The Akron Metropolitan Park District – now named Summit Metro Parks – was established in December 1921. The park's early board of commissioners – which included tire baron Frank A. Seiberling – hired the well-known landscape architect brothers, John and Fredrick Olmsted, to plan the new parks.
In 1926 Harold S. Wagner was named the first Director-Secretary of the new parks system. In Wagner's first five years leading the city's parks, he built the system up to 1,600 acres. Some of those early parks included the Gorge, Sand Run, and Furnace Run.
By the time Wagner retired in 1958, the park system had grown to 3,760 acres and was drawing out more than 800,000 people each year.
Today if you enjoy the 40,000 daffodils that bloom along the Wagner Daffodil Trail, you owe a debt of gratitude to Wagner and his wife, who planted the first bulbs in the 1930s.
The 60s and 70s saw great growth for the park system. The reservations increased to over 6,000 acres and included the F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm and Cascade Valley, among others. It was also during this time that the Fall Hiking Spree was first introduced – an event that is wildly popular to this day.
Now, Executive Director Lisa King manages the 14,300 acre-park system with over 125 miles of trails – including more than 22 miles of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. With an average of 5 million visits each year, the Summit Metro Parks continue to grow and connect visitors with the great outdoors.
The Summit Metro Parks isn't Akron's only park system. The Cuyahoga Valley National Park runs through Akron as well.
When the Olmsted brothers first surveyed the area for Akron's new park system, they reported the recreational potential of the Cuyahoga Valley. About 40 years later that potential was threatened by development. John R Daily - then Director-Secretary of the Summit Metro Parks - helped acquire the land to save it from Akron's sprawl.
In 1974 President Gerald Ford advanced that protection by signing the bill that established the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area. For the next 30 years, more land was purchased for the new park, historic structures were restored, and activities for public enjoyment were planned – all tirelessly championed by Congressman Ralph Regula. In the year 2000, Regula helped to change the park's name to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Today the park protects 33,000 acres of land and welcomes about 2.2 million visitors annually, making it one of the most visited National Parks. The park offers hiking, biking, wildlife watching, canoeing, and even a scenic railroad ride.
City life, or the great outdoors – the choice is yours in Akron.
akronicity [ak-ruh-nis-i-tee) noun. the innate creativity, tenacity and intellectual prowess that has and will continue to surge through the men and women of Akron, Ohio: embrace your akronicity and make your new ideas reality | akronicity is a uniquely, one-of-a-kind spirit of innovation and determination that only the people of Akron, Ohio possess.
-PHARSES their akronicity is contagious | our success is powered by akronicity
-ORIGIN Settled in1825 – Akron from the Greek “an elevation” or “point” / icity (you’re wondering) is the sweat, tears, joy, steadfastness, grit, passion & smarts that are the foundation of the community we celebrate today and what will propel us into the future.
For nearly 200 years, Akron, Ohio has been the birthplace of ideas, systems, products and idioms that have had an
unmistakably-positive impact on the world and its citizens.
Strategically settled, Akron's geo-graphical location has been leveraged throughout its history - from waterways, road
systems and air transport.
Similarly, its idea-graphical locale has become a fertile landscape of inspiration and creation. Ideas have always flourished, bringing forth refinements and substantial advancements across every facet of our community's output.
This web site was designed to expand and enhance the stories found in the printed publication. It, too, weaves the common thread, we call "akronicity," to demonstrate its influence on our achievements across time.