Local mansion Tri-Acre is for sale, formerly owned by Goodyear co-founder
words by Mark Schweitzer, photos by Charlotte Gintert
The best thing about this month’s Vintage Structure is that it can actually be yours… for the sale price of $1.7 million.
For that, you get an enormous Georgian-Revival mansion with more than 17,000 square feet of living space, more than 3.5 acres of park-like grounds just outside Highland Square and a listing status on the National Register of Historic Places.
Known as Tri-Acre, this high-profile Akron mansion was originally built in 1913 for C.W. Seiberling, Frank Seiberling’s brother and a co-founder of Goodyear. Though decidedly smaller than his brother Frank’s huge home just a mile north, Tri-Acre is still one of Akron’s largest houses, featuring 37 rooms, 12 fireplaces and space for a ballroom in the third-floor attic. The architect for Charles’ house was Edward S. Childs, who was based in New York City.
Both homes were being built just as the brothers were starting to create a model community for their employees in Goodyear Heights on the other side of town. Like many other prominent Akron industrialists, Charles and Frank were putting down roots in this fashionable section of West Akron, a relatively quiet area that was far from the soot and smoke of their booming rubber factories. In 1913, it was practically on the edge of town.
While best known as a co-founder of Goodyear, Charles was busy on many fronts. After losing control of Goodyear in 1921, he and his brother went on to found Seiberling Rubber, where he served until his death in 1946. He also served as president of Seiberling Latex Products Company and the Thomas Phillips Company, which made flour sacks; and he was a director for both Citizens Savings and Loan and the Macedonia-Northfield Banking Company. In addition, he founded the Akron Community Chest and served as president of the Chamber of Commerce, the University Club, the Rotary Club, the University of Akron Endowment Association and other groups. He was a trustee of another half-dozen charitable organizations.
In other words, Charles Seiberling was a busy guy who gave a lot of his time to worthy causes — a man who one local history editor noted “has been called the most popular Akronite… known to more Akron people than any other man in the city.”
While Tudor-Revival houses were among the most popular styles being built at the time — and the choice of his brother Frank — Charles opted for a more formal Georgian-Revival style, built in rich red brick and featuring all the classical details commonly found in that architectural style. The symmetrically balanced facade is formal and stately, with large, multi-pane double sash windows and a central entry portico with multiple pilasters and columns. Other elements common to the style are in evidence here as well, including a boxed cornice with dentil molding, well-detailed dormers in the third story and a formal rooftop balustrade running between two tall chimneys.
Inside, the home features many wonderful details, including custom-plastered ceilings, hand-carved woodwork and fireplace mantels, and a wide range of exotic hardwoods throughout. Visitors enter the home via an impressive three-story foyer, with a grand staircase that wraps its way upward. Behind all the incredible detail, the home’s construction is substantial—exactly what you’d expect for a house this large. Masonry construction, supported by large steel girders and a slate stone roof, meant that the house was built to stand for generations.
As nice as it was, Charles only lived in the home until 1922, when he sold it to another one of Akron’s leading citizens and co-founder of O’Neil’s Department Stores, Michael O’Neil. In 1927, O’Neil passed and the estate gave the house to the Maryknoll Brotherhood, a Catholic teaching order, which used it as a junior seminary. In 1953, the property was purchased by Unity Church, which used the building for operations and services throughout the next four decades.
In 1988, Robert Warther, president of Warther Financial Group, purchased the property and made the decision to restore the mansion and use it as a base for his business. The challenge was considerable — some elements had been damaged over the years, a garden pool had been covered by a parking lot, woodwork had been covered in paint and some rooms had been hastily converted to commercial uses.
Today, with many of its best features thoughtfully restored and mechanical systems (HVAC, Plumbing, Electric) fully updated, this stately Akron home is ready to serve as a residential property, a commercial office space, or both. Here’s hoping the next owner will be another great steward of Akron history who will help preserve the legacy of Akron’s 20th-century rubber boom.
Mark Schweitzer is a lifelong Akron resident and proud of it.