In 1899, the city of Sebring was laid out by its namesake family, which had already made a fortune in Ohio’s pottery industry. Within a few years, the city would become known as the pottery capital of the world – with its own upper class industrialists and several mansions in the town of about 2.5 square miles.
One of the mansions – built by Frank Sebring himself – has survived to this day, and is now the Sebring Mansion Inn and Spa.
The 10,600-square-foot Sebring Mansion was built in 1900, and Frank Sebring lived there with his wife Emma and their six children. The mansion fell into disuse and disrepair, and by the time J. Lynne Biery bought it in 1996, it was a mess. Animals had run of the building, the basement – which may or may not have been used for making liquor during prohibition – was flooded and the beveled glass entryway had been used for target practice with BB guns.
Today, the only original furnishing of the home is the piano, which Biery said predates the home, so it was likely moved into the home, which was finished around it. The beautiful stained glass windows were replaced. The wood was cleaned and polished, and whenever possible, fixtures, tiles and glass were re-used within the house. After more than a decade of work, the inn opened in 2009, and now, it offers a glimpse into the lifestyle of the wealthy more than a century ago with all the modern comforts you could ask for – and more is planned.
Currently, there are nine rooms available for rent – four original to the home and five in an addition. (Note: The inn is adults-only.) All the rooms are named for Sebring pottery or dinnerware patterns, and guests receive tokens of the town’s pottery history (if you buy a gift certificate, you get a ceramic Christmas ornament; guests at the inn get a mug with candy).
There is also a basement bar, fully stocked, and the top floor of the original home features a ballroom, once split into apartments but now restored to its grandeur with stained-glass lighting. The ballroom, bar and dining room downstairs all feature white-glove kitchen service (breakfast and snacks are included with the price of the room; dinner is additional). There’s also an indoor pool and an outdoor pool and waterfall, heated so it can be used year-round.
Currently, in addition to being available for lodging, the inn is available for rentals for events (and this being the holidays, is particularly busy with them, Biery told me). But plans are being made – “as fast as my finances and feet can take me,” Biery says – for more amenities. An addition is being built on the back of the inn for a day spa, with saunas, massage rooms and game rooms. Ultimately, there will be a wedding chapel for guests who want to get married there.
But for now, anyone who wants a luxury getaway that’s out of the way can reserve a room at the Sebring Mansion Inn.