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Arkon Zoo

In 1900, George and Ann Perkins, heirs of the city's founder, Simon Perkins, donated what is now Perkins Woods Park to the City of Akron. They stipulated that the 79 acres be used for “...the sole purpose of devoting the same to the uses of a public park, especially as a place for recreation for children.”

With this goal in mind, the Akron Museum of Natural History was incorporated in 1950, by Charles E. Slusser, Richard S. Barnhardt, Daniel E. Falkner, Myrtle Pfueger, and Fred O. Smoyer. The Museum operated as a non-profit organization and helped to stimulate interest in the conservation of natural resources and provided entertainment for the public in the Summit County area.

The Akron Children's Zoo was started in 1953 in association with the Museum. The zoo's theme was Mother Goose Rhymes illustrated with live animal exhibits. Public support helped the zoo open ten exhibits in 1954, and an additional exhibit, the Merry Miller, in 1955. Sponsored by the Yusef-Khan Grotto, all mentally challenged, handicapped, and underprivileged children were admitted free.

The first big exhibit at the zoo was Monkey Island, built in 1960 at a cost of $14,000. The barn and windmill were added in 1961. By 1964, a feeding ring and otter exhibit were added, and directional signs were placed around the city. Moto, a miniature Mediterranean donkey, was purchased in 1965. At this point, the admission price was raised to 25 cents.

The 70s saw many capital improvements for the Zoo, as well as a large number of animal acquisitions. The Paul Belcher Aviary was constructed in 1978, and its revolutionary design was copied at several zoos nationwide.

In 1979, the Zoo changed its name to the Akron Zoological Park to reflect the Zoo's changing attitudes. In addition, the City of Akron turned over governance of the Zoo to the Board of Trustees. The Zoo became a non-profit organization, owning all of the zoo's contents, with the City of Akron as landlord. The theme of North and South American Animals was adopted giving the Zoo a stable base for our education and conservation goals. For many years, all exhibits and educational materials centered around this theme. Several exhibits were renovated, and jaguar and eagle exhibits were opened. Zoo publicity, through educational outreach and on-site programs, continued to increase.

In 1985, the Zoo received a grant from the Institute of Museum Services that allowed for the creation of a full graphic system to identify our animal collection. In 1986, a second grant was received from this organization that purchased the Zoo's computer system. In 1988, the current otter exhibit was opened showing a habitat approach to exhibit design at a cost of $115,000. This exhibit was made possible by the donation of one individual.

The 1980s were characterized by the modernization of the Zoo's exhibits and management philosophies to build a solid financial foundation and philosophical foundation with nearly $500,000 in capital improvements to the Zoo between 1985 and 1988. Special events such as Holiday Lights and Boo at the Zoo bolstered the Zoo's annual attendance with 1988 drawing 133,000 guests breaking the 1957 attendance record of 128,344 visitors. As the decade closed, the Akron Zoological Park was accredited by the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums, recognizing the Akron Zoo's professional stature among accredited zoos and aquariums nationwide. With the acquisitions of black- and white-ruffed lemurs, Bennett's wallabies, red pandas, Galapagos tortoises, and a pair of snowy owls, the Akron Zoological Park moved from primarily a North and South American zoo to one that exhibits animals from all over the world. Also, the lemurs and red pandas began the zoo's involvement in the Species Survival Program (SSP). The addition of the modern animal care facility in 1995 marked another milestone in the history of the Akron Zoological Park.

Tiger Valley and Asian Trail were added in 1998 and 1999, respectively, with Gator Gorge added in 2000. This was, at the time, the largest capital expansion in zoo history. These exhibits really displayed the direction of the Akron Zoo - to be an institution focused on conservation, education, and the protection of endangered species. Most of the animals in these areas are part of Species Survival Plans with the American Zoo and Aquarium Association – Sumatran tigers, African lions, Malayan sun bears, red pandas, Chinese alligators, and white-naped cranes. As the zoo world continues to evolve and have a greater impact on conservation and education, so does the Akron Zoo.

In 2000, the Akron Zoo started the next chapter in its history. On March 7, 2000, the zoo passed a county-wide property tax levy. The 0.8 mil levy provides approximately $8.1 million a year to the zoo for seven years. This money is being used to plan, build, and operate a variety of capital improvements.

On Jan. 2, 2001, the Akron Zoo opened year round for the first time in its 47-year history. Phase one of the parking lot expansion was completed in the summer of 2001. In 2002, the Akron Zoo opened Wild Prairie, a themed exhibit housing black-footed ferrets, thick-billed parrots, black-tailed prairie dogs, and burrowing owls. This area also features a new concession stand and larger picnic area. The Sherman Center Clinic expansion and a new holding building for the education animals were also completed in 2002.

