Another piece of the Rubber City's history is on the market.
The Tri-Acres mansion, built in 1913 on West Market Street by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. co-founder C.W. Seiberling, can now be yours for a mere $1.7 million or so.
Robert Warther bought the home in 1988 when its future included a visit with the wrecking ball. He said he decided to offer Tri-Acres now because other properties in the area are being listed, including the Barder House and the Harvey Firestone Jr. home on Twin Oaks Road.
“All the other mansions in the neighborhood are up for sale and I wanted to add my hat to the ring,” Warther said.
He purchased the property at 1075 W. Market St. while former owner Unity Chapel of Light was in the process of selling it to to another buyer. That sales agreement included a provision for the mansion to be torn down three years after the deal.
When Warther heard about the deal, he decided he had to have the mansion. Its history was too important for the structure to be razed.
“I moved in in the middle of their sale,” he said.
Catherine N. Haller, Realtor for the Akron office of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Professional Realty, said the house is a dream listing for her.
“It’s just a showpiece,” she said. “It’s Akron through and through: classic and timeless.”
Haller said the 106-year-old home is a testament to its owner and architect.
“It was atypical and shows how progressive the Seiberling family was,” Haller said. “Very large bathrooms and large closets. … The bedrooms are not typical to the era. They are grand.”
Warther said that craftsmen on the mansion also worked on the Stan Hywet estate of F.A. Seiberling, C.W. Seiberling’s brother. Some skilled workers were brought in from Europe to work on the structure.
The house was designed by Edward S. Childs, "a famous architect [who] was hired by Woodrow Wilson when Wilson was president of Princeton,” Warther said.
Records show the firm of Childs & Smith built a high-rise apartment building in Chicago and a bank building in Ohio, among other structures.
The C.W. Seiberling mansion is listed by the U.S. Department of the Interior as a historic landmark under two categories: Architecture and Prominence of Original Owner.
Over the years, Warther said he’s put more than $1 million in renovations to the house.
“I was up to re-creating this place the way it was before it was pretty much destroyed,” he said.
Warther said he’d like to see a buyer as invested in the history of the mansion as he is.
“The ideal situation is the building should be a museum,” Warther said. “It should be owned by a community. This should be protected.”
Haller said potential buyers with a variety of plans for the mansion have expressed interest in the property. Some view it as a home, some as a commercial structure and others who want to maintain what has been restored.
People unaware of the house’s history still probably recognize it for its expansive yard, she said.
“Most people do recognize its … huge rolling lawn,” she said “It’s that gorgeous property.”
Also listing the property is Susan Lines of the Akron-Canton office of CBRE Group, a real estate services and investment firm. She could not be reached for comment.
Haller said that every home has a story, but Tri-Acres is unique because of its historical significance to the city and its odd mix of owners, which included two prominent Akron families — the Seiberlings and O'Neils — and two religious organizations.
“You think of the history of any property when you walk in,” Haller said. This property is special, though. “It was the Seiberling property first, then the O’Neils. … It’s exciting for me.”
Alan Ashworth can be reached at 330-996-3859 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @newsalanbeaconjournal.