By Thomas Palmer

In our “Galion Roots” we look at the lives of individuals who either are native to or lived in Galion and made important contributions to civic life.

We lead off this week by introducing a man who not only was likely the foremost architect to have lived here, but whose work is known widely in this part of Ohio. His name was Harlan O. Jones.

Jones was born in 1859 in Richland County, the son and relative of architects. His father, Jeremiah, was responsible for the design of several structures in southern Richland County. Harlan was one of several children, and lived in the Lucas area until the age of 16.

Although he never received formalized architectural training, he “read” under private tutors and by 1894 had set up a studio in Mansfield and began to accept commissions. His office and residence remained there until 1912, at which time he and his wife Ida moved both to Galion. The Joneses had no children.

In 1908, Jones won a project which was to prove his best-known work. The Crawford County Courthouse in Bucyrus, the core of which was built in the 1850s, was set for a major renovation and expansion. Jones was named primary architect for the project. It was this work that added the current courthouse dome, front pillars, and the stained glass skylight in the Common Pleas courtroom.

The familiar look of today’s courthouse was, therefore, from the mind of this architect.

Harlan Jones continued to receive important commissions over the subsequent two decades. Those included projects in Bucyrus, Mansfield, Shelby, and Lexington. From his office on South Market Street he also designed four well-known Galion buildings. The Wyandot Building on Public Square was a Jones design, but was lost to fire in the 1980s.

Three buildings he designed which continue to be used today are the State Theatre building (currently the new Galion Family Health Center), the Inquirer building on Harding Way West (now the Wagner Law Office), and the Mausoleum at Fairview Cemetery. Jones was also hired to create plans for numerous houses in the area, including one at the corner of Orange and Cherry Streets.

In 1911, he escaped serious injury in an interurban accident in Galion. Some 23 years later, he passed away at his home at 315 South Columbus Street after a 22 week illness.

Harlan O. Jones was laid to rest in the Mausoleum he designed.

Sources: Google Books; Galion Inquirer; Find-a-Grave; Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum – Image: Creative Commons License; Fair Use