In 2003, the zoo opened the Barnhardt Family Welcome Center with an expanded gift shop and guest services; the Lehner Family Zoo Gardens, featuring an acre of beautiful flowers and plants native to Ohio; and Penguin Point, a new and improved home for our Humboldt penguins. 2003 was the zoo's 50th anniversary and the biggest year for the zoo ever. Attendance was up 40% from 2002 and broke a record with 150,000 visitors.

In May, 2005 the zoo opened their largest expansion in their history, Legends of the Wild. This area features 16 animal exhibits, over 20 animal species and over 400 total animals, including snow leopards, jaguars, lemurs, bats and many more.

On October 1, 2005, the zoo unveiled Komodo Kingdom Education Center, featuring Komodo dragons, Galapagos tortoises and Chinese alligators. Certification by Leaders in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is pending. The zoo utilized current green technology for heating and cooling and the building was built using many earth-friendly materials. Komodo Kingdom also includes an indoor/outdoor cafe for the hungriest of visitors. Also in the Education Center is, Lizard Lounge, an exhibit hall that features five fun and educational kiosks.

In 2006 the zoo's tax levy was up for renewal and the zoo set out to let the community know what an extraordinary and conservation minded zoo they had built with their tax dollars. The community once again supported their zoo with the passage of the property tax in the Fall.

In 2008 the zoo embarked on their first ever salt-water exhibit with the opening of Jellies: Rhythm in the Blue. This aquarium was built in Komodo and included 10 aquariums with seven different species of jellyfish, a touch tank and an underwater climbing wall. Kingdom

In 2009 the zoo announced plans to open a Conservation Carousel in 2010 with a couple of dozens rare and endangered species at the top of the zoo by the Zoo . Gardens

Many other plans are underway with the support of the residents of Summit . County

HOURS & ADMISSION

Summer Season
May – October
10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily

*In May alot of school groups all arrive at 10 a.m. so please plan accordingly if you are making a trip during the weekday.

REGULAR ADMISSION
Adults.................................... $10.00
Senior Citizens (62 & older )........ $8.50
Children (ages 2-14)............... $7.00
Group rate............................. $5.00*
Akron Zoo Members............. FREE
Non-member parking.............. $2.00

Winter Season
November – April
11 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily
Admission............................. $6.00
Akron Zoo Members............. FREE
Non-member parking............. $2.00 Picnic areas are available on a first-come basis. See the Outdoor Picnic Packages to reserve a picnic area. The zoo is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Sights to See in Akron

Akron Art Museum
70 East Market Street

Akron Art MuseumThe Akron Art Museum houses collections spanning from 1850 to the present day, a period that reflects the founding and growth of the City of Akron. To meet the increasing public interest in the museum's programs and exhibitions, the museum commissioned the first public building in the United States designed by the internationally celebrated architecture firm, COOP HIMMELB(L)AU.

The new 63,300 square foot John S. and James L. Knight Building connects with the museum's existing 1899 Building, a 21,000 square foot Renaissance revival structure, which originally served as the downtown Akron Post Office. The expansion dramatically increases the museum's ability to originate and present special exhibitions and display major, rarely seen works of art from its collection. The new building also increases facilities for education programs for students of all ages and public programs for adults and families. The new Akron Art Museum is playing a vital role in the continuing renaissance of downtown Akron.

Akron Civic Theater
182 South Main Street

Interior of Akron Civic TheaterThe theater was built in 1929 by Marcus Loew and designed by famed theater architect, John Eberson. The interior structure was fashioned after a Moorish castle featuring Mediterranean decor, including medieval carvings, authentic European antiques and Italian alabaster sculptures.
Among facilities of its size, the Civic is one of only five remaining atmospheric theaters in the country where patrons experience a twinkling star-lit sky and intermittent clouds moving across the horizon, all while sitting inside the auditorium.

Akron Police Department Museum
217 South High Street (Harold K. Stubbs Justice Center)
Features confiscated weapons, gambling and narcotics materials, and other police related items.

Dr. Bob's House
855 Ardmore
Dr. Bob's house The house where the concept of Alcoholics Anonymous was conceived.

The Dr. Shirla R. McClain Gallery of Akron's Black History & Culture
22 N. Wolf Ledges Parkway
University of Akron
Akron, OH 44325-1801
330-972-7030

The Akron Black History and Culture Gallery is committed to telling the African American story fully and accurately as it impacted the greater Akron experience and how the story impacts our collective life today.

