Akron, Ohio, currently the 5th largest city in Ohio, is located 39 miles south of Ohio's 2nd largest city to date, Cleveland. Its thriving rubber and tire industry has earned Akron the nickname of "The Rubber Capital of the World." Akron is also the host for the All-American Soap Box Derby held annually every July at Derby Downs. Starting in the early 1920s, the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in Akron was a major manufacturer of zeppelins and later, blimps. Today, Suffield Township near Akron, is home to one of the Goodyear blimps, the Spirit of Goodyear.
The earliest connection between the Akron and Cleveland was the Ohio and Erie Canal, which officially opened on July 4, 1827. Akron's various industries and Cleveland's shipping industry along Lake Erie benefited mutally from this early commercial connection.
In 1895, the 39 mile distance between Cleveland and Akron was further bridged when the Akron, Bedford, and Cleveland Railroad began service between the two cities. Among the first electric commuter railroads in the nation and, at the time, the longest railroad of its kind in the world, the "AB&C" could take commuters from Akron to Cleveland's Public Square in just 2 1/2 hours for only 50¢.
Today, the highway system, urban sprawl and business opportunites have brought the two cities even closer together. Now, along with other northeast Ohio cities, they are often considered collectively as "Greater Cleveland" or more recently "Cleveland Plus." Clevelanders and Akronites regularly travel the 39 miles between them to share each other's offerings in the arts and culture, business and manufacturing, professional and recreational sports, health care, education, technology and the outdoors.
The photos featured here illustrate the intertwining history of Akron and Cleveland from a Cleveland perspective via images gathered from the Cleveland Press and the Bruce Young Collections at Cleveland State University's Michael Schwartz Library.
For more photos of Akron and many of the other topics mentioned here, go to Summit Memory.
This website is the practicum project of Kent State University School of Library and Information Science student, Kevin A. Caslow. He would like to give special thanks to Joanne O’Dell and Judy James of the Summit Memory Project.