Forbidden City Tour: Above City News, Eagles Building, Mansfield Savings Bank
Along Downtown Mansfield Inc. and Preservation Ohio‘s Forbidden City Tour in Mansfield, Ohio was a stop at 98 North Main Street that was home to various businesses at one point, including the Mansfield Restaurant. It was also home to the Coney Island Restaurant that opened in 1936. On Saturday, February 26, 1949, the Coney Island held a grand re-opening in observance of 30 years in the restaurant business in the city. Operated by John George and his son, Harold, the business had been operating for 15 years at the 98 North Main Street location. New florescent lighting and stainless steel equipment was installed.
The upper floors were host to a variety of businesses and apartments.
Today, the Coney Island Restaurant continues to thrive and is the oldest restaurant in Mansfield.
More impressive was the Eagles Building, located at 129 North Main Street in downtown Mansfield, Ohio, and was home to the Mansfield Fraternal Order of Eagles Lodge 336. The three-level building was designed by Frank Hursh, with a cornerstone being laid in 1912. The structure was completed at a cost of $30,000.
The interior was once lavish, and included a dance hall on the third floor with elevated spaces on the west and east ends for a band and viewing area. A unique feature at the door to the dance hall was a carved hole that was used to identify members wishing to enter the speakeasy, used during the days of Prohibition.
In 1966, the Eagles Lodge 336 constructed a new one-story structure at 133 North Main Street. The Eagles Building at 122 North Main Street was last used in May 1984.
The final stop on the Forbidden City Tour was the Mansfield Savings Bank, located at the corner of 4 West Fourth and North Main Street in downtown Mansfield, Ohio that had operated at that location from 1914 until the early 1980s. Prior to that, the bank was located adjacent to 4 West Fourth for forty years in a building built specifically for the bank in 1872.
On June 11, 1912, the Mansfield Savings Bank closed on a deal to acquire from the Martin Frank estate, which included two structures that would need to be demolished. For several years prior, the institution had sought to purchase the buildings to expand their operations, and to secure a prominent location on a busy street corner.
The directors of the bank at that time were considering constructing a skyscraper at least seven-stories in height with a basement. It would be the first skyscraper in the city. The basement and first level would be used for bnaking operations, while the second and third floors would be saved for large companies seeking space. The remainder would be occupied by bank offices.
By mid-December, the bank had made its decision on the type of building it desired to construct. Instead of a skyscraper, the bank had opted for a one-story bank building with a basement and mezzanine, constructed of granite and reinforced concrete. It would contain a polished marble base. The roof would be constructed of reinforced slabs, with an interior composed of skylights, bronze doors, mosaic tile floors, and marble and bronze bank fixtures. The building dimensions measured 40×87 feet. It was estimated that the new building could be finished for over $100,000.
Work began on the new bank building on April 7, 1913 starting with demolition of the building to the north of the present bank building. The building to the north of that, at 93 North Main Street, was remodeled to serve as a temporary bank location, a process that was scheduled to take 60 days. All of the furnishings and equipment were reused in the temporary quarters. The plan was so rushed that the bank building was demolished to the extent that it spared just the offices on the first level in order to expedite the demolition process. The contract for the new Mansfield Savings Bank building was awarded to Feick & Son, a well known contracting firm of Sandusky that had constructed numerous bank buildings in the past.
In the 1950s, the bank merged with 1st National and the building was converted into the Trust Department. At that time, a false ceiling was installed, and the tellers cages were removed. In the early 1980s, the Trust Department moved to 3rd and Main, and the building was listed for sale.
In 1986, Engwiler Properties purchased the structure. It is hopeful that the building will be fully restored in the future.