Goodyear Airdock
South side of Fulton Airport

Built in 1929. The largest building in the world without interior supports. Dirigibles were built here until 1935.

Ohio Historical Marker here states:

A colossus of engineering acumen and structural steel, the Goodyear AirdockAirdock was built in 1929 as the construction facility for the U.S. Navy's rigid airships, the USS Akron (1931) and USS Macon (1933). The airships, or dirigibles, served as the fleet's aerial watchdogs, but with the advancement of aircraft carriers, the Navy no longer needed these leviathans of the skies, which were large enough to carry five biplanes. Eleven steel parabolic arches, cresting at 211 feet, create one of the largest open space interiors in the world and shelter more than 364,000 square feet of floor space. Only one of the arches is fixed to its concrete piling. Its 660-ton spherical doors rest on flatbed railroad cars to open. The Airdock, a National Civil Engineering Landmark, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company
1144 E. Market Street

Ohio Historical Marker located here states:

Goodyear Plants
Industrialist and entrepreneur Franklin Augustus Seiberling (1859-1955) named his fledgling rubber goods manufacturing company "Goodyear" to honor Charles Goodyear, the man who invented the vulcanization process for curing rubber. Seiberling founded the company with his brother, Charles Willard, because of their desire to participate in an enterprise that afforded an "opportunity for invention." Incorporated in 1898, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company rapidly grew with the young automotive industry and helped establish Akron as the "Rubber Capital of the World." Among Seiberling's many significant inventions were the tire-making machine and the detachable wheel rim. He resigned from Goodyear in 1921 and went on to found the Seiberling Rubber Company. Stan Hywet Hall, F.A. Seiberling's estate in west Akron, is a National Historic Landmark.

Grace School
Maple at Exchange

Ohio Historical Marker here states:

Named for Grace Perkins, wife of Akron founder Col. Simon Grace SchoolPerkins, Grace School was constructed in 1890 in the popular Jacobethan architectural style. Now known as Five Points, this area was not urbanized at that time; the Akron Rural Cemetery was nearby. Additions were constructed in 1918 and 1964. The school was decommissioned in 1977, but served as an Adult Service Center for the Akron Board of Education.

Hall Park Allotment Historic District
131 Oakdale Avenue

Ohio Historical Marker here states:

Akron, an industrial boomtown in the early twentieth century, grewHall Park Allotment Historic District in population nearly fivefold between 1900 and 1920. As the city industrialized, middle class residents sought homes on West Hill, away from the smoke and soot of heavy industry on the East Side. The Hall Park Allotment Historic District in West Hill represents a notable early twentieth century neighborhood. Developed by Philander Hall between 1902 and 1919 during the height of Akron's "rubber boom," it consists of several houses representing the picturesque styles of the period, including the American Foursquare, Craftsman, Colonial, and Medieval Revival Styles. With its gently curving brick streets, hilly topography, and mature trees, the Hall Park Allotment Historic District evokes the feeling of a distinct period of time in Akron's history and constitutes a neighborhood of distinctive historical character and architectural merit.

Howard Street District
Martin Luther King Jr Blvd and North Main Street

Ohio Historical Marker here states:

Side A: The center of African-American culture in Akron during the mid-20th century, Howard Street was home to many of the city's black-owned business and entertainment establishments, and provided an atmosphere in which minority-owned businesses could thrive. Attracted to the vitality of the neighborhood, entrepreneur George Mathews (1887-1982) established a barbershop here in 1920 and in 1925 opened the adjoining Mathews Hotel. The hotel quickly became the anchor of the Howard Street district. Mathews' success allowed him to endow a scholarship fund at the University of Akron in 1964.

Side B : The 1930-1950 era saw the heyday of Howard Street as a vibrant cultural center. The Mathews Hotel was a regular stop for black entertainers such as Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie when they performed in Akron. Local music clubs included the Green Turtle, the Cosmopolitan, the High Hat, and Benny Rivers. The Howard Street district declined in the 1960s and much of it was razed for "urban renewal" in the 1970s and 1980s.

Hower House
60 Fir Hill
University of Akron
330-972-6909
http://www3.uakron.edu/howerhse/

Hower House Built in 1871 by John Henry Hower, Hower House is furnished with family treasures from around the world. It remains as one of the finest examples of Second Empire Italianate architecture extant in Ohio. Three generations of the Hower family lived in the house for over 100 years.

Invent Now Museum & Store in the National Inventor's Hall of Fame School: Center for Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics
221 S. Broadway
234-678-6692

National Inventor's Hall of Fame The Invent Now Museum and Store is open Monday through Friday from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Free Admission.

