Volume Six  Issue Nine  December 2021
  • Genealogy Library & Family Files
  • Research Library
  • 12,000 catalogued photos & local postcards
  • Museum Exhibits
  • Public Events
  • Website: joycetice.com/histcent.htm
  • Open T W Th 11 Am to 3 PM or anytime we are here, which is most of the time.
  • Stop in for a visit
Director- Joyce M. Tice: President - Steve McCloskey: V.P - Kathy McQuaid
The horses knew to go around the tree, but did the auto drivers?

From the early nineteenth century into to the 1930s, Mansfield put their Christmas tree where it could be seen best.
Don't Drive into the Christmas Tree!
Community Christmas Trees are a Mansfield tradition
by Steve McCloskey

Anyone traveling through downtown Mansfield since Thanksgiving can’t help but notice things look a little bit more holiday-like this year.
There’s been a great deal of positive comments made about the upgraded Christmas lights and the addition of community Christmas trees in the downtown district. Both have added greatly to the sense of community and holiday spirit.

When Kathy Barrett and her recently formed Fourth of July committee were looking for fund-raising ideas for next summer’s fireworks show, the concept of offering Christmas trees to be decorated by downtown businesses and organizations was suggested.

The committee loved and quickly implemented the concept, but didn’t realize this new idea was actually a continuation of a tradition perhaps as old as Mansfield itself.

Over the span of its lifetime, Mansfield had often had some type of community Christmas tree. In the early years, the unveiling of the Christmas tree was an event held at every church with church members and the community invited to participate. One of those churches – actually two – were housed in the current home of the History Center, serving as the home first to the Methodist and then Universalist congregations.

After the turn of the century, somebody came up with a real traffic-stopper for the tree location. The community decided to place their Christmas tree where everyone would notice it – smack-dab in the middle of the then called Public Square.

Today we call it the traffic light at the intersection of Main Street and Wellsboro Street.

It’s hard to imagine now, but for a long span of time, a 30-foot Christmas tree was annually erected in the busiest intersection in the borough.

That didn’t present as much of a problem as you would think during the horse and buggy age, but when the automobile-era arrived, it started to become a safety, if not a convenience, issue. Despite its drawbacks, the community leaders kept the tradition at least into the 1930s. They even removed the traffic signal island at the intersection to erect the tree, requiring a full stop for traffic at all four entry points.

By the 1940s, the tree location changed to what is now known as First Citizens Community Bank and later on Main Street in front of the Twain Theater or Smythe Park as well as other places.

The History Center on Main Street is the oldest remaining location in the borough for a community Christmas tree display. We invite you to stop by with family and friends and look at our Christmas tree in front of the building that features photos of area citizens from the 1920s.

It is after all, a Mansfield tradition.
The History Center Century Christmas Tree 2021
1920s Memorial
This year's tree is decorated with photos of people who lived in our area in the 1920s.
There are also business ads of the 1920s local businesses.
History of 49 North Main Street
The Sherwood House
By Chester P. Bailey in the 1970s
Tucked away back between two old homes is the old Sherwood house. Built around 1842 by Clark Sherwood and later sold to Maltby Smith who had a clock shop there. Mr. Smith owned the first automobile in town. His horse stable was in the back and the structure is still there. (ed. note: Razed about five years ago.)
A well on the premises was so good that people came for their drinking water. The home was then sold to his sister, Mary Smith McConnell. Ed Wilson later bought the home and turned it into a tourist home. Later Earl Soper bought the home for an investment in 1962. In 1963 Bessie Howe Griffin bought the home and remodeled it. She now resides there.
Note: Bessie Howe was a cousin of Eva and Lena Howe, the late owners of the Howe home at 304 N. Main Street.

Editor's notes: This is now a rental unit with multiple apartments.
1910 census: J. Maltbie and Sarah Sherwood Smith Family - Brother-in-law and sister of Clark Sherwood.
1920 census: Leonard and Inez Coles Brunswick Family
1930 census: Edgar and Margaret Leisenring Wilson Family
The Eye-Witness Issue of Voices from the Archives
The next issue of our magazine for members includes several articles written by people who personally observed our town in the middle of the nineteenth century.
Frank Root and Charlie Redfield write about our early newspapers. Henry Johnson validates the moving of a building from one location to another. Ed Coles tells us who lived where, street by street, and Edith Shaw Jones takes us to Washington, D.C. with her Mansfield High School students on the eve of World War One. Harry Taylor continues his story of Mansfield that we have been presenting is serial form for several issues. Make sure your membership is current. You won't want to miss this one. It will be ready to mail shortly.
Upcoming Events
Coming in March: Jim McMullen will give us a presentation of the Tioga Division of the Erie Railroad that ran through our town. He is the expert. He donated his extensive collection of books on the subject to The History Center a couple of years ago. The event, originally scheduled for March 2020, is finally in the works. Cosponsored by The History Center and the Mansfield Free Public Library.
Update on Our Renovations

Rebuilding With YOUR Help!!!
Your Town, Your Ancestors, Your History

For the New Year. Consider a gift membership. Members will receive our 40 page printed journal by mail 4 to 6 times a year with new articles that have never been researched before and outstanding photos to illustrate. Share your love of the Mansfield area with your friends and family.
Why do we ask for donations in every newsletter? Because we have to.
It's the only way we can continue offering our important services to the community.
Your help will make it possible.
Membership- Renew for 2022
Annual memberships are an important part of keeping us operating. Please consider a new or renewed membership.

Members receive four to six issues annually of our printed journal Voices From the Archives.

Membership dollars are an important part of our operating resource. Be sure to renew your membership for 2022 or become a new member. A renewal card will be included in the next journal which will be mailed this month.
Annual Membership Levels
Family $50
Individual $35
Senior (Over 65) $25
Business Level $100
Lifetime $500
MHS Class Memorial $200

Checks to
The History Center
83 N. Main Street
Mansfield PA 16933
or by the PayPal Donate Button
A History Center Member is a History Center Hero
Be A Hero
Thank You to Our Gold Level Sponsors
Ward Manufacturing
Law Offices of Larry Mansfield
First Citizens Community Bank
VFW Post 6757
Mansfield Auxiliary Corporation
Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Lutes Foundation
Mansfield Lions Club
Thank You to Our Silver Level Sponsors
Real Disposal Service
UGI Utilities, Inc.
Blue Ridge Cable
Matt Neal Construction
Bohart Heating & Plumbing
The History Center on Main Street
The History Center on Main Street provided no goods or services in exchange for your contribution. Your contribution is deductible to the extent provided by law. The official registration and financial information of The History Center on Main Street, may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement