The Fall of an American Rome: Deindustrialization of the American Dream

By Quentin R. Skrabec Jr. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9. RUBBER FALLS

The once great Akron, known as the Rubber City, was the centerpiece of one of America’s fastest growing metro interstate corridors of Cleveland-Akron-Canton in northeast Ohio by 1970. Akron was a beautiful suburban city of metro parks, a national forest, and a cluster of lakes. It functioned as a semi-rural setting for Cleveland executives to the north and a more metro setting for Canton executives from the south. The corridor was pure Americana with the National Soap Box Derby, professional football’s Hall of Fame, the World Series of Golf, Bowling’s Tournament of Champions, and the Goodyear blimp. The corridor had two minor league and one major league baseball teams. Firestone Country Club, at the center of the corridor, hosted the World Series of golf every year, bringing in the best of the world’s golfers who haunted the area’s best restaurants. Similarly, the week of the NFL’s Hall of Fame Game was the nation’s party with celebrities filling the hotels and restaurants. The corridor had the more golf courses per capita than anywhere in the nation. It was home to the Professional Bowling Association’s jewel — the Tournament of Champions. In the winter, it was home to some of Ohio’s only ski slopes. The corridor was not only home to the four major rubber companies but also Timken Roller Bearings, Hoover Sweeper, Republic Steel, Diebold, and many others. Nearby Cleveland ranked with Chicago and Pittsburgh as a major steel center. Most importantly, Akron was the world headquarters of Firestone, Goodrich, Goodyear, Uniroyal, and General Tire for decades.

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