Akron, Ohio

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Missing image
Bird's eye view of downtown Akron

Akron is located in Summit County, Ohio. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 217,074. It is the largest city in Summit County and is the county seat Template:GR.

Akron is the 82nd largest city in the United States and is the 5th largest city in Ohio (U.S. Census Bureau, 2001). It is located between Cleveland to the north and Canton to the south. The three metropolitan areas together have a combined population of about 2,900,000, making it the most populous section of the state.

Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in Akron in 1935.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame museum is in Akron.

Akron is the location of the annual All-American Soap Box Derby.

Akron is home to The University of Akron.

Akron is also home to Firestone Country Club, at which the PGA TOUR's WGC-NEC Invitational is annually contested.

Akron has a sister city in Chemnitz, Germany.



Akron is located at 41°4'23" North, 81°31'4" West (41.073155, -81.517900)Template:GR.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 161.6 km² (62.4 mi²). 160.8 km² (62.1 mi²) of it is land and 0.9 km² (0.3 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.54% water.


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 217,074 people, 90,116 households, and 53,709 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,350.3/km² (3,497.3/mi²). There are 97,315 housing units at an average density of 605.3/km² (1,567.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 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. 1.16% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

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

In the city the population is 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 are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 87.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $31,835, and the median income for a family is $39,381. Males have a median income of $31,898 versus $24,121 for females. The per capita income for the city is $17,596. 17.5% of the population and 14.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 25.7% of those under the age of 18 and 9.7% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

The July 1, 2003 Census Bureau estimate for Akron puts the population at 212,215.


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Picture of Main St. circa 1954

Much of Akron's early growth was because of its location at the "summit" of the Ohio and Erie Canal (thus the name "Summit County") which at one time wended its way between Lake Erie and the Ohio River.

Akronís history and the history of the rubber industry are mutually bound. The rubber industry transformed Akron from a small canal town into a fledgling city. The birth of the rubber industry started in the eighteen hundreds, long before America fell in love with the automobile. B.F. Goodrich was the first rubber company to settle in Akron. General Tire was founded in 1915, by the OíNeilís whose department store became an Akron landmark. The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company became America's top tire manufacturer and Akron was granted the moniker of ďThe Rubber Capital of the WorldĒ. Goodyear's president, F.A. Seiberling, had been building homes costing around $3,500 for employees in what would become known as Goodyear Heights. Harvey Firestone, likewise, began building employee homes in what would be called Firestone Park. These leaders were responding to the housing crunch caused by the boom in the rubber business.

Akron was, indeed, booming. For a time it 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. Of those 208,000, almost one-third were immigrants and their children.

In the fifties and sixties Akron continued to see a surge in industry as the automobile continued to take off. But while America was still using bias-ply tires, Europe had already seen the wave of the future in radial tires. The radials had almost three times the tread life of bias-ply, and Akronís rubber mills were not properly equipped to handle the manufacturing requirements. As a result many companies tried to produce Ďhybridí tires, which were troublesome at best. Firestone manufactured the ill fated 500 series, which was recalled in the millions. B.F. Goodrich eventually bit the bullet and transformed all the old equipment with new machinery that would facilitate the manufacturing of the newer radial tires.

In the seventies and eighties the rubber industry experienced a major decline as a number of strikes and factory shutdowns delivered the final blows to the industry. In ten years the number of people working within the rubber industry was slashed in half. By the early nineties all but Goodyear moved their headquarters out of Akron. Today, Goodyear continues to manufacture racing and experimental tires, and Firestoneís technical centre remains in Akron. Because the rubber industry is still a major employer in the region, Akron has suffered less than other cities of similar size which have gone through "rust belt" decline, such as neighboring Youngstown.


Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill is one of Akronís two large commercial districts. Located in Northeast Akron it borders Cuyahoga Falls to the north and Tallmadge to the east. Due to its primarily commercial land usage, Chapel Hill lacks the identity that other neighbourhoods enjoy. The area is mostly commercial south of Tallmadge Avenue, with a commercial and retail mix on Tallmadge Avenue. Single and multi-family residential use predominates north of Tallmadge Avenue. There is major retail development along Home Avenue, Howe Road, and Brittain Road, with the retail area anchored by the Chapel Hill Mall at the northeast corner. Chapel Hill is easily accessible off Route 8 via two interchanges. Chapel Hill is one of Akronís smaller residential neighbourhoods with only 2.5% of its population and 3% of households. Chapel Hill lost a higher percentage of its population than the City during the 1990s. Its many smaller homes and numerous apartment complexes are affordable for the smaller couples. Although average household income is lower than in the City as a whole, there is also a lower percentage of persons in poverty. Chapel 61% of Chapel Hill residents are under 45 years of age. Chapel Hill also has a higher proportion of elderly residents than the City.

According to The City of Akronís statistics there are 5,466 people living in 2,934 households. Chapel Hill is 79% Caucasian. The average household income (1999) is $33,930, about seven thousand lower then the city average.


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The Akron Rubber Bowl, home of Akron Zips

Ellet is physically separated from the other neighbourhoods by a Highway Interstate 76, a river, and an airport.

If every neighbourhood in Akron had a soul, then Ellet would certainly be the black sheep. Ellet petitioned the City of Akron for annexation in 1929. Since that time Ellet has become one of the most civically proud parts of Akron. And in the 1990s when Akronís total population was reduced by over three percent, Ellet started booming. In fact, one in twelve houses in Ellet were built after 1990. Situated at the far eastern edge of Akron, it borders Mogadore to the east and Springfield Township to the south.

Ellet includes many of Akronís bigger attractions including the University of Akronís Rubber Bowl, a former city owned property that was sold to the University for only a penny. Next door is Derby Downs home of the annual All-American Soap Box Derby. The Airdock, which used to house construction projects for Goodyearís new blimp designs, is also nearby. Today it is owned by Lockheed Martin, who runs a sizeable operation in Ellet. The Akron Fulton airport is also nearby. Fulton is municipally owned, and has enjoyed a boom in recent years. Annual flights to and from the airport have increased from 24,000 in 1998 to 35,000 in 2004.

The neighbourhood includes substantial single family households. Commercial activity is scattered mostly on East Market Street, part of Ohio Route 18 and Eastgate Plaza on Canton Road (Ohio State Highway 91). In recent years, substantial new retail redevelopment has also taken place south of Hyre Park.

According to The City of Akronís statistics there are 18,132 people living in 7,892 households. Ellet is 94% Caucasian. The average household income (1999) is 40,864, representative of the city average.

Elizabeth Park Valley

Developed around the old Ohio & Erie Canal in the mid-1800s, the Elizabeth Park Valley is rich in history as it is in setting. Though located within a walking distance of Akronís downtown, the area has retained its canal-era small town appeal. In fact, many people have old canal locks in their back yards. The park, a part of the Cascade Locks Historic District, is the site of the restored Mustill House & Store, which served as a general store to canal users from the 1820s till the end of the 19th century. The Towpath Trail, which will one day stretch from Lake Erie to New Philadelphia, brings thousands of hikers and bikers to the area each year.

According to The City of Akronís statistics there are 4,166 people living in 1,838 households. The average household income (1999) is $28,430.

Firestone Park

Harvey S. Firestoneís great housing initiative has outlasted the rubber baron himself. Firestone embarked on creating a quaint, cosy neighbourhood with tree lined boulevards curved around a central park. He saw families of different income levels living together in diverse styles of homes. He saw churches, schools and stores within walking distance. When Seiberling started on his ambitious housing initiatives in Goodyear Heights, Harvey Firestone did not want to be outdone. Like Seiberling, Harvey Firestone hired his estate landscape architect, Alling S. DeForest, to design the layout for Firestone Park. Akron officials have pushed the limits of the area beyond its original borders. City publications draw the park as far south as Firestone Country Club, annexed from Coventry Township in 1985. Firestone Park is located in south Akron, bordering Coventry Twp. Firestone has easy access to two freeways Interstate 77 and Interstate 277 / U.S. Highway 224 The 2000 U.S. census can explain the attraction objectively. It paints a portrait of an educated working-class population with good incomes and home values. Firestone Park, a public park shaped like the original Firestone shield emblem, is at the heart of the community. It is surrounded by churches, a school, a community centre, a new library, and a small business district.

