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The story of Akron is the story of moving. Sometimes it's people moving stuff, sometimes it's stuff moving people, but either way, Akronites are always on the move.


This fascination with movement goes back before there was actually an Akron. The native people in the area were able to travel by canoe from Lake Erie to vast distances all over the country by using the rivers. However, there was one stretch of land that wasn't connected by a waterway.


To get from the Cuyahoga to the Tuscarawas river the native people had to pull their canoes out of the river and carry them over an 8 mile stretch of land. Now this route is referred to as the Portage Path and 50 bronze arrowhead statues mark the exact route used all those years ago.


In 1825, work began on the Ohio and Erie Canal. Simon Perkins noticed that there was nothing around the high point of the canal. He was sure that a town around that slow moving part would do a lot of business selling to the travelers even as they were moving goods. He began to make plans, and Akron – taken from the Greek word meaning summit – was born.


The canal stayed in operation for almost 90 years. In 1913, a record amount of rainfall fall and flooding caused major damage to the canal and it was shut down. The canal had been struggling to compete with the faster transportation competition from train lines which began to show up in 1850s.


The influence of rails even made their way into the city. In the early 1880s, horse drawn carriages called “herdics” shuttled people around town. However, in 1888 Akron got its first electric streetcar. It cost passengers 5 cents to ride the entire route which traveled Market Street from the eastern border of town to just short of Portage Path at what was then the western boundary of the city.


However, even with all the influence rails were having in reshaping the city, it was the shortcomings of the railroads in the area that helped to create Akron's trucking industry.


As Akron's rubber industry grew, thanks to the growth of the automobile industry, Akron's tire manufactures needed a way to get their products to their clients. Roadway Express was founded in 1930 to transport the tires made in Akron to the automobile manufactures. After the United States passed the Federal-Aid Highway Act in 1956, creating the nation's interstate highway system, the trucking industry began to boom.


With all of this, there's every reason to believe Akron will keep on moving.

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