Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens is a National Historic Landmark in Akron Ohio, and the largest of America’s grand country estates.
The original home was built in 1904 by businessman O.J. Brokaw, who commissioned acclaimed architect John Russell Pope to design what would become one of the architect’s most important commissions to date: a 250-room Tudor revival mansion in Ohio that was both functional and fashionable for its era. Things to do in Akron.
After Mr. Brokaw’s death in 1934, the estate was sold to Marjorie Merriweather Post, heiress to the Postum Cereal Company and owner of the General Foods brand. Mrs. Post was already a noted collector of American decorative arts who had amassed a significant collection of Tiffany glass in her New York City mansion. She continued her collecting interests in the country, commissioning Tiffany craftsmen to design a variety of windows, chandeliers and other light fixtures for Stan Hywet Hall. These lighting fixtures are among over 1,000 objects on display in the estate’s museum rooms and public spaces.
Post also added numerous outbuildings to the estate during her time as its owner. They included a greenhouse, the famous “Arrowhead Pond”, and a house of modern art. She bequeathed the estate to her niece, Ann Getty Merriweather Post, who created a continuing tradition of philanthropic patronage for West Virginia by founding the state’s first Department of Education and later donating land that would become Marshall University.
The principal residence was extended to include three wings with five additional outbuildings in 1932 following Mr. Brokaw’s death. In 1948, Post hired renowned landscape architect Marian Cruger Coffin (known for her work at Dumbarton Oaks) to begin the process of converting Stan Hywet into a grand country estate. Coffin’s work included the introduction of formal gardens, topiary and statuary. She also collected sixteenth-century maps and botanical drawings for use in her design of the gardens.
In May 1992, Mrs. Post’s heirs gave Stan Hywet to the Western Reserve Historical Society of Cleveland. The Society operates a museum and gardens on the site, which is open to the public for tours and special events. Major architectural features include a Tudor-style main house, log cabin garden house, carriage house, dairy barn and milkhouse. The estate’s gardens boast a variety of formal and informal landscaped areas that are home to an extensive collection of topiary as well as mature trees, shrubs and perennials.
“Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens“, a registered National Historic Landmark, was named “one of the 15 great house museums in America” by Crain’s Business Cleveland and one of the “World’s 10 Most Breathtaking Gardens” by Condé Nast Traveler magazine.
The current steward of Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens is Director James P. Jacobsen. Mr. Jacobsen assumed his current position in November 2005 .
Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens is one of the private residences that have been featured on the Travel Channel series “County Couture”, shown regularly, along with other properties, on the WOSU-TV series “Mosaic Ohio”, produced by WOSU-TV and hosted by Curt Clark.
The estate is home to the museum collections of the Western Reserve Historical Society, established in 1855. The museum galleries display decorative arts that range from eighteenth-century American works to paintings by modern masters