On 07 November by Goodyear Heights in , , ,    No comments
An original (1914) and well-preserved Goodyear Heights home, this English Cottage-style house features 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths. For the most part, the exterior appears little changed from the original (including the windows) and portions of the first floor have been opened-up slightly to allow for a more flowing plan. Original features like a brick fireplace and handsome staircase help this 1,516 sq. ft. house retain much of its early 20th-century charm.

The home features a spacious and shady backyard and a partially finished basement as well, and is right on the bus line. Also includes a detached, single-car garage.

Notes: 1402 Goodyear Blvd. Akron, OH 44305 / 3 bedrooms and 1.5 baths; ready to move in.  The home has Central air, gas forced air heat and includes  Dishwasher, Dryer, Range / Oven & Refrigerator. For more details, click HERE.

On 03 November by Goodyear Heights in , , , ,    No comments

East Side Pride was on full display Thursday, November 2, as the East High Dragons defeated the Buchtel Griffins for the 2017 City Series Postseason football title. The win came just two weeks after Buchtel had prevailed in a 15-13 contest—but the Dragons turned the tables and won a memorable championship game, 21-20.

The win game the Dragons their second consecutive title, and was primarily driven by an outstanding defensive effort, which resulted in two scores from that side of the ball. Much of the critical action took place within the last two minutes of the game, as a defensive score by East was matched by a Buchtel touchdown drive. Unfortunately for the Griffins, what would have been the game-tying extra point attempt was missed, thus delivering the victory to the Dragons. What a game!

On 31 October by Goodyear Heights in , , ,    No comments
Looking through the initial results of our survey, it was interesting—though not so surprising—that Goodyear Heights residents would like to see the kind of amenities that are often found in many lively, active neighborhoods. These include things like grocery stores, coffee shops and cafes, farmer’s markets, and other retail outlets. In short, the comments seemed to indicate that people were looking for places to gather and socialize. That’s typical for a healthy neighborhood. Most people prefer to know who their neighbors are, enjoy at least some level of social interaction, and have a feeling of belonging to a “community.” Gathering places like restaurants, coffee shops, taverns, parks and public squares, and retail stores play an important role in bringing people together and shaping that sense of community and identity.

These kinds of businesses are also important in enhancing Goodyear Heights’ attractiveness as a walkable community. The neighborhood was built before the era where everyone had a car—and it was designed to have the most-needed services within easy walking distance. For example, around 1920, the commercial area around Goodyear Boulevard and Pioneer St. included a grocery, butcher shop, sundry store (think of a drug store without the pharmacy), a real estate office, barber shop, and more. Later, as America became infatuated with the automobile, these kinds of retail services became more centralized (think of the old Acme at Six Corners) and as time went on, moved even further out from the central parts of the city—which is why the closest Acme is now in Tallmadge.

Today, more people would like the convenience of a neighborhood grocery; not a huge mega-store, but something more modest that offers a decent selection of basic foods at a reasonable price. For the older members of the audience, think of an old Lawson’s store on steroids. Combined with a weekly Farmer’s Market in a central location for produce and other specialty items, this would be helpful for the neighborhood. If you’ve ever been to the Mustard Seed Market in Highland Square, you can see how a grocery operation of modest size has become a popular neighborhood gathering place. The store itself is not that big at all, but the public gathering spaces and cafĂ© on the second floor has almost become the “neighborhood living room.”

There are a few places to eat and drink in the neighborhood, and a few (like Julian’s) attract some customers from other parts of the city. It would be nice to see more of this, and also have some of these businesses try to build a stronger bond with the surrounding neighborhood areas. It’s also critical that neighborhood residents patronize their local businesses, to ensure they remain healthy and viable. Everyone has a role to play.

On 08 October by Goodyear Heights in , , , , , ,    No comments

Responses continue to come in for our Goodyear Heights Resident Survey, and as the weeks go on we’ll be sharing some of the results and highlighting some of the specific questions we asked and the responses we are getting.

As a teaser, we might pass on just a few observations that we gathered on our first look at the results. One thing that stuck out was that a majority of the respondents (55%) have lived in Goodyear Heights for at least 10 years of more—in fact, in our initial 100 responses, 30% of those surveyed had lived in Goodyear Heights for 20 years or more!

A cartoon that appeared in The Wingfoot Clan during Goodyear Heights' early years.
That points to something we suspected—that a number of families have lived in The Heights for multiple generations. It also points out that there is a high degree of satisfaction for many residents, and that they have both a financial and emotional investment in the neighborhood.

Among the first 100 respondents, almost 80% were homeowners. Most lived in what we would consider the “older” part of the neighborhood. Of the issues they would like to see the city address, crime was by far the primary issue—something that is typical in most of Akron’s neighborhoods.

We’ll also note there was a very high degree of interest in a true grocery store, places to eat and hang out, improved parks and a community garden, and maybe even a regulated dog park. Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at some of those things our residents are suggesting, and consider how we can adapt those ideas into an overall plan to improve Goodyear Heights. Stay Tuned!

