N.O.T. & L. Building


By Jaime Palinchak

The N.O.T. & L. Building is located at 47 North Main Street. The Northern Ohio Traction and Lighting Company was the longest lasting electric traction company in Akron. It owned and operated all of the interurban railway lines out of Akron. The Terminal Building, also known as the N.O.T. & L. Building, was built in 1917 along with car barns. Two stories were eventually added. During the four decades that Northeastern Ohio’s urban railways were in use, longer distance travel was made more efficient and comfortable compared to horse drawn carriages and steam trains. In fact, Ohio had the largest system, with a total of 2,798 miles connecting cities from Lake Erie to Cincinnati. Passengers could thus appreciate travel “the dustless way.” Despite its reputation for being a passenger transit service, the N.O.T. & L. Co. profited most from freight service on the Electric Packaging Agency, a collective group of regional traction companies. The growing rubber industry in Akron provided the most clientele for these services. Other services included local postal delivery, milk delivery, and the transportation of the deceased in mortuary cars to funeral parlors and burial sites. Interurban railway transportation went out of vogue with the advent of metro bus lines and more affordable private automobiles in the early 1930s. Passenger rail service was discontinued in 1932, and the Northern Ohio Traction and Light Company became Ohio Edison. The building currently functions as the home of the Summit County Department of Job and Family Services.



Summit County Courthouse

By Jaime Palinchak

The Summit County Courthouse and Annex is located at 209 South High Street. It was constructed after the original courthouse, built in 1843, was torn down in 1905. It was built in order to meet the demands of the population increase that occurred in Akron due to the expansion of the city’s rubber industry. The building was designed by J. Milton Dyer, an architect who was a significant in many urban planning projects in Cleveland in the early 20th century. Dyer also designed Cleveland City Hall, the Cleveland Athletic Club, the Coast Guard Station, and the U.S. Subtreasury Building in San Francisco. The main building of the courthouse faces west and was constructed in 1908. The annex building, built in 1922, faces east and is identical in style. The two buildings are connected by two bridges on the second and third stories. According to the National Register report, the architectural features are “characteristic of the simpler interpretations of the Renaissance Revival style” and “the interiors of both buildings have the dignity characteristic of the public buildings of the period.” One clear example of this style is the heavy and dark walnut and oak interior woodwork. Two seated male statues flank the entrance; one holds a scroll and the other a sword, representing law and justice, respectively. Two lions also stand guard at the entrance. The Summit County Courthouse and Annex were entered into the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service in 1974. Today, the buildings are home to the Divisions of the Court of Common Pleas of Summit County. It thus is still in use for court functions while simultaneously serving as a visual example of the city’s legal and architectural history.


Quaker Square


By Jaime Palinchak

The Quaker Square annex is located at the intersection of Broadway and Mill Streets and occupies approximately one city block. Originally the Quaker Oats Cereal Factory, the center of the contemporary annex is composed of 36 90-feet tall grain silos that were constructed in 1936 by the Quaker Oats Company. These silos could store 1.5 million bushels of grain. The complex consists of eight major components: the Cereal Mill, the Corn Puffs, the Cleaning House, the Loading Shed, brick warehouse buildings, the 1900 Railway Express Agency depot building, the Elevator Building, the Dry House, and the 36 grain storage silos. The Quaker Oats Company was the largest industry and employer in Akron for many years before the turn of the 20th century. The only remaining element of the company is the complex itself, a visual reminder of the significant economic factor it once played in Akron’s history. When the Quaker Oats Company relocated to Chicago in 1970, the complex was redeveloped by private investors and transformed into the Quaker Square Crowne Plaza Hotel and shopping center. In 1979, it was entered in the national Register of Historic Places by the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Services. The University of Akron purchased the hotel in 2007 for $22.7 million, keeping 65 rooms available for public use. The other 196 rooms were converted into dormitories. These hotel/dormitory rooms are located within the grain silos themselves, each room 24 feet in diameter and in the round. As such, the structure is most notable for its unique architectural form and its continued use in very different contexts.


Old Stone School

By Jaime Palinchak

The Old Stone School is located at the corner of Broadway and Buchtel Avenues.  Built in the early 1830s, it was the first schoolhouse built in Akron. The school was originally called the schoolhouse of Portage Township School District No. 2. General Simon Perkins gave the property as a gift in 1837 after the original deed was lost by school directors. The school’s sturdy construction out of sawn lumber would have been rather unique since during the first half of the 19th century, the Ohio School Law limited the amount that could be acquired by taxation to fund school construction to $200; private donations must have been collected. The State School fund given by the State of Ohio was not enough to cover the school teacher’s full salary. As a result, parents were required to pay as much as two dollars per child to attend winter sessions as well as to provide firewood for the school, house and feed the teacher in the winter. School was taught in the winter months because other jobs were not available; teachers worked elsewhere during the warmer months. The one-room schoolhouse model was used through the Civil War because of tax issues and difficulty obtaining loans. The Akron Board of Education did not receive a loan until 1867 after the local bank had changed management. This led to a “schoolhouse building boom” in Akron, and Schoolhouse #2 was among those that were refurbished in stone. The school was closed and sold to the railroad within ten years of its renovation because it was too small. Today, the building is owned by the Summit County Historical Society and remains a popular educational venue for local school field trips.



Howe House

By Jaime Palinchak

The Richard Howe House was known as the “Howe Mansion” by those traveling along the Ohio & Erie Canal. Built in 1836, it was the home of Richard Howe, its Resident Engineer, and is located at 47 West Exchange Street, overlooking the canal. Richard Howe headed the completion of the canal from Cleveland to Massillon between 1825 and 1832. He also designed Summit Lake and engineered the canal’s port over the Continental Divide. His supervision of the connection of the Ohio & Erie Canal to the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal boosted Akron’s standing as a major transportation hub.
The building is one of two Federal Style homes in Akron today and serves as an architectural relic of the canal era. The restoration of the Howe House to its original condition and its subsequent transition into a meeting space and visitor’s information center for the Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway was the project of the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition. Restoration cost $150,000 in state funds.
The house was moved from its original site to its current location adjacent to the Ohio & Erie Canal and Towpath Trail on June 30, 2008. It was transported on rollers down the street with crowds present to see its relocation. Today, it can be accessed by towpath visitors by crossing a $75,000 walkway that leads across the water to the house.