Goodyear Heights

As early as 1910 Frank A. Seiberling, founder and then president of Goodyear Tire and Rubber, realized how detrimental the housing shortage was to his workers and his company. Even though labour was abundant, Seiberling believed that the transient nature of the work force cost the company a great deal. Training wasnít cheap, and the cost of constantly retraining new employees was proving to be unmanageable. To solve this problem Seiberling proposed purchasing a large parcel of farm land half a mile from the Goodyear factories. The board was not convinced. The company felt that it was too risky to get involved in the intimate affairs of their employees. However, Seiberling was so committed to the project that he bought the land himself. Seiberling choose a rural plot of farmland just northeast of Goodyearís main plant.

Seiberling hired his personal landscape architect to spearhead the project. He chose sweeping streets over a grid infrastructure and included provision for all modern conveniences like gas, electricity, and telephones. The main thoroughfares were also designed to eventually carry street cars. One of the key differences between Goodyear Heights and Firestone Park was the hospitality extended to non employees for the purchase of a home. Though Goodyear opened the door of purchasing a home to all Akron residents, the 25 percent increase in selling price and the lack of company sponsored financing made it very unlikely that non Goodyear employees would buy. Goodyear Heights Realty had an explicit policy against selling to African Americans. Goodyear Heights borders Tallmadge to the east and has access to I-76. Goodyear Heights is a model of early 20th century industrial community development. Goodyear Heights remains an overwhelmingly single-family residential community. There is neighborhood-level retail development at Six Corners. Eastwood Avenue near Darrow borders suburban style strip shopping centers. The Goodyear Heights Metropolitan Park provides a wide range of recreational activities to people throughout the area. Though the majority of the housing was constructed between 1940 and 1980, the city has been buying up land to build new developments, the latest one being built along Honodle.

According to The City of Akronís statistics there are 20,556 people living in 8,817 households. The average household income (1999) is $42,746, slightly higher than the city average.

Highland Square

Highland Square is known as one of the more eclectic areas of Akron. It has been a pleasant residential area with famous residents such as John S. Knight, Senator Charles Dick, presidential candidate Wendell Willkie, industrial Paul Litchfield, and Alcoholics Anonymous founder Dr. Robert Smith. The region's oldest feature is the Portage Path which passes along the street of that name. For decades the statue of an Indian has watched over this famous pathway. When first erected by Gus Kasch, a colourful area real estate developer, the Indian stood along the curb on West Market Street. The refurbished statue now stands on a landscaped site on the corner of Portage Path and West Market Street. The Portage path was part of the effective western boundary of the white and Native American lands. from 1785 to 1805. Highland Square was more densely populated than the rest of Akron which is vastly single unit homes (this is speaking of the multistory apartments in Highland square, versus Akronís general nature of single unit homes). There are many apartments clearly visible when driving thru the neighbourhoodís major thoroughfare, West Market St. Highland Square is strongly, though not exclusively liberal. John Kerryís Summit County Headquarters was located in Highland Square. Many homosexuals have found their home here and many business are either gay owned or gay friendly. Angel Falls, a coffee bar is very popular gay hangout.

According to The City of Akronís statistics there are 12,561 people living in 6,264 households. The average household income (1999) is $42,958, slightly higher than the city average.


Following the trolley right-of-way between southwest Akron and Barberton, Kenmore developed rapidly between 1910 and 1920 as a new residential area. It was incorporated as a self sufficient city supporting its own doctors, lawyers, and churches. Kenmore Boulevard served as the retail and commercial centre. In 1929 residents of then City of Kenmore asked to be annexed by the City of Akron. Kenmore is located in the southwest region of Akron and is bisected by Interstate 277 and U.S. Highway 224.

According to The City of Akronís statistics there are 18,239 people living in 7,998 households. Kenmore is 90% Caucasian. The average household income (1999) is $39,776.

Lane - Wooster

The Lane Ė Wooster neighbourhood is located just west of downtown Akron. In the early 20th century, the area became home to African-American families who were moving to Akron from the south. Though the neighbourhood has gone through some troubling times, it is not without its assets. The Akron Zoo, which has recently been remodelled, is located in the Lane Wooster area. Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts, draws children from all parts of Summit County. It serves children from 4th grade to 8th grade. Wooster Ave. was recently renamed Vernon Odom Boulevard, a nod to the neighbourhoodís deep African American heritage. The area is the largest black neighbourhood, with 87% of residents identifying themselves as such. The area has had a series of declines and sudden rebirths. During the 1970s, the Innerbelt was built and some 3,000 families were displaced. It continues to be a disputed call if the Innerbelt has benefited the inner city; proponents have said it is an essential thruway for Akronís impending growth, while dissenters contend that it has caused Akron to lose some of its cohesiveness. Lane Wooster is easily accessible from three highways, The Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway Ohio State Highway 59, Interstate 76 and Interstate 77. According to The City of Akronís statistics there are 9,329 people living in 4,132 households. The average household income (1999) is $28,804.


The village of Middlebury on the Little Cuyahoga River was the first settlement in what is now Akron. Middlebury is located immediately east of the University of Akron. Middlebury is home to Goodyear Tire and Rubber Companyís world headquarters and Summa Hospital. Middlebury is accessible by both Interstate 76 to the south, and Ohio State Highway 8 to the east. Middlebury is the most diversified out of the Akron neighbourhoods, with almost six percent of ethnic backgrounds being neither African American nor Caucasian. In the 2000 Census, average household income was 74% of average household income in Akron. Even though household income lagged the City, there was a large percentage drop in persons in poverty and an almost equally large rise in average household income. Middlebury has the highest percentage of pre-1940 housing stock of any City neighbourhood. Although some new construction occurred between 1940 and 1980, new housing development was slow in the 1990s. According to The City of Akronís statistics there are 8,062 people living in 3,445 households. The average household income (1999) is $30,600.

North Hill

North Hill served as one of the melting pots during Akronís expansion and soon many Italians were settling down in the area. The main roads still have low-rise commercial buildings, scattered in between the used car lots and mechanics. Many blame North Hillís problems on the closure of the deteriorated viaduct that connected North Hill to downtown Akron. The All-American Bridge restored the tie in 1981, but things have been slow to improve. The motorists eventually returned, but few businesses did. They bypassed North Hill's aging buildings and limited parking for places like the nearby shopping hub of Chapel Hill, which exploded in the 1980s. In many places in North Hill time has stood still. Many authentic Italian eateries still stand, harkening back to the old North Hill, when Italian immigrants turned this area into an Old World village where they could speak their native language and partake in the traditions of their homeland. Today, North Hill is struggling to find its soul. Although the area still has pockets of Italians, the area has largely diversified since the great white flight. According to the U.S. Census, the share of North Hill residents claiming at least partial Italian ancestry was 20 percent in 1980, 17 percent in 1990, and 15 percent in 2000.

According to The City of Akronís statistics there are 16,272 people living in 7,048 households. North Hill is 73% Caucasian. The average household income (1999) is $40,240, which is representative of the cityís average.

Rolling Acres

With just more than 1,000 housing units, Rolling Acres is the least residential of Akron's 21 neighbourhoods. Rolling Acres, like Chapel Hill, is a major commercial hub, stationed at the south-western border of Akron. Rolling Acres has more undeveloped land than is typical of Akron neighbourhoods. The Rolling Acres Mall and big box retail dominate Romig Road. East Avenue has mixed retail and residential use. Auto dealers, a grocery, and a mix of retail and office uses exist along Vernon Odom Boulevard. Although the Rolling Acres area is not thought of first as a residential area, proposals regarding the commitment of additional land to residential development are continually under consideration. The Mud Run Golf Course is in the centre of the neighbourhood. The largest residential areas are west of East Avenue. Rolling Acres has 1,120 housing units with 2,414 people living in the area. There is a lower percentage of children in this neighbourhood then Akron has on the whole. The average household income (1999) is $41,467 which is just above the city average.

