A historical site and museum guide for akron

This article is a brief overview of the major historical sites and museums located in Akron, OH.

The city's slogan, ""┬ŽBest Today, Still Better Tomorrow!" expresses Akron, Ohio's many historic accomplishments. By not forgetting or neglecting the past, Akron residents have kept it alive in beautiful museums and historical sites.

Quaker Square originated in 1856 with Ferdinand Schumacher's old wooden factory used to produce what later became known as Quaker oatmeal. Schumacher's company was the first to register a cereal trademark, and the first to nationally advertise food. Over a century later, the cereal mill was transformed into a world-class hotel which revived the city's waning business and entertainment districts. Quaker Square was opened in 1975 with four shops and an ice cream parlor. Now, visitors may dine in and around Pullman train cars at the nearby Depot Diner when lodging at the silo hotel housed in the renovated Quaker cereal mill.

Another historical site of interest in Akron is Derby Downs which was built as a project of Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration, which provided jobs during the Great Depression. The All-American Soapbox Derby has been run in Akron at Derby Downs since 1936. World Championships are held each August with entrants from the United States and several other countries.

The Akron Art Museum has a permanent collection of over 3,000 paintings, photographs, and sculptures as well as additional space to show visiting exhibitions from other distinguished museums and private collections throughout the nation. The Akron Art Museum was established in 1972 and is housed in an Italian Renaissance Revival building which was constructed in 1899.

The National Inventor's Hall of Fame is the most famous museum in Akron. Opened in 1995, the Hall of Fame is housed in Inventure Place along with an interactive science laboratory. Citizens of the city petitioned and rallied for Inventure Place to find its home in Akron, beating out a number of other cities to win the honor.

One of only five depression-era, atmospheric theaters in the nation resides in Akron: the Akron Civic Theater. The Civic has the appearance of an outdoor theater surrounding the garden of a Moorish castle. The outdoor effect is achieved with a special projector which creates the illusion of stars and moving clouds on the theater's ceiling.

A number of historic houses in Akron are open to the public. The oldest of these homes is the Hower House, which was built in 1871 by John Henry Hower, a leading industrialist in the city. The floor-plan of the home featured rooms radiating from a large, octagonal central hall. The floor-plan later became known as the "Sunday School Plan," and was used in churches built around the country. The Hower House contains 28 rooms on 3 floors, a tower, and hundreds of artifacts from around the world. The home was occupied by the Hower family for 100 years and then deeded to the University of Akron in 1970. Hower House is open to visitors 11 months of the year. It is closed during the month of January.

One last site to note is the Stan Hywet Hall, a 65-room mansion which was built between 1912 and 1915. The mansion features 21,000 panes of glass, 23 fireplaces, and hand-carved paneling. The home originally belonged to Goodyear co-founder, F.A. Seiberling. As remarkable as the mansion are the grounds on which it stands. Stan Hywet Hall is surrounded by 70 acres of landscaped gardens, including a fully-restored English garden, a Japanese garden, a lagoon, and many scenic alleys. The gardens' colors and blooms change each season, providing variety and unique photo opportunities for visitors year-round.

Not just an industrial city along the Ohio and Erie Canal, Akron has many historic and cultural sites for the enjoyment of citizens and visitors alike.

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