The Richland Album: Bandstands

The Law of Time

This is the law of time: for every hour we go on there is an hour that slips behind, so that for every bit of gain there is equal loss. In order to enter the future we must relinquish the past—the only moment free of loss is now.

As each generation creates its own new version of America, the old way, the old style, passes into history, and as each wave of people takes the stage to witness a particular and unique new story, so it watches the putting away of sets and scenery and props from the play just concluded.

This series of photo essays takes a look at landmarks from the past that were once common and familiar components of the landscape to Richlanders long since passed on. A hundred and fifty years ago folks couldn’t really imagine a county without water-powered mills, without covered bridges, without livery stables. Today the only way you have to picture these sights is with our virtual Richland Album.

This collection of pages from the virtual album features Richland County’s Bandstands.

Every village had its town band. Richland County had more than a dozen thriving villages in the 1800s, each with a Brass Band, or a Military Band, a Concert Band or a Wind Band. They performed everywhere—in parades, at the Church Social, the Fourth of July picnic—but some were lucky enough to have their own space in the Public Square known as a Bandstand.


The Plymouth bandstand stood right out in the middle of the public thoroughfares where traffic had to dodge around it. When traffic was horse and wagon that wasn’t much of a problem, but when automobiles became common, and the streets were paved, the bandstand was removed.

Plymouth’s bandstand did double duty in the summer as a snack bar…the ground level had a window cut through so folks could buy a hot dog and a lemonade.


The Citizen’s Band from Shelby, ca. 1899.

The Shelby bandstand in Central Park: 1907 and today.


One of Mansfield’s bands… the one that was not so Militarily regimented.

Mansfield’s bandstand was built in 1878 on the south side of the Square, and it wore out in the 1950s when the city lost the battle with termites.

The new bandstand was created on the north side of the Square, and in defiance of termites it is made of steel.


Lexington’s bandstand and village band, photographed in 1909.


Lucas didn’t have a bandstand but that was no problem for their band, seen here in 1911; on parade below.


The Bellville bandstand in the snow: 1908 & 2015

One of the rarest jewels of Richland County, the bandstand in Bellville has captivated visitors since it was built in the municipal park in 1879. Recognized in the National Register of Historic Places, and replicated by other Midwestern cities, the bandstand is the quintessence of 19th century Americana, and has always been iconic of Bellville.

Photograph from the Bellville Homecoming 1908.

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