On 07 October by Goodyear Heights in , , , ,    No comments
Here in Ohio, everyone knows the “snowbird” phenomenon – seniors who move to sunny southern climes in their later years. But a recent AARP survey shows that a vast majority of older Americans—more than 70 percent of those over 50, according to the survey—plan to “age in place,” or stay in their homes or communities. 

A recent article on the CityLab website details the survey and noted that the desire to stay put persists across urban, suburban, and rural residents—even in Snow Belt cities and among those who have the financial resources to buy that condo in Boca Raton or Scottsdale.

The survey showed that 7 out of 10 urbanites still want to live in their city after the age of 80. For Baby Boomers, the share was higher, at 8 out of 10.

Among some of the things that seniors look for is good access to health care and an environment where they have an opportunity to remain active and keep in touch with friends.

These are important things to keep in mind as we consider the future of Goodyear Heights. For one thing, we know that many of our residents have lived in the neighborhood for many years—even over multiple generations. Some older residents enjoy the modest upkeep requirements of their home, the familiarity of the area, and the quiet, relaxed nature of The Heights.

We want to ensure that The Heights remains a great neighborhood for all residents, young and old—with amenities that everyone can enjoy. Preserving its character and building a clean, safe and walkable neighborhood will go a long way towards meeting that goal.

On 14 September by Goodyear Heights in , , ,    No comments
It only takes a couple of minutes, but you can help us chart a course for the future of Goodyear Heights by telling us what you think. Our online survey can be accessed by clicking on the button below.
We want you to tell us: What are our neighborhood's challenges? What things make it great? What would you like to see, in terms of services, retail, amenities, programs or activities?Plans and ideas don't add up to much without the input of our neighborhood residents. Don't be shy...nothing great will happen unless you provide your input and let us know what you think!


On 12 September by Goodyear Heights in , , , ,    No comments
This lovely cottage-style home combines both English and Craftsman-style elements. Constructed in 1918, it sits in a quiet area of Goodyear Heights not far from the metropolitan park. At just over 1300 sq. feet, it still features the original bold columns across the front porch, solid brick over clay-tile construction and exudes a lot of quaint character. From the hardwood floors and brick-fronted fireplace to the original woodwork and stairs, it’s loaded with charm and has been appropriately updated. It’s hard to believe it’s almost a century old! The backyard is also quiet and well landscaped; great for relaxing or entertaining, with a large deck and slate walking paths.

Notes: 1811 Tonawanda Ave. Akron, OH 44305 / 3 bedrooms and 1 bath; ready to move in and enjoy. Central air, forced air heat and detached, 2-car garage. Wood-burning fireplace.
For more details, click HERE.
On 21 August by Goodyear Heights in , , , ,    No comments
The process has started. With the submission of our preliminary paperwork to the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), the effort to create a National Register Historic District in Goodyear Heights is now fully underway.

The process begins with a preliminary questionnaire, which gives a general overview of the nominated area and requires the submitter to provide detailed information about the proposed district. This information generally covers four different criteria, which describe an area’s significance in terms of:

a) Historic significance in terms of key national or local historic events
b) Association with important people of national or local importance
c) Definitive characteristics, representing the work of a master, or distinctive features that make it representative of a type, period or method of design/construction
d) Association or potential for archaeological discovery

While many historic districts have been deemed eligible for the National Register of Historic Places using just one of these criteria, Goodyear Heights can claim to have significance using three of these criteria; a, b, and c. That provides a distinct advantage in pursuing our application.

Our preliminary paperwork also included a number of photographs, including houses, streetscapes, parks and other images which will provide our SHPO evaluation team with an image of the neighborhood’s current condition. Also important were maps of the proposed district and historic maps of the original phases of the allotment.

It’s a long evaluation process; once the materials are reviewed, a site visit to Goodyear Heights will be made by the SHPO to further research the neighborhood and, providing the submission is approved, they will provide recommendations and guidance for preparing the final application for the National Register of Historic Places. This will be submitted to the National Parks Service.

So – our work has just begun! If you have questions, or would like to offer help if it is needed, we would certainly like to hear from you. In the meantime, be sure to sign our online petition, which will help us as we pursue obtaining assistance from the city of Akron on this project.

On 17 August by Goodyear Heights in , , ,    No comments
It's no secret that Goodyear Heights knows how to put on a great block party, and it was certainly in evidence on August 1st during the national Night Out Against Crime neighborhood celebration. Each year in cities all across the country, neighbors gather to share information, get info from law enforcement on how to keep their community safe, and generally have fun getting to know each other!

The annual event takes place in neighborhoods all over Akron, but the biggest party of all happens right here in Goodyear Heights, in front of the Linda Theater. Local businesses, community groups, entertainers and residents all shared in the fun, with hundreds of people congregating on Goodyear Boulevard. Much of the credit for the even goes to R.I.G.H.T. president Sharon Connor, who helps organize the event and bring it all together.

