Description: Taken by U.S. Film Service photographer Edwin Locke, ca. 1937, this photograph shows a rubber yard in Akron, Ohio. Numerous rubber companies operated in or near Akron, Ohio, making this city the "Rubber Capital of the World." Among the large-scale rubber producers in the area were the B.F. Goodrich Company, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, and the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. The advent of the bicycle and the automobile sparked an economic boom which drew workers not only from surrounding counties, but from neighboring states as well.
This photograph is one of the many visual materials collected for use in the Ohio Guide. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Works Progress Administration by executive order to create jobs for the large numbers of unemployed laborers, as well as artists, musicians, actors, and writers. The Federal Arts Program, a sector of the Works Progress Administration, included the Federal Writers’ Project, one of the primary goals of which was to complete the America Guide series, a series of guidebooks for each state which included state history, art, architecture, music, literature, and points of interest to the major cities and tours throughout the state. Work on the Ohio Guide began in 1935 with the publication of several pamphlets and brochures. The Reorganization Act of 1939 consolidated the Works Progress Administration and other agencies into the Federal Works Administration, and the Federal Writers’ Project became the Federal Writers’ Project in Ohio. The final product was published in 1940 and went through several editions. The Ohio Guide Collection consists of 4,769 photographs collected for use in Ohio Guide and other publications of the Federal Writers’ Project in Ohio from 1935-1939.
View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: SA1039AV_B13F10_003_001 Subjects: Akron (Ohio); Ohio--History--Pictorial works; Rubber industry and trade; Works Progress Administration; Ohio Federal Writers' Project Places: Akron (Ohio); Summit County (Ohio)
Description: This image shows Howard Street in Akron, Ohio, in 1890. Streetcar rails run down the middle of the busy street. Horse-drawn wagons are parked on both sides of the street, and pedestrians are visible on the sidewalk. An advertising banner hangs above the street. Patches of snow are scattered on the street and walkways. Telegraph/telephone poles line the street.
Miller & Roche, wholesale and retail grocers, were located on Howard Street. One of their establishments is visible in the left foreground. Another establishment in this photograph is S.E. Allen, a drugstore located at 193 Howard Street (far right, middle).
By the mid-20th century, Howard Street become the center of African-American culture. It was home to many of the city's black-owned business and entertainment establishments, and provided an atmosphere in which minority-owned businesses could thrive. Attracted to the vitality of the neighborhood, entrepreneur George Mathews (1887-1982) established a barbershop here in 1920 and in 1925 opened the adjoining Mathews Hotel. The hotel quickly became the anchor of the Howard Street district. Mathews' success allowed him to endow a scholarship fund at the University of Akron in 1964. View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: AL06153 Subjects: Akron (Ohio); Streets--Ohio; Small business--Ohio; Business enterprises--Ohio; African Americans--Ohio Places: Akron (Ohio); Summit County (Ohio)
Description: This photograph shows a soap box derby race that was held in Akron, Ohio, during the 1930s. Three cars are coasting down a hill on what appears to be a residential street. Spectators line both sides of the street; telephone poles are located along the left side of the street. A man wearing a uniform (possibly a state trooper) stands in the foreground, directly opposite the lead car.
The Soap Box Derby had its origins during the 1930s. Children in Dayton, Ohio, manufactured their own cars. They would build these cars from discarded lumber and other items and then race the autos down hills in the community. The cars were not powered by gasoline or any other type of fuel. The cars simply rolled down the hill with a child inside. The winner was the child that reached the bottom of the hill first.
Myron Scott, a Dayton reporter, covered one of these races. He decided that children across the United States could enjoy this activity, and he began to promote it across the country. In 1934, Dayton held the first "All-American Race," where soap box racers from across the country brought their creations to race. The following year, the race moved to Akron, Ohio, due to its hillier terrain. Since 1935, the All-American Soap Box Derby has taken place in Akron.
In 1936, Akron city officials decided to build a permanent facility for the race. With the assistance of the Works Progress Administration, one of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal programs, the city completed Derby Downs, a soap box racetrack. Thousands of children from across the United States and from other nations have come to race their creations at Derby Downs every year since the track's completion.
In 1936, Akron city officials decided to build a permanent facility for the race. With the assistance of the Works Progress Administration, one of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal programs, the city completed Derby Downs, a soap box racetrack. Thousands of children from across the United States and from other nations have come to race their creations at Derby Downs every year since the track's completion. The only exception to this was a four-year period during World War II, when many activities, including soap box derbies, came to a halt so that people could concentrate on the war effort. Today, children compete for college scholarships in addition to other prizes.
View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: AL06152 Subjects: All-American Soap Box Derby; Coaster cars; Soap box derbies--Ohio; Akron (Ohio) Places: Akron (Ohio); Summit County (Ohio)
Description: Caption reads: District #5, 902 City Bldg., Akron, Ohio, Ashland Co.
It is not certain that the structure pictured is the 'City Building' of Akron also, Akron is in Summit County. After the infamous riot of 1900, Akron's City Building, which contained the prison, was rebuilt. The Works Progress Administration in Ohio as part of the Federal Writers Project used this address as a base of operation for the area. In the 1950s the address served as Headquarters of Civil Defense of Summit County.
Photo taken in 1937 by the Works Progress Administration. View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: SA1039AV_B13F10_001_001 Subjects: Ohio--History--Pictorial works; Federal Writers' Project Places: Akron (Ohio); Summit County (Ohio)
Description: Stan Hywet Hall in Akron. The former "country estate" of the Frank A. Seiberling family, Stan Hywet Hall is one of the finest examples of Tudor Revival architecture in the United States. Set on an old stone quarry, the name Stan Hewet is Old English for stone quarry.
Frank A Seiberling was the founder of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: AL06891 Subjects: Akron (Ohio); Summit County (Ohio); Architecture Places: Akron (Ohio); Summit County (Ohio)
Description: Three photographs document a Soap Box Derby race in Akron, Ohio. Myron Scott, a Dayton Daily News photographer, established the All-American Soap Box Derby in Dayton in 1933. The first race was such a success that another was planned for the following year, with support of newspapers across the country. Akron Beacon Journal sports editor Jim Schlemmer was instrumental in garnering support from Akron's rubber companies for the race. Shortly after the 1934 race, a delegation from Akron met with Derby sponsor Chevrolet to explore the possibility of making the Derby a national event and moving it to Akron. They were successful and in 1935 the Soap Box Derby was held in Akron on Tallmadge Hill. The following year the Derby was held at Derby Downs, a Works Progress Administration project built adjacent to the Akron Municipal Airport. Each summer the Derby attracts youth from all over the world to compete in the Gravity Grand Prix. The photographs measure 3" x 5" (7.62 x 12.7 cm). View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: Om3260_4538274_001 Subjects: Sports; Arts and Entertainment; Daily Life; Transportation; Coaster cars; Racing; Crowds Places: Akron (Ohio); Summit County (Ohio)
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