Lock 2 Park
Between State & Buchtel, Main & Water Streets

Reproduction of lock that once stood at the spot. Replica outline and description of a canal freighter.

Our Lady of the Elms/Elm Court
1230 West Market Street
http://www.theelms.org/

Ohio Historical Marker here states:

Side A "Elm Court Arthur Hudson Marks (1874-1939)"
Elm CourtElm Court, designed by Howard Van Doren Shaw of Illinois, was built in 1912 for Arthur Hudson Marks. The original mansion exemplifies the Italian Renaissance Revival style. Elm Court included the mansion, barn, stables, carriage house, pond, and a variety of trees, especially elms, on 33 acres. Arthur Marks was the inventive genius in chemistry and business who revolutionized the rubber industry in Akron. He was best known for inventing the alkaline-recovery vulcanization process in 1899, the cord tire, the chemical research laboratory system, and placing rubber research on a scientific basis. In World War I he served as director of chemical warfare services. Marks served as vice-president of B.F. Goodrich Company and Curtis Airplane and Engine Company and president of other rubber companies and the Aeolian Skinner Organ Company.

Side B : "Our Lady of the Elms Sisters of St. Dominic"
In 1923, the Akron Dominican Sisters, the Order of Preachers (OP), purchased Elm Court for a Dominican Provincial House. Our Lady of the Elms Convent was dedicated on October 14, 1923. The next day, the Sisters opened an academy for elementary and high school students. The Akron Dominicans became an independent congregation in 1929, but their history began in 1206 in France when St. Dominic invited women to be part of his work—to pray, preach, and educate. Monasteries spread throughout Europe and in 1853 four sisters were sent to New York. Akron became a home to one of the Dominican congregations that spread throughout the United States. Its convent, administration buildings, and school campus including an all-girls' high school and elementary school, and a co-educational preschool/kindergarten are located on the Elm Court property. Akron Dominican Sisters continue to engage in the ministries of education and social service.

Mustill Site and Cascade Valley
234 and 248 Ferndale Street
Ohio Historical Marker here states:

Side A : "The Mustill Site"
Mustill Site and Cascade ValleyThe Mustill house and store are survivors of Akron's canal era and date to the 1840s. Joseph and Sarah Mustill moved their family from England to Akron in 1833 and owned the store and Greek Revival house at Lock 15 on the Ohio & Erie Canal. Three generations of Mustills lived and worked the grocery business at Lock 15, first Joseph and Sarah, then their son Fred with his wife Emma, and their children Maria, Frederick, Edwin and Franklin. A popular place to buy or barter goods, the store served canallers, farmers, craftsmen, and neighbors for many years.

Side B : "The Cascade Valley"
The Ohio & Erie Canal was completed from Cleveland to Akron in 1827. From the Mustill Site, the canal rose 15 locks to the summit in Akron. The "Cascade Mill Race," built by Dr. Eliakim Crosby in 1832, paralleled the canal, creating a large manufacturing center of mills that derived its power from water from the Little Cuyahoga River. The canal carried products north to Lake Erie or south to the Ohio River reaching worldwide ports. In March 1913, a flood ended canal operations in this area.

Portage Path

Historic route used by the Indians to portage their canoes from the Cuyahoga River to the Tuscarawas River. It was the dividing line between the U.S. and Indian Territory from 1785 to 1805.

Ohio Historical Marker here states:

You are standing on the famous portage, carrying-place Statue marks northernmost point of portagebetween the Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas rivers. The two streams and the portage across the watershed formed an early route between Lake Erie and the Ohio River. First the Indians, then French and English traders and trappers, and finally American settlers and travelers carried their canoes and packs across this narrow strip of land in passing, by way of the rivers, between northern and southern Ohio. The portage was a part of the defined boundaries in the treaties with the Indians made at Fort McIntosh (1785), Fort Harmar (1789), and Green Ville (1795). Use of the portage was discontinued in 1827 when the Ohio and Erie Canal was built along the old trail. Today, modern Akron streets--Portage Path and Manchester Road--follow the approximate route of the original portage.

Quaker Square
120 East Mill Street

Quaker Square Now owned and operated by the University of Akron. Renovated factory buildings of the Quaker Oats Company include boutiques, shops, restaurants, and student housing.

St. Bernard's Church
47 East State Street

St. Bernard's Church German Romanesque architecture with a Baroque influence. Built in 1905.