To read more about it, check out this article in The Akronist.

On 06 August by Goodyear Heights in , , , ,    No comments
It’s time to share your vision about a Community Garden in Goodyear Heights!

There was a meeting on July 11, but you can still participate in a community garden survey initiated by Summit Metro Parks. This survey is intended for any resident of the Goodyear Heights, Ellet and City of Akron interested in gardening, socializing, volunteering or coordinating garden-related activities.

A community garden provides a source of inexpensive, high quality food, an opportunity for activities and socializing, and a source of community pride! Please take 5 minutes to help Summit Metro Parks look at your community’s needs and desires. Your responses are welcomed and protected. Please share this link: http://bit.ly/SMPgardensurvey with other neighbors of the Goodyear Heights Lodge which is located at 2077 Newton Street, Akron 44305.

You might be surprised to know that community gardens are not a new thing in Goodyear Heights; during the First World War, many residents worked together to grow vegetables on the allotment's vacant lots. During WWII, a portion of the metropolitan park was also used to grow vegetables in support of the war effort!

Thank you in advance for your assistance in gathering community information regarding community gardens.

On 17 July by Goodyear Heights in , , , ,    No comments
Join the fun on Tuesday August 1st as the Goodyear Heights Community comes together for the 2017 Night Out Against Crime. This city-wide event, which takes place at 15 locations across Akron, aims to make neighborhoods safer through community building and education.

Over the past few years, Goodyear Heights has had one of the best turnouts in the city, with hundreds of neighbors coming together to celebrate in a big street party on Goodyear Boulevard, in front of the Linda Theater. Residents are encouraged to come by for games, music, refreshments, community information and a number of other activities designed for all ages.

"This event is a welcome opportunity for our law enforcement officers to interact with neighbors under positive circumstances," Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said in a news release. The campaign includes citizens, law enforcement agencies, civic/religious groups, businesses, neighborhood organizations and local officials. Nationwide, more than 38 million people from 16,000 communities are expected to participate in the campaign, which is in its 34th year.

On 13 July by Goodyear Heights in , , , , ,    No comments
By 1916, the first phase of Goodyear Heights--the area west of Brittain Road, was generally complete. Streets and sidewalks were complete, the majority of the houses had been built, and just a handful of lots remained to be sold. The response to the concept of high-quality, affordable housing for Goodyear workers  had been overwhelming, and as a result, the company decided not just to "double-down" on the idea, but to "quadruple-down" on it--expanding with a second phase that would be four times the size of the original.

The following article is from a 1916 Edition of the company newspaper, The Wingfoot Clan. It provides a lot of interesting details on the progress, and news of a naming contest:

“Sixteen streets of the new allotment, Goodyear Heights No. 2, are as yet un-named. A part of them are continuations of streets and roads already existing and a few have been christened with appropriate names, but sixteen remain to be named.  This must be done at once so they can be recorded, and to do this the Goodyear Heights Realty Company is offering a prize of $5.00 in cash to the Goodyearite or member of a Goodyear family who submits the best list of sixteen names before Saturday noon, July 22nd. A blank appears at the bottom of this page which should be filled out and sent in to Mr. Apel. A map of the new sub-division appears on the insert to give you an idea of the lay of the land.

The work on this allotment has progressed more rapidly than the  average man appreciates, and is being pushed faster because Goodyear Heights is practically sold out, but a few lots are left. Though it is yet virgin farm land, it has been carefully surveyed and plotted, and the contracts for all grading have been let. The plans for the sewer and water systems are now being made and the contracts call for the completion of all this work by January 1st, 1917. Paving of the streets will then be started early next spring.

The scale of the work on Goodyear Heights No. 2 is of a magnitude never before attempted around Akron. It is an immense tract of land which will contain large home lots to a number four times as great as the present Heights. The land is high and dry, for the greater part comparatively level, but with a few rises and hills to lend some diversity to the landscape. From some of these hills views extending for miles across the city and open country lay before the eye.

The work of designing the sub-division is being done by the same artists who designed Goodyear Heights, and the layout preserves all the natural beauties, the woods, hills and orchards and the little creek valley, converting some of them into parks, others into beautiful residence sections. Prizes will be offered later on for the naming of these places. Goodyear Heights No. 2 is destined to become in a few years one of Akron’s show spots, a residence section ideal for the working man of moderate income.”

On 10 June by MS in , , , ,    No comments
If you grew up in the Heights, summertime was always a great time! It’s no different today, with lots of activities going on for young and old alike.

June 19 – July 28 / 9am – 2pm

Designed for children ages 5-10 years old, 25 spaces are available. Last day for registration is June 15. Organized by City of Akron – Summer Fun Camp fee is $100.00.
Call the Community Center at the park – 330-375-2802.

