Mabel Hartzell House Tour – Sitting Room

Dining Room

Fireplace in the dining room.

The sitting room was the original dining room. It is now the main meeting room for the Alliance Historical Society’s meetings and displays many rare historical items.

Two items are notable:

  • Wooton Desk
    • The Wooton Desk is a folding Victorian desk with 110 compartment. It is ornate, flexible, and sturdy. The Wooton desk expressed a Victorian yearning for order and compactness.
    • William S. Wooton, an Indiana Quaker minister, invented the desk. It was patented in 1874. It is full of pigenholes in minimal space. Its hinged wings open out from a center section, revealing a honeycomb of shelves, drawers and compartments on their inner side, plus additional drawers, shelves and pigeonholes on the center section itself. A writing shelf unfolds from the center section, and a small flap at center top lifts up to disclose still more shelves.
    • At day’s end, the desk-user simply closed the writing shelf, lowered the top flap, and swung the wings shut. With the desk locked, his establishment was secure against snoopers. Mounter on casters, the desk could easily be wheeled into an out-of-the-way corner of the office.
    • Production of the Wooton desk lasted from 1875 to about 1900. A very few of these desks remain in private use or in museums. They live on as reminders of the happy time when a tycoon could lock up his office and his secretary with one turn of a key, and next morning find both of them intact and ready for work.
  • Square Piano
    • The piano is made of solid rosewood, vintage 1867. It was donated by the Ink family of Canton. Mr. Ink was an industrialist who built the Palace Theatre in Canton.

Sitting Room

  • Summer Garden Dress – This dress belonged to Mabel Hartzell.
  • Eastlake Parlor Table – One of the original pieces in the house.
  • Eastlake Bookcase – This piece dates from 1870 to 1880. It is burl-veneered.
  • Paintings over fireplaces – The paintings are of a New England whaler and a woman, neither of which has any connection to Alliance. They are dated around 1840
  • Mirroscope – This was a form of entertainment in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Plates which were very similar to negatives were placed behind a magnified glass. They were lighted by either gas or electric.

Other items include foot warmers, bronze mantel ornaments from the early 1900s, an 1890 Hammond typewriter, and a coal bin.

Next we enter the Victorian Parlor.