Monday, June 10, 2013

Perkins Stone Mansion

Perkins Stone Mansion: 550 Copley Rd. Akron OH

Akron Empire welcomes guest blogger Juniper Sage with another historical tour she took of an Akron landmark and museum.  While Juniper enjoys historical locations, she is also one of the organizers of Dance Dance Party Party-Akron (DDPP-Akron).  Click HERE to see a recent blog post about this local women's group.  Juniper previously blogged for Akron Empire about John Brown House this past January.  Click HERE to see the John Brown House post again.  Joanna Wilson shared her historic tour of Hower House, another local landmark--click HERE to see the Hower House tour post again.  What is your favorite Akron historical site?

Taking a Tour of Perkins Stone Mansion
by Juniper Sage

I would be misleading you if I didn’t admit now that the other reason I am doing field trips to historical locations in Akron was to look at pretty houses. We have so many beautiful houses here but there are few that one can go into and really look around. The John Brown house may have been small and simple but the old way of building with stone walls and massive carriage houses has a real appeal to those of us that live in cramped apartments or have postage stamp sized yards.

Perkins Stone Mansion--side view of porch.

My second field trip for this series took me to the Perkins Stone Mansion, a very different kind of pretty house. Perkins Stone Mansion was built in the mid-1830’s by the eldest son of the founder of Akron, Col. Simon Perkins. He choose to build his family home on the outskirts of the city, right up against the Portage Path, where he had a clear view of both downtown Akron and the canal that the city was built around and that he and his father were instrumental in bringing through Akron.
Perkins is a name that is well represented throughout Akron. There is a Perkins Middle School, Perkins St, Perkins Park, Perkins Square and the Perkins Mansion. Learning about the mansion led to a better understanding about the very beginnings of Akron’s history and why the name is so prevalent in our community.

One of the outbuildings on the Perkins' property--The Wash House

I went to the mansion during the first week they were open this spring and there were a number of school children taking tours as part of a class assignment. The tour guide was very good about keeping them engaged while still relating interesting facts about the family and life during the time the house was occupied. The guide made several references on the difference between the Howers of Hower House and the Perkins family and now that I have been to both locations I understand what he was talking about. The Perkins’ were more of a farm family with simpler tastes, and sheep would have grazed right up to the front door.  I can’t imagine the same could ever be true at the Howers.’

The Wash House from another angle--you can see the tower for the windmill here.

One of the things I am always interested in when I go to old homes is to see how the servants interacted with the house, the back stairs, the dumb waiters and that sort of thing. I guess this is because it seems secretive and mysterious more than anything. So, I was a little disappointed that more of the servants’ areas were either storage or not restored to their original use. 

A small garden section featuring a donated sundial, visible as you walk into the property.

This tour took an hour but I would plan for a bit more time as the docents are willing to talk in depth if you are interested in more information. Tours of the Perkins Stone Mansion are available Wednesdays-Friday from 1-3:00pm through November 1st, excluding holidays. Appointments for Tuesday and Saturday tours must be made in advance. Prices are $6 per adult, $4 for seniors, and $2 for children 17 and under. 

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