Coming to Seiberling CLC / July 10-14

Sign up ends June 30. Open to children living in City of Akron who will be entering Kindergarten or 1st Grade in Fall of 2017. Safety Town is a FREE, hands-on safety program designed to teach children about bicycle, bus, fire, playground, gun, dog, poison, stranger-danger, crossing the street, calling 9-1-1 and other safety-related issues. Runs for 1 week – 9am – 12 noon. Each cild receives a Safety Town T-Shirt and bike helmet.

Register at www.akroncops.org or www.akronfiredept.org
On 02 June by MS in , , ,    No comments
When Goodyear Heights was first being developed, it was inevitable that the vacant lots where houses were yet to be built could soon be overgrown with tall grasses and weeds. This was especially the case since the whole allotment had once been farmland.

While push-reel mowers were not new at the time, not everyone had one—and they were only of practical use if one had a yard planted with well-tended grass. For more troublesome spots, the vacant lot next door, or other areas where a mower could not be used, something more substantial was called for. In this case, it was the Community Scythe.

Shortly after workers and their families began moving into the first phase of the neighborhood, the Goodyear Heights Improvement Association voted to purchase a scythe that would be loaned out to residents for a modest fee. If the tool was returned in good order after a reasonable amount of time, the fee would then be refunded to the user.

Today, just about every household owns their own personal weedeater—but this old time solution seems pretty reasonable and entirely neighborly. Pretty cost-effective, too.

(The accompanying article is from the Wingfoot Clan)

Built in 1919, this adorable and sturdy Tudor Revival home is typical of the quality and design built into the Heights’ original Goodyear-built homes. Externally, the house appears to have been little changed from its original and still maintains its historic character; the windows have been updated and a deck has been added at the rear.

On the inside, the home still features most of its original woodwork, though it has been painted to fit contemporary tastes. A small foyer and a rustic craftsman-style brick fireplace lend an air of charm and dignity. The kitchen and baths have all been updated. At 1310 square feet and only $55,000 – this historic home represents a great value, and being in near-original exterior condition, adds significantly to the historic character of the neighborhood.

Notes: 1744 Hampton Rd. Akron, OH  44305 / 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, and a two car garage, also offers a large deck patio in the backyard.  Appliances included: Dishwasher, Dryer, Microwave, Range / Oven, Refrigerator, Washer. Detached garage has electricity.
For More information - go HERE.

On 24 April by MS in , , ,    No comments
Back in 1921, Goodyear had already established a worldwide reputation as an innovative manufacturer, not only of tires, but of a wide range of other products—including airships. The company had been at the forefront of industrial America in other ways too; Goodyear Heights, the suburban garden neighborhood that it had created for its workers, had been a model for similar developments both in Akron and all across the country.

 So, when it came to getting those workers back-and-forth to the job, the company quickly realized that establishing a Goodyear Heights bus line was the sensible way to go. Of course, you couldn’t expect a company like Goodyear to use just any bus to serve the route, at least not for long. Soon enough, they came up with a novel way not only to move people, but also to demonstrate their technological prowess and demonstrate the performance and longevity of their most advanced pneumatic truck tires.

The company had demonstrated the tires’ heavy payload capabilities through cross-country demonstrations, and they were looking for new ways to show off the product via the heavy demands of day-in, day-out 365-days-a-year transit usage. To do this, they created a Frankenstein of a vehicle that passengers would surely never forget.

The first version was a six-wheel transport, built upon a newly-designed truck frame and driveline—topped with a Peter Witt–bodied streetcar. To gain the needed clearance for the streetcar’s relatively low wheel wells, the entire body had to be hoisted up high enough to make any of today’s 4X4 crowd proud; entry was gained through a low-slung passenger door on the curb side of the vehicle. Since the bus used a water-cooled internal combustion engine instead of electricity, a large radiator was mounted onto the front of the huge streetcar body.It didn’t take long for Goodyear’s new vehicle to get noticed. Paul Litchfield, the VP and factory manager for the company, and later to become its president, won much praise for the concept, as noted in a 1922 article in Automotive Industries:
"His conviction that the ultimate motor vehicle would be multiple-wheeled, taking the same evolution as the freight car, led to P.W. Litchfield’s working out plans for the first six-wheeled vehicles ever put into practical use in America several years ago.”
Since the six-wheel version was deemed a success, Goodyear decided to go one better in 1922, by building an eight-wheel version, with full four-wheel steering at the front. At the time, it was considered a marvel of modern engineering, though we are not so sure about how the vehicle’s looks were received by the people of Akron. Perhaps the best gauge of that is the fact that there were no successors to the eight-wheeled leviathan, and that later service routes were handled by more conventional forms of bus transport.
A line up of Goodyear delivery trucks  joins the 6-wheel version of the bus on Seiberling Field.

On 13 April by MS in , , ,    No comments
Obtaining a historic designation for the original portion of Goodyear Heights will benefit the whole neighborhood—and a listing on the National Register of Historic Places is an important step we can take to protect and preserve this area and begin the process of improvement. A critical part of this process involves you—the people who live and work in Goodyear Heights. We need your input and your support so we can demonstrate to our local and state governments that we care about the neighborhood and its future, and that we believe that it deserves to be recognized in this important way.

