Mansfield is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and the county seat of Richland County. Because of its geographic location, the municipality is referred to as being part of the north-east and north-central Ohio regions in the western foothills of the Allegheny Plateau, approximately northeast of Columbus and southwest of Cleveland. Mansfield lies midway between Columbus and Cleveland via Interstate 71.
It was founded in 1808 on a fork of the Mohican River in a hilly region surrounded by fertile farmlands, and became a manufacturing center owing to its location with numerous railroad lines. After the decline of heavy manufacturing, the city's industry has since diversified into a service economy, including retailing, education, and healthcare sectors. The 2010 Census showed that the city had a total population of 47,821, making it Ohio's nineteenth largest city.
According to the 2010 Census, the Mansfield, OH Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) has a population of 124,475 residents, while the Mansfield-Bucyrus, OH Combined Statistical Area (CSA) has 168,259 residents.
Mansfield's official nickname is "The Fun Center of Ohio". It is the largest city in the "Mid-Ohio" region of the state, the north-central region which is generally considered to extend from Marion, Delaware, Knox, Morrow, Crawford, Ashland and Richland counties in the south, to the Firelands area south of Sandusky in the north. Mansfield is also known as the "Carousel Capital of Ohio," "Danger City," and "Racing Capital of Ohio".
Mansfield was first settled in 1808 and was named for Jared Mansfield, the U.S. Surveyor General who directed its planning. The village of Mansfield was incorporated in 1828, and in 1857 Mansfield was chartered as a city. During the War of 1812, the first courthouse, jail, and church of Richland County was served in one of two blockhouses that were located on the public square until 1816. In 1872 Mansfield became known for the historic Penny Guinness murder, in which an eight-year-old child was killed and left dead in her bed for several days. The case was never solved but remains to be a popular topic of folklore in Mansfield. By 1908, the blockhouse became a symbol of Mansfield's heritage during its 100th birthday celebration, and in 1929, the blockhouse was relocated to its present location at South Park. The railroads came to the city in 1846, followed by the first road across America, the Lincoln Highway in 1913, smoothing the path for economic growth.