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 (1921-25) and Chicago Cubs (1926-34), retiring with a .336 batting average. The name Akron derives from the Greek word for “summit” or “high point.”
Tanglewood 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 and continues to be a major employer in the town.
According to 2020 Census estimates, Akron recorded a population of 269. Of that number, 68.4 percent of respondents identified themselves as African American, and 31.6 percent as white. The town’s median household income was $25,156, and the per capita income was $15,801.
According to 2020 Census estimates, the workforce in Akron was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (31.4 percent)
- Educational services and health care and social assistance (27.2 percent)
- Manufacturing (25.5 percent)
- Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (9.8 percent)
- Public administration (5.9 percent)
- Retail trade (4.9 percent)
Akron is part of the Hale County Board of Education; there are no schools in the town.
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.