Soap Box Derby
789 Derby Downs Drive
www.aasbd.com

Ohio Historical Marker here states:

An annual summer tradition for American youth since Derby Downsthe 1930s, the All-American Soap Box Derby was the concept of journalist Myron E. ("Scottie") Scott, who covered an impromptu homebuilt gravity-car race in Dayton in 1933. Scott conceived and promoted a prize-awarding event later that year, and to his surprise 362 boys entered the race. Restrictions on material cost and participants' ages widened the sport's appeal; the Soap Box Derby held its first national championship in Akron in 1935, sponsored by the auto and rubber industries. Derby Downs, built as a public works project by the New Deal-era Works Progress Administration (WPA), has been the event's home since 1936. The Soap Box Derby continues to promote the values of craftsmanship, sportsmanship, and perseverance for generations of American youth.


Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, Inc.
714 N. Portage Path
330-836-5533
www.stanhywet.org

Stan Hywet Hall is a 65-room tudor revival-style manor surrounded by 70 acres of historically significant gardens and grounds. The Hall is the former home of Goodyear co-founder F. S. Seiberling and his family. A national historic landmark, it contains original family furnishings and rare art treasures.

Ohio Historical Marker here states:

The former "country estate" of the Frank A. Seiberling Stan Hywet Hall & Gardensfamily, Stan Hywet Hall is one of the finest examples of Tudor Revival architecture in the United States. "F.A." Seiberling (1859-1955) co-founded the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in 1898 and later the Seiberling Rubber Company, thus greatly contributing to Akron's distinction as "The Rubber Capital of the World." Built between 1912 and 1915, The 65-room Manor House and service buildings are situated on more than 70 acres of restored historic gardens and wooded landscapes, all reflecting the Seiberlings' tastes in the decorative and cultural arts. Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1982.

Summit County Courthouse
209 South High Street

The present structure was completed in 1908.

Treaty of Fort McIntosh Boundary Line
995 Treaty Line Road

Ohio Historical Marker here states:

In 1785, American Indian tribal leaders from the Treaty LineChippewa, Delaware, Ottawa, and Wyandot met with representatives sent by the United States Congress to sign the controversial Treaty of Fort McIntosh. The treaty surrendered control of Native American lands in southern and eastern Ohio to the United States government. Most Indians rejected the validity of the treaty and rather than improving relations, the Treaty of Fort McIntosh only intensified the tensions that existed between the United States government and the Indian tribes. This marker signifies the eastern most portion of the American Indian territory outlined by the treaty. The Portage Path, a trail used by American Indians as a portage between the Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas rivers, became a part of this boundary line.

Universalist Stone Church
Main Street between Perkins and Market Street

Ohio Historical Marker here states:

On this site on May 29, 1851, Sojourner Truth, a former Universalist Stone Churchslave, gave her world famous "And Ain't I a Woman?" speech, recalling the hardships she had endured. Active in both the abolitionist and women's rights movements, she electrified an audience of women and men who had come to the Universalist Stone Church for a two-day women's rights convention.

Wesley Temple African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
104 North Prospect Street

Ohio Historical Marker here states:

This church, founded in 1866, is the oldest Black Wesley Temple African Methodist Episcopal Zion Churchcongregation in Akron. After worshiping in several locations, the congregation held a fund-raiser to help finance the construction of a permanent home. The person collecting the most money had the privilege of renaming the church. That honor went to Mrs. Belle (Smith) Wesley. Completed in 1928, the current structure is a Neo-Classical Revival style building, featuring a classical pedimented portico, or porch, and four distinctive ionic columns. An education wing was added in 1963 by the late Rev. Dr. E. E. Morgan, Jr. Akron Black architects Herbert L. Wardner and John O. Somerville designed the church, and then a Black contractor, Samuel Plato, completed the structure. The church has long been a vital religious and social focal point for Akron's Black community. The local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was organized at Wesley Temple. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places 3/19/94.

Artifacts & Exhibits

Civil War 150 Exhibit at Main Place in Downtown Akron

This exhibit features clothing and musical instruments that date from the Civil War period. It can be viewed on the first floor of the Main Place Building.

Akron History Exhibit

The Summit County Historical Society installs and maintains several temporary displays at the Akron History Exhibit. These displays change regularly, so stop by often to see something new from our collection. Admission is free.

Archival Collection

Our extensive collection of photographs and historic documents is housed at the Special Collections Division of the Akron-Summit County Public Library . Some documents from our collection are available for viewing online at the Summit Memory Project . These items are available for private and professional research and copies of documents are available through Special Collections for a fee. The Summit County Historical Society must approve any reproduction of these items for publication. To view pieces from our archival collection please contact the Special Collections Division at specollections@akronlibrary.org or 330.643.9030.