50 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About AkronThree words: “Bobbing for Burgers.”
1. The Pickles family from the Nickelodeon show “Rugrats” was originally from Akron.
Source: Flickr user OEVB2. The 2002 computer game “No One Lives Forever 2: A Spy In H.A.R.M.'s Way” was partially set in Akron. The Akron level involves the protagonist sword fighting with a ninja during a tornado. 3. The University of Akron’s athletic nickname, the Zips, refers to “zippers,” a rubber shoe that originated at Akron’s BF Goodrich Company. The name was thought up by University of Akron freshman Margaret Hamlin during a campus-wide contest in 1925. 4. Akron’s mascot Zippy, however, is a kangaroo. Zippy is female, making her one of just eight female mascots in America.
Source: University of Akron via Facebook5. You may have heard that Akron was the first ever city to use a police car, but you might not know that the “car” was actually an electric wagon. Built in 1899, the wagon maxed out at about 16 mph and needed to be recharged every 30 miles. Still, they had Toyota beat by roughly a century. 6. Fun fact: the car’s first assignment was picking up a drunkard at the corner of Main and Exchange streets. 7. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney of the Black Keys are Akron natives. They both attended Firestone High School, where Auerbach was the captain of the soccer team.
Source: Wikimedia Commons user Y2kcrazyjoker48. New wavers Devo also formed in Akron. In 2008, the group played their first Akron show in 30 years to support Barack Obama alongside the Black Keys, and another Akron music scene standout, Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders.
Source: Wikimedia Commons user Mandy Hall9. Akron native Lebron James was a football stud in high school. He played wide receiver, was named to Ohio’s all-state team as a sophomore, and led his team to the state semifinals as a junior before quitting to focus on basketball his senior year.
Source: Wikimedia Commons user 2pac10. The University of Akron is the only the university in the America that offers a degree in Corrosion Engineering. According to the University of Akron’s website, the program prepares students to “design materials for preserving industrial, infrastructure, defense and environmental assets around the world.” 11. The University of Akron is also the only place in America where you can get a degree in Aerospace Systems besides the U.S. Air Force Academy. 12. In May, two baby snow leopards were born at the Akron Zoo—one male and one female. They are two of only about 4,000 snow leopards left in the wild.
Source: Wikimedia Commons user Snowmanradio13. Akron is responsible for the first ever American spacesuit to orbit the earth. John Glenn wore a suit designed by B.F. Goodrich when he was launched into space on February 20, 1962. The suit cost $29,000 when adjusted for inflation.
Source: Wikimedia Commons user BotMultichillT14. When it was built in 1929, Akron’s Goodyear Airdock was the largest building in the world without interior supports. During his 1992 presidential campaign, Bill Clinton spoke to a crowd of 30,000 at the site.
Source: Wikimedia Commons user Cobatfor15. The USS Akron—an airship commissioned by the U.S. Navy—was constructed at the Goodyear Airdock, and had its maiden voyage in 1931. The airship was destroyed, however, during a 1933 thunderstorm killing 73 crewmen and passengers. The tragedy predated the Hindenburg disaster, and was an early indication that the airship was not the next big thing in air travel technology.
Source: Wikimedia Commons user Centpacrr16. Akron native Linda Lorenz-Sengpiel is arguably the best yo-yoer ever. By age 13 the Duncan Yo-yo Company asked her to become their company spokesperson. She had a standing challenge offering $100,000 to anyone that could match her yo-yo skills—a prize no one was ever able to cash in on. 17. The Guinness Book of World Records title “Most Travelled Person” once belonged to an Akron native. Parke Thompson, a local attorney, travelled to 309 countries and territories before passing away in 2000. 18. For better or for worse, the world has Akron to thank for the 1982 novelty hit “Pac-Man Fever.” The Akron duo Buckner & Garcia, also partially responsible for the “WKRP in Cincinnati” theme song, wrote the tune.
Source: Wikimedia Commons user Monsoleiiil19. Comedian George Wallace, famous for his show at Flamingo Las Vegas, moved to Akron to work for Goodyear tire at sixteen, and later attended the University of Akron. Wallace was later roommates with a then little-known comedian named Jerry Seinfeld while living in New York City, and went on to be the best man is his wedding. 20. During the 1910s and ‘20s, Akron was home to the Goodyear Silents, an all deaf semi-professional football team. 21. East High School in Akron had the somewhat cringe-worthy nickname, the Orientals, until changing their name to the Dragons in 2010. 22. John Heisman of Heisman Trophy Fame served as the football and baseball coach at Buchtel College (now the University of Akron) between 1893 and 1894.
Source: The Heisman Trophy via Facebook23. Alcoholics Anonymous was first started in Akron by Bill Wilson, a New York stockbroker, and Dr. Bob Smith, a local surgeon in 1935. By 1950, the group had 100,000 members. 24. Akron-based food vendors Charles and Frank Menches have been credited with inventing the ice cream cone, the hamburger, and caramel corn, although the historical record is a bit fuzzy on the matters.
