Since I was a kid, I have always been fascinated with the Byers’ Castle on Prospect Street in Ravenna. My friends and I made up all kinds of stories about the Castle and dreamed of getting inside.
On a beautiful July afternoon, I finally got my wish. A group of us made reservations for tea there. We were first greeted by sisters Peggy DiPaola, Veronica Collins and Sue Locke, and were given a history of their home, along with a refreshing beverage.
Byers’ Castle was built in 1905 by John Byers, who was an industrialist and inventor. One of his most prosperous inventions was an oatmeal cutter that he sold to Quaker Mills Co., of Ravenna, which later became Quaker Oats.
John’s early profession was as a mason. Using his knowledge of masonry, he invented the mold of the block that was used to build the castle.
When the roof was on, John was there inspecting the work. He stepped on a nail and died of tetanus, never having lived in the house.
After the house was finished, his family lived there about 10 or 15 years. After that, the house went through a series of owners and was finally bought by Sam and Ruth DiPaola.
They raised their seven daughters on the remaining 20 acres of the original 120-acre estate.
The wood inside the house was from the surrounding land. Some rooms are oak or cherry, depending on the purpose of the room. On most wood floors, the planks go in one direction. On these floors, the wood is placed as in a picture frame — the outside is white oak and the inside is maple.
After the passing of Sam and Ruth, the girls restored the house and had it placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the Department of the Interior for all of us to enjoy.
After hearing the history of the house, we then proceeded to the inside, where we were treated to a delicious and bountiful tea with all the trimmings. Some of the food was from their garden, which we could see from the dining room window.
We were able to get sister Maria Weakland out of the kitchen due to her friendship with Eileen Pantalone.
Enjoying all of this were friends Eileen, Diane Dean, Jane Minard, Nancy Harris, Jeanne Tondiglia, Dolores Williams and myself.
Needless to say, we want to go again at Christmas.
The TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) group is a national organization with clubs all over the United States and abroad to assist people in their quest to have a healthy lifestyle. They do not sell food or other weight loss products, they only encourage those who join their organization to have a more fulfilling lifestyle. The only cost is about $37 per year.
The Ravenna chapter No. 1523 has its evening meetings at the Portage Community Chapel, 6490 State Route 14, upper level adventure room, Ravenna, on Tuesdays, beginning with a weigh-in at 5 p.m. (privately) and a meeting a 6 p.m.
At the meeting, they offer programs to assist each member to take charge of their individual struggles.
If you are interested in a life-changing situation with people who care about you and your circumstances, set aside a Tuesday evening to go and see for yourself. You can also contact Bev Collin at 330-296-5866 with your questions.
Call Angie Reedy at 330-297-7228 with your Ravenna news.