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 Bicentennial Commission, The Longaberger Company, Artists of Rubber City, The Summit County Historical Society, and The Ohio Historical Society . (Marker Number 17-77.)
Marker series. Ohio Historical Society / The Ohio History Connection marker series.
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.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. 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); 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 miles away); United States Synthetic Rubber Program 1939-1945 (approx. 0.7 miles away); Portage Path (approx. 1.3 miles 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.)
Categories. • African Americans • Entertainment • Industry & Commerce •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 20, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 424 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 20, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.