Memorial fountain moves to Perkins Stone Mansion

2022-06-18 23:20:22 By : Mr. aron chou

A monument to an Akron industrialist has found a new home.

Actually, it’s an old home.

The Summit County Historical Society will dedicate a relocated memorial to Irvin Robinson Manton (1874-1932), superintendent of the Robinson Clay Products Co., at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, June 18 at Perkins Stone Mansion, 550 Copley Road, Akron.

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The industrialist’s descendants are expected to attend the ceremony.

In 1933, Manton’s friends from the Akron City Club installed a granite “drinking shaft” in his memory at South Main and Church streets in front of the Ohio Building downtown.

Beacon Journal columnist Bob Dyer wrote about the mysterious fountain July 31, 2016, shedding new light on the namesake of the memorial and his contributions to Akron.

City workers removed the 88-year-old monument in the summer of 2020 to make way for Main Street improvements. It remained in storage until a permanent home could be found.

“Akron was the home of the clay products industry,” explained Leianne Neff Heppner, president and CEO of the Summit County Historical Society, in a prepared statement. “As custodians of Akron’s history, we wanted to ensure that Mr. Manton’s legacy was preserved and his memory respected. Irvin Manton was beloved by his employees and colleagues.”

The fountain has been placed on a concrete pedestal near the entrance of the 1837 Perkins mansion, home of Akron’s founding family.

According to the historical society: Robinson Clay Products traced its lineage to the Summit Pottery Works, founded in Middlebury in 1856 by William Robinson and Richard Whitmore, who both hailed from Staffordshire, England.

They built a factory on Case Avenue at East Market Street in 1863, specializing in Rockingham and yellow ware and branching out in 1879 to sewer pipe, a lucrative business in an era when U.S. cities were building underground sewer systems.

Irvin’s father, James B. Manton, was born in Lincolnshire, England, and began working for the pottery company two years after it was founded. He married Harriet Robinson, daughter of company co-founder William Robinson, and was an officer of the Robinson Clay Products Co., which incorporated in 1902. Irvin’s grandfather Henry Manton served as treasurer of the company.

Irvin served as plant superintendent of Robinson Clay Products in Akron. After the Case Avenue factory was razed in 1930, Robinson maintained offices in Akron with manufacturing operations in Mogadore and Tuscarawas County.

Irvin Manton died in 1932 after a long illness. He was 58.

“We are all convinced that he would have stayed longer with his loved ones and his friends if he had had his choice,” eulogized the Rev. William Henry Huber, pastor of First Presbyterian Church. “But his hour had struck and his translation was to be imminent in the Providence in which he trusted and in which all our lives are lived, and to which, we too must submit sooner or later.

“No longer can we associate him in familiar scenes where his smile and word ad contagious personality were the inspiration. But now we must learn the deep and abiding lesson that crowds upon us in this sacred silence that he is still our inspiration in the beyond as he was here.”

Today the Manton legacy is carried on by Rosaline Mather, whose husband, James Manton Mather, was the son of Irvin’s daughter Laona. Her daughters Sarah Mather Reding of Hessel, Michigan, and Melissa Mather of Seattle plan to attend the dedication of the fountain at its new location, the historical society said.

Mark J. Price can be reached at mprice@thebeaconjournal.com.

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