Akron, Ohio truly captures America’s entrepreneurial and inventive spirit. Born in 1825, when the Ohio-Erie Canal was being built as a way of opening up the wild Western Frontier, Akron quickly grew to a booming canal town. It became a major manufacturing center in 1871 when B.F. Goodrich relocated his rubber company there, taking advantage of the waterways to ship his goods.
The canal system was completely destroyed in the ‘Great Flood’ of 1913, when a massive storm raged through the Midwest The townspeople pushed on, and railroad systems that were already in place took over the transport that could no longer use the canals. Today, the city is still a major transportation hub, being situated near four major interstates, the Ohio Turnpike, and two major airports. The fifth largest city in Ohio, Akron is located in the very middle of the nation’s heartland.
Akron is the county seat of Summit County. The population according to the 2000 Census was just over 217,000 and Akron lies within a 500-mile radius of half the population of the United States. Over 111 million people live within a one-day drive of the city. The cities of Barberton, Green, Cuyahoga Falls, Stow, Fairlawn, Hudson, and Twinsburg are neighboring Akron Cities all located in Summit County. Akron has been the home of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., Bridgestone/Firestone, The B. F. Goodrich Co., General Tire Co., Seiberling Tire Co., Kelly-Springfield Tire Co., and R. C. A. Rubber Co., giving the city the title of ‘The Tire Capital of the World.
The Polymer industry is also centered in Akron. The Polymer Science Industry Institute at the University of Akron has made the city a top leader in this field. Nearly 400 polymer-related companies are based here, employing more than 35,000 people. Akron also has many small manufacturing industries as well as a wide variety of retail firms and shopping complexes.
Known as the ‘City of Invention’ due to the large number of entrepreneurs and inventors that have lived here, visitors can find history of the men and more at Akron’s interactive museum, the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame.
Akron, Ohio, is more than just a manufacturing town. Situated in the undulating hills, surrounded with water, 6,600 acres of green space have been kept to preserve Akron’s natural beauty. High quality, affordable housing with parks, biking and hiking trails scattered throughout make Akron a very pleasant and beautiful city for living.
The Ohio Ballet calls Akron home, as does the E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall where Broadway plays can be seen. The Akron Symphony Orchestra also originated here, and the Blossom Music Center serves as the summer home of The Cleveland Orchestra. Blossom is located just north of Akron and is situated on 800 acres of rolling hills surrounded by the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which protects 33,000 acres along the Cuyahoga River between Akron and Cleveland.
Baseball enthusiasts back their teams, the Akron Aeros and Akron Racers, while golfers visit the city in droves during the World Golf Championship NEC Invitational. And what would an All-American City be without closing down its streets once a year for the All-American Soap Box Derby? It wouldn’t be Akron, Ohio, the city epitomizing the pioneering, inventive, American spirit.