About Shandy Hall in Geneva, Ohio
Modest in appearance on the exterior, there are 17 rooms inside, including the original cellar kitchen with cooking fireplace, bake oven, and a splendid banquet room with coved ceiling and early nineteenth century scenic French wallpaper. On the grounds, original shrubs and trees shade flower and herb gardens.
Virtually all the furniture pieces in the home belonged to the Harpers. The house looks much like it was in the 1830’s when Robert, his wife Polly, and their four daughters lived at Shandy Hall.
Robert Harper built a four room home in 1815, then over the next twenty years transformed the house into what was considered a mansion. The two generations that succeeded Robert Harper took great care to preserve the furnishings, tools, and traditions that exist today at Shandy Hall.
Robert was the youngest child of Alexander Harper. In 1798, Alexander bought land from the Connecticut Land Company and moved the family from New York to the Western Reserve. The Harpers were the first family to settle in what is now Ashtabula County.
Robert’s daughter Ann had a favorite book, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne. The book featured eccentric characters, which Ann likened to her family. She began to call her home Shandy Hall, and the name became popular with the community and has remained for over 170 years.
Many wonder if this home was a stop on the Underground Railroad, however, Robert Harper was a practicing attorney and took cases from slaveholders seeking the return of their runaway slaves. Slaves seeking freedom would have stayed away from Shandy Hall.
Shandy Hall is under preservation and is not currently available for public visitation.