Rolling Along at the Coliseum

Tired of the bleak winter weather? Roll along with us through a few images of the old Coliseum.

The structure type of the American “coliseum” is based on the architecture of the Roman amphitheaters, most notably the Colosseum in Rome, and shared its entertainment purpose. Whereas the Colosseum was used for animal hunts and other displays of strength, the American coliseum was more usually a venue for dancing or expositions of a more peaceful nature.

The Mansfield Coliseum was built in 1921 by local Rupert Cox at Luna Park (now North Lake Park) after the original roller coaster at the park was taken down to make room for the large structure. The building was the home to many a fun event for the community, from the regular availability of the roller skating rink to fashion shows, cooking expositions, and even car shows!

The first Coliseum burned in 1967, and was rebuilt, this time with a second story with a meeting room, and continued to be the home for competitive and casual roller skating in Mansfield until 2005, when the new structure also suffered a fire. The building was demolished in 2006.

Compare the structures of Luna Park in 1914 (left) and 1921 (right). Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, Library of Congress Map Division.


Barnes Manufacturing’s Innovative Designs Earned Patents 100 Years Ago

100 years ago, local inventor and manufacturing expert J. C. Gorman started the year off right by patenting two new inventions for the Barnes Manufacturing Company.

The Barnes Manufacturing Company was started by T. R. Barnes in 1895 for the manufacture of water pumps. In the early days of the company, the facilities were relatively simple: a foundry building for preparing the metal and a machining and painting shop for shaping and putting final details on pumps and other parts. Over time the operation became more complex and expanded its purview into enameled ware and a broader array of pumps, including designing its own schemas for new kinds of pumps.

A group of workers, likely in Barnes Manufacturing. Sherman Room Photo File 480.

By 1917, one James Carville* Gorman had begun working for Barnes Manufacturing. Apparently quickly finding place as a leader in developing innovative designs, Gorman received his first patent for the Barnes Manufacturing Company in 1919, for a diaphragm pump. That same year, when the Mansfield Daily Shield wrote a profile expounding the methods and processes of the Barnes facilities, Gorman was listed as the mechanical engineer for the company [1]. The plans and patterns for the pumps and operations of the facility, including his patented designs, were important and valuable enough that in 1908 Barnes had built a fireproof building specifically to house its patterns, which were under the care of Anthony Fuessner. Continuing his climb in the company, in 1922, Gorman was elected as a member of the board of directors after the death of a previous member, John Krause [2].

Apparently undeterred by the added responsibility of becoming one of the directors, Gorman received two patents for his designs in January of 1923. The Mansfield News announced that patent was granted “on a convertible power diaphragm and plunger trench pump of unique design. This new pump is much more simple and practical for draining excavations, trenches and the like, and is extensively used by bridge and sewer contractors”[3]. Within two months, Gorman had received another patent, this time for “a convertible open spout and plunger force pump” [4].

The Barnes Manufacturing Company closed due to bankruptcy in 1933 (although it would re-incorporate in 1934 as Barnes, Inc.), but Gorman was not yet finished with the field of pump manufacturing. He partnered with H. E. Rupp to create the Gorman Rupp Company, which was incorporated on April 20th, 1934 and manufactured power pumps [5]. The first factory space was in Alta, but the offices were at 330 East First Street in Mansfield.

Barnes Manufacturing Company Facilities Over Time

Click through the following galleries to compare how the Barnes Manufacturing facilities looked in 1897 and 1921.



*Carville was spelled several different ways in different sources. Carville, Carvil, Carval, etc.


  1. Mansfield Daily Shield, 25 May 1919
  2. Mansfield News, Jan 11 1922, page 3
  3. Mansfield News, 08 January 1923, page 12
  4. Mansfield News, 26 February 1923, page 18
  5. Mansfield News-Journal, 20 April 1934, page 8

From the Archives: Happy Holidays from…the Roosevelts?

Happy holidays from the Sherman Room! At this point, many holiday cards have been sent and received to friends and family members across the United States, but we wanted to share one more from the Sherman Room archives with you.

Previous Sherman Room blog posts have discussed the career of Mansfield’s Henry Brunner, a local Democratic politician who was the mayor of Mansfield from 1917 to 1923.

