Gigantic Goose

What’s with the gigantic goose? it’s because Mansfield had the world’s largest goose farm!

Each spring, in the mid 1800s, up to 25,000 the young geese from Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Rhode Island and western U.S. would arrive in big boxcars at the freight house. The whole town would come out the help herd the youngsters in a large parade to the Austin Goose Farm. Many schools and businesses would close for this annual event.

George Austin’s Austin Goose Farm also handled 12,000 ducks and 14,000 hens and chicks! This was an important industry for Mansfield.

 

If you were in the right place between 1903 and 2009, you could breathe in the sweet smell of chocolate. Lowney’s Chocolate Factory, started in 1903 by Walter Lowney and which he ran until his death in 1921.

His business was both profitable and self-sufficient. His farm produced thousands of gallons of cream for his business and his Lowney Houses, on North Main Street, provided affordable housing for some of his employees.

He built a popular tavern downtown. He was Mansfield’s most generous benefactor and prominent citizen. Soon the Chocolate Factory will be redeveloped for residential and light manufacturing use.

 

  1. Walter Lowney, built the chocolate factory.
  2. Sandy Levine, local resident, teacher and former Board of Selectman member and her 3 sons.
  3. Brian Levine
  4. Dennis Levine
  5. Kevin Levine
  6. Carole and Karl Clemmey, life long Mansfield residents and generous supporters of the mural.
  7. Joe and Emma Gonsolves, life long Mansfield residents and generous supporters of the town.
  8. Corey Shea, Army Specialist, 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Died November 12, 2008, Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  9. Florence Boltz, bought the race track and built an airport for her daughter, Martha.
  10. Frances Shaw, resident
  11. Fire Chief H. King (1905)
  12. Russel Kydd, resident of Mansfield.
  13. Harry Chase, Historian, for many years wrote an historical column for the Mansfield News
  14. Stephan Ginsberg, D.M.D., Local resident and dentist
  15. Rose Armfield (Spilewski), the mother of a local resident and a mural supporter.
  16. Martha Boltz, daughter of Florence, seen here as a youngster (16) and as adult (16).
  17. Lisa Banat, was killed tragically in a car crash July 2012. Remembered here by her mother Dana Banat
  18. Angela Whitley, local residents and friends of the artist
  19. Lucy Anagnos
  20. Nick Anagnos
  21. Patrico Gozzolo, friend of the artist
  22. Ian Gaudreau, The mural artist
  23. Deb Anderson, Mansfield resident, artist and Ian’s artist’s mother.
  24. Art Anderson, Mansfield resident and artist’s step-father.

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cukes-closeup

In 1898 the first cucumber farm was started by Benjamin Vickery and by the 1920s, 14 growers were producing about 20,000 bushels annually. The town had 20 Acres “under glass” for growing the cucumbers.

On August 16 & 17, 1922, the “Fourth Annual Exhibition of the Mansfield Gladiolus Association was held. This was the largest and best yet held and the blooms equal in quality to those shown in Boston.” “The exhibits numbering about eight hundred, and distributed among the seventy-three classes”. The Flower  Grower, Caleium, N.Y., December, 1922.

 

Lieutenant S, Crocker Lovell, led calvary unit that gave Gen. Robert E. Lee an honorable escort.

Civil War veteran Lieutenant S. Crocker Lovell, who escorted Robert E. Lee after his surrender, became a well-respected local businessman. The building he built in 1870 housed a boot and shoe store, Robinson’s Grocery Store, and in recent years, George’s Cleaners. It was replaced in 2014 with the South Common Estates condominiums

The cannons fell silent and men in gray laid down their arms, shedding tears as their magnificent but defeated Gen. Robert E. Lee passed by.

But as men from the Union and Confederate armies contemplated a return to peacetime that April morning in 1865, 150 years ago today, there were still formalities to observe.
Gen. Ulysses S. Grant had already received the surrender of Lee’s army in the parlor of a family home at a place called Appomattox Courthouse, Va.

Remnants of the Army of Northern Virginia — numbering 20,000 or more — prepared to set off for their homes under the generous terms of the surrender.

Then came the question of Lee, himself.

Somehow, the thought of the legendary general — resplendent in his gray uniform — riding off alone in a countryside so recently filled with gunfire and death didn’t sit well with the commanders of the Union army.
Somehow, it was decided that a small detachment of Union cavalry be put at the old soldier’s disposal to escort him respectfully on his way home — and possibly to guard against any potshots by resentful Union veterans.
According to published accounts, 16 troopers from the Fourth Massachusetts Cavalry were ordered to perform the honors.

And at their head was Lt. Samuel Crocker Lovell of Mansfield, a veteran of the siege of Petersburg, Va., and a survivor of yellow fever contracted early in the war.

Lovell, born in 1839, was the son of a local storekeeper who joined the Union Army at 21 shortly after the fall of Fort Sumter in South Carolina. Lovell was hailed as a war hero in his hometown and kept a series of diaries throughout his Civil War service, still in the hands of the Mansfield Historical Society.

