Deb Ward, GWS, OWS, PWS, WSI - WATERCOLOR/WATER MEDIA - My passion is teaching adult “beginners”. Weekly classes in my home; workshops; classes for Cincinnati Recreation Commission. My work is nationally recognized and published - see “Featured” on my sidebar. I’m a Signature Member of Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana state Watercolor Societies, Cincinnati Art Club, past-President of Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society. Contact info below under “Class Information”

Monday, December 9, 2013


This is the back of the manor from a garden view - the front is even more impressive
On the way home from Youngstown, we toured the F.A. Sieberling (Goodyear Tire) estate in Akron, Ohio – Stan Hywet Hall - pronounced Stan HEE-wit - Old English for "stone quarry".  The home was named for the stone quarry which was a prominent natural feature of the original estate grounds (originally 3,000 acres, now just 70).

I had toured the home several years ago on a trip with my husband, and remembered some of the rooms and stories, but it was wonderful to go again with a friend and take our time (you know how husband’s can rush you sometimes!)  I re-learned about the Sieberling family and the home - 65 rooms, 23 fireplaces and 23 bathrooms! The home was one of the first in the area to have running water and electricity, and the unheard of luxury of a private bathroom for each bedroom!  They lavishly entertained prominent political figures and celebrities in their Music Room (2,700 square feet - larger than most of today's homes!) hosting balls and galas.  Today it is possible to reserve the room for weddings and other gatherings. 

The Sieberlings imported much of the flooring and furniture from Europe. Just as William Randolph Hearst did at San Simeon, they imported an entire room from an English manor house - including the fireplace! - that was being torn down and used it to create their master bedroom (with his and hers bathrooms and dressing rooms!). They spared no expense in building and furnishing the home and grounds which were designed by landscape architect Warren Manning.

We learned that the Harvey Firestone home had been in this same area, but it was torn down after his death in compliance with Mr. Firestone's will; he believed that it would fall into ruin since it would prove too costly to maintain.  Sadly, that would probably have been true.  We were told that the Firestone mansion was even larger than Stan Hywet!  I love history and old homes, so I find it extremely sad that such a magnificent place no longer exists, even though I understand the economics involved.  Stan Hywet survives due to Frederick Sieberling, the youngest son, who was instrumental in creating a non-profit organization so that the public could enjoy this amazing home.
Birch tree allee
The day was windy and dreary, fortunate for us since there were not many tourists.  My friend and I had our own tour guide and so were able to ask lots of questions and take our time meandering through the house.  Later we walked around the gardens – not a very pretty sight in mid-November – where the staff was busily stringing lights and putting up Christmas decorations.

After lunch in the Carriage House – yes, we really did eat in an old stable! – and a quick stop in the gift shop, we headed back to Cincinnati – and the weather kept getting worse and worse. 

I managed to drive through gale force winds in northern Ohio – as I watched semi trucks being blown sideways – and then through pitch dark with wind gusts and driving rain the rest of the way home.  Fortunately, I didn’t know about all of the tornadoes which were touching down to our west, or I would have been a basket case.  By the time we got close to home the worst was over and we pulled into our local Cracker Barrel for a hearty dinner.

Despite the gloom and bad weather, our trip was fun and entertaining and educational – a great time was had by all!

If you are ever in northeastern Ohio near Akron – be sure to stop in and tour Stan Hywet Hall.


Debbie Nolan said...

Dear Deb - I love this place...been there a couple of times - live about 65 miles away. Really something to see. Thanks for reminding of my visits. Hope you have a lovely day.

Katherine Thomas said...

Sounds like an interesting, enlightening, and adventuresome outing! I used to live in northern ohio, but I don't know if I ever toured that house. I wish I had!

Barb Sailor said...

Since I am originally from the Cleveland area, I am familiar with this wonderful place...I love visiting there and would encourage people to visit it if they are near. I love the picture of the birch trees - beautiful composition/perspective.

debwardart said...

This falls under "the grass is always greener" . . . but sometimes the best places are right in our backyard, if we only knew about them. There are a few places close to me that I keep wanting to go, but never seem to get there. Debbie and Barb, hope you get to go back soon; Katherine, perhaps you could make it in conjunction with an art program, it is definitely worth the drive.