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Akron is a city in the U.S. state of Ohiomarker and the county seat of Summit County, the fourth most populous county in the state. The municipality is located in northeastern Ohiomarker on the Cuyahoga Rivermarker between Clevelandmarker to the north and Cantonmarker to the south, approximately 60 miles (96 km) west of the Pennsylvaniamarker border. Akron was founded in 1825 near the Ohio and Erie Canalmarker, and became a manufacturing center owing to its location at a staircase of locks. The locks were needed due to the higher elevation of the area, which gave rise to the name Summit County as well as Akron, which is a rough translation of summit into Greek (Stewart, pg. 233). Akros, part of the original Greek word akrópolis, means highest. In the early 20th century, Akron was coined a boom town. After the decline of heavy manufacturing in the 1970s and '80s, the city's industry has since diversified into research, financial, and high tech sectors. As of 2009, the decline in population has reversed, increasing by 424 people over the year 2008.

As of the 2009, the city proper had a total population of 207,934, and is the 97th largest city in the United Statesmarker, and also the fifth largest city in Ohio. It is the center of Greater Akron, which is the 72nd largest metropolitan area in the United States. The Akron Metropolitan Statistical Area is the 6th largest in the Ohio, with 698,553 people. Akron is also part of the larger Cleveland-Akron-Elyria Combined Statistical Area, which in 2000 had a population of 2,945,831, and ranked as the country's 14th largest. Like many former urban manufacturing centers of the U.S. Rust Belt, Akron's population has declined, falling from a population of 290,351 in 1960 to nearly a third less than that today.

International media began referring to Akron as "The Rubber Capital of the World" in the 1930s, in reference to the city's rubber and tire industries. As a result of both, the founding of the Americanmarker trucking and toy industries also began in the city. In recent times the national media takes notice to the city's plastics and polymer industry, which Greater Akron employ's nearly five times as many plastics workers as the average U.S. region, and also the city has the largest concentration of plastics and rubber plants, machines, and materials in North America. In 2001, Newsweek magazine named Akron one of nine “High-Tech Havens," a list of cities that have been important in the information age. In 1999, the United States Conference of Mayors awarded Akron with the City Livability Award, for creating the first Joint Economic Development District. The city was again awarded with it in 2008, for the idea of rebuilding Akron's schools to act as community centers all year round. Akron was among the Ohio cities named as part of Site Selection ’s Governor’s Cup Award for leading the nation in new and expanded facilities in 2008. Akron won the All-American City award three times making it into the National Civic League Hall of Fame. The National Arbor Day Foundation has designated Akron as a Tree City USA.

Several events in the city have become well-known to outsiders. The Derby Downs race track, which is home to the All-American Soap Box Derby, attracted thousands of children from across the United States and other nations to race since the 1930's. The Firestone Country Club host the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and the former World Series of Golf tournament. Founders' Day is celebrated in the city due to being Alcoholics Anonymous' birthplace.

Residents of Akron are usually referred to as "Akronites". Nicknames used for the city include "Rubber Capital of the World," "Rubber City," "City of Invention," "Summit City," and "Tire City."


Start as a canal town

Original town plot of Akron
Akron was founded in December 1825 by Simon Perkins. It began as a small village on the divide between the St. Lawrence Rivermarker and the Mississippi River drainage basins. The village was a 43-block square with its main intersection at Exchange and Main Streets; its northern limit was one block beyond State Street. Much of Akron's early growth was because of its location at the summit of the Ohio and Erie Canalmarker (thus the name Summit County) which at one time connected Lake Eriemarker and the Ohio River.

The village was originally built mainly to serve people using the Ohio and Erie Canal as Akron was located in an area with a series of canal locks as the canal ascended from Clevelandmarker to the Portage summit. In 1833, Eliakim Crosby established a "second" Akron just north of the existing village known as Cascade, which would also be referred to locally as "north Akron." Cascade developed around a construction project originally intended to provide increased water power for industries. In 1836 the villages joined under the Akron name. The completion of the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal along Main Street in 1839 started Akron on its climb to industrial importance. Coal, a major railroad, and manufacturing growth from the Civil War contributed to a population increase from 3,500 to 10,000 inhabitants between 1860 and 1870.

Because of physical obstacles — the steep hill on West Market Street, the Little Cuyahoga Valley, and the swamp south of the city — Akron grew to the east. This encouraged the annexation of Spicertownmarker, centered on Spicer and Exchange, and then Middlebury, which was centered where the Arlington and Market Street commercial area is now located. In 1915, Akron's area increased from to .

Rubber Capital of the World, airships, and military importance

Former Goodrich factory
Former Firestone factory
Akron’s history and the history of the rubber industry are intertwined. The rubber industry transformed Akron from a small canal town into a fledgling city. It also had a major role in making Akron the birthplace of the American trucking industry and once the hub of interstate trucking. The birth of the rubber industry started in the 1800s. In 1869, B.F. Goodrich started the Goodrich Corporation, the first rubber company in Akron. In 1898, Frank A. Seiberling founded the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. In 1900, Firestone Tire and Rubber Company was established in Akron, the same year the city experienced its worst riot in history resulting in the destruction of both Columbia Hall and the City Building. General Tire was founded in 1915 by the O'Neils, whose department store named O'Neil's became an Akron landmark. In 1925, the B. F. Goodrich Company decided to market galoshes with Sundback's fasteners. The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company became America's top tire manufacturer, buying The Kelly-Springfield Tire Company in 1935, and Akron was granted the moniker of "The Rubber Capital of the World".
Goodyear headquarters
The rubber industry shaped not just the industrial, but also the residential landscape in Akron. Rubber companies responded to housing crunches caused by the booming rubber business by building affordable housing for workers. Goodyear's president F.A. Seiberling built homes costing around $3,500 for employees in what would become known as Goodyear Heights. Likewise, Harvey Firestone built employee homes in what would be called Firestone Park.

For a time Akron was the fastest-growing city in the country, its population exploding from 69,000 in 1910 to 208,000 in 1920. People came for the jobs in the rubber factories from many places, including Europe and West Virginiamarker. Of those 208,000, almost one-third were immigrants and their children. Among the factory workers in the early 1920s was a young Clark Gable. In the 1950s and '60s Akron saw a surge in industry as use of the automobile took off. In the 1970s and '80s, the rubber industry experienced a major decline as a number of strikes and factory shutdowns delivered the final blows to the industry. Between 2000 and 2007, the number of Akron workers in plastics and rubber products manufacturing was slashed in half. By the early '90s Goodyear was the only remaining tire manufacturer based in Akron.

Airship over Akron, 2009
During Akron's rubber period, Goodyear began experimenting with airship development, and created a subsidiary with the Zeppelin Companymarker to build dirigibles in the United States. During the early 1900s, Akron and Lakehurst, New Jerseymarker, were the American centers of dirigible research and manufacturing. The United States' largest airships, Akronmarker, and Maconmarker, were both built in Akron.
Goodyear Airdock, 1941
After their tragic accidents in 1933 and 1935 and the Hindenburg disastermarker in 1937, rigid airships were abandoned and Goodyear focused on the production of blimps. The US Navy used many blimps in World War II such as The GZ-22 class, Spirit of Akron (N4A), for aerial observation. In the 1960s Goodyear famously began using them for advertising, with the invention of the Skytacular which debuted on the Mayflower, at the Indy 500marker in 1966. Though very few new airships are built today, the Goodyear Blimp remains a popular corporate symbol. The Goodyear Airdockmarker, now owned by Lockheed Martin, at one time was the largest building in the world without interior supports. From 1955 to 1962, Goodyear also manufactured twelve Inflatoplanes, which were designed for rescue missions during war and came in two versions: the single-seat GA-468 and the two-seat GA-466. The inflatoplanes were sponsored by the United States Army, which cancelled the project because the craft was too easy to shoot down. The space suits that the Goodrich company manufactured, were also used in NASAmarker's Project Mercury.

City of Invention

Akron is referred to as the "City of Invention" due to numerous technological advances spurred from residents of the city. In 1872, philanthropist Lewis Miller, Walter Blythe, and architect Jacob Snyder designed the world-wide use for church floor plans called, the Akron Plan, which was first applied to the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Akron. Congregationalists, Baptists, and Presbyterians also erected this style of building. In 1891, Samuel C. Dyke invented the first mass-produced marbles, balloons, and rubber dolls. In 1896, the Goodrich Corporation produced the first automobile tires made in the United States. Other technological innovations from the company included the first rubber-wound golf ball, cotton-covered rubber fire hose, commercial tubeless tire, and U.S. space suits. In 1899, the first automobile police patrol wagon was invented to help Akron police. In 1925, the Goodrich company decided to market galoshes with Sundback's fasteners. A Goodrich executive is said to have slid the fastener up and down on the boot and exclaimed, “Zip 'er up,” immitating the sound made by the device, which led to the name "zippers." Zipper was originally a B.F. Goodrich trademark that he sued to protect but was allowed to retain proprietary rights only over Zipper Boots. The term zipper has since became a common noun. Since establishing a major research facility in 1943, Goodyear has since received thousands of patents. Some major inventions by Goodyear's scientists and technicians include, artificial hearts and joints, adhesives, artificial turf for playgrounds, and food packaging. The ABC Line, the first long distance electric railway in world, was anchored by Akron. The concept of a school superintendent, and graded school system in the U.S. began in the city. Akron is also home to the National Inventors Hall of Famemarker museum.

Industry and major corporation births

Aside from the rubber, tire, and American trucking industries, others have also started in Akron. In the mid 1800's, immigrant Ferdinand Schumacher produced his wolrd-wide popular oatmeal and breakfast cereal in Downtown Akron. In 1863, the Buckeye Mower and Reaper Company, which became one of the world's leading manufacturers of farm equipment, was established in the city. In 1881, immigrant, E.F. Pflueger, established the Enterprise Manufacturing Company, which manufactured the first angling bait, hook, and other lines of tackle. Also in 1881, O.C. Barber, founded the Diamond Match Company through a merger with the Barber Match Company and others. In 1891, Samuel C. Dyke founded the American Marble & Toy Manufacturing Company, which became the largest toy company to operate in the nineteenth century. In 1946, Gojo Industries produced the heavy duty hand cleaner called GOJO Hand Sanitizer, invented by rubber factory workers, Goldie and Jerry Lippman, and Professor Clarence Cook. In 1958, local sports agent, Eddie Elias, founded the Professional Bowlers Association.



Akron is located in the Midwest in Northeastern Ohio, between Clevelandmarker to the north and Cantonmarker to the south. The location on the Ohio and Erie Canalmarker, which passes through a number of locks as it goes through the city, helped its early growth. Much of Akron is built on the Glaciated Allegheny Plateau region of Ohio.

The All-American Bridgemarker (formally known as the Memorial Bridge), which replaced the North Hill Viaduct and stretches across the Elizabeth Park Valley neighborhood, connects the North Hill neighborhood to Downtown. The city's southern edge rests on the St.Lawrence Seaway Continental Divide of the Americas, a swamp is also located directly to the south of the city.

The city's land has been altered considerably by human intervention, with canal locks constructed during the city's early history. After a flood in 1913, the canal locks in the city were dynamited to relieve the debris acquired.

The city's land area grew from a 43-block square, to its of recent times. Akron's total area is . of this is water and is land. The elevation of the city varies from 955 ft (291 m) to 1,004 ft (306 m) above sea level. Downtown Akron and the Merriman Valley neighborhoods sit lower than other neighborhoods such as Highland Square and Goodyear Heights.


Akron has a humid continental climate (Koppen climate classification Dfa), with cold but changeable winters, wet, cool springs, warm (sometimes hot) and humid summers, and cool, rather dry autumns. Precipitation is fairly well-distributed through the year, but summer tends to have the most rainfall (and also, somewhat paradoxically, the most sunshine), and autumn the least. The mid-autumn through early-spring months tend to be quite cloudy, with sometimes less than 30% possible sunshine. The cloudiest month is December, and the sunniest month is usually July, which is also the wettest month because most of the precipitation occurs with brief, intense thunderstorms. Winters tend to be cold, with average January high temperatures of 33 °F (1 °C), and average January lows of 17 °F (−8 °C), with considerable variation in temperatures. During a typical January, high temperatures of over 50 °F (10 °C) are just as common as low temperatures of below 0 °F (−18 °C). Snowfall is lighter than the snowbeltmarker areas to the north, but is still somewhat influenced by Lake Eriemarker. Akron-Canton Airportmarker generally averages about 47.4 inches of snow per winter. During a typical winter, temperatures drop below 0 °F (−18 °C) on about 6 occurrences, generally only during the nighttime hours. Average July high temperatures of 82 °F (28 °C), and average July lows of 61 °F (16 °C) are normal. Summer weather is more stable, generally humid with thunderstorms fairly common. Temperatures reach or exceed 90 °F (32 °C) about 9 times each summer, on average. In hot summers, such as 1988, however, as many as 30 days over 90 °F (32 °C) have been observed, and in cooler summers, such as the summer of 2000, the temperature may never reach 90 °F (32 °C). Temperatures over 100 °F (38 °C) are rare (about once per decade on average), most recently occurring on several occasions in the hot summer of 1988.

The all-time record high in Akron of 104°F (40°C) was established on August 6, 1918, and the all-time record low of −25 °F (−32 °C) was set on January 19, 1994.


A number of things have been done in Akron to try to improve the environment. Summit County Metro Park's natural resources building located at Sand Run in Akron was honored with the platinum ranking from the United States Green Building Council as the greenest green building in Ohio. The METRO Regional Transit Authority uses solar panels to provide approximately 33% of the facility's yearly needs, and recycled water as part of an effort to go green. Geothermal heating and cooling seats and 45 geothermal wells sunk into the Earth provides heat and air conditioning for the facility. Akron has a biogas facility, which uses methane produced in the waste treatment process to produce electricity. The city's composting facility recycles waste for use in landscaping and gardens, and reduces the amount sent to landfills. All existing High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) lighting in the Akron Centre parking deck has been replaced with energy-efficient light emitting diode (LED) lighting. Akron's white tailed deer, along with all of Ohio's have tested negative for chronic wasting disease for the seventh year straight.


View of the Akron skyline from the west looking east


John S.
Knight Convention Center

Financial and legal offices, hotels, hospitals, government and other civic buildings are predominant in the downtown area. Commercial uses and light industry are the primary land uses south of Cedar Street, in Opportunity Park, and along Wolf Ledges Parkway. Parks along the historic Ohio and Erie Canalmarker provide recreation opportunities. Downtown features adaptive re-use of historic structures such as the B.F. Goodrich plant, which in present times, is the Canal Place, combined with modern additions. These include the Canal Parkmarker baseball stadium, Knight Convention Center, and National Inventors Hall of Famemarker. Residential redevelopment includes conversion of the Akron YMCA Buildingmarker into modern apartments and construction of new condominiums at the Landings at Canal Park.
Northside Lofts
The city has a diverse heritage of restaurants and shopping centers. Quaker Square, located in the heart of Akron’s downtown, was redeveloped in the early 1970s as a downtown mall, created from the old Quaker Oats factory, which originally operated at that location. The oat silos had been transformed into round hotel rooms. Recently, the University of Akronmarker purchased this complex for its own use, primarily as residence-hall space. Highland Square, located near West Akron and anchored by the historic Highland Theatre, is a well-known entertainment district, featuring antique stores, retail shops, and several unique restaurants and taverns. Other unique and historically significant Akron neighborhoods include Goodyear Heights and Firestone Park, originally developed and designed for employees of the large Akron rubber companies. Likewise, Northwest Akron is home to a number of large mansions, many of which, like Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, were built early in the 20th century for the upper management of these companies, as well as the city's many other industries.

Parks and recreation

Parks in Akron include, Lock 3, Lock 2, Malasia, Prentiss, Perkins, Saint Mary's Stadium, Sand Run, Schneider, Shady, Shadyside, Cascade Valley, Firestone, Goodyear Heights, Hampton Hills, Gorge, and the F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm.
The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath running through Lock 2 Park
Lock 3 Park in downtown Akron is the city's hub for entertainment. It is commonly used as an outdoor amphitheater hosting live musical entertainment, festivals, and special events year-round. The park was created in the early 21st century to provide green space within the city of Akron. The Ohio-Erie Canal can still be seen flowing behind the stage where there was once a boat yard and dry dock. Later, a pottery factory stood there until the O’Neil’s parking deck was built in the current location. More than 65,000 guests use the park for recreation annually. During Lock 3 Live, it holds concerts for almost every musical genre, including alternative, R&B, reggae, gospel, country, pop, jazz, and classic rock. Some festivals the park hosts throughout the year include Soap Box Derby opening ceremonies, firefighter competitions, charity events, tournaments, and animal events. From November through February, Lock 3 Park is transformed into an outdoor ice-skating rink.

The Towpath is a regional bike and hike trail that follows the Ohio and Erie Canalmarker. A bridge was completed in Summer 2008, crossing Route 59/The Innerbelt, which connects the Towpath proper with bike routes painted onto downtown Akron's city streets, thus completing another step towards the connection of Cleveland and East Liverpool with a hike and bike trail. The State of Ohiomarker plans to reconstruct the trail which once ran completely through Ohio, to New Philadelphiamarker from Cleveland. The trail features a floating deck section over Summit Lake. It is a popular tourist attraction, as it attracts over 2 million visitors annually.


Neighborhood map
Akron consist of 24 neighborhoods, with an additional 3 that are unincorporated but recognized within the city. Neighborhoods such as Goodyear Heights and Firestone Park were founded during the rubber era to house factory workers.

Maple Valley covers the west end of Copley Road, before reaching I-77. Along this strip are several businesses using the name, as well as the Maple Valley Branch of the Akron-Summit County Public Librarymarker. Spicertown falls under the blanket of University Park, this term is used frequently to describe the student-centered retail and residential area around East Exchange St. and Spicer, near the University of Akron. West Hill is roughly bounded by West Market on the north, West Exchange on the south, Downtown on the East, and Rhodes Ave. on the West. It features many stately older homes, particularly in the recently recognized Oakdale Historic District.


Akron's older inner-ring or "first" suburbs include Fairlawnmarker, Barbertonmarker, Cuyahoga Fallsmarker, Stowmarker, Tallmadgemarker, Silver Lake, and Mogadoremarker. Akron formed Joint Economic Development Districts with Springfieldmarker, Coventrymarker, Copleymarker, and Bathmarker (in conjunction with Fairlawn) townships.

Notable residents

Akron has produced a number of famous artists, including actor and actresses John Lithgow, Melina Kanakaredes, and Angie Everhart, musicians Chrissie Hynde, James Ingram, Chino Nino, and new wave band Devo. Famous writers and journalists from the city include Rita Dove and Hugh Downs. Famous athletes include Baseball Hall of Fame members Thurman Munson, professional boxer Ray Anderson, and all-star professional basketball players Lebron James, Gus Johnson and Nate Thurmond. Other notable residents include, Notre Dame football coach Ara Parseghian, and astronaut Judith Resnik, who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger accident and also had the Resnikmarker crater and Judith Resnik Award named after her.

Culture and contemporary life

Akron Art Museum
Akron is home to several galleries and museums, including Akron Art Museummarker, the Archives of the History of American Psychology, National Inventors Hall of Famemarker, Stan Hywet Hall and Gardensmarker, American Marble and Toy Museum, Goodyear World of Rubber Museum, Akron Police Museum, Akron Airship Historical Center, and Don Drumm Studios & Gallery.

Film and television

Akron Art Museum, roof cloud lit during night
Akron has served as the setting for several major films and episodes of television series, including More Than a Game (2009) with LeBron James, ...All the Marbles (1981) with Peter Falk, and My Name is Bill W.. Akron is also the setting for the film The Instructor, the lifelong home of writer Don Bendell, and also the birthplace of many fictional characters including Jiminy Glick. The city is also the hometown of Jake Foley of Jake 2.0, the Pickles family of the Nickelodeon animated television series Rugrats; which soundtracks were composed by native Mark Mothersbaugh, Leland Gaunt of Needful Things, J. Reid of In Too Deep, Riley Veatch of M.Y.O.B., and Monica Wilder of Nip/Tuck.

Video Games

The city has served as the setting on a stage in the award winning first-person-shooter PC platform video game, No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy In H.A.R.M.'s Way.


The city is the birthplace of former Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress Rita Dove, whose book Thomas and Beulah largely took place in Akron, and former literary editor of Esquire Adrienne Miller, who wrote the novel The Coast of Akron. The local pizza shop in Akron, Luigi's, is the inspiration for the pizza shop, Montoni's, in the comic strip Funky Winkerbean, written by native comic strip creator Tom Batiuk.


The Grassman, also known as the Ohio Grassman and Kenmore Grassman, is an alleged bipedal, ape-like creature reportedly seen in Akron, primarily around Kenmore. Most accounts of Grassman describe it to be 7 to 9 feet tall, with black or brown to reddish hair, a muscular build, broad shoulders, and large hands and feet. Some who have had close encounters say the face is more human-like than ape-like, with a wide flat nose heavy brow ridge and thinner lips, human type block teeth with no fangs, but that the eyes were brown and had no whites that they could see. It is believed to build a dome-nest of sorts, built with a complex weave of branches and grass, and large enough to shelter three men.


Northwest of downtown Akron is Highland Square, the most eclectic area of Akron. The region's oldest feature is the Portage Path, which was part of the effective western boundary of the white and Native American lands from 1785 to 1805. For decades the statue of an Indian named Unk, has watched over this famous pathway where Native Americans carried their canoes between the Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas Rivers. The refurbished statue now stands on a landscaped site on the corner of Portage Path and West Market Street. Other attractions in Akron include, the Akron Civic Theatre , the Archives of the History of American Psychology, Canal Park, the Cuyahoga Valley National Parkmarker, Derby Downs, Dr. Bob's Home, the Firestone Country Club, the Hower House , John Brown House, the National Inventors Hall of Famemarker, the Ohio and Erie Canalmarker, Simon Perkin's Mansion, and the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardensmarker. The Akron Marathon, which has grown each year consecutively in participants and increased by 87% in 2009, also takes place in the city.

Akron is home to many festivals throughout the year. In mid July, the National Hamburger Festival consist of over 20 venues serving original recipe hamburgers and has a Miss Hamburger contest. Lock 3 Park annually hosts the First Night Akron celebration on New Year's Eve. The park also annually hosts the Italian Festival and the "Rib, White & Blue" food festival in early July. Founders Day is celebrated annually due to the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous within the city. In Highland Square, Akron hosts a convergence of art, music, and community annually called Art in the Square, a festival featuring local artists and musicians.
4th Annual Hamburger Festival hosted at Lock 3 Park


Akron residents have long played an important role in defining the worldwide cuisine. Ferdinand Schumacher aka The Oatmeal King, founder of the German Mills American Oatmeal Company, created the first breakfast cereal and co-founded the Quaker Oats Company. The Menches Brothers, who invented the waffle ice cream cone and caramel corn, are also disputed inventors of the hamburger, as of the 1885 Erie County Fair in Hamburg, New York. The appetizer, sauerkraut balls, were also invented in the city of Akron. Native singer Chrissie Hynde owns The VegiTerranean restaurant in the Northside Lofts, and other notable eateries in Akron are Luigi's, Mary Coyle Ice Cream, Metro Burger, Swenson's, Ken Stewart's, The Diamond Grille, Tangier, Menches Brothers Restaurant, New Era, The Office Bistro and Hamburger Station.


Akron Beacon Journal Headquarters
See also:Akron Radio

Akron is served in print by the Akron Beacon Journal daily newspaper, and weekly by the West Side Leader and Akron Life & Leisure. The Buchtelite, printed by the University of Akronmarker, is also distributed throughout the city.

Akron is unique in that despite its size, it does not form its own television market, primarily due to being less than from Clevelandmarker. It is part of the Cleveland-Akron-Canton media market, the 17th largest market in the US. However, WAOH-LP, WEAOmarker (PBS), WVPXmarker (ION), and WBNX-TVmarker (CW) stations are licensed to Akron. WAOH and WEAO serve the city of Akron specifically, while WBNX and WVPX identify themselves as "Akron-Cleveland", serving the entire Northeast Ohio market. Akron has no native news broadcast, having lost its only news station when the former WAKC became WVPX in 1996. WVPX and Cleveland's WKYCmarker later provided a joint news program, which was cancelled in 2005.

Akron is also served by WZIPmarker 88.1 (Top 40 / College – University of Akronmarker), WAPS 91.3 (Varied formats: local artists, modern rock, blues, jazz and public radio), WAKRmarker 1590 (Oldies), WKDD 98.1 (Adult contemporary), WHLO 640 (News/talk), WJMP 1520 (Sporting News Radio), WKSU 89.7 (National Public Radio, operated from the campus of Kent State Universitymarker), WONE 97.5 (Classic rock), WNIR-FM 100.1 (News/talk), WSTB 88.9 (Alternative), WARF 1350 (Fox Sports Ohio), WQMX 94.9 (Country), WRQK 106.9 (Rock), and WHOF 101.7 (AC).


Canal Park

Current Sports teams

Akron is currently home to two professional sports teams. The city plays host to the minor league baseball team known as the Akron Aeros of the Eastern League. The Aeros are the AA-class affiliate of the Cleveland Indians and moved to Akron in 1997 after several name and location changes. The franchise plays at Canal Parkmarker and has won three league championships (2003, 2005, 2009) and six Division Championships (1998, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009) as the Akron Aeros. The Akron Racers are a professional softball team established in 1998 who play in the National Pro Fastpitch. The Racers play at historic Firestone Stadiummarker and have claimed one league title in 2005. Akron is home to a roller derby team known as the Northeast Ohio Rock n Roller Girls. Additionally, as home to the University of Akronmarker, the city is also home to Akron Zips, who compete in the NCAA in a variety of sports at the Division I level. The football team plays at recently-completed 27,000-seat Summa Field at InfoCision Stadiummarker. Before completion of the stadium, the Rubber Bowlmarker was the team's venue, which hosted some preseason games for the Cleveland Browns’ and one regular-season NFL game for the team. The men's basketball team and several other sports play at the 5,500-seat James A.marker Rhodes Arenamarker. The Zips men's soccer team, which plays at Lee Jackson Field, recently completed an undefeated regular-season and is currently ranked #1 nationally in all five major collegiate soccer polls. They have won 12 regular-season Mid-American Conference titles and 6 MAC tournament titles since joining the MAC in 1992.

Past sports teams

Historically, Akron has served as home for a number of professional sports teams. One of the first teams in the National Football League, the Akron Pros, played from 1920-1926 winning the first NFL championship in 1920 with an undefeated record. Fritz Pollard, the first African-American head coach in the NFL, co-coached the Pros in 1921. Akron also had a deaf semi-professional football team known as the Goodyear Silents during the early twentieth century. The city was home to a Negro League baseball team known as the Akron Black Tyrites in 1933. Akron's first professional basketball team, the Akron Wingfoots, won the first NBL title in 1938 and the International Cup three times (1967, 1968, 1969). Recently, Akron briefly served as home to an International Basketball League team known as the Akron Lightning in 2005. The Akron Americans, a minor league professional ice hockey team, played in the International Hockey League's south division for the 1948-1949 season.

Other sports

Derby Downs
On September 29, 2009, it was announced Akron will host some of the events of the 2014 Gay Games including the marathon, the men's and women's golf tournaments at Firestone Country Club, and softball at Firestone Stadium. The Soap Box Derby is a youth soapbox car racing program which has been run in the United States since 1934. World Championship finals are held each July at Derby Downs. Cars competing in this and related events are unpowered, relying completely upon gravity to move. The Rubber City Open Invitational, first played as the Rubber City Open in 1954, was the first PGA Tour event to be held at the storied Firestone Country Club. The tournament, last played in 1959, was discontinued as Firestone gained national prominence and attracted bigger events beginning with hosting the 1960, and hosting again in 1966 and 1975 PGA Championship, the American Golf Classic in 1961, and in 1962 the World Series of Golf now known as the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Firestone Country Club

Akron hosts an annual race named the Road Runner Akron Marathon, on September 26. The Akron & National Marble Tournament was created in 1923, by Roy W. Howard. The tournament was sponsored by The Akron Press, then later the Akron Times-Press, and the Akron District Marbles Tournament from 1923 to 1937. In 1938 the Akron Beacon Journal took over the tournament and ran it until the 1950’s, and the American Legion continued it until the 1960s. Akron annually hosts LeBron James' King for Kids bikeathon in June.

Adjacent to the Derby Downs race hill is a outdoor skatepark. The park features concrete ramps, including two bowls going as deep as , a snake run, two hips, a stair set with handrail, many smaller quarter pipes and a variety of grind boxes. Positioned just a few feet from the Akron Skatepark is a Pro BMX course where organized races are often held in the warmer months.



In 2001, Newsweek magazine named Akron one of nine “High-Tech Havens," a list of cities that have been important in the information age. Akron is home to two Fortune 500 companies: the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and FirstEnergy. In addition, Akron is home to a number of smaller companies such as GOJO, makers of Purell, Advanced Elastomer Systems, FirstMerit Bank, Roadway Express (a subsidiary of Yellow Roadway), Myers Industries, an international manufacturer of polymer products, Acme Fresh Market, Sterling Jewelers, and Lockheed Martin, Maritime Systems & Sensors division. The City of Akron created the first Joint Economic Development District to promote regional commerce with neighboring suburbs.

Biomedical Corridor

The Biomedical Corridor is an innovation district for technology-based economic development in Akron. The area is located downtown, bounded by Akron General Medical Center on the west, Akron City Hospital on the east, and includes Akron Children’s Hospital near the district’s center, with Saint Thomas Hospital to the north of its northern boundaries. Since its creation in 2006, the project has attracted some companies to move their headquarters into the district, such as Akron Polymer Systems.

Polymer Valley

Akron has moved forward into the world of polymer research, development, and technology. More than 400 companies manufacture polymer based materials, creating what is now referred to as "The Polymer Valley," which is a five county region in Northeast Ohio that is the main center of polymer research and production in the nation. The University of Akronmarker supports the industry with both the world’s first College of Polymer Engineering, and a specialized laboratory and research facility accessible by Akron area business partners called the Goodyear Polymer Center. Operations will further be increased after the costruction of the National Polymer Innovation Center.

Goodyear Riverwalk

In late 2007, the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company agreed on a deal that will keep its world headquarters in Akron which has been called the deal of the year and will keep the company within the city for decades. The project involves the redevelopment of 280 acres in and around the operations off East Market Street. Goodyear is the fifth-largest private employer in Summit County. Due to the agreement with Industrial Realty Group (IRG) of Downey, Californiamarker, Goodyear will sell most of its Akron area property and facilities to IRG so would build a new world headquarters building and a new headquarters for the company's North American tire business. IRG also plans to make improvements to the company's technical center and research facilities. Goodyear plans to move into the new buildings in 2010.

IRG envisions turning other parts of Goodyear's property into a project dubbed Akron Riverwalk. A retail and commercial development located within a short walking distance from the headquarters on the city's eastside.


As of the census of 2000, there were 217,074 people, 90,116 households, and 53,709 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,497.3 people per square mile (1,350.3/km²). There were 97,315 housing units at an average density of 1,567.9/sq mi (605.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 67.22% White, 28.48% African American, 0.26% Native American, 1.50% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.43% from other races, and 2.07% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.16% of the population. The top 5 largest ancestries include German (18.1%), Irish (11.5%), English (7.2%), Italian (6.8%), and Americanmarker (6.4%).

There were 90,116 households out of which 28.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.5% were married couples living together, 17.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.4% were non-families. 33.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 30.3% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,835, and the median income for a family was $39,381. Males had a median income of $31,898 versus $24,121 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,596. About 14.0% of families and 17.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.7% of those under age 18 and 9.7% of those age 65 or over.

Akron has a metropolitan population of 694,960 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). Akron is also part of the larger Cleveland-Akron-Elyria Combined Statistical Area, which was the 14th largest in the country with a population of over 2.9 million according to the 2000 Census.

History in human rights

In 1851, Sojourner Truth delivered her "Ain't I A Woman?" speech in the city at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention. When active, Akron was part of the Underground Railroad. Abolitionist, John Brown, lived in Akron, which has two landmarks, the John Brown House and John Brown Monument, dedicated to him in the city. In the 1900's, the Summit County Ku Klux Klan reported having 50,000, making it the largest local chapter in the United States. Members included many county officials, the sheriff, mayor of Akron, judges, county commissioners, and most members of Akron's school board. Wendell Willkie, after arriving in the city, took on the KKK and eventually ended it's influence in Akron politics. The Black Hand, lead by the Don Rosario Borgio, who arrived in the city in the early 1900s, was headquartered on the city's north side. All of gambling and brothels in the city were extorted along with wealthy and Italian North Hill neighborhood citizens. Race took part in two of Akron's worst riots, both in the Riot of 1900 and the Wooster Ave. Riots of 1968.


The Ocasek Building includes state, county, and city offices.
The city adopted a new charter of the commissioner manager type in 1920, but reverted to its old form in 1924. The current mayor of Akron is Don Plusquellic. Mayor Plusquellic is currently serving his fifth term, and was the President of the United States Conference of Mayors during 2004. He is also a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, a bi-partisan group dedicated to making the public safer by getting illegal guns off the streets.

The Akron City Council has thirteen members. Ten are elected to represent wards and three are elected at large. The mayor is elected in a citywide vote.

In February 2009, Mayor Don Plusquellic announced in his State of the City Address the city will form a permanent citizens group to examine and provide input on the Police Department. The department recently has been criticized by Akron's black community for several officer-related shootings and has caught the attention of the U.S.marker Justice Departmentmarker. In 2003, such a group was formed that developed a crime control plan for the city.


Summit County Courthouse and police car.
The modern police car originated in Akron in 1899.

Preliminary Ohio Crime Statistics show that in year 2007, aggravated assaults increased by 45% and had a slight increase in burglary and rape while all other crimes remained average. Records also show that fewer juveniles were found guilty of sex crimes in the year 2008 in Summit County than in any other year since court officials started keeping track in 1989. 2008's sex case convictions totaled 57, compared with the high of 150 in 2002 and the average over the past decade of 104. Among the 57 cases, 22 was for the lesser crime of gross sexual imposition. In a partnership deal with Israel’s Targetech Innovation Center, the city became the first in the United States to have officers trained and equipped with the high-tech Israeli gun CornerShot to aid officers in fighting crime.

Meth Capital of Ohio

Summit County is long reputed as the "Meth Capital of Ohio." Statistics show that it is due mainly to Akron, which in between 2006 and July 2008 totalled 86 meth sites of the county's 102, far exceeding every other city. In 2008, Summit County experienced a 42 percent spike in the number of meth labs raided and dismantled 68 labs, compared to 2007's total of 48. The authorities said the decrease of Mexican meth being imported after the disruption of a major operation in 2005, attributed to the increase in locally made meth. The unusual high count putting both all counties and major cities of Ohio in a major deficit compared resulted in the Akron Council adopting several recommendations from the Meth Property Awareness task force on August 11, 2008. Some of these recommendations included, law enforcement agencies processing meth sites to submit an El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) form to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, second the forms be put into a countywide database, and third that the Council urge state and federal governments to establish meth cleanup guidelines.

Healthcare and education

Saint Thomas Hospital
Akron's adult hospitals are owned by two health systems, Summa Health System and Akron General Health System. Summa Health System operates Akron City Hospital and St. Thomas Hospital, which in 2008, were recognized for the 11th consecutive year as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report. Due to Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Doctor Bob's work with St. Thomas Hospital, it has been a setting for the television show Prison Break. Summa is recognized as having one of the best orthopaedics programs in the nation with a ranking of 28th. Akron General Health System operates Akron General Medical Center, which in 2009, was recognized as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report. Akron Children's Hospital is an independent entity that specializes in pediatric care and burn care. In 1974, Dr. Howard Igel and Dr. Aaron Freeman successfully grew human skin in a lab to treat burn victims, making Akron Children's Hospital the first hospital in the world to achieve such a feat. Akron City and Akron General hospitals are designated Level I Trauma Centers. A map prepared by the Federal Reserve bank in Clevelandmarker shows that Akron is the #1 metro area in Ohiomarker in new patients.
Akron Children's Hospital

Higher education

The first graded school system in the U.S.marker and the concept of a school superintendent was created in Akron. The city is home to the University of Akronmarker, which serves nearly 26,000 students, making it the fifth largest public university in the state. The University is home to the Goodyear Polymer Center, and soon to be the location of the National Polymer Innovation Center. Polymer companies in Greater Akron employ nearly five times as many plastics workers as the average U.S. region, and the city has the largest concentration of plastics and rubber plants, machines, and materials in North America. The E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall was built on the campus, opening in 1973. The University underwent a $300 million dollar construction project, which added nine new buildings and renovated fourteen, and closed Carroll and Union Streets. The University also offers a combined B.S./M.D. program with the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicinemarker. The Summa Field at InfoCision Stadiummarker, is built on-campus as a replacement for the university's previous stadium, the Rubber Bowlmarker.

Akron is also located in close proximity to several other colleges and universities including the main campus of Kent State Universitymarker in nearby Kentmarker; Hiram Collegemarker in Hirammarker; and the College of Woostermarker in Woostermarker as well as several schools in the Clevelandmarker area.

Secondary education

Elementary and secondary education is mainly provided by the Akron Public Schools, which are currently going through a 15-year, $800 million rebuilding process, remodeling some schools and entirely replacing others. Some schools will be closing permanently due to a drop in enrollment. The school board could not get a levy passed to pay for its portion of the construction expense so it worked out an arrangement with the city of Akron where the city will use the money from a new income tax to pay for Community Learning Centers, which will serve as schools but be owned by the city. Meanwhile the academic situation has improved as the city’s schools have been moved from “Academic Watch” to “Continuous Improvement” by the Ohio Department of Education.

Private education

Akron also has many private, parochial and charter schools. Akron Public Schools made headlines in 2004 when a freshman student of Akron Digital Academy, the district’s own online charter school, was not allowed to participate in extracurricular activities, an event later covered and satirized by The Daily Show. St. Vincent - St. Mary High Schoolmarker, just west of Akron’s downtown, also made headlines when basketball star LeBron James was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers first overall after his graduation in 2003.



