Akron is the fifth-largest city in Ohio, located nearly 30 miles south of Cleveland. The city is known for its rubber and tire manufacturing and still goes by the nickname of "Rubber Capital of the World" thanks to Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., which is located there.
Akron was founded in 1825 due to its proximation to the developing Ohio and Erie Canal, and community and economic interests began to flourish when the Akron-Cleveland Canal was completed in 1827.
In 1870, the University of Akron was founded as Buchtel College. The university has recently focused heavily on polymer research and won many applications in the tire business. Akron has a special place in history for rubber, a type of polymer, and for the rubber industry in general.
By the late 1960s, the number of jobs in Akron and other metropolitan areas with a post-industrial economy was declining rapidly, as was the national average.
The city eagerly prided itself as being the rubber and polymer capital, and many other post-industrial cities succeeded in creating their own polymer clusters of research and development. The economic engine of the rubber industry was not replaced by the polymer cluster, but the decline was never as steep as that of many others. This helped to diversify the economy from pure rubber products to polymers and contributed to the economic growth of the city.
The city was home to a number of industries such as steel and textile factories, but employment declined as these companies built more modern and efficient factories. New industries such as the automotive industry, automotive suppliers, and the electronics industry also emerged.
Akron has managed the transition to a post-industrial economy, and it has seen a significant increase in the number of jobs and growth of our economy in recent years. During the troubled 2000s, when all metro areas in Ohio lost jobs, Akron was down just 4 percent.
Akron is also trying to build itself as a hub of innovation for the region by creating a unit called Bounce, which shares a downtown building with the Akron Global Business Accelerator. Akron may not seem well-positioned as a major start-up center, but these activities will help Akron advance its position as one of the nation's leading tech centers.
Several start-ups have been flourishing in the Akron area as of late. It is unclear how much is being invested in Akron, but it already has a community network that hosts an annual start-up conference called Flight and provides access to a wide range of start-ups, from small businesses to large corporations. A company with headquarters in Akron and Austin has recently raised $50 million in funding.
Akron is home to several parks like Lock 3, the F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm, and Goodyear Nights, which offer a variety of activities for all ages, from lazy rivers to hiking and biking trails. The city also has numerous museums and points of interest, including the Akron Zoo, the Akron Botanical Garden, and the Akron Public Library.
Derby Downs, which was built in the 1930s, is home to the All American Soapbox Derby each year, which attracts participants from around the world.
Akron has its share of abandoned buildings, but many of them are being restored today. The cultural center of the city includes a 14th-century antiquities museum and the Akron Natural History Museum, which houses the largest collection of ancient art in the world.
Plan to take the train for special occasions or take a trip to one of the city's many parks, such as the Akron Nature Center. Join millions of visitors in this great way to experience nature right in your neighborhood.