Volume Four  Issue Eight August 2019
The History Center on Main Street
 83 and 61 North Main Street
Mansfield, PA
The Museum of Us
The History Center on Main Street
Director- Joyce M. Tice: President - Deb Talbot Bastian: V.P - Kathy McQuid
Mansfield Gets into the Swim of Things 70 Years Ago
If you were lucky enough to be in Mansfield on the afternoon of August 13, 1949, there’s a good chance you would have been all wet.

At 3 p.m. that Saturday afternoon, there was arguably as much excitement and civic pride on display as had ever occurred in Mansfield's first 92 years of existence when the Mansfield Memorial Swimming Pool was officially opened.

Talk of a town pool in the borough had first surfaced in 1935 when the concept was listed as a possible project as part of a recent infusion of New Deal Works Progress Administration money. That federal funding didn’t find its way to a pool for Mansfield, but both Blossburg and Wellsboro leveraged WPA resources to supplement community fund-raising efforts to start construction of municipal pools in 1937.

In its first meeting of the year in 1938, the Mansfield Business Men’s Association devoted most its meeting agenda at the Mansfield Hotel that cold January day to discussing the concept of bringing a pool to Mansfield.

Before the project could get organized and construction started, events in Europe and the Far East pulled the plug on the pool for the foreseeable future. Instead, the Business Men’s Association in conjunction with the Community Chest provided funding to expand and supervise the swimming hole on Corey Creek, located above the bridge on Newtown Road, for the use of area residents during the summer.

Kitty Loveland supervised the Corey Creek “swimming pool” along with Clarice Stilwell.

Although the “swimming pool” on Corey Creek was operational for almost five years – it closed for a short period due to the prevalence of infantile paralysis in nearby communities during the summer of 1944 -- it proved to be inadequate and impractical for many reasons.

Mansfield was more then ready for its own modern, cement pool when an overflow crowd gathered for a Community Forum in the Senior High Auditorium on the evening of May 6, 1947.

The crowd was overwhelmingly in favor of building a pool in Mansfield with a bevy of some of the most influential and respected citizens of the community lending their voices to the effort.

Kimble Marvin spoke on safety and sanitation and went so far as to suggest an indoor pool. Principal Warren L. Miller seconded the idea of an indoor pool stressing parents of small children do not like using the Corey Creek “pool” for safety reasons. Marion “Spotts” Decker weighed in stating there was no question that the community needed a swimming pool to offer swimming lessons.

Miss Jane Baldwin and Miss Jane Calkins represented the Senior High School and Miss Geraldine Griffin the Junior High School, declaring that Corey Creek was inadequate, unsanitary and dangerous.

Ted Casey, the coach of college football, basketball and baseball teams really hit the nail on the head when he said that a swimming pool would be the best thing for the community.

Alfred Cleveland, who would later be honored with a memorial plaque at the swimming pool for his untiring efforts to establish a pool in Mansfield, told of fund-raising efforts of the Lions Club. Sponsoring a minstrel show, basketball game and movies, the Lions had already raised several hundred dollars for a pool.

A feeling of euphoria swept over the crowd when the Smythe Park Association offered land next to the high school and suggested the swimming pool be located near the playground. William Swan – the district chairman of the Boy Scouts – brought the evening to a crescendo when he boldly stated that if the community started raising money now the pool could be ready for 1948.
Shortly following the meeting, a group of citizens formed the Mansfield Memorial Swimming Pool Corporation to plan the construction of the pool and oversee fund-raising efforts.

Estimates came in at $40,000 for the project with money being received from numerous organizations and individuals throughout 1948. But reaching the 1948 completion date mentioned during the community meeting proved too optimistic.

A bold decision was made in early 1949 to go ahead with the construction of the swimming pool even though funding was short of the required cost. Any delay, it was reasoned, would push the completion date back yet another year until 1950. 
Ground was broken for the start of the still unfunded project on April 16, 1949 with Alfred Cleveland, Harry Taylor, Harry Rice, King Rose, Herb Peterson, Oscar Lutes and Bertram Francis turning the ceremonial shovels of dirt as the high school band played.

The actual construction started just moments after the shovel ceremony when contractor Webb Rice, who donated equipment and operators, started to scrape away the topsoil and begin digging the hole that would become a swimming pool.

The race was on to get the pool completed before the summer of 1949 came to an end. The Mansfield Advertiser was the lead cheerleader, running weekly front-page feature stories, updates on construction progress while urging everyone in the community to pitch in and help. The paper ran a weekly donation list and continuously asked for volunteers to grab a shovel and pick and donate their time to the project after their workday was done.

Every organization in the area seemed to be conducting fund-raisers while a wave of volunteers fanned out across the borough and neighboring townships to solicit donations door-to-door. Few doors escaped being knocked. It was a record-breaking effort by hundreds of citizens and reminiscent of the War Bond drives of just a few years earlier.

The pool was named the Mansfield Memorial Swimming Pool to honor the Mansfield area veterans from World War I and World War II. The community got a graphic reminder of the sacrifices made early in the fund-raising efforts when the bodies of former Mansfield residents George Mascho and Robert Fowler returned home. Mascho was killed in action while serving on the Norman Scott destroyer off the coast of Tinian in the Pacific while Fowler, a member of the famed 82 nd Airborne Parachute Division, was killed in action in Holland. Both died in 1944 and were buried in cemeteries near their battle sites until their bodies were returned to Mansfield and their families in 1948. 
Because of the extraordinary volunteer efforts, the swimming pool would be completely built and operational in just over 100 days.

