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.


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)

Vasbinder Fountain


The dedication of the Vasbinder Fountain should have been a joyous occasion.  Siblings, David and Jane Vasbinder, gave the fountain to the city and in the speech given by Henry Hedges, he thanked them for sharing their good fortune with the people of Mansfield.  Col. B. Burns accepted the fountain on behalf of the city saying: “This beautiful fountain, now complete in all its parts, has been  delivered into the care and custody of the city by the generous donors, and what more appropriate gift could these worthy citizens have donated to our people? And who, of all those  who may look upon it through the years to come, as the pure, cool, re­freshing water is distilled  through it in jets and sprays, will not feel a com­mendable pride in speaking of the generous donors.” Unfortunately a darkness hung over the proceedings because on July 2, 1881 at 9:30 am, President James A. Garfield was shot by Charles Guiteau.  Garfield died on September 19, 1881 as a result of the injuries sustained in the assassination attempt.



Vasbinder Fountain and the Band Stand in Central Park.

On December 17, 1958, the fountain was removed when the controversial cut-through was added to central park.  The fountain was briefly on the farm of J.V. Pugh near Lucas before it was moved to Malabar Farm.  The monument was returned to Central Park in November of 1978 and water once again flowed through the fountain in June of 1979.  It was dedicated on July 4, 1979.  The fountain has had renovations and repairs in the 50 years since it has been returned to Central Park, including a $9,000 makeover in 2007.  The fountain was rededicated on July 30, 2007.


Vasbinder Fountain at Malabar Farm


Vasbinder Fountain today

Postcards: Mansfield, Ohio Churches: Part 2

Here are some more of the many images of churches on postcards from Mansfield, Ohio.  Enjoy.

First Christian Church


First Christian Church stood on West Fourth Street next to Stuhldreher’s across from the Old Post Office.  It was used until a new building at West Third and Bowman was built in 1956.

Central Methodist Church


The cornerstone of the Central Methodist Church was laid in September 22, 1907 on the homestead grounds of John Sherman. Located at 378 Park Ave. West, it is constructed of limestone on the Old English style of architecture. The Church was formed in 1905 with 127 members.  The Church was dedicated on August 27, 1911.

First Methodist Church


Also known as First United Methodist Church located at N. Diamond and Park Ave. East.  One of Mansfield’s earliest congregations, the first recorded sermon was preached by Reverend Elisha W. Bowman in early November 1811, at the cabin of Jacob Newman.  A two story red brick church was built in this location and dedicated on July 3, 1870.  The cornerstone for the current church was laid on November 12, 1905 and it was officially dedicated on October 16, 1910.


First Congregational Church


First Congregational Church, 107 Park Avenue West. This magnificent structure burned on the night of February 11, 1942. The Congregation shared facilities with the Park Avenue Baptist Church until a new building could be constructed on the corner of Millsboro and Marion Avenues.

The Baptist Church


View of the Park Avenue Baptist Church on the northwest corner of Park Avenue West and North Walnut Street. Dedicated on June 17, 1863. The church moved further out Park Avenue in the late 1920’s. The old church was demolished to make way for the Farmer’s Bank Building.


Park Avenue Baptist Church nest to the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Building, now the Mansfield Memorial Museum.

St. Matthews Church


The first St. Matthew’s Church, which was located at 37 Park Avenue West. In 1904, the congregation agreed to share this church with the Reformed Presbyterian Church and purchased the building from the them on February 22, 1906.  This building was used until a new building at the corner of Sherman Place and Penn Avenue was constructed.

St. Luke’s Church


On December 16, 1888, St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, on the triangle of Marion Ave. and Park Ave. West, was dedicated.  There were many differences of opinion that resulted in the separation of the St. Luke’s congregation from The First Lutheran Church, which has set at the corner of Park Ave. West and Mulberry since 1894.  A final decision to withdraw from the church was made on April 16, 1886, and on July 2, 1886 St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Mansfield was organized.