We understand that residents have questions, too—and we want to be open about the process, what it means for home and business owners, and how this project can have a positive impact on Goodyear Heights over the long term. We also want to hear about your overall vision for the neighborhood; we want to know how you see it today and what you would like to see in the future. We’ll explain the benefits that historic designation and a National Register listing can offer, and explain how the process works.

The benefits include:

Recognition of neighborhood’s historic significance at city, state and federal government levels

A prestigious and honorific designation that will promote housing investment, stabilize and preserve property values

No restrictions or requirements for residents in terms of home repairs, maintenance or improvement

Improves neighborhood’s ability to attract investment and funding from public and private resources, including grants for improvement projects


TUESDAY, APRIL 25 – 6PM at Reservoir Park Community Room
SATURDAY MAY 6 – 10AM at Goodyear Heights Presbyterian Church
MONDAY MAY 8 – 10AM at Reservoir Park Community Room
WEDNESDAY MAY 10 – 6PM at Seiberling CLC

Join us to find out more!
Questions? Contact the R.I.G.H.T. Committee – 330-784-6623 or sconnor427@gmail.com

On 09 April by Goodyear Heights in , , , , ,    No comments
One of the most common questions people ask about owning older homes has to do with the best ways to repair them or improve them. One of the things that helps maintain the historic character of Goodyear Heights is the design of the homes—many of which represent excellent examples of residential architecture 100 years ago. The more you can retain some of that original design integrity, the more you home may be worth in the long run, and the more it adds to the neighborhood. In one sense, maintaining and repairing an old house is almost akin to the pledge that doctors take--First, Do No Harm--which is to say, it's best not to rush ahead and remove or destroy a period detail that you might miss later.  Today, we’ll talk a little bit about repairs.

Maintaining that historic look? It’s not always easy. People say, “they don’t build them like that anymore” – and it’s certainly true. When most Goodyear Heights houses were built, hardwood floors, oak woodwork, French doors, fireplaces, wood windows and even slate roofs were the norm. If your house still has them, it’s best to try and repair or restore them, if possible—since brand new replacements aren’t cheap.

The same goes for a home’s exterior. If your home still sports its original stucco, brick or wooden shingle/clapboard exterior, it’s always best to make a good, solid repair than to replace or hide a problem with a newer or cheaper material, like vinyl siding.

But what if repair isn’t possible?  First of all, it’s important to know that there’s nothing that can’t be fixed the right way, if you’re determined to make it happen. There are craftsmen who still know how to correctly point brick, repair stucco and cedar shingle siding, fix a plaster wall or refinish old woodwork. It may cost a little more, but your house will retain more of its value and the chances are, those repairs—if done right—will look better and last far longer than a quick fix or a cheap substitute.

If you can’t find a match for an original material, or you simply don’t have the budget to repair something the way you’d like, you can still help protect your investment by making smart choices. Here’s a few ideas:

Siding – Replacing old, rotted clapboards is still preferable to re-siding with aluminum or vinyl. Correctly prepared, and using today’s better paints, sections of that old siding can still be fixed and remain easier to maintain. A better alternative than vinyl are wood-like substitutes like Hardie-board, or cement-board, which match wood in appearance but don’t rot. Even some of today’s better vinyl siding is improved over cheap varieties—many types are designed to mimic older styles of wooden siding.

Roofs – A lot of houses in the Heights had slate roofs, the cost of which is beyond the reach of most people today. If you can replace some slates, great. If not, many modern substitutes are available that have a similar look to the original.

Windows – windows can be a real issue. The original windows in these houses will always look better than any modern replacement, but it’s also true that they were mostly single-pane, true divided-light windows that really don’t meet today’s standards in terms of energy efficiency. If you’re lucky, you may have some original storm windows—but few people like the idea of taking them off and storing them every summer. There are also new types of storm windows that are designed to fit on the inside of the house—and they are much thinner and lighter, too. If replacements are a must, seek ones that look as close to the original as possible, with true divided-lights (or at least removable window grilles) rather than full plates of sheet glass.

Exterior Details – porch railings, doors and trim: The modern-style railings you see on a new home’s rear deck won’t look right on an old house. Exterior trim—like soffits, verge boards on gables and window surrounds, should be repaired to look as much like the original as possible. Maintain the scale and appearance, and remember it’s OK to use modern, no-rot materials like Azek PVC for these repairs, too. That will cut down on future maintenance. If you must replace an original door, you can almost always find a new one that will match it. The good news is—most of the detailing found on Goodyear Heights houses is attractive but fairly simple in design—so there’s no need for fancy Victorian “gingerbread” trim.

Those are just a few tips that can help in your decision-making. As time goes on, we’ll provide more in-depth information and resources that can help you improve and maintain your home in a way that preserves its value and historic character. We’ll get into some other issues, like modern updates, additions and even garages—in the future.

