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Downtown History

Akron has a colorful history. Part of the still untamed frontier of the Western Reserve, access to the outside world was difficult. Its growth was spearheaded by the building of the Ohio & Erie Canal in 1825.

The canal and its towpath are an important part of Akron’s history. The lay of the land made it necessary for a staircase of locks to position the canal boats upward or downward for their journey along the canal. The process took all day. General stores, boat builders, rooming houses, restaurants and some less reputable enterprises sprang up to accommodate the needs of the crew and passengers of the canal boats during their wait. Some saw the potential and stayed and Akron grew quickly into a significant city on the new frontier.

Learn more about the history of Akron on the City of Akron website.

Learn about Downtown Akron's Historical/Reuse Buildings

Downtown Stories

A three-part Beacon Journal series published in the summer of 2005 gives a historic walking tour of Downtown streets.