Just how Lovell came to be put in charge of the Lee detail isn’t clear, but his role in one of the final acts of the Civil War is documented in his diary and accounts given by others who were present.

Capt. William B. Arnold of North Abington, another Massachusetts cavalryman, later recalled the scene in his contribution to a pamphlet entitled “The Fourth Massachusetts Cavalry in the Closing Scenes of the War for the Maintenance of The Union.”

“When the arrangements of paroling the Confederate army were complete and General Lee was at liberty to depart from his army, an order came from army headquarters for a detail of cavalry to escort General Lee from his lines,” Arnold wrote. “The escort was made up from the 4th Massachusetts cavalry and I was privileged to be one of them. Sixteen men composed the platoon and Lieutenant Lovell of our regiment was in command. I was right guide of the detail, and I thought at the time that we were pretty good representatives of the Union cavalry.”

On the morning of April 11, two days after the surrender, the little detachment rode up to Lee’s camp and patiently waited while the general and his staff completed a breakfast of hard tack, fried pork and black coffee.

Then the entire party, including Lee, mounted and began the trip toward Richmond.

“From the time we left his camp till we passed the last of his regiments the men seemed to come from everywhere and the ‘Rebel Yell’ was continuous,” Arnold wrote.

Lee, the defeated commander, apparently wanted to dispense with ceremony and dismissed his escort after only a few miles.

“General Lee rode up to Lieutenant Lovell and thanked him for the escort, and saluted as he went his way, while we returned to Appomattox. At night the army of Northern Virginia was gone. The Union army was preparing to take up the line of march for their homes.”

Lovell later wrote wistfully of the parting.

“To me,” he wrote. “it was a happy day for it meant that the war was over and I was going to return home. It was a sad day for Lee — brave though he was he could not keep back the tears. They coursed down the furrowed, bronzed face in great drops.

“When General Lee considered that we had accompanied him far enough he grasped my hand in a firm shake and said ‘God speed and a safe return.’”

Lovell returned to the retail trade in his hometown where he continued to be a public figure long after the war. He had his cavalry horse, “Black Billy,” shipped back home and is reputed to have ridden the stallion in Mansfield parades for many years. Lovell died in 1918.

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station and train

Boston & Providence Railroad turned Mansfield into a key New England industrial hub when it came to town in 1835. The town became a key location with its two important branches-Old Colony Railroad for Taunton and points south and the Mansfield and Framingham RR for points north in Mansfield became an important fueling and watering place. Industries that relied on the railroad included foundries for casting furnaces, stoves, tacks, and nails, as well as cannons and cannonballs for the Union Army during the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln changed trains in the Mansfield train station on his way from Boston to Taunton. Can you find Mr. Lincoln in the mural? This was before he was president. The original depot was built in 1860 and lasted almost a century until 1952 when the “temporary” station was constructed.

Today’s station was completed in 2004 and has the busiest commuter rail use between Boston and Providence. The high speed Ascela passes through Mansfield several times a day.
If you look very carefully you can see the Ascela train depicted on the old steam train that Ian painted on the side.

 

Allegory area represents Mansfield’s commitment to the arts, education, sports and veterans.

Arts

Jim Gallo (1928- 2015), Mansfield High School Bandleader (1959-1980) and trumpet player.

As a young boy, Jim fell passionately in love with the trumpet. He formed his own band as a 7th grader in Roslindale, MA and was also an enthusiastic participant in the Holy Name CYO band there. He was a graduate of Boston University where he earned a Bachelor’s and later a Master’s degree in music. While at BU, he joined and actively recruited his classmates for the 215th Army Band in Boston.

Following his graduation from BU, Jim was hired by the Mansfield Public Schools to start a band program. Beginning with 11 students, he worked tirelessly to develop the Mansfield High School ‘Hornet’ Band into the marching powerhouse it became in the 60’s and 70’s, numbering more than 125 members. The organization soon became one of the finest marching bands in New England, garnering a bevy of trophies and first place awards. Its performance venues included the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, New York’s World’s Fair, Disney World, Fenway Park with the Red Sox, Gillette Stadium with the Patriots, and countless music festivals and other parades.

At the same time, Mansfield’s concert band grew and prospered. During Jim’s tenure, the band traveled from Maine to Virginia, participating in 17 exchange concerts with other high school groups. His premier travel adventure came, however, in 1977, when he took the band, drill team and color guard on a 17 day concert tour of Ireland.

Alongside his Mansfield achievements, Jim was also the music director for St. William’s CYO band of Dorchester, MA, where his students consistently came away from CYO competitions with first place awards. He also worked with other CYO bands in the Boston area including St. Kevin’s, St. Peter’s and St. Joseph’s of Medway.

On many weekends, Jim managed to find time to perform with area dance and stage bands, accompanying such greats as Tony Bennett and Sammy Davis, Jr. He also performed under Arthur Fiedler at the Boston Pops Esplanade concerts.

