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In the Corbin Conservatory on April 4, during the grand opening of Stan Hywet's 2014 season, two women were admiring the miniature garden setups. They were especially entranced with the miniature of the replica of Cedar Lodge in Hessel, Michigan, the summer home of Franklin A. and Gertrude Seiberling, who once owned the historic 65-room Tudor Revival mansion in Akron. F.A. Seiberling was co-founder of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.
The two women in question, Anne Davis, 85, and Julie Shaw, 89, are granddaughters of Franklin and Gertrude Seiberling, and the current owners of Cedar Lodge, where they still visit in the summer. They both live in Oberlin. They told guests of the opening details about the island estate.
"It's still in the family," said Davis. "We're just delighted. We are there every summer, and seeing it like this brings back such happy memories."
One amusing memory Shaw shared was that when the family lived there, they also had to contend with a family of persistent beavers, who liked to build their dam near the boathouse.
"They would build their dam, and when we came back in the summers, it would have to be deconstructed so we could get to the boathouse," she said. "That always took some doing."
Stan Hywet's theme this year is "An Influential Journey," and emphasizes the places the Seiberlings traveled. The miniature gardens in the Corbin Conservatory, for example, highlight places where the Seiberling family liked to go.
"The Seiberling family traveled a lot," said Gailmarie Fort, the vice president of outreach and communications. "They traveled mostly to England, but they also went to Egypt and the Amazon."
A highlight this year is a 16-foot scale model created by artist Wayne Kusy of the RMS Lusitania, a ship on which the Seiberlings had sailed on at one point, Fort said. The model was crafted using 194,000 toothpicks, and can be seen in the Manor house's Great Hall through October.
Another new highlight this year is the Playgarden on the grounds.
"It's actually six different experiences reflecting the Seiberlings," Fort said, adding that it is designed for multi-generational families.
The Playgarden will include a 15-foot Tudor Revival-style playhouse, a restored, interactive Model A Ford Truck, a sundial-shaped splash fountain, lawn bowling, and a place to learn about seasonal plants. Guests on the grounds also can enjoy musical features inspired by the Manor house's Aeolian Organ and search for archeological treasures in Joe's Dig.
For details on other events and activities, call 330-315-3287 or visit www.stanhywet.org.