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1919 – Smythe Park Entrance, showing gate house and main building,
railroad tracks and concrete sidewalk, Pierce & Bickford Gates (1893)

The Gate House at Smythe Park has been a part of Mansfield’s downtown since it was constructed following
the devastating flood of June 1, 1889. That flood
destroyed much of the Tioga River Valley, washing away the main exhibit buildings and ticket office of the Great Mansfield Fair at Smythe Park. It is the only Great Mansfield Fair structure to survive.

1930s Entrance To Smythe Park, Mansfield, Pa.

In 1889, the Gate House was the keystone of a determined rebuilding effort by the Mansfield community following the adversity of the flood and creating a new and improved community.

1920s – Entrance To Smythe Park, Mansfield, Pa.

Over the span of its lifetime it has witnessed the playing of the world’s first night football game in 1892, the first airplane flight in Tioga County history in 1911, and has welcomed governors and key political leaders. More importantly, it served as the first impression and entranceway for hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Great Mansfield Fair.

Gate House from inside the park

In its later years the building continued to serve the greater Mansfield area, hosting offices for the Chamber of Commerce, an art gallery, thrift shop and headquarters for Santa’s Gift Bag. It has been unused for the last decade.

Main Gate at the Mansfield Fair in Smythe Park 1889
This precedes the 1893 Pierce & Bickford Gates

This year, the Save the Gate House at Smythe Park Committee has worked with the Southern Tioga School District to secure a long-term lease on the property while partnering with MAC (Mansfield Auxiliary Corporation) and Mansfield Borough to develop a comprehensive plan to repair and renovate the Gate House at Smythe Park along with the restoration of  the historic gates. Additionally, an arched sign spanning the entrance way to historic Smythe Park identifying it as the site of the World’s First Night Football Game will be constructed.
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1908 Smythe Park Gate House

To date, the Save the Gate House at Smythe Park Committee has received commitments of $60,000 to start the renovation project. A new roof was installed this spring and plans are currently in progress to rebuild and elevate the building’s foundation.

Smythe Park Gate House 19 teens or early 1920s in the snow

We envision the renovated Gate House and Smythe Park along with the new arch and reconstructed gate serving as a point of pride for our community. It will offer gathering space for meetings, events and displays. A key feature will
be an exhibit of the history of the World’s First Night Football game, serving as a tourist attraction in the downtown Mansfield area.

1908 Smythe Park Gate House

To date, the Save the Gate House at Smythe Park Committee has received commitments of $60,000 to start the renovation project. A new roof was installed this spring and plans are currently in progress to rebuild and elevate the building’s foundation.
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