Another event took place at Stan Hywet that troubled F.A. a great deal. One day, as F.A. was coming home from his office, as his car rounded the curve of the driveway, his chauffeur, Albert Newman asked F.A. who that was on the roof of the house. F.A. slid over and looked out the car’s window and was horrified to see a playmate of his children’s, a young girl around ten years old, walking back and fourth over the ridge of the roof of the office wing of the house. Albert sped the car to the front door. As soon as he stopped, F.A., who already had the car door opened, sprinted into the front door and up the tower staircase. He found the trapdoor to the roof open in the tower. F.A. got onto the roof and coaxed the girl back to him. Once inside the house and safe, Gertrude, who had been summoned by all the excitement, found F.A. sitting on a chair in the hallway. He was sweating heavily and white as a sheet. After explaining what had happened, he told her that , with all of the problems he had had in business and his personal life, he said nothing compared to the frightening he got seeing that little girl on the roof of the house. He told Gertrude, "this house has given us so much pleasure. What would we have done if she would have been hurt falling off of the roof? I don’t know if I could have continued to live here." Gertrude smiled and said, "but she didn’t, she’s fine honey. Come on downstairs. You need to relax." F.A. ordered that the tower roof hatch "NEVER, EVER be left unlocked again."
Now we move to teenage problems. Penfield was 18 years old and, like most teens, thought that he had gained his independence. He had gone out on several evenings and arrived home at around midnight to 1:00 am. In those days, the doors to Stan Hywet were unlocked all night. So Penfield found no problem getting into the house upon his returns. Gertrude, who worried that her son may be changing his ways, spoke to F.A. about the situation. F.A. explained that he too was beginning to get upset at Penfield’s late arrivals. He told Gertrude that he would take care of it. One night, Frank ordered the house staff to lock all doors before retiring for the night. At the time, no one had keys to the house, they would simply enter or knock and the butler would let them in.
On this night, Penfield got home at around 1:30 in the morning. He found the front door locked. He went around the house and tried all of the entry doors and found every one of them locked. He began looking for unlocked windows and found that the one of the basement windows was ajar. This window lead into the basement swimming pool. Penfield scampered through the window and went up the inside tower stairs enroute to his bedroom. When he passed by the doorway to his father’s office, F.A. ordered him to come in. F.A. asked how he got into the house since all of the doors were locked. Penfield explained. He also told his father that he was 18 years old now and should be able to come and go as he pleased. F.A. agreed. He told Penfield that he was correct that he should be able to do that. So he told him that he should find lodgings elsewhere where he could run around as much as he pleased, but as long as he lived there, he would have to respect his mother’s wishes that he come at a respectable time at night. "If that’s not satisfactory," F.A. explained, "then I will respect your dicision to move out and into a home of your own. However, as long as you live here, you WILL respect my wishes for you to be home at a decent time." Penfield agreed and the matter was dropped. He would never be late arriving home again. The Seiberling kids weren’t much different from most others. They played pranks, they did things to worry the grown-ups and they tried to disobey the rules. All in all, F.A. and Gertrude raised good kids. Not the normal "rich brats". That’s because, even though they were wealthy people, and they showed their family culture. They also instilled in them the common decency that make children grow into decent adults. There were clashes between the generations at Stan Hywet as there was in any other home, but never for a moment did the children not know that they were respected by their parents. And never once did the children not respect their parents. As the Seiberling children grew and left home to make their own lives, they always knew that Stan Hywet stood waiting for them if they ever needed to return. Their rooms were always kept for them and when the family gathered there for holidays and other events, they could stay in the rooms as they had always done.
At the time of Stan Hywet’s birth in 1915, the automobile was a new device. They had only been building cars for around 30-years and the mass-produced automob- ile had only been developed for about ten years. Horse and wagons could still be seen daily on the city streets delivering ice, milk, coal, lumber and a host of other merchandise. But, to the dismay of a few, and the joy of others, the motor vehicle was here to stay. And no one knewthat better than F.A. Seiberling. The fact was, the motor car was the sole reason that Frank was in business. His companies, Goodyear and Seiberling Rubber built tires for family cars, delivery trucks, bicycles, motorcycles, airplanes and military vehicles.
