Thursday, February 14, 2013

Last standing War of 1812 blockhouse in Mansfield, OH

Mansfield, Ohio is home to the last standing original wooden fortification from the War of 1812 in the state... and perhaps the entire region.

During the war, communities throughout the Ohio frontier were threatened by Indian attack and built small blockhouses for protection. The one in Mansfield stood in the center of town, originally. Blockhouses and stockades were erected in Cleveland, Delaware, Franklinton, and in many other small settlements. They typically consisted of a two story structure built out of squared logs. Loopholes allowed marksmen to fire out, and any windows would have been provided with sturdy wooden shutters.

In addition to civilian blockhouses, American generals from William Hull on built chains of small forts and blockhouses to protect their supply routes. Out of perhaps hundreds of wooden fortifications that were built during the war, this is the last one standing.

The Mansfield blockhouse has been extensively reconstructed-- only the lower level is part of the original structure. The upper story was salvaged from another original log cabin.

There were a number of Civil War-era cannons and howitzers in town. These 24-pounder flank howitzers stood near a stone monument to Johnney "Appleseed" Chapman--who settled nearby--and a memorial for the victims of the Sultana steamboat explosion.

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