Release Date: May 1,2017

Grazing in the city: A day with the Perkins family and their flock

A flock of sheep will take up residence at the Perkins Stone Mansion for a second consecutive summer. Dorset sheep from The Spicy Lamb Farm in Peninsula return to “Mutton Hill” on Saturday, May 13.

The public is invited to welcome the flock from 12 pm-2 pm. A special catch pen will allow children to pet a sheep and learn about the care and feeding of the ruminants. There will be games for children, and crafts with wool and fleece. A shearing demonstration with expert Jay Campbell will be held at 12:30 pm, if weather permits. Herding demonstrations with border collies will take place at 12:15, 1:00, and 1:30. Admission to the grounds is $10 per family and includes a tour of the first floor of the mansion.

A reservation-only welcome brunch will be held at the nearby Akron Woman’s City Club at 10:00 am May 13, with special appearances by storybook characters.  Youngsters will be able to take pictures with Mother Goose, Little Bo Peep and “Mary” (who had a little lamb). The breakfast buffet is $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 4-10. Children 3 and under are free. Reservations for brunch are required through the Akron Woman’s City Club, (330) 762-6261.

At 11:30 am, a procession – with lambs and border collies – will march from the Woman’s City Club exit on South Portage Path to the Perkins Mansion. The public is invited to join the walk.

“Our 2016 demonstration project was a great success,” says Society chairman Dave Lieberth. “We were able to interpret the history of the property as a farm in the 1840’s; raise the visibility of the properties; engage neighbors in new ways; and, test the ability of the sheep to sustain the turf as an alternative to mowing.” The Society received a Community Impact Award from Dominion East Ohio in recognition of the successful program in 2016.

Herding demonstrations with border collies will continue on select Mondays and Wednesdays through the summer. The dogs are owned and trained by Edie Steiner, who has competed in stock dog trials for more than 10 years. Three dogs, “Mobido,” “Rudy” and “Lincoln” have received awards for demonstrating handler excellence.

Through August, the grounds of the Perkins Mansion will be open free to the public Monday-Saturday, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm; and 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm on Sundays.

The Society is collaborating with The Spicy Lamb Farm of Peninsula to bring the flock to the mansion grounds. Owner Laura DeYoung, Executive Director of Urban Shepherds, Inc., is excited to see sheep brought back into the city. “We hope to promote urban sheep grazing as a cost-saving and environmental alternative to mowing.”

The property is owned and maintained as a historic house museum by the Summit County Historical Society. John Brown was employed by Perkins to tend the flock of 1,300 Merino sheep that was known as one of the finest flocks in Ohio. Brown lived with his family in the 2-room house at Diagonal and Copley Roads and traveled to Europe to promote the wool business.

“Mutton Hill” is the name that residents of 19th century Akron gave to this 150-acre farm. Four generations of the Perkins family lived at the Stone Mansion estate. Simon Perkins built a reputation for fine wool, later becoming an Ohio senator who founded Summit County. Perkins’ son George Tod Perkins, who also lived at the mansion, became the second president of BF Goodrich Company.

A grant from the R. C. and Katharine M. Musson Charitable Foundation supports the return of the sheep.

Dates To Remember

Saturday, May 13: Grazing in the City: A Day with the Perkins Family and their Flock

10:00 am         Breakfast Buffet, Akron Woman’s City Club (reservations required)                                   

11:30 am          Procession on South Portage Path between Exchange and Copley (open to public)

12:00 pm          Welcome celebration, Perkins Stone Mansion, (open to public, $10/family)

12:15 pm          Herding demonstration, crafts for children

12:30 pm          Shearing demonstration

1:15 pm           Herding demonstration, crafts for children

1:30 pm           Herding demonstration, crafts for children

“Working Dog Wednesdays,” June 7 and 21; July 5 and 19; August 2

4:30 pm – 5:30 pm        Herding demonstrations (free and open to the public)

“Mutton Hill Mondays,” June 12, July 10, August 7

11:30-12:30 pm            Herding demonstrations (free and open to the public)

“Pulling the Wool Over Their Eyes,”   Monday, August 21

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm        Observing the flock during the solar eclipse

“Rudy’s Birthday Party”          Wednesday, August 23

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm