In warm and lively prose, Written on the Hills explores the natural and human history of Akron, Ohio. Drawing on geological studies, state and municipal records, local histories and personal reminiscences, Frances McGovern shows how the landscape has influenced the development of Akron, and how the layers of Akron’s history are revealed in its modern landscape.
This midsize city, shaped by its rugged environment of steep hills, ravines, rivers, and wetlands, began life in 1825 as a service settlement on the Ohio and Erie Canal, flanking a staircase of locks over the North-South Continental Divide. The early 1900s saw the spectacular rise of the rubber industry, giving Akron a sudden flood of workers, a hierarchy of millionaires, and a new national identity.
From bedrock to corporate boardroom, Written on the Hills reads the evolution of Akron in its parks and street patterns,its houses and factory walls. Its raw edges refined by the ancient beauty of its setting, Akron has weathered many changes in its history, redirecting its economy and institutions to become the very livable city among the hills that it is today.
Frances McGovern has a beautiful writing style, and the personal touches and dry wit add so much to it. She is a master at finding the right generalization about complex matters and expressing it in lean prose that moves to the heart of the issue. Written on the Hills is a superb piece of work.