Archiver > OH-FOOTSTEPS > 1999-10 > 0940167807

From: Gina Reasoner <>
Date: Sun, 17 Oct 1999 09:43:27 -0400



THE MIDDLEBURY HYDRAULIC COMPANY was organized and authorized by the
Legislature "to raise the natural surface of Springfield lake, in which the
Little Cuyahoga had its rise, six feet, and lower it four feet below the
natural surface. This gave to the water-power of the village a permanency
and sufficiency that could be relied on at all times." In 1872 Middlebury
was annexed to Akron as the sixth ward of that city.
MIDDLEBURY is now a part of Akron. It our old edition it was thus
described as in the township of Tallmadge: "Two miles east of Akron and on
both sides of the Little Cuyahoga is the village of Middlebury. As early as
1807 a grist mill was built on the site of the town by Amos Norton and
Joseph Hart. The town was laid out in 1818 by them, and soon became the
most thriving village in this whole region until the canal was cut through
to Cleveland, when Akron took away most of its trade. It has two churches
and about 1,000 people." -Old Edition.
Within Akron's beautiful and well-kept Glendale cemetery stands the AKRON
SOLDIERS' MEMORIAL CHAPEL, dedicated Decoration Day, 1876. At the time of
its erection it was the only building of the kind in the country. Its
erection is due to the Buckley Post of the G.A.R., aided by outside
subscriptions. The chapel is a handsome stone structure, its cost $25,000.
Built into its interior walls are fourteen marble slabs, engraved with the
names of the fallen brave of Akron and Portage township.
A striking feature of the chapel are three beautiful memorial windows -one
by the surviving members of the 29th O.V.I., in honor of the regiment and
the late Col. Lewis P. Buckley, from whom the Post is named; a second,
representing woman's work in the war; and the third, commemorative of three
epochs in national history -Washington, Perry and Lincoln.
There are also eight small memorial windows, individual contributions.
The admirable AKRON SCHOOL SYSTEM (see Vol. I., page 143) is the result of
the efforts of Rev. I. Jennings, a young man, pastor of the Congregational
church at Akron, who, in 1846, set himself to work to reorganize the common
schools of Akron. Previous to this the schools of Akron were poor affairs,
giving only the most rudimentary education, and even that was accorded to
only about two-thirds of the children of school age.
In May, 1846, Mr. Jennings called a public meeting to secure better
education, at which he was appointed chairman of a committee to submit a
plan for improvement. At an adjourned meeting of citizens, held Nov. 21,
1846, the following plan received the unanimous approval and adoption of
those assembled:
1. Let the whole village be incorporated into one school district.
2. Let there be established six primary schools in different parts of the
village, so as best to accommodate the whole.
3. Let there be one grammar-school, centrally located, where instructions may
be given in the various studies and parts of studies not
provided for in the
primary schools, and yet requisite to a respectable English
4. Let there be gratuitous admission to each school in the system for the
children of residents, with the following restrictions, viz.:
No pupil shall
be admitted to the grammar-school who fails to sustain a thorough
examination in the studies of the primary school and the
teacher shall
have power, with the advice and direction of the
superintendent, to
exclude for misconduct in extreme cases, and to classify the
as the best good of the schools may seem to require.
5. The expense of establishing and sustaining this system of schools
shall be thus provided for: First, by appropriating what
public school
money the inhabitants of the village are entitled to, and
what other funds
or property may be at the disposal of the board for this
purpose; and
secondly, a tax be levied by the Common Council upon the taxable
property of this village for the balance.
6. Let six superintendents be chosen by the Common Council, who shall be
charged with perfecting the system thus generally defined,
the bringing
of it into operation, and the control of it when brought into
operation. Let
the six superintendents be so chosen that the term of office
of two of them
shall expire each year.
This plan was embodied in an act passed by the Legislature, Feb. 8, 1847,
excepting that the name of officers and mode of election of the sixth
paragraph were changed.

From a historical sketch of the schools of Akron, by Judge C. Bryan, we
quote the following: "The interval between the meetings, in May and
November, 1846, was improved by Mr. Jennings in collecting information,
maturing the plan and elaborating the report. The idea originated with Mr.
Jennings, and the labor of visiting every home in the village, to ascertain
what children went to school and who did not go, and who went to public
schools and who went to private, and how much was paid for school
instruction, was performed by him. He went to Cleveland and Sandusky city
in the same interest, to see the operation of graded schools there. He
procured estimates by competent mechanics of the cost of erecting a
grammar-school building to accommodate 500 pupils, and omitted no detail of
the plan that was necessary to show it in organic completeness; and
whatever credit and distinction Akron may have enjoyed for the principle of
free graded schools in Ohio is due to Mr. Jennings."
BUCHTEL COLLEGE stands on a beautiful and commanding eminence overlooking
the city. It was founded in 1870 through the action of the State Convention
of Universalists, and named in honor of John R. Buchtel, of Akron, who
contributed $25,000 for the building and $6,000 for the endowment fund.
After the completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal, it was determined to make
water connection between Cleveland and Pittsburg, and in 1841 the
PENNSYLVANIA AND OHIO CANAL was completed from Akron to Beaver, Pa. For a
time the canal flourished, but the completion of and later the control
acquired by the Cleveland and Mahoning Railroad Company, let to its gradual
disuse and dilapidation, until it became a menace to the health of those
residing in its neighborhood. One night, in the spring of 1868, the banks
were cut in three places, at and near Cuyahoga Falls, and its waters flowed
out until the bottom appeared. The State threatened prosecution, but none
was ever commenced and the breaks never repaired. Again, in the spring of
1874, the canal was cut by night in Akron by disguised men, but no one was
punished, although the supposed guilty parties were arrested.
In 1838 a party of capitalists, largely Eastern men, undertook to build a
great manufacturing city at a point between Cuyahoga Falls and Akron, to be
called SUMMIT CITY. A joint stock company, with a capital of $500,000, was
organized. the city was to be supplied with inexhaustible water-power, by
means of a dam and canal diverting the waters of the Cuyahoga river. Work
was begun and in 1839 water turned into the canal, but at this point the
money gave out, and matters were at a standstill until in 1843 Horace
Greeley, while on a visit to Akron, was so impressed by the scheme that, on
his return to New York, he published in the Tribune an enthusiastic
article, predicting that "Summit City" would become the "Lowell of the
West." Nevertheless, no more money could be raised for the future "Lowell,"
and it "died a 'bornin'." The lands of the company, called the "Chuckery,"
are now in the suburbs of Akron.

-continued in part 5

This thread: