Summit County

From Ohio History Central
Summit County map.jpg

On March 3, 1840, the Ohio government authorized the creation of Summit County. It originally was a portion of the Connecticut Western Reserve. The county was named for the Portage Summit, the highest point along the Ohio and Erie Canal. The county grew very quickly, especially following the completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal. Due to its proximity to transportation systems and an abundant supply of coal, iron ore, and steel, the county seat of Akron became a major site for the production of cereal, rubber, and numerous other products during the latter portion of the nineteenth century. Because B.F. Goodrich Company, Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, and the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company were all located in Akron, the city became known as the "Rubber Capital of the World."

Summit County is located in northeastern Ohio and covers 413 square miles. The county has grown in recent years. Between 1990 and 2000, Summit County's population increased by 5.4 percent to a total of 542,899 residents in 2000. Akron is the largest community in the county, with 217,074 residents in 2000. The county averages 1,315 residents per square mile.

Summit County is overwhelmingly rural, with only fourteen percent of the county deemed to be urban. Still, only just over three hundred farms exist in the county. Most of the county is now covered with subdivisions. These areas are not populated enough to qualify as urban areas, but they are definitely not devoted to agriculture. Most residents earn their livings by working in service, sales, or manufacturing positions. The county's average income was just over twenty-nine thousand dollars per person in 1999, with 10.9 percent of the population living in poverty.

Most voters in Summit County claim to be independents, yet in recent years, they have overwhelmingly supported Democratic Party candidates at the national level.

Industrialists Benjamin Franklin Goodrich, Ohio Columbus Barber, Ferdinand Schumacher, Frank Seiberling, and Harvey Samuel Firestone, as well as abolitionist John Brown, were all residents of the county.

See Also