Historic mansion open for self-guided tours

By Dianna Lu, Arts & Life Writer

The Hower House on Fir Hill is a piece of preserved history just off the grounds of

The University of Akron.

It is one of the city’s hidden gems with more than 3,500 pieces of decorative art objects. The extensive collection was donated by the Hower family, who built the house in 1871.

The family traveled everywhere and brought back furnishings that date back to the 15th century. The beautiful, priceless tapestries, souvenirs, luggage and, of course, furniture.

There are daily tours, available for individuals or groups. The tour guides, or as they call themselves, The Victorians, are a group of volunteers that care for the Hower House. The Victorians first lead you through the first floor, which is the main public area, which includes the foyer, center hall, east room, library, south parlor, music room, dining room kitchen and pantry.

These rooms are elaborate with wooden floors, black, walnut woodwork from the Hower tree farm. The monogram fireplaces and painted art on the walls were custom made.

The second floor held, bedrooms, bathrooms, sitting areas and servant hallways. The 28-room mansion is built in an empire Italianate style with French influences. The majority of the house stands as it originally was built and furnished, however there was a fire in a portion of the house, but time and effort restored it as an exact replica.

There were also displays although the old cellar. The precious dolls, elegant tea-pots, china dishes, jewelry, stationary and the enormous selection of floral and Victorian prints to say the least.

Complimentary coffee, tea and cookies are offered as well for visitors of the historical site close to campus. It is worth a visit to not just see but walk through a snapshot of a piece of Akron history full of elaborate furniture and priceless trinkets.

Tours are offered weekdays between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. During the holiday season, Nov. 5 through Dec. 28, self-guided tours are allowed between noon and 3:30 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday and Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.