Even if you live in Akron, you might have driven past the red-brick mansion countless times without appreciating its history.
Perhaps you did not know the stately home at the northwest corner of Maplewood Avenue and West Market Street, set far back on an expansive lawn, was built at the same time as Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens by another Goodyear co-founder.
While Stan Hywet, built by F.A. Seiberling and now operated by a nonprofit, has become a popular destination for its museum and gardens, not far away the mansion Charles Willard “C.W.” Seiberling built has reached its 100 birthday in somewhat less public fashion.
Acclaimed architect Edward S. Childs designed the 27-room, Georgian Revival home, at 1075 W. Market St., in 1913. It is known as Tri-Acres.
A private reception today for neighbors and special guests will pay tribute to the structure, which now houses the Warther Financial Group under the ownership of Chairman Robert “Bob” Warther.
Warther, 63, originally from Dover and related to famed carver Ernest “Mooney” Warther, said he has invested more than $1 million into the building.
C.W. Seiberling was born in 1861 in what is now Norton.
According to the book Akron and Summit County, by Karl Grismer, C.W.’s father, John Seiberling, started the first family industry in the area: Empire Reaper and Mower, in Doylestown.
C.W. Seiberling was the first treasurer of the India Rubber Co., Grismer wrote, and later, he and his brother, F.A., founded Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
The Seiberling brothers lost control of Goodyear in 1921 and later founded Seiberling Rubber Co., which in turn became part of Firestone Tire & Rubber Co.
Grismer wrote that C.W. “devoted his energy and resources toward helping the under-privileged.” He was involved in many humanitarian organizations in Akron: Edwin Shaw sanatorium, Akron’s Community Chest (later the United Way), Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and many other groups.
Seiberling, who died at the age of 87 in 1946, owned the mansion on West Market Street from 1913 until 1923.
The Michael O’Neil family owned the mansion from 1923 to 1937. He was chairman of General Tire & Rubber Co. and the founder of the M. O’Neil’s Department Store.
From 1937 until 1953, the home, which the O’Neils had donated to the MaryKnoll Franciscan Monks, was used as the MaryKnoll Junior Seminary. For the following 40 years, the building housed Unity Church.
Warther’s family bought the building in 1988 to prevent the home from being torn down and continued to rent it to Unity until 1993, when the church moved into a new building.
The Seiberling family is well-known in the Akron area for many reasons beyond F.A.’s and C.W.’s early contributions.
Henrietta Seiberling, daughter-in-law of F.A. Seiberling, brought Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith of Akron together at the Gate Lodge at Stan Hywet in 1935, forming Alcoholics Anonymous.
John F. Seiberling Jr., grandson of F.A. Seiberling, served the Akron area in Congress for many years and was instrumental in creating what is now the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Warther and his wife, Fleur, live on the second floor of the old Seiberling home. The 11 to 14 employees of his firm work on the first floor.
The third floor includes a ballroom the Seiberling and O’Neil families used to host parties.
Woodwork, doors, walls, floors, stairways and many other parts of the building have been restored. In some cases, several layers of paint and carpet were removed, Warther said.
The original blueprints of the building were burned in a fire long ago, Warther said.
Blacktop that covered much of the rear and side of the yard for parking for the church was removed, and 600 tons of topsoil was brought in to restore the landscape.
“People need to know about the building, not for me but for the building,” said Warther, who said he is about 75 percent finished with restoring Tri-Acres.
The structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
For more on Warther, go to www.wartherfinancialgroup.com.
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or firstname.lastname@example.org.