Akron is located in northwest Hale County in the west-central part of Alabama. It has a mayor/city council form of government. Akron is the hometown of Riggs Stephenson, who played major-league baseball
for the Cleveland Indians (1921-1925) and Chicago Cubs (1926-1934), retiring with a .336 batting average. The name Akron derives
from the Greek word for "summit" or "high point."
Akron was established in 1870 by the Alabama and Chattanooga Railroad (now the Alabama Great Southern Railroad) on its line between Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Meridian, Mississippi. The town prospered from its location and was home to two stores by 1882. In 1906, the owner of a large plantation sold his land to a development company, and a construction boom followed; soon the town had a dozen stores, two hotels, a drugstore, two blacksmith shops, and a cotton gin. A new sawmill added lumber to the bales of cotton already being shipped out of town. By 1916, Akron had added a second cotton gin. Akron was incorporated in March 1918. The public library opened in 1937, and the Akron Manufacturing Company, a garment manufacturer, opened in 1964. Akron's economy today depends primarily on farming, with the main crop being soybeans. Timber is still shipped from the area.
Akron's population according to the 2010 Census was 356. Of that number, 86.5 percent of respondents identified themselves as African American, 13.2 percent as white, 0.3 percent as Hispanic or Latino, and 0.3 percent as two or more races. The town's median household income, according to 2010 estimates, was $26,375, and the per capita income was $14,797.
According to 2010 Census estimates, the work force in Akron was divided among the following industrial categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (35.0 percent)
· Manufacturing (25.2 percent)
· Wholesale trade (11.4 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (4.9 percent)
· Public administration (4.9 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (4.1 percent)
· Construction (4.1 percent)
· Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (4.1 percent)
· Retail trade (3.3 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing and utilities (3.3 percent)
Schools in Akron are part of the Hale County school system; the town has approximately 318 students and 19 teachers in one school.
Local roads connect Akron with State Highway 60, which runs northeast-southwest, less than a mile southeast of town. The Norfolk Southern Corporation, parent company of the Alabama Great Southern Railroad, operates a rail line through Akron.
Events and Places of Interest
Tanglewood (1859), a historic plantation listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is located about five miles east of Akron. It is currently part of the 480-acre J. Nicholene Bishop Biological Station, the center of the University of Alabama's natural resources management curriculum.
Hale County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Hale County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2001.
Preservation Committee of the Alabama Reunion. Historic Hale County. Greensboro, Ala.: The Greensboro Watchman, 1989.
Published February 4, 2014
Last updated February 10, 2014