Akron was established in 1825. Later on, in 1841, it was organized as the seat of Summit County. Akron got its name from a Greek word that translates to “an elevation.” The town was initially situated somewhat south of its current position. The community’s pioneer inhabitants were mostly Irish migrants who were enlisted to create the Ohio and Erie Canal, located near the town. Following the establishment of the canal in 1827, the business industry in the city started to flourish. Many farmers transported their crops to the city to be milled and brought to other facilities and markets to be sold.

In the latter half of the 1800s, Akron was linked to other cities by railroads. This resulted in the blooming of new industries. Pottery and other stoneware industries flourished, as well as cereal and pipe manufacturers. One-fifth of the matches in the country were created by the Barber Match Company. In 1863, the Buckeye Mower and Reaper Company relocated to Akron, from their initial location, Canton. The B.F. Goodrich Company and the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company were arguably among the most well-known companies ever established in the town of Akron. These companies, both in the industry of rubber and tire manufacturing, began to develop during the time of the automobile era. Migrants from the Appalachian region came to the city in the latter half of the 1800s to look for work. The African American population also flourished before the beginning of the Civil War.

Akron persistently developed in the early twentieth century. Goodyear company expanded its business and ventured into the zeppelin industry. Akron was significantly hit by the Great Depression, with their unemployment rate soaring to 60 percent. Despite the struggles in the economic aspect of the town, its population continued to increase. At the time of the Prohibition, the production of illegal alcohol and gambling was prevalent in the city. The Ku Klux Klan became prominent, and many people supported them. In the 1920s, members of the Klan held significant positions in the government. The town’s problems with its economy concluded following the country’s admittance to the World War II. Factories that produced wartime essentials became operational again, which meant employment for many residents in town. New workers were outsourced to build aircraft and other military items.

As a result of World War II, residents of the city struggled in the financial aspect. Enterprises that caused the development of the town in the 1800s began to go downhill. The city’s population decreased as a result of this crisis. Akron only had 275,000 residents in 1950. It continued to decline fifty years later.

In spite of the continuous decline of the city’s population, well-regarded personalities came out of Akron. James Ingram, Chrissie Hynde, and the Romantics were residents of the town. Judith Resnik, an astronaut who passed away in the Challenger explosion as well as Rita Dove, a Pulitzer Prize Winner, both came and studied in the town of Akron. In 1981 and 1995, the city was regarded by the National Civic League as an All-American City.

More information