Akron in Summit County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Howard Street District
The center of African-American culture in Akron during the mid-20th century, Howard Street 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.
The 1930-1950 era saw the heyday of Howard Street as a vibrant cultural center. The Mathews Hotel was a regular stop for black entertainers such as Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie when they performed in Akron. Local music clubs included the Green Turtle, the Cosmopolitan, the High Hat, and Benny Rivers'. The Howard Street district declined in the 1960s and much of it was razed for "urban renewal" in the 1970s and 1980s.
Erected 2000 by The Ohio
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Entertainment • Industry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the Ohio Historical Society / The Ohio History Connection series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1920.
Location. 41° 5.243′ N, 81° 31.003′ W. Marker is in Akron, Ohio, in Summit County. Marker is at the intersection of Howard Street and Martin Luther King Jr Blvd (Ohio Route 59), on the right when traveling north on Howard Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Akron OH 44308, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. United Rubber Workers International Union (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Site of Sojourner Truth's Speech on Women's Rights (about 700 feet away); Creating Crossroads of Commerce (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Cascade Valley / The Mustill Site (approx. 0.3 miles away); Glendale Steps (approx. 0.4 miles away); Wesley Temple African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (approx. 0.4 miles away); 1936 Akron Rubber Strike (approx. 0.4 Akron Community Service Center and Urban League (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Akron.
Also see . . . Akron's Howard Street Neighborhood. (Submitted on June 20, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on June 20, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 628 times since then and 55 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 20, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.