Volume Seven Issue Five May 2022
  • Genealogy Library & Family Files
  • Research Library
  • 13,000 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
It's Our Tenth Anniversary in Mansfield
Director- Joyce M. Tice: President - Steve McCloskey: V.P - Kathy McQuaid
The Running of the Roses
Mansfield's First Horse Race
by Steve McCloskey
If you were among those that were shocked to see Rich Strike, who at 81-1 odds was the longest long-shot in the field, win the 148th Kentucky Derby, think how surprising a long-shot Mansfield’s first organized horse races must have been to the community 121 years-ago.

Since the inception of the borough and Mansfield Classical Seminary in 1857, the citizens of Mansfield had worked diligently to establish the community’s reputation as one of the most moral and righteous in the Commonwealth.
Saloons, billiards, and bowling were banned within two miles of Mansfield State Normal School by an Act of the Pennsylvania State Legislature in the 1870s. Betting, in any form, was illegal as was Sunday baseball. Before baseball would become the national pastime, horse racing was the most popular sport in the nation. Then as now, horse racing and gambling went hand-in-hand.

According to the Mansfield Advertiser, Dr. Henry G. Smythe was reported to have donated a portion of the island, that would later become Smythe Park, to a group of individuals to establish the Smythe Trotting Park Association in the spring of 1877. The paper proclaimed the track would provide owners of blooded horses hereabouts the privilege in the near future of exhibiting their speed.
Although it would seem that Dr. Smythe was an avid supporter of gentlemen training horses, he was very much opposed to gambling. According to Chester Bailey’s 1988 book Come to the Fair, the group that would become the Smythe Park Association stated that no racing nor trotting for money will be permitted when negotiating the lease for the park. The track, they promised, was designed only for wholesome entertainment.

When the Mansfield Fair come into being, it was the only one of the area fairs not to feature horse racing as part of the entertainment draw. Although horses were annually displayed and judged at the Great Mansfield Fair, they were not raced – at least not with the approval of the fair management.
In 1900, Charles S. Ross was elected as the President of the Smythe Park Association. Ross, the President and sole owner of the Ross and Williams Bank, now First Citizens Community Bank, was arguably the wealthiest and most influential member of the community.

He also owned racehorses.

Ross was instrumental in upgrading the horse track on the Smythe Park grounds. The new track was built over the portion of the island that used to be the old riverbed prior to the Flood of 1889. It was also expanded to a full half-mile. 
Shortly after being completed, a horse trainer from Wellsboro brought four horses over to train, boarding them at the new constructed stables in the barn of a local hotel early in 1901.

In late July of that year, to the astonishment of most, the Mansfield Advertiser announced that Mansfield would host its first-ever horse racing card on the new track in Smythe Park on August 1. The paper stated that there would be three classes of trotting races. It also reported that the races were not being conducted by the Smythe Park Association, although it didn’t report who would be the sponsor. 
Purses would be offered. The cost of admission was 25 cents for entry to the park with ladies being admitted for free.

The Advertiser reported that a good size crowd of both sexes attended the races with T. W. Judge and J.M. Clark serving as judges. All three classes featured spirted races although Chocolate, Charles Ross’s horse, was disqualified when the sulky lost a wheel in a collision with another driver near the finish of the three-minute class.

The paper didn’t state if there was gambling, illegal as it would have been, during the race, but I think it would be a safe bet there was some money changing hands that afternoon in moral and righteous Mansfield.
Long Live Ebay
The White Cottage on the corner of Sullivan Street and Straughn stood between the Model School (now called Belknap) and Straughn Auditorium. It was where the M.S.N.S. Home Ec. students practiced hosting and domestic activities. It was razed in 1939 and replaced by the gymnasium which has now also been razed and replaced with a parking lot.
Photo from the 1925 Carontawan Yearbook.
I've been collecting history for thirty years now, so it is rare to come across something new. The White Cottage Cookbook was produced by the M.S.N.S. Home Ec. Department mid 1920s.
This is a rare item that I had never seen or even heard of before. We are very excited to have it in our growing 1920s exhibit.
New to the Collections
Mansfield Firemen (1950s)
Front row, left to right: Russell Tomlinson, Deb Tomlinson, Floyd Miller, Hank Ritter, John Booth, Walt Hinklie
Second row: Lee Davis, Doug Dart, Keith Cole, Al Jones, Lyle Barden, Duard Dyke
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Pictorial Scavenger Hunt
To enhance your museum visit, we have created a series of pictorial scavenger hunts. Each page has 10 to 14 items to find throughout the rooms and display areas. It's fun to hunt them down. Stop in if you have a few minutes. Bring a friend and turn the hunt into a competition.
Upcoming Events
We are open for visitors noon to 3 T, W, Th or by appointment or any time we are here (which is most of the time). Masks encouraged.

June 25 - Mansfield High School Class of 1972 50 Year Reunion.

July 16 - Mansfield High School Class of 1982 40 Year Reunion. We'll be open in case any want to drop in.

August 27 - Mansfield High School Class of 1967 Saturday 8/27/2022 from 1-3 PM

September 17 - Mansfield High School Class of 1962 60 Year Reunion

Coming in October - Our Tenth Anniversary Celebration
MHS Class Reunions
After two long Pandemic years, we hope that the High School reunions can start again. If you are planning a reunion, consider a casual afternoon Meet & Greet at the History Center's Museum of Us. In an informal environment, you can chat with your friends, watch a slide show of Mansfield's historic photos, and find traces of yourself, your friends, and your family. Many of our exhibits are geared to those who grew up here. The Blue & Gold Room is full of MHS sports mementos. The pictorial display includes YOU along with all the other MHS graduates in its first hundred years.
Update on Our Renovations

Growing 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.
The next issue of Voices from the Archives is in preparation. It will be forty pages of articles about the lives and activities of our town. Be sure your membership is current, so you don't miss any.
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

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The History Center
61 N. Main Street
Mansfield PA 16933
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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
Thank You to Our Silver Level Sponsors
Real Disposal Service
UGI Utilities, Inc.
Blue Ridge Cable
Matt Neal Construction
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