And since Henry Ford introduced his Model "T", or, "Tin Lizzie", in 1908, the rubber industry would now be, not only a business that would be a stable part of the future, but would be a very profitable business as well. To operate an estate as large as Stan Hywet, motorized transportation was a must. During Stan Hywet’s construction, Charles Schneider drew up plans for a Tudor style ten-car garage and stables for the Seiberling’s other love...horses. He sent the plans to F.A. for final approval. F.A. made a few changes and returned them with a note. He wrote:
"First, as to the garage, I want the openings made wider and as high as possible for the reason that my big truck is 7-1/2 feet in width over hubs, and a platform that I will build for carrying passengers may be even a little wider, the machine being about 21-1/2 feet long. I find that I can back it in over the pit for storage so it will just about be flush with the wall. The partitions between cars I want taken out, preferring to have the floor level throughout. In the southeast corner of the garage I shall use the space devoted for one car to keeping supplies of oil, having the gasoline nozzle located there, burying the tank on the south side of the building."
F.A. did convert a flatbed truck into a passenger "bus". He assigned a young man who worked on the estate named Bachtel, to drive this large vehicle to pick up local visitors and guests from the downtown Akron train station and bring them out to Stan Hywet when they came to town for a stay. Inside the carriage house garage, next to the large truck/bus, was Gertrude’s small electric car. It was a two seater that she used seldom, but would drive to town in. It was slow but there weren’t too
many vehicles at that time on the road. The car’s batteries held their charge only for about ten to fifteen miles, so Gertrude couldn’t travel that far in it. F.A. learned to drive in the early days of the automobile when there were very few around and even fewer traffic laws. Like mostmales, he loved to go fast. When son Fred and his family lived at the gate lodge at Stan Hywet, F.A. was very concerned about his grandchildren playing outside with cars coming through the gate all day and whizzing up the curved driveway to the main house. Frank had a sign installed inside the gate which read: "DRIVE SLOWLY AND WATCH FOR CHILDREN". But the fact was, the sign was not intended for him. F.A. would zoom down the meadow across the front lawn from the house to the gate. He did this until Gertrude pleaded with him to quit as he was beginning to put tire ruts in the lawn. F.A. did most of his own driving, but did keep a resident chauffeur on staff at the estate. He drove the family around town and would take F.A. to meetings as Frank did not like to have to park the car and walk long distances. Albert Newman was the family chauffeur for many years. Albert was a wonderful driver who obeyed speed limits and maintained all of F.A.’s cars very well. But Albert was a careful driver and, one day, while driving F.A. to his office and only going at a speed of around 25 miles an hour, F.A., from the back seat told him, "Albert, can’t you drive faster? I’m growing old back here." Albert, always quick with a reply, responded, "That’s good sir! And as long as I do your driving, you will continue to grow old." F.A. began to chuckle, "Very well, Albert," he answered, "Point well taken." Franklin Jr. remembered a time when, while riding with his father in the back seat while Albert was driving fast to get F.A. to a meeting and was running late, F.A. asked Newman, "How fast are we going?" Newman answered back, "86-miles an hour Mr. Seiberling!" "Well," replied F.A., "drive right along now." The carriage house was divided into several separate parts. On the ground floor was the ten car garage with a workshop area for auto repairs. The other side of the building was a stables for the family’s horses. There were stalls for the animals, a tackroom and hay-shakers that were installed in each horse’s stall with a large handle that the groomsman could shake to send hay down from the second floor for the horse’s feed. On the second floor of the carriage house, over the garage area was two apartments, one for the chauffeur and another for the groomsman, plus their families. At the other end of the second floor, over the stables was the storage for the hay bails. There was a door at one end with a winch for offloading the bails from a wagon and raising them up and into the storage area.
Construction of the carriage house
By 1950, after Gertrude’s death and with F.A. the only family member still living on the estate, the horses were gone and the stables were closed. As far as the garage, only two cars remained and they didn’t leave the building very often.