Route 24 - Shadeland Mansion

It's time for another trip along Route 24.  Under the cover of darkness 25 years ago, fire destroyed a historic building in Springboro, but this was no accident...

It was an intentional burn, and to this day, folks still talk about Shadeland Manor and why it was burned to the ground. David Belmondo has tonight's Route 24.

A fire that divided the community, not by boundary, but by emotion.  "I didn't even go to the fire myself."  Ed Laird was a volunteer firefighter the night Shadeland Mansion was burned to the ground.  "I was against the whole thing with the fire department getting involved."

The history was rich and thick.  The mansion was built in 1882 and was home to the Powell Brothers, who owned acreage across from the mansion.  The Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese obtained the property in 1950.  Shadeland was once home to Serbian fighters during WWII.

They bought the property there and turned it into a Soldiers and Sailors Home for their military people, but over the years, the building fell into disrepair.  There was plenty of talk from the public to repair the building, but that's all it was; talk.  The church didn't want to spend the money to repair the mansion.  

Despite the publics' opinion to burn or not to burn, officials from the fire dept had good reason to burn it down.  "That building was a fire hazard."

And, yes, the issue did divide the community, but looking back, could the community have done something before it was burned?  Chief Llyod Allen, Fire Chief in 1992, says, "if they were that concerned, why didn't they take steps to preserve the building?"

There was plenty of time before the match was lit. John Carr, First Assistant Fire Chief in 1992, says, "...the fact we turned them down two years in a row before agreeing to do it and gave the community a chance to step up and do something and when they came back a third time we said yes, because something was going to happen down there."

Today, the property where the mansion sits is empty, but the memories of that night still fill the memories of many residents.


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