Former Akron Fulton International Airport administration building
Airline passengers travelling to or from Akron use either the Akron-Canton Regional Airportmarker or Cleveland Hopkins International Airportmarker. The Akron-Canton Airport is a commercial Class C airport located in the city of Green, roughly 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Akron operated jointly by Starkmarker and Summitmarker counties. Two low-fare airlines, Frontier Airlines and AirTran Airways, have begun serving Akron-Canton in recent years, making it an alternative for travellers to or from the Cleveland area as well. Akron Fulton International Airportmarker is a general aviation airport located in and owned by the City of Akron that serves private planes. It first opened in 1929 and has operated in several different capacities since then. The airport had commercial scheduled airline service until the 1950s and it is now used for both cargo and private planes.It is home of the Lockheed Martin Airdockmarker, where the Goodyear blimps were originally stored and maintained. The Goodyear blimps are now housed outside of Akron in a facility on the shores of Wingfoot Lake in nearby Suffield Townshipmarker.


Akron Northside Station
Akron Northside Station is a train station located in the city at 27 Ridge Street along the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroadmarker.

Bus and public transportation

Intermodal Transit Center
Public transportation is available through the METRO Regional Transit Authority system, which has a fleet of over two hundred buses and trolleys and operates local routes as well as running commuter buses into downtown Cleveland. Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) also has a bus line running between Cantonmarker and Akron and the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority (PARTA) runs an express route connecting the University of Akronmarker with Kent State Universitymarker.Metro RTA operates out of the Intermodal Transit Center located on South Broadway Street. This facility, which opened on January 18, 2009, also houses inter-city bus transportation available through Greyhound Lines.


Akron is served by two major Interstates that bisect the city. Unlike other cities, the bisection does not occur in the Central Business District, nor do the Interstates serve the downtown region, rather The Akron Innerbelt and to a much lesser extent Ohio State Route 8 serve these functions.
The Innerbelt looking northeast
  • Interstate 77 connects Marietta, Ohiomarker to Cleveland, Ohiomarker. In Akron, it features 15 interchanges, four of which permit freeway to freeway movements. It runs north-south at the southern part of the city to its concurrency with I-76 where it takes a westerly turn and after the concurrency takes a northwest turn.

  • Interstate 76 connects Interstate 71 to Youngstown, Ohiomarker and farther environs. It runs east-west and has 18 interchanges in Akron, four of which are freeway to freeway. The East Leg was rebuilt in the 1990s to feature 6 lanes and longer merge lanes. The concurrency with Interstate 77 is eight lanes, with extremely close interchange spacing, high crash rates and heavy congestion. The Kenmore Leg is a four lane leg that is slightly less than two miles (3 km) long and connects to I-277.

  • Interstate 277 is an east-west spur that it forms with US 224 after I-76 splits to the north to form the Kenmore Leg. It is six lane and cosigned with U.S. 224.
View of Akron from the south looking north
  • The Akron Innerbelt is a six lane, spur from the I-76/I-77 concurrency and serves the urban core of the city. Its ramps are directional from the Interstates so it only serves west side drivers. ODOT is considering changing this design to attract more traffic to the route. The freeway comes to an abrupt end near the northern boundary of downtown where it becomes Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The freeway itself is officially known as "The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Freeway". The freeway was originally designed to connect directly to State Route 8, but plans were laid to rest in the mid seventies due to financial troubles.

  • Ohio State Route 8 is an original state highway that is a limited access route that connects Akron's northern suburbs with Interstates 76 and 77. State Route 8's southern terminus is at the central interchange where it meets I-76 and I-77. The second freeway in Akron to be completed, it went through a major overhaul in 2003 with brand new ramps and access roads. In 2007 ODOT began a project to upgrade the road to Interstate highway standards north of Akron from State Route 303 to I-271, providing a high speed alternative to Cleveland.

Sister cities

Akron has two sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:

See also


  4. Barry Popik, Smoky City, website, March 27, 2005
  8. When Church Became Theatre: The Transformation of Evangelical Architecture and Worship in Nineteenth-Century America. Jeanne Halgren Kilde. Oxford University Press, 2005. ISBN 0195179722.`p.185
  9. Retrieved on 2008-11-13.
  10. Akron/Canton Normals and Records for August. National Weather Service. Retrieved on 2008-11-13.
  11. Akron/Canton Normals and Records for January. National Weather Service. Retrieved on 2008-11-13.
  12. [1]
  15. Imagine Akron Community Learning Centers (2005). What is Akron CLCs?. Retrieved October 21, 2005.

Further reading

  • Akron Chamber of Commerce Year Book, (1913-14)
  • The University of Akron Press
  • Dyer, Joyce, Gum-Dipped: A Daughter Remembers Rubber Town, The University of Akron Press: Akron (2003)
  • Endres, Kathleen, Akron's Better Half: Women's Clubs and the Humanization of a City, 1825-1925, The University of Akron Press: Akron (2006)
  • Jones, Alfred Winslow, Life, Liberty, & Property: A Story of Conflict and a Measurement of Conflicting Rights, The University of Akron Press: Akron (1999)
  • Russ Musarra and Chuck Ayers, Walks around Akron, The University of Akron Press: Akron (2007)
  • S. A. Lane, Fifty Years and Over of Akron and Summit County, (Akron, 1892)
  • S. Love and David Giffels, Wheels of Fortune: The Story of Rubber in Akron, Ohio, The University of Akron Press: Akron (1998)
  • S. Love, Ian Adams, and Barney Taxel, Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, The University of Akron Press: Akron (2000)
  • F. McGovern, Written on the Hills: The Making of the Akron Landscape, The University of Akron Press: Akron (1996)
  • F. McGovern, Fun, Cheap, and Easy: My Life in Ohio Politics, 1949-1964, The University of Akron Press: Akron (2002).

External links

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