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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

boardup on prescott

Putting a better face on 331 Prescott. Properties that are worth saving deserve some extra care. This hopefully shows the positive effect of a more aesthetic boardup. Contributions to this came from myself, Brian Dormaier, and Lowes.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

the madison marquee

The marquee from the old Madison Theater came down off the Renaissance Theater today. Here's what I know of its history and what is going to happen to it:

The Madison Theater, owned by the Memorial Building Board, was tucked in behind the Memorial Building with its entrance and marquee on Park Avenue West, sandwiched between the Memorial Building and Farmers Bank (Chase now). In that location the marquee extended out over traffic and was struck by a truck, thus the creation of the notch in it's latter days.

The history of how the Madison came to be torn down is left for someone else to tell. But the marquee itself was saved from the wrecking ball by Mike Volk who sent a truck and crane to retrieve it. The giant Madison blade sign that rose above the marquee didn't survive the removal. It collapsed in the process of taking it down, and was destroyed.

The marquee, however, did survive and was later refurbished by Volk's company to be mounted on the Ohio (now Ren) during its restoration. The marriage of the Madison marquee on the restored Ohio Theater was not a popular move with the Preservation Office in Columbus, according to Dan Seckel who was involved at the time. Nevertheless, it was a popular solution here in Mansfield and saved the marquee and saved the expense of a new sign.

The current capital building project at the Renaissance included plans to remove the old marquee and restore the front of the theater in that area where there originally had been a glass transom, and defer to the new marquee. To save the old marquee, it was planned to mount it freestanding in the parking lot behind the theater, as a kind of urban sculpture.

This wasn't a popular plan and the Historic Preservation Commission proposed an alternative as a better way to assure the marquee's survival. That is to place the old marquee back where it came from, between the bank and the Memorial Building. Agreements between the property owner, the Memorial Building Board, The Renaissance Board, and the Historic Preservation Commission have allowed this plan to go forward. More information on the plan will be forthcoming in the coming months.

In the new (old) location it will serve as a much needed sign for the museum, and continued use will help insure its continued survival. Who knows? Maybe someday a new theater will be built in behind it!

Monday, May 3, 2010


The effort to restore the historic outdoor spaces at Oak Hill Cottage to the 1870s period includes restoring lawn areas. Prior to the 1950s grass seed mixtures included white clover seed, but the use of broadleaf weedkillers became the norm and precluded the usefullness of the beneficial little plant. At Oak Hill we have discontinued the use of lawn weedkillers and chemical fertilizer in an effort to encourage the mixture of grass and clover that made up historic turf.
If you want to see a more mature example of this kind of lawn, check out Kingwood Center where this has been practised for a number of years already.
In an effort to speed up the process we have sown Dutch White Clover seed this spring, and it can now be seen emerging in bare spots. We ordered the seed from where we found a reasonable price.
Besides providing a more natural looking turf, the reversal of our last 60 years of chemical lawn care would be a win win situation for the honeybee which continues to face worldwide decline for unknown reasons. Chemicals in the environment has been implicated in the problem, and it can't hurt to provide the bees with some untainted clover also.