Glamorgan Mansion, Alliance Ohio

Date added: November 30, 2023 Categories: Ohio House Mansion
Main facade, from the east (1971)

Glamorgan is a remarkable example of the great eclectic houses of the late nineteenth-century industrialists. It was built by Colonel William H. Morgan, Sr., president of the Morgan Engineering Company, in 1903-1908, and designed by Cleveland architects Paul Searles and Willard Hirsh.

Morgan Engineering was a large pioneer in Ohio industry. Founder Thomas R. Morgan invented the overhead traveling crane. In the Spanish-American War and World War I, much of the company's production was devoted to gun mounts for the U. S. Army Ordnance. W. H. Morgan, son of the founder, was known as an engineer, inventor, and a lover of the arts. According to Robert Hopkins, "The great marble mansion is the product of a keen and versatile mind which combined the baronial castle of old with the most scientific and practical aids of modern life and living."

Glamorgan was located on a fifty-acre tract of land in the heart of Alliance, and the entire plot remained intact until 1965. The house is still set off by the 800-foot setback and over a city block of frontage. Though not as large as the Seiberling mansion in Akron, Glamorgan is the product of the same era and philosophy. The name comes from Glamorganshire, Wales, birthplace of Thomas Morgan. The house affords an irreplaceable image of that moment in American history when the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few made such castles possible.

Building Description

The building is located 814 feet west of Union Avenue, on the summit of a series of landscaped terraces. It measures 185 feet in overall north-south elevation, and 115 feet in overall east-west elevation. It has three stories plus a basement, and rests on a solid concrete foundation, with steel framing and reinforced concrete floors. The exterior walls are of rusticated blue Vermont marble laid in broken ashlar pattern, and trimmed with white Vermont marble. The minimum thickness of the walls is 13 inches; the maximum thickness of walls below ground, is three feet, six inches. Roofs consist of heavy red vitrified tile.

The east facade is designed to resemble a late medieval Welsh baronial hall, The roof outline is irregular, and broken by a gable, a crenelated parapet, and a massive square tower with a corner turret. An entrance loggia with a Tudor doorway projects from the facade onto a terraced space with parapet walls. On the north end, there is a large porte cochere. On the interior, a central rotunda is finished in Renaissance Revival ornamental plastering, restored from the original plans.

The original rotunda was destroyed by fire in the 1940s, together with the great Aeolian pipe organ built for the St. Louis Exposition of 1904 and later removed to the house. From the rotunda, four corridors branch to main entrance, grand staircase, north porte cochere, and dining room. The large living room on the northeast is decorated in the Empire style, with mahogany trim, ornamental plastering, and tapestried walls. The dining room is finished in carved solid oak in the Tudor style, and the ladies' reception room in the French Renaissance style. Most of the remaining rooms have been remodeled for modern uses, first by the Elks Lodge, owners from 1939-1965, and then by the present owner.

The building was advanced in electrical and mechanical equipment. It has steel electrical conduit throughout and over 1,200 separate outlets. In the basement are the heating plant, water heaters, pumps, filters, air compressors, transformers, elevator, and accessory equipment.

Glamorgan Mansion, Alliance Ohio Main facade, from the east (1971)
Main facade, from the east (1971)

Glamorgan Mansion, Alliance Ohio Aerial view of 26-acre Glamorgan property, from the northeast (1971)
Aerial view of 26-acre Glamorgan property, from the northeast (1971)