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Renovations at Akron's Stan Hywet Include Tea Houses and Lagoon Area

photo of Stan Hywet Tea Houses

A popular spot for weddings in Akron – which also happens to be on the National Register of Historic Places – could look a bit different in the future.

The Tea Houses on the grounds of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens were built over a century ago, and offer views of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Now, the cliff below the houses is being stabilized under the direction of Stan Hywet’s director of H

historic restorations, Mark Gilles.

“It’s one of the primary reasons why the Seiberling family decided to build on this particular site – so we want to make sure we don’t lose that feature. What we’re doing right now is reinforcing some of the weaker areas and rebuilding some of the staircases.

“In addition to the weddings up above, we have the Shakespeare season coming in. We need to be able to work together with them to improve the site that they’re going to be setting their stage up in. And as productions are going on with Shakespeare, we will then be working on hidden aspects up above them. So we’ll be out of their way.”

Gilles says the project has been in the planning stages for about six years, and will also include repairing and re-opening a patio on the cliff that has been closed for over a decade. He says his goal is to bring the entire property back to the way it looked when F.A. Seiberling – founder of Goodyear Tire – lived there. Seiberling’s grandson, John, was a United States congressman who helped establish Cuyahoga Valley National Park in 1974.

Gilles says his team plans to restore the wood trim on the main house once the Tea House project is complete. Currently, Stan Hywet is also undergoing a room-by-room restoration of many of the original furnishings used by the Seiberling family.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.