September 20 – 22, 2023
- For materials from the tours, See THIS PAGE.
The 2023 SIA Fall Tour in Akron, Ohio coincides with the 125th anniversary of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, the only major tire company still headquartered in the United States. The event will focus on four main themes:
- The rubber and polymer industry;
- Ohio’s historic canal system, still very much in evidence;
- The aviation industry – Ohio not only originated aviation but remains a major provider of the industry’s research, engines and components;
- The steel industry, important throughout Northeast Ohio, where coal from Appalachia met ore from the upper Great Lakes.
The Fall Tour will begin on the evening of Wednesday September 20, with an Opening Night Reception at Lock 15 Brewing Company, in a redeveloped industrial building at the foot of Akron’s Cascade Locks industrial heritage park. The Cascade Locks, a set of seven juxtaposed canal locks, were the heart of Akron’s nascent water-powered industrial area.
An all-day bus tour on Thursday September 21 will visit tire, rubber and polymer sites in Akron, while that on Friday September 22 will cover aviation, steel and manufacturing sites on the outskirts of Cleveland to the north.
Cost for the Fall Tour is $550 per person. THIS REGISTRATION FEE IS ALL INCLUSIVE. It covers a full day of tours on Thursday and a full day of tours on Friday along with breakfast, lunch and dinner for both Thursday and Friday.
Our headquarters hotel will be the Hilton Garden Inn, in the redeveloped former Goodyear headquarters complex.
Hilton Garden Inn
1307 East Market Street
Akron, Ohio 44305
SIA Rate: $119 (Must book by September 5)
Book your room online at https://group.hiltongardeninn.com/7yvy15 or call 330-733-2900 and ask for the Society for Industrial Archeology room block rate
Greater Akron, with a population around 200,000, was America’s wealthiest small city through much of the automotive era, as the world’s leading source of car and truck tires. A glimpse of Akron’s past wealth is visible today in its amazing stock of fine homes. Akron’s dominance in tires came to an abrupt end in the 1980s, due to globalization and the shift from bias to radial tires. Today, only a few tires are made in Akron, though the city remains a major center for engineering, research, compounding and manufacturing related to rubber and polymers.
Akron (Greek for “summit”) owes its existence to its location on the crest of the north-south continental divide — a drop of rain falling on the north side of Akron flows through the Great Lakes and Quebec to the North Atlantic, while a drop falling on the south side flows down to the Ohio River and the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. This location gave the city ample falling water to power industry, and made Akron a key transportation hub when the cross-Ohio canal system was built in the 1820s and 30s.
Please note tour itineraries are subject to change. Maximum capacity for the Fall Tour is 50 participants, so please register early!
Caption for photo at top: Akron’s best known export is the Goodyear Blimp. In the 1920s, airships competed with trains, boats, autos and planes as a means of travel and military transport. Akron remains a center for the production and service of lighter-than-air craft, though demand today is limited to a few special applications.