On 01 April by MS in , , , ,    No comments

Most people who walk down Vaniman Street or Preston Avenue don’t give a thought to where they got their names. But those names loom large, not only in the history of Goodyear, but in the early history of flight.

Back when Goodyear was just getting started, Frank Seiberling wasn’t planning to be limited to the tire business. Goodyear was at the forefront of many advanced technologies, and was fully staffed with some of America’s brightest engineers. These were the same men that built the neighborhood’s streets, planned for its water and sewer utilities, and ensured that Warren Manning’s innovative design became a reality. The company’s expertise in rubber made the construction of balloon and blimp envelopes a natural, and Seiberling’s enthusiasm for flight was the impetus needed to make sure Goodyear became a world leader in lighter-than-air flight.

So it was that when Melvin Vaniman, a noted aerial photographer who had taken up piloting airships, needed a new airship to make a second attempt at an Atlantic crossing, Goodyear manufactured the craft’s giant rubber gas bag. Vaniman—who never actually lived in Akron—had attempted a crossing in 1910, but was forced to ditch in the ocean due to an engine failure. Thankfully, he and his feline co-pilot “Kiddo” survived.

For his second attempt, Vaniman was happy to name the airship Akron at Frank Seiberling’s request, and in 1912 he set off from the Jersey shore near Atlantic City, this time, without his furry friend. Sadly, Vaniman would fail once again, but the second attempt cost he and his four crewmen their lives. Filled with over 11,000 cubic meters of hydrogen, the airship burst into flames and exploded — plunging the ship’s gondola over 750 meters to an inlet. Soon thereafter, Vaniman’s brave exploits would be immortalized by having one of the neighborhood’s streets named after him.

Just as Vaniman was attempting his first transatlantic flight, Goodyear engineer P.W. Litchfield was attending an airship meet in Paris, and on his way back to the US, bought new equipment in Scotland for spreading rubber on fabric and brought two Scotsmen back home with him to operate it. Soon, Goodyear was developing advanced balloon and airship designs, and the company was eager to test them out.

Preston and Upson commemorated on a card celebrating their balloon race victory
Onto this scene entered the two Ralphs—R.H. Upson and R.A. Preston—both talented and fearless engineers who worked in Goodyear’s Aeronautical Division. Confident enough to fly the same balloons and airships that came off their drawing boards, they quickly led the company into a leadership position, winning the International Gordon-Bennett Balloon Race in 1913 as well as many competitions across America.

Success breeds success, and in 1917 Goodyear became involved in the effort to build an all- new airship for the U.S. Navy, designated the B-Class. The contract was large enough that four other firms—including B.F. Goodrich and U.S. Rubber Co. (Later Uniroyal)—teamed up to get the job done. With its immense experience in lighter-than-air craft, Goodyear led the project, and engineers Preston and Upson played major roles in designing a brand new generation of advanced airships.

The two men were among the company’s most notable and respected employees. As there was already an Upson Street in the northern part of Middlebury, Preston was honored with having a street named after him in the new Goodyear Heights development. Ralph Upson soon made his home on the Heights, having his own house built on Shawnee Path using a company-approved design.

Just as young boys of the early 1960’s loved to follow space heroes named Shepard, Glenn and Grissom—boys of the early 1900’s closely followed the daring exploits of airship pioneers like Vaniman, Upson and Preston, which were highlighted in newspapers around the world. It’s nice to know they’ll always be remembered in Goodyear Heights.

This large shingle-style colonial at the corner of Brittain Road and Hillside Terrace was custom-built for its first owner in 1923, and is one of the larger homes built within the historic district. Though not an original Goodyear-built house plan, it is a unique-to-the-neighborhood design, like many of the houses on this stretch of Hillside. It fits in perfectly with the surrounding homes and has been solidly maintained. Inside, the home still retains most of its original charm, including a rustic Craftsman-style fireplace, French doors, beautiful hardwood floors and solid oak woodwork—all of which appear to be in excellent shape.

It’s possible that the house may have been originally constructed as a duplex, which could account for its generous size (3,336 sq. ft.). Currently there are two entrances; one on Brittain Rd. facing west and the other on Hillside facing south. At $92,000, it represents a lot of space for the money and could probably be converted to a spacious single family if desired. The views from the top of the hill here are very fine.

Notes: 1555 Hillside Ter. Akron, OH 44305 / Deluxe Duplex: Unit 1 (facing Brittain Rd) Rent $1,000 per month features 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, living room, dinning room and huge kitchen. Additional bonus room on 3rd floor. Some hardwood floors, basement with laundry hookup. Unit 2 (facing Hillside Rd) Rent $800 has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, living room, dining room and kitchen. Basement also has laundry hookup. 2 car attached garage. Tenants pay all utilities except water/sewer.
More info available HERE.

