‘History Hikes’ program offers unique hiking experience
DOWNTOWN AKRON — The Summit County Historical Society of Akron and Metro Parks, Serving Summit County are collaborating on a series of “History Hikes” throughout the Greater Akron area.
Leianne Neff Heppner, executive director of the Summit County Historical Society of Akron, said the “History Hikes” program presents a special opportunity for local hikers.
“This project is a little different, because when a lot of people think about Metro Parks hiking, they’re thinking about hiking the woods or in a natural area with a lot of foliage,” she said. “But with this program, we’re doing hikes that start at Lock 3 downtown and walking in that proximity. Individuals, in their lunch hour, have the opportunity to get to know Downtown Akron better.”
This is the second year for the program, Neff Heppner said.
“Last year, we didn’t do as many. But this year, we’re doing more and they’re running from April through September,” she said. “We started out the year in April, when it was a little chilly, and we went on a skywalk tour. In May, we had a monuments and statues tour, where we walked down to Martin Luther King Boulevard and had the opportunity to see the new Mathews statue that went up and also those that commemorate World War I and Akron’s 100th birthday — things along the courthouse. These are things that people see all the time, but maybe don’t have all the information about. Or even sometimes, you see things so often you don’t even really notice them. We’re trying to encourage people to have fun and enjoy their own downtown.”
This year, Neff Heppner said, there are seven different programs available.
“Six of them are hikes,” she said, “and the one on Aug. 25 is what we’re calling ‘Hobo Day.’ We’ll have a display down at Lock 3 and the Akron History Exhibit. That’s part of an award-winning program that the Metro Parks have done in the past. We’ll have a display and then a very short hike at Lock 3 down at the canal.”
Neff Heppner stated that five of the seven hikes take place in Downtown Akron, while the other two stay relatively close to the downtown area.
“With those two, we start at Lock 3, and then, through the courtesy of the city of Akron, we trolley individuals … [to those sites],” she said. “That’s still very close to Downtown Akron, but not in the heart of Main Street or Market Street.”
In addition to “Hobo Day,” upcoming programs include the following:
• Towpath to Cascade Locks Tour, June 28 at 11:30 a.m.
• Glendale Cemetery Tour, July 25 at 7 p.m.
• Old Stone School Tour, Sept. 20 at 11:30 a.m.
All three events will meet at the Akron History Exhibit at Lock 3 Park, located on South Main Street. The history hikes are free and open to the public, but space is limited. Call 330-865-8065 to make a reservation.
“The trolley tours are always full, because there is a limit of 30, and we always have that many or more requests,” Neff Heppner said. “Typically, for the walking tours, we have between 12 and 25 people.”
To learn more about the Summit County Historical Society, 550 Copley Road, call 330-535-1120 or visit www.summithistory.org.
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