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.

Warren Manning's original plan for the development of Blue Pond - only partially carried out.
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. Long before Reservoir Park was created, the recreational needs of Goodyear Heights were fully served by Blue Pond Park & Seiberling Field.

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.



2 comments:

  1. When I went to Goodyear Jr, the mid 70s, we heard all those rumors as fact. As well as it being used as a graveyard for people who were "disappeared" for one reason or another.
    We used the rest of the day using an Ohio Bell test number to make the pay phone at the school ring. And I know people remember doing that!

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  2. Hope for the neighborhood that Blue Pond may become of importance to the neighborhood once again. Any plans for it . What a great attraction .

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