Fabulous 1890s Weekend returns to Mansfield Friday, Saturday

MANSFIELD – The 21st celebration of the nation’s first ever night football game will once again take visitors back to a simpler era – the 1890s – this weekend at Smythe Park.

This year’s Fabulous 1890s Weekend includes all the usual excitement, from the hot air balloon rally – weather permitting – to the re-enactment of the original night football game between Mansfield Classical Seminary and Wyoming Classical Seminary in 1892.

Some highlights of the weekend include The Fabulous 1890s Parade, at 11 a.m. Saturday, a one-hour parade packed with 19th century costumes, horses, magnificent carriages, antique tractors, classic vehicles and marching bands.

The “Who Murdered Effie Tour” is hosted by Brian Barden, great-nephew of Effie. The trolley will travel through Mansfield and Mansfield University and stop at different points of interest, including the murder scene.

Tickets are $10 and will be available Friday in the 1890s office on Smythe Park. Seating is limited to 20 persons-per-tour.

The story goes that around midnight on September 4, 1897, Effie Copley, of Hills Creek, was shot in the head four times on the bank of what is now part of the Mansfield University campus.

Effie’s estranged husband, Walter Goodwin, of Charleston, was accused of murdering her. Walter claimed that it was his 14-year-old girlfriend, Gertrude Taylor, of Gaines, who pulled the trigger.

He was tried, found guilty and hanged in Wellsboro in June, 1898.

It was one of the last hangings in Tioga County.

Walter professed his innocence until the very end.

Questions remain to this day about the murder and about Effie’s baby, who disappeared immediately after birth.

In addition, Hamilton-Gibson Productions, Wellsboro will perform “The Trial of Walter Goodwin” one of the production company’s most successful courtroom dramas.

The one-hour play is based on the transcripts of the actual trial of Goodwin.

Sponsored by Elite Therapy, the play will be performed in the Mansfield High School Auditorium, Friday at 8 p.m. and in three performances on Saturday at 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Fireworks cap off the event Saturday night.

Admission to Smythe Park for the Fabulous 1890s Weekend for the weekend is $3.

For more information and a full schedule for the weekend, check online at