Among a collection of items from Brunner’s personal papers that were donated to the Sherman Room this year, we discovered this holiday card. So now it’s time for a US history question: the card reads is “From The Governor and Mrs. Roosevelt;” but how were this couple better known?

US history buffs will likely remember that one Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected governor of New York in 1929 and served in that role until he was elected United States president in 1932, a post to which he was re-elected three times and in which he served until he died in 1945 and was succeeded by Harry Truman. So this holiday card was sent to Henry Brunner by Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, sometime between 1929 and 1932. The original envelope is missing, so it is not possible to say exactly which year it was sent.

The building pictured is not the New York governor’s mansion, in fact, but a different estate known as Springwood, and it was Roosevelt’s family home. He was born at Springwood in 1882 and spent his youth there, rebuilding the family home into the impressive building it remains today in 1915 with his mother. As evidenced by this card, was proud of his family home throughout his political career and life. After he died in 1945 in his fourth term as president, his body was brought back to the rose garden at Springwood to be buried as he had requested.

The Mansfield Connection

So how did it happen that “Governor and Mrs. Roosevelt” sent a Christmas card to a politician from Mansfield? As it turns out, Henry Brunner was a rather prolific politician despite never holding a higher publicly-elected office than mayor. Rather, he used his skills and knowledge behind the scenes to support the Democratic party in Ohio and the nation, and gained many notable political connection in the process. In 1923 after he was no longer mayor, he was still chairman of the Richland County Democratic party. By 1925, Brunner was a member of a special committee for the Ohio Democratic party’s executive committee, and in 1927 he became the chairman for the Ohio Democrats. He held this position until 1933. Upon his resignation, one person commented that his successor “has the handicap of going in as chairman of the Democratic party in Ohio in that he succeeds Henry Brunner who has been a great chairman. He is one of the beste [sic] leaders the party has ever had” (Findlay Morning Republican, 14 September 14 1933, page 5). Given Brunner’s position as the state chair for a state known for being important, sometimes pivotal, in presidential elections, it is perhaps not surprising that a Democratic governor of New York with presidential ambitions would send him a card at the holidays.


  1. National Park Service, Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site,
  2. Athens Messenger Newspaper Archives April 7, 1927 Page 27 (became chairman)
  3. Findlay Morning Republican Newspaper Archives September 14, 1933 Page 5 (resigned chairman)

Extra, Extra: Thousands of Pages of Unique Mansfield Newspaper Now Available Online

Newspapers have been printed since the early days of the printing press, and for decades, they were the most constant source for information in communities. Historic local newspapers provide a snapshot of a community, its businesses, and its relationship to the nation, with local news, marriages, and obituaries printed alongside national and international headlines, providing instant context of the local news against a larger historical events.

Since newspapers are such an important resource for local history research, we are excited to announce that there are thousands more pages of Mansfield newspapers available online through our digital newspaper archive!

The digital newspaper archive project started several years ago, in partnership with the Ohio Genealogical Society, the Mansfield Memorial Museum, and the Richland County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society, and was funded by an initial grant from the Gorman Foundation. This year, the Mansfield/Richland County has digitized an additional 31 reels of microfilm, making tens of thousands of additional historic newspaper pages freely available online.

The new additions include a portion of MRCPL’s holdings of the Mansfield Daily Journal (sometimes published as the Mansfield Journal) from September 1924 to December 1926. Prior to this digitization effort, the Daily Journal was only available in person at the Main Library, as there are no other known sources remaining for this newspaper.

In addition to the Journal, additional years of the Richland Shield and Banner and the Weekly and Semi-Weekly News (these are the same newspaper, but over the course of its publication years it changed its frequency) are now available online. For the Shield and Banner, newspapers from 2 May 1891 to 12 June 1913 are now available online. For the Weekly/Semi-Weekly News, newspapers from 8 January 1891to 29 December 1910 are now available online.

No library card or login information is required, and you do not have to be at the library to use the digital archive. The digital newspaper archive is keyword searchable, or you can browse by newspaper title or publication date. Find all our digitized newspapers online here: . There is also a link on the Sherman Room webpage under “Online Resources.”

Want to see a newspaper page that is not available online? As always, the microfilm archives are available in person during Sherman Room hours, or send a request with your specific request (names, dates, and pages appreciated) to

Snippets from the First Daily Journal Editions

Explore the first Mansfield Daily Journal issue, published 13 September 1924, in its entirety here.