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New tour, events herald centennial at Stan Hywet

3/26/2015 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

New this year on the Stan Hywet Nooks and Crannies tour is a stop in the Manor House’s nursery. The room has never before been on a public tour, according to Stan Hywet officials.
Photo courtesy of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens
WEST AKRON — Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, opening for its centennial season April 1, will feature a new tour and special events to highlight the grand estate’s history and significance.

Blueprints to Bricks, a new guided tour starting May 1, will show what it took to create the nearly 65,000-square-foot Manor House at F.A. Seiberling’s estate, 714 N. Portage Path. Also, a room that has never been part of public tours will be added to the existing Nooks and Crannies tour, according to Julie Leone, director of museum services and curator.

Leone said the creation and construction of the home and estate has been touched on in other Stan Hywet tours and exhibits. When conceptualizing the Blueprints to Bricks tour, she aimed to create something new for visitors.

“As we were doing research, I found all these unique stories that people didn’t know about or that weren’t part of our regular tour options,” Leone said. “That allowed us to flesh out in more detail the designers who worked on the property and their interaction with F.A. and Gertrude Seiberling, and some of their differences of opinion, to learn about all the different changes that happened throughout the design process.”

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. founder Seiberling hired architect Charles Schneider and landscape architect Warren Manning to design the home and estate. Construction began in 1912 and wasn’t complete until 1915, when the family moved in on Christmas Day.

“It took about two years longer than they anticipated the whole project taking, and it was well over budget,” Leone said.

She added that initially construction of just the Manor House was estimated at $150,000. That eventually doubled to $300,000 and the final tab was $500,000, which didn’t include the furnishings.

The Seiberlings traveled to England and visited estates there for ideas. That experience led to changes to the original designs, Leone said. The designers also weighed in with tweaks.

At one point, Leone said, F.A. Seiberling said to the designers, “Do not come to me with any more changes.”

The 90-minute tour will be offered twice a day, at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and will include both the interior and exterior of the Manor House, Leone said. The tour will continue into October.

The new tour doesn’t replace the existing Manor House and Nooks and Crannies guided tours, both of which will start up April 1. Leone said as part of the centennial celebration, the Nooks and Crannies tour will include a new feature: the Seiberling nursery on the third floor.

“It was never used by the Seiberling children, but there were grandchildren born here at Stan Hywet,” she said, which shows how the estate became a place for extended family.

The nursery, which has not been on any Stan Hywet tour before, features original wallpaper that Leone said is in “perfect condition.”

Both Blueprints to Bricks and Nooks and Crannies tours are $28 and $10 for youth ages 10-17. Members are half price.

Also expected to be ready when the estate opens is Picturing the Past, an exhibit of 15 oversized photographs of the property dating from 1912 to 1915. The images will be strategically placed on the grounds at the photographer’s vantage point, providing visitors a look at then and now.

A special event that ties in with the anniversary this year is the Seiberling Homes Tour Tea April 11 from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The event includes a bus tour of West Akron Seiberling family homes with stops at Tri-Acres, the former home of C.W. Seiberling, and the Samuel Miller house, former home of Samuel and Anna Seiberling Miller. Both homes are on West Market Street.

Following the bus tour, the group will return to Stan Hywet for tea, savory tea sandwiches and dessert with music provided by Celestial Strings. The tea also includes a self-guided tour of the Manor House.

Tickets are $100 or $80 for Stan Hywet members. Reservations are required and tickets may be purchased at stanhywet.org or by calling 330-315-3287.

Other notable events and exhibits this season:

  • The Inspiration in Bloom fresh floral exhibit will feature displays by local floral designers set up throughout the first floor of the Manor House April 10-12;
  • Bloom!, June 2 through Sept. 20, is an outdoor exhibit featuring 32 kiln-fired and nature-inspired glass sculptures by Craig Mitchell Smith “planted” in the gardens. The sculptures will be up-lit for Twilight & Flashlights evening tours on Thursdays and Fridays, Aug. 20 through Sept. 4; and
  • Community Day, Aug. 16, will feature free admission for registered guests (available online at stanhywet.org later this spring) for a day of vintage baseball, tours, antique cars, games, a Goodyear Band concert, geocaching, historic interpretations by the History First Hand acting troupe and more.

Stan Hywet will be open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The last admission is at 4:30 p.m. For more information and a schedule of events, go to the website or call 330-836-5533.

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