Friday, May 22, 2015

Akron’s Stan Hywet Hall Celebrates 100 Years

About one hundred years ago, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. co-founder F.A. Seiberling and his family were getting ready to move into their new home, the magnificent Tudor Revival mansion known as Stan Hywet Hall.

This year, the estate — now a public museum and gardens — is celebrating it’s 100th birthday with a series of special events, exhibits and specialty tours.

The 65,000-square-foot manor house is the sixth-largest historic home open to the public in the United States. The Tudor revival structure contains more than 21,000 panes of glass, 23 fireplaces, and intricately hand-carved wood paneling — so typical of the the luxury available to the Rubber Barons of Akron and other successful industrialists. Amazingly, the home still features 95 percent of the original furnishings chosen by the Seiberlings and their decorators.

Along with the special events, Stan Hywet Hall is launching a multi-million dollar campaign to help fund ongoing restoration work. Here are some of the events planned for 2015:

• The twice-daily “Blueprints to Bricks,” a tour focusing on the planning and construction of the estate and manor house, which required 3,000 blueprints and architectural drawings. Tour guests will visit areas and spaces not usually accessible to the public.

• “Picturing the Past,” 15 oversize photographs of the property dating from 1912 to 1915 to be exhibited outdoors on certain days during the summer. Each picture will be positioned at the photographer’s original vantage point on the grounds, allowing visitors a “now-and-then” perspective of the estate.

• The artistic installation “Bloom!,” opening June 2 in the gardens. Glass artist Craig Mitchell Smith, whose work is displayed at public gardens and arboretums throughout the country, will install 32 larger-than-life sculptures, many of them inspired by Stan Hywet. The sculptures — featuring botanical and nature themes, such as Tudor Rose— will be installed in the Breakfast Room Garden; and Butterflies of Northern Ohio, near the butterfly habitat.

• “Twilight & Flashlights,” an evening garden tour on six summer evenings in August and September. The offering will allow visitors to see “Bloom!” in a different light. All the pieces in the glass exhibit will be offered for public sale.

• The official 100th anniversary celebration, scheduled for Aug. 16 as part of Stan Hywet’s Community Day. The event will include free tours, a concert by the Goodyear Band, an antique car show, a vintage baseball game, and historic interpretations by the History First Hand acting troupe. Admission is free for registered guests.

• Several living-history days; “Woof Walk” days, for pet owners and their leashed dogs; the annual Father’s Day Classic antique car show; a gala Shakespearean ball and the annual Ohio Shakespeare Festival; and the Deck the Hall yuletide light and decoration show
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