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Sights of the Rubber City: Akron, Ohio

Sights of Rubber City: Canal Park
Sights of Rubber City: Canal Park
Photos by Rick Zimmerman

Canal Park is the minor-league baseball home of the Akron Rubber Ducks (formerly the Aeros). The Park derives its name from the fact that it is situated adjacent to the route of the Ohio & Erie Canalway that once flowed through the heart of Akron.

Canal Place several blocks southwest of the ballpark along S. Main Street was also named for the canalway that skirts both facilities. In 1871, Canal Place became the new home of the fledgling Melrose, NY rubber company of Dr. Benjamin Franklin Goodrich. After absorbing the competitor Diamond Rubber Company in 1912, B. F. Goodrich went on to become the world's largest rubber factory. With the additional resident companies of Firestone and Goodyear, Akron soon became known as The Rubber City.

Begun as a day nursery in 1890, Akron Children's Hospital by 2010 had grown to become the largest pediatric hospital in northeast Ohio. It's downtown Akron facility of 253 beds anchors a network of over 78 locations across 25 counties.

Situated across from placid Union Park along E. Mill Street near the University of Akron campus stands the First United Methodist Church of Akron. Now renovated and expanded this classic church continues to serve the needs of central Akron.

As Resident Engineer for the Ohio & Erie Canal from 1825 to 1832, Richard Howe later resided in an 1836 high Federal style house on Exchange Street in downtown Akron. In 2008, that house was relocated to its current location, adjacent to the canal and its towpath trail, where it now serves as a museum and as headquarters of the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition.

Quaker Square originated with the construction of 36 grain silos in 1932 by the Quaker Oats company. Additional factory spaces ringed those silos, and a rail station enabled the shipment of the companies products to and from the complex. Quaker Oats halted production at the facility in 1970, and by 1973 the entire complex had been repurposed for shopping, dining and a hotel. Acquired by the University of Akron in 2007, the development now houses offices and dorms as well as some other remaining uses. The Quaker Station facility is available for events, and an historic multi car train rests on a preserved siding adjacent to the complex.

Along the steep rise of E. State Street as it terminates at S. Broadway, one encounters the towering sandy yellow stone mass of St. Bernard Catholic Church. Built in the German Romanesque architectural style, the present church was constructed 1902-1905.

The Andrew Jackson House at 277 E. Mill Street near the city center was built around 1868. The residence, embodying a highly stylized Second Empire composition, served the family of a local merchant. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the museum is run by the GAR Foundation.

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