The Bradfield Building History

In 1841, John Bradfield, a 28-year-old native of England, purchased the firm and business building/residence of town founder, James Barnes.

Fifty years later, following two expansions and renovations, the old brick building on lot No. 18 on the northeast corner of Main and Chestnut Streets was replaced by what continues to be the largest structure in the business district, "The Bradfield Building."

In the intervening years, the general merchandise firm of John Bradfield became John Bradfield and Sons, and in 1889, the two sons assumed ownership under the name, T&J Bradfield.

During these years, the elder Bradfield was instrumental in the formation of the first banking house in the village, the First National Bank of Barnesville chartered and opened in 1865 on lot No. 13 (179 East Main), Bradfield served as president until 1875.

It was the combination of these two business interests that resulted in the erection of the Bradfield Block. Construction began in 1888 by noted contractor, Chris Murray of Bellaire, on the massive three-story structure that would house the bank and the dry goods firm. Three years later, in September 1891, both businesses moved to their new quarters.

The building's architecture proposed a Richardsonian Romanesque style, popular at the time and easily identified by the large stone arches over windows and doors. The Ohio Historical Society's review of the building for the Barnesville National Register Historic District, notes: "The most striking elements of this building are it's size, it is by far the largest in the village, and the intricate stone work is the arcaded entrance-ways and windows. In the stone area, carved faces and flowers, among other decorations."

Later, the building was recognized in the Historical Society's magazine, Timeline, as one of the most significant examples of commercial Richardsonian architecture in the state of Ohio. By 1930, the family dry goods firm was closed. The storeroom was leased to the G.C. Murphy Company 5 and 10 cent store. Five years later, Murphy's purchased their portion of the building, operating the popular variety store until January 1992.

The bank merged with the Wesbanco Holding Company in 1992, becoming Wesbanco Barnesville, April 1, 1993. The variety store portion of the building was purchased, with plans for expansion and restoration of the 102-year-old anchor structure of the business district being announced early in 1993. The results of the adaptive re-use of the storeroom as the loan and customer departments, featuring uplighting on the original decorative tin ceiling, are striking. Outside, the removal of a century of grime from the rose-colored sandstone and buttered brick is complemented by the return of the second and third story windows to the building.

In September 2006, Wesbanco vacated the Bradfield Building and consolidated its three Barnesville banking facilities into one location at 230 East Main Street. Ohio Hills Health Services purchased the building in October 2006. Being ever so mindful of maintaining the historic integrity of the building, alterations and renovations were done thoughtfully and very carefully. On June 4, 2007, Ohio Hills Health Services relocated its Barnesville Family Health Center and Administration Office, and thus, became the latest business to occupy the former G.C. Murphy Building and historic Bradfield Building.