Akron (ăkˈrən) [key], city (1990 pop. 223,019), seat of Summit co., NE Ohio, on the Little Cuyahoga River; inc. 1865. Once the heart of the nation's rubber industry, Akron still contains the headquarters of some rubber corporations and chemical and polymer corporations. Its many manufactures range from fishing tackle to plastics, missiles, rubber, and heavy machinery. The Ohio and Erie Canal (opened 1827) and later the railroad spurred the city's growth. The first rubber plant was established in 1870. Focused on tire production, Akron's rubber industry grew and declined with Detroit's automobile industry; by the mid-1980s virtually all the tire plants had shut down. The city is home to the Univ. of Akron, the Institute of Rubber Research, an art institute, a music center, and a symphony orchestra. Of note are a giant airdock for blimps—one of the world's largest buildings without inner supports—and the annual Soapbox Derby.
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