Source: Wikimedia Commons user VulcanOfWalden25. Akron is home to the annual National Hamburger Festival, which includes a regrettable “Bobbing for Burgers” competition, in which participants attempt to pull burgers out of a tub of ketchup without using their hands. Winners receive “a medal and bragging rights.”
Source: National Hamburger Festival via Facebook26. Akron’s first mayor, elected in 1836, was neither Democrat nor Republican. Whig candidate Seth Iredell defeated Democrat Eliakim Crosby by a count of 91-75 to win the city’s first mayoral election. 27. Founded in 1884, American Marble & Toy Manufacturing Company was the United States’ first major toy manufacturer. 28. Between 1910 and 1920, Akron was America’s fastest growing city. The population soared from 69,000 to 210,000 during the decade.
Source: Wikimedia Commons user Magnus Manske29. Akron’s Canal Park, home of the minor league Akron Rubber Ducks, has one of the most artery-clogging ballpark menus in the country. The stadium is home to the “Three Dog Night,” a hot dog in a Bratwurst in a Kielbasa, and the two pound, 3,000 calorie “Nice 2 Meat You Burger.” Please don’t ever eat either of those things. 30. Akron’s East Avenue is located in West Akron. 31. The 1940 movie “Dance, Girl, Dance” stars Lucille Ball and Maureen O'Hara as Akron girls travelling to New York to make their dancing dreams come true. The movie was inducted into the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry in 2007. 32. The Dum Dum lollipop, which originated at the Akron Candy Company in 1924, is so named because sales manager I.C. Bahr thought “dum dum” would be easy for kids to say.
Source: Dum Dums via Facebook33. You might know that Akron’s Derby Downs has been home to the world Soap Box Derby championship since 1934. However, you probably didn’t know that Soap Box Derby cars, powered entirely by gravity, are capable of reaching speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.
Source: International Soap Box Derby via Facebook34. Over the years there have been several scandals associated with the Soap Box Derby, but without a doubt the most famous involved a 14-year-old boy from Boulder, Colorado using an electromagnet to give him an unfair advantage in 1973. After winning the national race by suspiciously large margins, the car was x-rayed and the boy was stripped of his title. 35. Sojourner Truth famously uttered the words “Ain’t I a Woman” at the 1851 Women’s Convention in Akron. Or did she? The speech didn’t become famous until it was published by the feminist and abolitionist Frances Dana Barker Gage in 1863 and an earlier transcription by the convention’s recording secretary didn’t include the phrase. 36. Clark Gable lived in Akron in 1919 and 1920, choosing to work at the B.F. Goodrich tire factory rather than his family farm in Ravenna, Ohio.
Source: Wikimedia Commons user HarringtonSmith37. The University of Akron’s is one of the most prolific colleges in the country when it comes to developing Major League Soccer (MLS) talent. There are currently 16 Zips in the league. 38. Akron’s German Mills American Oatmeal Company, later known as the Quaker Oats Company, popularized oatmeal, marketing it as a substitute for breakfast pork. Previously, oats had only been thought of as horse chow.
Source: Flickr user Kate Ter Haar39. Ferdinand Schumacher, the German immigrant behind Quaker Oats, was an important player during the Civil War: the United States government purchased tons of his newly popular oats to feed Union army soldiers. 40. The “Akron Plan” refers to an architectural model for churches that was popular at the turn of the 20th century. The design includes a central rotunda auditorium space with classrooms off to the side and was first used at Akron’s First Methodist Episcopal Church.
Source: Wikimedia Commons user Visitor741. Famous abolitionist John Brown once lived in Akron. Prior to becoming a major anti-slavery activist, Brown worked in the area as a sheep and wool expert. 42. During the early 20th century, a German immigrant neighborhood called “Goosetown” existed between Exchange, Voris, Washington, and Summit streets. The name apparently referred to Germans’ fondness for eating geese. 43. According to an Akron city ordinance “No person shall dye or otherwise color any rabbit or baby poultry, including, but not limited to, chicks and ducklings.” 44. In Akron, as in all of Ohio, it’s illegal to get a fish drunk.
Source: Giphy45. It’s also illegal to lie during a political election, meaning everyone who has ever conducted a political campaign in the state must stop reading this right now and turn themselves in. 46. Between 1833 and 1836 Akron was known as “South Akron” following the founding of a town called Cascade, which was also known as North Akron. Cascade officially merged with Akron in 1836. 47. The TV show “Glee” is set in Lima, Ohio. The school’s glee club rival, Vocal Adrenaline, hails from the fictitious Carmel High School in Akron.
Source: Glee via Facebook48. Akron is home to one of the oldest basketball teams in the United States, the Akron Wingfoots. The team was founded in 1918 by workers at Goodyear. An eventual rival would emerge in the Akron Firestone Non-Skids, founded by Firestone in 1937. 49. Thomas Edison married Mina Miller, the daughter of the prominent local inventor and philanthropist Lewis Miller, in Akron in 1886. 50. Akron is Greek for “a high place.” What’s your favorite Akron fun fact? Tell us in the comments below!
Zip Codes and Neighborhoods in Akron, OH
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