Shopping and Entertainment

Akron has a diverse and colourful heritage of old restaurants and places to shop. Quaker Square, located in the heart of Akronís downtown, is a mall made out of the old Quaker Oats factory, which originally operated there. The oat silos have been transformed into hotel rooms providing a unique experience to the patron. The Trackside Grille, themed with railroads which run parallel to the building, provides a rich narrative of Akronís history.

There are two full-size shopping malls in Akron: Chapel Hill Mall on Brittain Road to the northeast, and Rolling Acres Mall at Romig Road to the southwest. Chapel Hill, once a very low-key mall, has transformed itself into a very successful enterprise, with vacancies nearing zero percent. Rolling Acres Mall is the largest mall in the region with 1.3 million square feet (120,000 m²) and was extremely popular in the eighties and early nineties when the other malls were not doing as well. As Chapel Hill Mall as well as Summit Mall in Fairlawn improved however, Rolling Acres began to fall apart. A reputation of violence surrounding the Rolling Acres area irrevocably hurt the mall. Today, the Romig Road / Wooster Road (Vern Odom Boulevard) area has vacancy rates surpassing fifty percent.


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, and Roadway Express, a transportation conglomerate.



  • WZIP 88.1 (College Ė University of Akron)
  • WAPS 91.3 (Adult Album Alternative - Akron Schools)
  • WAKR 1590 (Talk)
  • WAKS 96.5 (Top-40)
  • WHLO 640 (Newstalk)
  • WJMP 1520 (Nostalgia)
  • WKSU 89.7 (National Public Radio)
  • WONE 97.5 (Classic Rock)
  • WNIR 100.1 (Newstalk)
  • WSTB 88.9 (Streetsboro High School)
  • WTOU 1350 (Sports)
  • WQMX 94.9 (Country)


  • WAOH-LP (The Cat)
  • WAKN-LP (Akron Television, Inc))
  • WBNX (WB Syndicate)
  • WEAO (PBS)
  • WVPX (PAX)

Print Media

  • Akron Beacon Journal (http://www.ohio.com) (The main newspaper for the city)
  • the Buchtelite (http://www.buchtelite.com)(University of Akron)
  • West Side Leader (Leader Publications)


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Picture of Central Interchange

Akronís transportation needs are fulfilled by two major interstates, Interstate 76 and Interstate 77. I-76, I-77, and Route 8 meet at one central interchange, which is commonly known by the same name. The central interchange divides the city into four quadrants. The Interstate 76 Eastern Expressway weaves through much of Akronís warehouse sector and the Goodyear world headquarters is easily visible. I-76 is paired with I-77 for about two miles west of the central interchange, and then splits off again, with I-76 later being paired with US-224 and I-77 heading north towards Cleveland. The Western highway is a major route to Cleveland and Columbus, and is a near term destination to Fairlawn a major commercial area. Route 8 has been overhauled numerous times and serves as a major entryway for the north-eastern suburbs, namely Cuyahoga Falls, Munroe Falls, Stow and Hudson. There are also two highways to the south, U.S. Highway 224, and Interstate 277. I-277 connects I-77 directly with the southern portion of I-76 providing a quick route between neighbouring Barberton and south Akron. The Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway, commonly known as the Innerbelt, includes part of the longer Route 59. It serves the very center of the city, and was supposed to run from the I-76 / I-77 to Route 8. However, due to poor planning, the Innerbelt was never completed and only runs to Main St. Route 59 also lacks direct I-76W / I-77N inbound and offbound ramps, furthering its problems. Mayor Don Plusquellic has brought up the idea of tearing up the northern end of the Innerbelt in order to free land for development.

Public transportation is available through the METRO RTA system, which has a fleet of over two hundred busses and trolleys. Amtrak also has a depot in Akron, near Quaker Square.

Law and government

The current mayor of Akron is Don Plusquellic. Mayor Plusquellic is currently serving his fifth term, and is the current President of the United States Conference of Mayors. Since his election in 1987, Plusquellic has gone largely unchallenged. In 2003, representative Bryan C. Williams ran an unsuccessful campaign against Plusquellic, charging his administration of corruption.

Famous people born in Akron

de:Akron el:Akron gl:Akron ja:アクロン pl:Akron

External links



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