Stan Hywet Hall, Akron Ohio
The estate is named for the Anglo Saxon term for stone quarry, as there was a large sandstone quarry here. The builders, Frank Augustus and Gertrude Seiberling, were industrial and philanthropic leaders in their community. Indeed, Mr. Seiberling was extremely influential in the development of the American rubber industry, being the founder of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and Seiberling Rubber Company, He was also involved in a number of transportation enterprises, including railroads, trucking, and blimps.
Stan Hywet remained in the family until 1957 when the Seiberling heirs donated 65 acres of the estate, including the house and three other buildings, to a non-profit foundation. It is now open to the public as a house museum.
Modelled on several authentic British Tudor manors, including Compton Wynyates and Ockwells Manor, Stan Hywet is one of the finest examples of Tudor Revival architecture in America.
Planned around a central rectangle, Stan Hywet was designed to appear as if it had been built over a period of several hundred years, rather than four years. Thus, its wings project asymmetrically and a number of different design traditions are represented on the interior. These include late Gothic (Great Hall and Gothic bedroom), Tudor (master bedroom, reception room, breakfast room, billiard room and blue bedroom), Jacobean (music room, dining room, library, and grand staircase), Adam (bedroom), William and Mary (bedroom), Cromwellian (bedroom), and Georgian (bedroom and morning room).
No effort was spared to create the impression of an English Tudor mansion. Period furnishings, authentic materials, and, in one case, an entire room from a 300-year-old English manor house (which became the master bedroom) were imported. Other pieces were specifically designed to fit the mansion. The interior is distinguished by the lavish use of fine materials, serving practical as well as decorative purposes. Finely hand carved panelling of a variety of woods, including oak and sandalwood, is frequently employed. Flooring materials include wood, sandstone, and slate. Ceilings were often done in elaborately molded plaster or were crossed with heavy, hand carved beams. The designs of the handmade hardware were based on old English wrought iron pieces; each major room's fittings are unique.
Many modern conveniences were incorporated into the mansion in unobtrusive ways. For instance, Stan Hywet is centrally heated but the radiators for the steam heat are concealed in the floors, walls, or under shelves. (The fireplaces, on the other hand, are focal points in each room.) An elaborate telephone system which connects more than 30 telephones throughout the house is also concealed.
The Seiberlings intended Stan Hywet to not only serve as their home but also to be a part of the Akron commmunity. Their collection of decorative arts was partly selected with a view to providing the people of Akron with access to museum-quality paintings, sculpture, textiles, and furnishings. The vast majority of the collection is still intact and is on display to the public.
Originally consisting of 3000 acres, the property now covers 65 acres. The landscaped grounds are enclosed by a stone fence. Most of the property on the east, south and north is laid out in lawns, walkways, terraces, trees, shrubs, and small flower gardens. A formal English garden and a Japanese garden with teahouses grace the west side.