After acquiring the property at 417 Annadale Ave., The Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society plans to rehabilitate the run-down building to serve ghost hunt visitors.

The property was among the tax delinquent buildings considered by the Richland County Land Reutilization Corporation for acquisition, demolition, and resale. During a July meeting with the reutilization corporation, Ed Meehan, director of the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society, shared why the preservation society was interested in obtaining the building. 

Meehan explained that ghost hunts end at an early hour in the morning, so ghost hunt participants typically make accommodations to stay in a nearby motel or hotel. “By 4 a.m. or 5 a.m., they’re pretty wiped out, so they go back to the motel and sleep the rest of the day, so we thought that maybe [the property] would be a way we could accommodate those visitors,” he said.

According to Meehan, the perseveration society was awarded the property Wednesday, Aug. 20 by the reutilization corporation.

Meehan had previously discussed the possibility of turning the property into a bed and breakfast; however, he later stated, “That would take too long and has too many code requirements.” Thus, the building will be used to accommodate ghost hunt visitors.

One thing’s for sure—“We definitely want to preserve the house,” he said. “It’s a hundred year old house.”

Dan Seckel, one of the founding members of the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society, said that the property is one of 10 houses located on subdivision across Olivesburg Road from the Reformatory that was created by Robert J. Hancock, the son of Robert G. Hancock--the contractor who built the Reformatory.

“They were primarily oriented towards people who worked in the prison,” he said of the houses.

He added, “We always think preservation is a very, very important thing.” He noted the possible loss of the Reformatory, saying that it was slated to be demolished 25 years ago. “You can imagine what a loss that would have been, especially the way it’s developed to be an important part of the community,” he said of the Reformatory.

Meehan said that they will have their work cut out for them in the rehabilitation process. “It really needs some work done,” he said.

He said the roof and interior require renovations, as well as the outer brick layer of the building. He said the building also requires new windows and repairs to the chimney.

In a recent article by The Examiner, it was suggested that a ghost could be seen in the window of the vacant Annadale property. “A friend of mine sent [the story] to me and I said, ‘Well there are ghosts all over the place,’” Meehan said with a laugh.

To Meehan’s knowledge, however, there are no specific ghost stories tied the property.

I joined the Richland Source team after graduating from OSU-Mansfield in 2013. I enjoy highlighting all the neat things going on in my community. When I'm not reporting, I'm whippin' up something in the kitchen, running, or playing with my dog, Bill.