Early Kenmore Days as Recalled by Wayne E. Hurd
Near the southwest corner of Kenmore close to the Barberton-Akron line is an aqueduct.
Mud Run flows south under the Ohio Canal in the Tuscarawas River. In 1832, the Ohio Canal was built and 100 years later about 1932 the canal water broke through into Mud Run, thus emptying the canal of water, except pools of water here and there at the lower places. In the pools of water you could pick fish out with a small bucket or even your hands.
The repair work was done at the aqueduct site that summer and the canal water soon came back to its original level.
In the 1930’s many people fished in the canal and also swimming was common. There was an old farmhouse there, probably the last farm in Kenmore, and there was also a large barn where 28th Street would run back to the canal.
In the wintertime when the canal was frozen solid across, people skated on it, mostly between the old farmhouse and the belt-line trussel. There used to be a canal boat stop there and there was an inlet where boats could come in away from the traffic of freight and passenger boats. You could still see the outline of an old abandoned canal boat a few inches above the water line, probably left there at the time of the 1913 flood. That flood damaged many locks and this caused the end of business on the canal in favor of the railroads henceforth.
When I was about 10 years of age a couple of boys and I made a crude raft and took it back to the canal on my wagon. We put a large innertube under it so it would hold all three of us. About the time we got started out on the water a nail from underneath punctured the innertube and we all went into the water. Fortunately, it wasn’t very deep at the place and no harm befell us.
In the January of 1933 two fellows with me went skating on the canal. I spotted something imbedded on the ice. I got it out and it was a Christian cross with many colorful stones up and down and across it. So, I’ve had it 70 years.
Near the swimming place at the farmhouse was a large orchard of fruit trees and every spring in May we gathered mushrooms from that place.Waterloo Rd. was U.S. Route 224 all the way to Pennsylvania. It ran through Highland Park
Let me tell you of the businesses that were located near Waterloo Rd. and 27th Street. The Mariman Grocery Store and the Stan Grocery across the Waterloo Road. There was Foultz’s Dry Goods Store, Charlie the Barber’s shop, Stein’s Drug Store and, of course, the Lawndale Post Office. Now a block east on Waterloo Rd. was Means garage and gas station with an ice house there, and Reel’s Grocery Store. Across the street from there was the fourteen classroom Highland Park School where I attended from 1927 to 1935. Next to our school was St. Augustine Cemetery. A block further east was old Hope Evangelical Church where so many attended, and there also was Lakewood Cemetery there. A block south of there was AC & Y Beltline R.R.; the Palmer Match Company was there and employed many local people. Across the street was the Akron Porcelain Company and many people worked there. My Mother took a job there as an inspector and could walk to work from our home in ten minutes at the short cut. She got off work about the same time as my sister and I got out of school.
Down at Waterloo Rd. and 30th Street were the Royal Rubber Company, a gas station and a Confectionary. In the 1920’s just a block further west from there was a baseball field with bleachers and all. Local teams around Kenmore and Barberton played there.
The Kenmore Nazarene Church got its start there on 27th Street near McIntosh Ave. in 1925. If a person missed the Waterloo bus, which ran every half hour you would walk over to Kenmore Boulevard and take a street car and they ran every 12 minutes. So I lived in a very nice neighborhood of Kenmore early days, 20’s and 30’s.
Written by Wayne Hurd