While it was always a great source of recreation and scenic beauty for the neighborhood, Blue Pond also had its mysteries. Located at the bottom of Goodyear Boulevard, across from Seiberling Field, this body of water has existed since primeval times, being left behind when the glaciers retreated. Many similar bodies of water exist in Summit County, though a great many have receded over time or filled in as vegetation eventually closed in their banks and filled in their depths. If not preserved, this may be the eventual fate of Blue Pond.

That said, the Pond still gets much of its water from natural springs that flow down from Goodyear Heights, and large drains were installed during the neighborhood’s construction to allow natural water flow to find its way down to the Pond. Additional drains were installed at the Pond to lower its overall level by about four feet; this was done to dry up the swampy area at the bottom of Goodyear Boulevard so a solid road bed could be laid down. These drains, in turn, sent overflow into the Little Cuyahoga.

About two hundred years ago, Blue Pond covered two or three times as much space as it does today, and reached all the way over to the ridge at East Akron Cemetery. At the time Goodyear Heights was being built, it was a nearly round body of water, with open banks almost all the way around. Even in the late 19th century, it was a source of amusement and recreation; a boardwalk was built around the lake, a bandstand was built over the water, as was a small dancing pavilion. Investors had collected about $30,000 for additional improvements, but those plans were abandoned when the president and treasurer of the organization made off with the money. A few years later, Goodyear took over the property and had Warren Manning develop an overall landscaping plan as part of his Goodyear Heights work. The plan, which included dozens of tennis courts and other structures, was never fully carried out; the recession of 1920 made it impossible for the company to complete Manning's impressive design. Several years later, Reservoir Park was created, and the everyday recreational needs of Goodyear Heights, which had been mostly served by Blue Pond Park & Seiberling Field, carried on further up the hill.

Mysteries continued to be associated with Blue Pond. For years, people claimed that the pond had no bottom, though later railroad surveys had measured it to be 90 feet at its deepest point, which is still surprising. Some of these rumors are based on witnesses who insist that during the construction of the old dance hall, seven piles had to be driven, one on top of the other, before solid bedrock was reached. This was later refuted by people who were actually involved, who explained that only four piles were driven—next to each other, each one longer than the previous, before the longest was found to be sturdy and of sufficient depth.
Perhaps more sinister were the old rumors that people who drowned in the pond were never found—or that occasionally, bodies would slowly rise to the surface, but then recede again below the depths before they could be recovered. That may have been enough of a spook to keep small children away—at least without parental supervision.

Blue Pond in 1913. Goodyear Blvd. just beyond the tree line - East Akron Cemetery mausoleum at upper right.

Even to this day, there is a rumor that a train car came off the adjacent railroad track and tumbled into the Pond’s depths, never to be recovered. Again, there is no known basis for this story; it may have come about through the existence of some widely circulated pictures taken during the storm of 1913, which flooded the city and blew out the Little Cuyahoga throughout east Akron. About a mile north of Blue Pond, the rail lines were undercut and some train cars did fall into the river bed; the relation of the rail line to the water is somewhat similar and the areas resemble one another to some extent. It is possible that people may have looked at the photos and seeing the locations noted as “East Akron” - mistook one location for the other. It’s hard to say now.

Today, the biggest mystery surrounding Blue Pond is the safety and quality of its water. It was assumed that for years, some chemicals may have made their way into the pond from the Goodyear Research labs (right across N. Johns Ave.) – the spot was originally on EPA radar, but it was officially “archived” many years ago, which generally means that it poses no significant threat and that it is no longer subject to testing or monitoring. If it could be reclaimed as a useful body of water, Blue Pond could again be a great asset to the neighborhood.

 Ever since last summer, when we had our Goodyear Heights history walks, organizers on the R.I.G.H.T. Committee and other friends of the neighborhood have been investigating the possibility of having the original allotment officially designated as a historic neighborhood. This designation would include some “branding” by the City of Akron, appropriate historic markers, and providing some helpful assistance in the effort to get a portion of The Heights named to the National Register of Historic Places. It's a critical first step in a process that we believe will lead to a revitalization of this unique Akron neighborhood.

That effort has resulted in new historical research and development of educational information, initial outreach to the community and this website! A preliminary application questionnaire for the National Register is being prepared for submission to the State of Ohio, and a team of volunteers is preparing an action plan to ensure recognition and preservation for the Goodyear Heights neighborhood.

Sign the Petition
One of the best ways you can assist in this effort is to sign our petition requesting the City to provide this official designation, erect appropriate identification signage, and support the effort to secure a place on The National Register of Historic Places. Gathering a large number of signatures will demonstrate that we have strong support in the community and go a long way toward making this all happen! If you need more information about this effort, click here – or email us.

You can sign an online petition, or add your signature to one of the petitions circulating throughout the neighborhood, at R.I.G.H.T. Committee meetings, or at a neighborhood business.
On 28 February by MS in , , , ,    1 comment
One of the first things people often ask about The Linda Theater is how it got its name. The answer is pretty simple: local builder and developer Ernest Alessio named it after his daughter. Assisted in the design and construction by his sons Lino and Reno, Alessio created a landmark that is not only closely identified with the surrounding neighborhood, but known throughout Akron.