Following his ‘retirement’ from Mansfield in 1980, Jim began a second career when he was hired to start a middle school band in Punta Gorda, FL. Like his band in Mansfield, the Punta Gorda group expanded and prospered and was the first middle school band to perform at Disney World. Jim’s latest musical associations included playing with several Dixie groups as well as the North Port Concert Band and the Port Charlotte Concert Band.

He was inducted into the Massachusetts Drum Corps and Music Educators Hall of Fame in 2015. In that same year, James Gallo died in North Port, Fl.

Education

John Berry, Principal of MHS from 1879 to 1908.

The John H. Berry School was built in 1915 in honor of Mr. Berry. In 1981 it was closed and dormant for over 15 years, until the YMCA leased it in 1997 and is using it today.

Sports

High School Sports teams represented by 12 high school sports and Coach Mike Redding from 1998 to 2015. Pictured is baseball, cheerleading, football, coach, volleyball, field hockey, soccer, boy’s and girl’s basketball, wrestling, track and field.

Veterans

Corey Shea

Army Specialist, 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Died November 12, 2008, Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lieutenant S. Crocker Lovell

Lieutenant S. Crocker Lovell, led calvary unit that gave Gen. Robert E. Lee an honorable escort.

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Before the airport, there was the Mineral Spring Trotting Park established by the Mansfield Trotting Association, in 1869. Watching the races was a popular activity, and there were more than 40 horses stabled on the grounds.

In 1912, Florence Boltz bought the property. Sixteen years later, she turned it into an airport for her young daughter, Martha, and the airport became a mecca for aviation pioneers near and far. In 1942, the U.S. Navy acquired the site to train cadets to fly the Stearman (Boeing) Model 75 biplane. In 1943, Mrs. Martha Boltz was awarded the Harry F. Guggenheim Award for aviation achievement. In 1947, the Town of Mansfield acquired the land, and today it is a 230-acre airport with approximately 125 aircraft.

Left-plaque

Left-plaque

Right-plaque

Right plaqueIan designed the letters to stand out by using a bright gold color.

It starts with a “G” on the left plaque. Find each bright gold letter going from left to right on the left plaque then again left to right on the right plaque.When you find them all they spell out a saying and the name of the author.

If you go to the mural when the sun is getting ready to set and the bright gold letters will stand out.

Hint: This quote is by a well known American author (1817 – 1862). He was a naturalist, poet, abolitionist and philosopher.

 

Ian’s High School art teacher, LeeAnn Wilhelmson, is pictured here with Ian as a young boy. She was a great influence and encouragement of his artistic skills seen here in this mural.

In the 1910 Ford Model T Touring car are three members of the Mural Committee. Driving is Nancy Wall, Chair of the Committee and the Model T belongs to her and her husband. Sitting next to her is Scott Brigante, who was Director of Visual Arts teacher in Mansfield High School. In the back seat is Ken Butler, Executive Director of Mansfield Music and Arts Society (MMAS).

Standing beside the car is Kevin McNatt of the Mansfield Historical Society and Co-Author of Images of America, Mansfield, an important source of history for the artist. Kevin is a veteran rider of his Penny Farthing high wheel bike.

Down on the road are 3 historical figures. Reverend Jacob Ide, in the black long jacket, (1823-1898) preached at the Congregation Church for 42 years. Rev. Ide served as state representative and state senator and was instrumental in the push to open a public library in Mansfield.

In front of Rev. Ide is Linnie Dryden. She was at the forefront of female bicycle riding.  “Linnie Dryden, a Mansfield pioneer lady bicyclist, is riding her new Vulcan Light Roadster…very gracefully.” This is from a photograph by Jay Ralph Allen, a photographer for the Mansfield News, 1890. He’s pictured here behind Rev. Ide handing out flyers advertising the Fancy Dress Skating Carnival on the third floor of the Lovell Building. There is a poster for the party at the train station. Can you find it? And can you find the skaters at the party?

Behind these folks is part of the South Common. The Bessem Groceries and Provisions Store is on the left. It burned down in 1905, soon after it was built. The building that replaced it is the present town hall which previously was the High School.

Next to the  town hall is Memorial Hall, built in 1900. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places. It was dedicated in honor of Mansfield’s Civil War Veterans. This Victorian Gothic building was also the home of the Mansfield Library until 1989. It is now the offices of the Mansfield School Department and connected to the town hall. When it was built the towns people were asked to donate the stones for the facade, seen here  today.

What happened to the wall

What looks like a break in the concrete wall is really a “tromp l’oeil” or  trick of the eye! Ian came up with the idea and tutored Kelly Lee, then a Mansfield High School art student, and she did us proud! The story going round says that a municipal worker was driving by and noticed the “crumbling wall” and frantically called the office. When he went back to look more carefully some of his  workers were there and they all had a good laugh! The real door in the wall is institutional green, as seen at the upper left corner, and goes to the pump house that helps keep the road from flooding.

The old door is painted to look like the main door to the Fisher Richardson house, the second oldest house in Mansfield. You can see it on the mural in the field beyond the river on the far right end.