Backstory and Context
The Viall Lodge was constructed in 1912 in order to house and act as the office of the East Akron Cemetery’s superintendent. The building derives its name from John F. Viall. Viall’s family had moved to Akron in 1830, settling in the area that is now known as Middlebury. Viall was initially trained as a master cabinet maker; however, he applied this knowledge of woodworking to casket making, becoming one of the area’s most prominent undertakers. Viall later became the president of the Middlebury Cemetery Association. One of the key projects that the Middlebury Cemetery Association undertook was the establishment of the East Akron Cemetery. The original cemetery in Middlebury was only a half-acre, being established in 1808. By 1850 the cemetery was nearly full, causing the construction of the East Akron Cemetery.
The East Akron Cemetery is the final resting place of famous Akron citizens such as Robinson (clay products), Saalfield (publishing), and Barber (father of O.C., the founder of Barberton). By 1912 the cemetery had grown large enough to warrant the construction of a home and office for the superintendent of the cemetery. Viall had passed away in 1899, yet due to his importance in establishing the cemetery, it was decided that the building would be named in his honor. Both “Viall” and “1912” are carved into a stone shield that appears on the facade of the building.
Architect J. Adam Fichter designed the building, Fichter had also designed buildings such as a theater in Cuyahoga Falls. The building is designed in the Tudor revival style, featuring a large covered entryway as well as vertical open timberwork and also featuring a high, pedimented gable. The building was home and office to the East Akron Cemetery’s superintendent until 1990 when the final superintendent retired. The building is still used as an office; however, the remainder of the house is used as a rental unit for Akron’s residents. Instead of a superintendent, the cemetery is known overseen by a general manager.
Schweitzer, Mark. Vintage Structures | Viall Lodge at East Akron Cemetery, https://thedevilstrip.com/. April 18th 2019. Accessed November 13th 2019. https://thedevilstrip.com/vintage-structures-viall-lodge-east-akron-history/.
Bosecker, Elizabeth A.. Viall Lodge . National Register of Historic Places Nomination Forms . Published February 15th 1994. National Register of Historic Places .