The stretch of land along Goodyear Boulevard where The Linda resides was always intended to be set aside for mixed use (commercial & retail) development; in fact original plans by Frank Seiberling’s architect show a large, attractive Tudor-style building with apartments above and shops at street level. Due to the recession of 1921, it was never built. Over the years, a number of small frame buildings appeared here, including some grocery stores and confectioners, hardware stores and a pharmacy. Goodyear Heights Baptist Church laid claim to the north end of the block.

After WWII, there was building boom in The Heights as GIs returned from the war. In 1948, Alessio purchased some properties on the block and built the Linda to serve the growing neighborhood. An experienced general contractor who built other Akron buildings like the Federal Building and the old Akron Library, Alessio designed The Linda himself after rejecting an expensive architect bid. Son Reno managed the theater for many years and daughter Linda served at the concession counter.

Opening night at The Linda was a big hit, featuring the film “Tap Roots” – starring Van Heflin and Susan Hayward. Billed as “Akron’s Newest & Most Modern Movie Theater” it featured 500 seats, an advanced projection system and of course—air conditioning.

For almost 7 decades, the theater has entertained generations of Goodyear Heights and Akron residents, and has been successfully operated by current owner Ted Bare for many years. The theater continues to play feature films after they have finished their initial runs at major show houses—which allows big savings on ticket prices. In 2008, the R.I.G.H.T. Committee hired Akron artist Brian Parsons to create a large mural on the east side of the building, facing the Boulevard. It features historical, architectural and scenic images of Goodyear Heights from the last 100 years.

On 25 February by MS in , , ,    No comments

Back in June, large groups of Akronites got to discover Goodyear Heights in a whole new way, courtesy of Akron2Akron. Old house lovers, history enthusiasts and just folks who wanted to explore a new place showed up on a Thursday night and a Saturday morning for two different walking tours of our historic neighborhood.

If you’ve never heard of it, Akron2Akron is a locally-based project that invites the community to come together for informal monthly walking tours of Akron's neighborhoods. These walking tours have proven to be a great way to learn about neighborhoods in our city, engage in meaningful dialogue, meet new friends, and think big about how to utilize space in Akron. Most of the tours typically about an hour and end at a neighborhood establishment where participants have the opportunity to network.

The June Goodyear Heights walk focused on the oldest part of the neighborhood. Beginning at the park on Malasia Rd. (on the east side of Brittain) walkers had a choice of two separate tours: heading up the scenic steps to Hillside Terrace and over to the Bingham Path steps, or to cross Brittain Rd. and see some of the smaller parks that were integrated into the neighborhood’s original design. Along the way, tour guides Mike Herhold and Mark Schweitzer provided each group with details on the neighborhood’s history, landscape design, architecture and even trivia. Both tours ended at the gazebo park at Pioneer St., where refreshments and cookies were provided by R.I.G.H.T..

With almost 100 visitors on Thursday evening and about 40 on the following Saturday, the Goodyear Heights tour ended up being one of Akron2Akron’s most popular neighborhood tours. Because of the relationship between Stan Hywet Hall and Goodyear Heights (both were built by Frank Seiberling with landscape design by Warren Manning) representatives of Stan Hywet requested an additional tour for their volunteers. That history walk took place in August, with about 25 of their volunteers in attendance.

Since the history walks have proven to be so popular, the R.I.G.H.T. Committee is considering making them a part of their annual program. This year, we are considering a walk that focuses on the area further up Goodyear Boulevard, around Reservoir Park and The Linda Theater up to George Long Park. Keep an eye out on this website for more information.
On 25 January by MS in ,    No comments

Vaniman Street, looking north - about 1915-16. One of the first streets completed in Goodyear Heights.

We created this website for the residents and friends of Goodyear Heights, one of Akron's most historic neighborhoods and one we are determined to preserve for future generations.

This website grew out of the effort to research and recognize the historical importance of Goodyear Heights--not only on a local level, but on a national level--as a prime example of garden city/worker housing from the early 20th century. This significance has been well documented in books and periodicals over the years, but has largely been ignored or forgotten on the local level. Our goal is to remedy this by having the original boundaries of the Goodyear Heights allotment marked and identified and have this historic district recognized on a local and national level. Long term, it would be our goal to have it listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as it has been deemed eligible for such a listing by the State of Ohio.

That said, we also recognize the need to preserve and protect the wider areas of Goodyear Heights, which has a distinct character of its own, and which also can benefit greatly from having a historic district located within its boundaries. The streets surrounding the historic district have their own story to tell about Akron's other periods of growth, whether that was during the 1920's or after World War II, when The Heights saw another building boom.

We are happy to acknowledge the assistance of the R.I.G.H.T. Committee and its members in assisting with these efforts and providing support. Together, it is our goal to work with residents to create a positive future for one of Akron's most historic, stable and unique neighborhoods.