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Progress through Preservation looking for ways to pay homage to B. F. Goodrich Smokestacks

The B. F. Goodrich Smokestacks
Andrew Meyer
Ideastream Public Media
The B. F. Goodrich Smokestacks, pictured here on June 30, 2023, are slated to be demolished this summer.

A historical preservation group is holding a community hearing Thursday night on the future of the B. F. Goodrich Smokestacks in Akron. The smokestacks and powerhouse are slated for demolition.

Initially, Progress through Preservation of Greater Akron, a nonprofit group that promotes historic preservation, was advocating to save the iconic smokestacks in downtown Akron, but after realizing how much they'd deteriorated, the group now says it wants to find a way to pay homage to the structure.

The smokestacks represent Akron’s history in the rubber industry, Aaron Uhl, a member of Progress through Preservation's advocacy committee, said.

“I think that just as many other historical structures show, it’s part of the city’s identity," Uhl said.

The B. F. Goodrich company was founded in Akron in 1870.

"The B. F. Goodrich complex was one of the earliest rubber factories in the Akron area, and those smokestacks were in commission for about 100 years," Uhl said. "So those smokestacks kind of show a symbolism of Akron's rubber past, and a lot of citizens care about preserving that identity for our city."

One idea has already been suggested, Uhl said.

"Because it’s right on the Towpath Trail, to make that area a trailhead and to preserve the architectural detail by recreating some structure around there that is similar to the powerhouse," Uhl said.

Uhl hopes the community hearing will generate ideas of how the city can preserve this history. Then, the group will present the ideas to the city.

“The city hasn’t always been that responsive to community input, and we want to try to act as a liaison for that," Uhl said.

There's a concern the city will let this history die, Uhl said.

"The city has owned them since the late 80s and hasn't shown proper understanding of their historic significance," Uhl said.

Uhl wants to show that people do care about the history of Akron.

"We're really trying to make sure that the city understands that the citizens care about the historical legacy of the city," Uhl said, "and we just want to be a part of that to try to preserve what's here."

The smokestacks are slated to come down this summer.

The meeting is Thursday at 7:00 pm at 520 South Main Street in Akron.

Updated: July 5, 2023 at 11:49 AM EDT
This story has been updated.
Abigail Bottar covers Akron, Canton, Kent and the surrounding areas for Ideastream Public Media.