Have the Buildings in Mansfield Struck You as Odd?
This is something I have wondered about on every trip to Mansfield. As you are driving along you will notice lots of buildings covered with a red rock facing. It pretty clearly is a facing which always struck me as strange. Around where I live buildings made of stone are made of stone, big solid walls of it, but this appears to be always like a rock version of vinyl siding. I never could quite figure out the point.
The Wilder Town House
I was especially interested because Laura’s house in town, which was clapboard sided when she lived there (according to the “Just as I am Without One Plea” photo), and the Friendship House were both sided in this strange manner. It turns out that this is just a regionalism, that it was just something that people did and thought looked nice in the Ozarks. From the examples I know of and those given in the video it seems to have been most prominent in the 1920s-1930s-1940s. Was it just cheaper than vinyl siding? It MUST last longer. Maybe they think it looked nicer too? I don’t know.
Ask the Expert
The woman being interviewed in this episode of Ozark Watch is not, I’m sorry to say, a good public speaker, but hang with it anyway because it sounds like she really knows her stuff. They show both still images and video of various places, most with much more elaborate systems of rock architecture than I saw around Mansfield (apparently they dressed it up in Springfield, the big city). Be sure to check out at the 19:00 mark where they show an example of they called Raised Bead Mortar which is much more typical of what I see around Mansfield.
P.S. This isn’t the episode I was originally looking for either, that one doesn’t seem to be online yet. I’ll keep watching.
UPDATED January 30, 2016: I double checked the link and it still works. I broke it into paragraphs and added the headings. I made a couple of slight edits and added the signature block.
Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.