant progress in the automobile business since arriving in Mansfield in 1919.
Alfred Mansfield Colby was born on October 20, 1882 in Dayton, Ohio to Massachusetts natives Henry Frances Colby and Mary Lizzie Chamberlin. In 1905 Colby graduated from Denison University where he was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. A short time after graduation, he obtained a job as an inspector for The Broadstreet Co. in Dayton. Colby’s World War I draft registration card shows that by 1918 he had made his way to Cleveland, Ohio, and was working as a sales representative for the Dodge Bros. Motor Cars. Colby first appears in the Mansfield newspapers the following February of that year, opening up a Dodge Bros. dealership at 14 E. Dickson Ave. behind the Vonhoff Hotel in the old J. T. Blizzard and Son Livery. By June of that same year, Colby had moved to 31 East Third St. It didn’t take Colby long to build his own building and, by January of 1920, preparations were being made to construct a new Dodge Bros. dealership at 70-72 North Diamond St. Colby moved into his new location in November of 1920.
Three years passed and, in January of 1924, Colby announced that he was building a new three-story, plus basement, fire-proof building designed by Althouse & Jones. Nine months later construction was completed and Colby moved in. Colby was in this building for nearly 20 years, leaving around 1942. He set up headquarters at the corner of North Main and Sixth where Colby & Earick, as it was then known, had their used car lot. In 1944 Quality Furniture would move into the building after a fire destroyed their building on North Park Street in February of that year. They stayed in the building until 1949 when they went out of business.
In 1950 G. L. DeYarmon, owner of the building, leased 80 West Third to Al C. Boyer. Boyer intended to open a parking garage at the location for approximately 40 cars. The garage opened in March of 1950 and, four months later, Boyer announced the garage was closing. A. B. Grafton was next to move into the space, using it as a body shop for his Lincoln-Mercury dealership located at 99 Park Avenue West. Grafton was there until 1955 when the Caldwell and Bloor Company leased the building and began remodeling in September. Caldwell and Bloor stayed at the location for nearly 50 years before moving out to 1283 South Tremble Rd in 2004. In 1960 Caldwell and Bloor opened The Apothecary Shoppe at 80 West Third St, which was marketed as “a real, honest to goodness, pharmacy and something more.” In 2009 Caldwell and Bloor was purchased by DiaMed USA LLC. The company had been in Mansfield since 1890, originally operating on the corner of Park Avenue West and North Main Street where the Park National Bank building is today.
According to his obituary, Alfred M. Colby retired in 1951. During his life, he was active in many civil and social organizations. Colby was a charter member of the Rotary Club, on the board of education, a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, a 32nd degree Mason, and a Denison University trustee, just to name a few. On April 10, 1957, Alfred’s wife Mary L. McKibben, who he married on March 31, 1921, in Bronx, New York, died at the age of 69. On December 1, 1960, Alfred Colby was hit by a car in Granville, Ohio, where he had been living the past 18 months. He would never fully recover from his injures and died on June 3, 1962 at the Northside Manor Rest Home in Mt. Vernon, Ohio.