The pool underwent state inspection on July 22, 1949 but everyone groaned about the more than two weeks wait before receiving permission from Harrisburg to officially open the facility.

The formal ribbon-cutting was attended by a large audience with the high school band again playing proudly.

As the last words were spoken and the pool officially opened under the watchful eyes of lifeguards Kitty Loveland, William Bradshaw and Clarice Stilwell Evans, it must have seemed like the entire town together jumped into the chlorinated waters of the remarkable swimming pool they had built.
Tell us your memories of the Mansfield Swimming Pool. We enjoy hearing from you. histcent83@gmail.com
Upcoming Events
August 17 - MHS Class of 1979 Reunion 11 AM at The Museum of Us
September 14 - MHS Class of 1964 Reunion Time at The Museum of Us 4PM
October 04 - Mansfield Then and Now - A Photographic Journey Through Mansfield's Street from the earliest photos to the present.
October - Class of 1962, Date and Time TBA
2019 Memorials
Memorials or Honorariums of $200 or more are included on our Memorial Plaques

Bill Chamberlain in memory of William Matteson, Jr.
Darwina Neal in honor of the Neal Family
Marcia Bartlett in memory of Robert Bartlett
Ellen Blais in memory of Wilfred Blais
Maxine Smith Mills in memory of Evalyn and Lisle Smith
Mary Ann and Joe Maresco in memory of Chester Bailey
Linda Clark Lawton in memory of Edgar Lawton
Jane Warner Houth in memory of Jo Stilwell
Barbara Dubke in memory of Emma Elizabeth Anderson
Jack Strange in honor of the MHS Class of 1969
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Sullivan Township is 200 Years Old
At the time of the first United States Census in 1790 large parts of Pennsylvania were largely unpopulated by European settlers or very sparsely so. That is true of the area we now call Tioga County which was pretty much forested hills. The early counties were very large, and as the population increased the large counties split into ever smaller counties and the counties into townships. (Photo: The settlement of Chandlersburg, ie. Elk Run, in 1898)

In the 1790 census what we now call Tioga County was in Northumberland. By 1800 Northumberland had split, and our area was part of Lycoming County. In 1807, Tioga and Potter were split into the boundaries that remain today.

At that time there were only two townships in Tioga: Tioga on the east and Delmar on the west. In 1815 Covington and Jackson were split off from Tioga and in 1816, Sullivan separated from Covington. The original Sullivan Township included what is now the southern half of Rutland and all of Ward and Union Townships. It remained that way until 1828 when Rutland formed from north Sullivan and south Jackson. In 1852, Ward and Union separated and Sullivan became the area that it is today.

From the Wellsboro Democrat newspaper June 1873, we learn the following. “ It is a difficult task to gain correct information regarding the settlement of a place where no records have been kept, as all we can learn has to be taken from the memory of aged people. They as a rule, are forgetful and it is probable that some errors will occur in a narrative of such events.
In 1807 when Gardner Seaman came here, there were only seven families in the township. Allen Lane being the first to penetrate the then unbroken wilds, he settling ... on State Road... The others were ... Ensign Mitchell in what is called Dewey Hollow, Isaac Wescott near Mr. Lane, Abram West in Gray Valley, Oliver Jennings on the Doud farm near Mainesburg, Samuel Reynolds on the … State Road and Ira Mudge also on the same road. During the same year1807, a number of families came here, and among them were Jeremiah Rumsey, who came in the spring of that year… He came one year and erected a house and then went back to his family and returned ..., bringing the family with him. Noah Rumsey, a brother of Jeremiah, settled near him; Simon Briggs on the State Road and Captain James Gray in what is called Gray’s Valley, which derived its name from him. Captain Gray came early in the season and arrived in a heavy snow storm, the snow was four feet deep. The settlers turned out and helped him in.”

Sullivan’s first election was in March 1820 with 40 (males only) eligible voters. The Tioga County 1883 history tells us “The affairs of the township did not get into due form until about the close of the year 1819. In the year 1820, March 17 th , an election was held and the following named persons were chosen to the several offices: Supervisors, Ira Mudge, William Luddington, auditors, Benjamin Lawrence, Isaac Baker, Stephen Palmer, John King; constables, Isaac Dewey, Noah Rumsey; overseers of the poor, Samuel Harding, Peleg Doud. Ira Mudge had 28 votes, William Luddington 32, Benjamin Lawrence 30, Isaac Baker 28, Stephen Palmer 32, John King 30, Isaac Dewey 29, Noah Rumsey 22, Samuel Harding 18 and Peleg Doud 18. The record was certified March 17 th 1820, by Samuel Harding and Isaac Halsey, judges, and by David Palmer Jr. and Isaac S. Dewey.”

Many of our present residents throughout the area are descendants of these early pioneers living a lifestyle that would have been inconceivable to them. The names of some are remembered on the roads and streets of the surrounding towns, and their remains lie in our cemeteries.

Let us be grateful as historians for taxation, as it is the annual tax records that are often the only evidence we have of our early families.
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