A little piece of the locks during its hey-day exists in Cascade Locks Park.
When you’re strolling or biking along the Towpath Trail, you may happen upon an area that looks like it got caught up in a time-slip causing the 1800s and present to become at odds with who owns the rights to that piece of the path. Remain calm, you’re in the Cascade Locks Park.
The park is located just outside of downtown Akron and runs along canal locks 10 – 16. Full of Akron’s industrial history, the area was of course home to mills that operated along the locks and used them to help move their products to market. During its hey-day, this stretch of the locks was also home to two rubber plants, a furniture factory, a distillery, and an iron foundry.
However, one of the most popular businesses along this area sat at Lock 15 – the Mustill Store. The Mustill Store was believed to be built in the 1850s and still stands today. During the time it operated until the late 1880s, people who moved goods along the canal could always stop at the Mustill Store to pick up supplies for their trip.
Now the Mustill Store is a museum dedicated to life on the canals, the early industries of Akron, and is the focal point of Cascade Locks Park. Just like those early days, you can stop in and pick up a few refreshments if you happen to be strolling along the Tow Path, and while there you can also learn how the canals help to begin shaping Akron into the city we know and love today.
Don Getz’s mural, “Spring of 1877” adorns one of the walls of the general store. Looking at it, you can see the Mustill Store at lock 15 on up to where Market Street would be today. It’s allows you to imagine what life in Akron was life during the time when the locks were in use. Unbox Akron members received a set of postcards with scenes the the Don Getz mural in September’s box.
Along with preserving the history of the area, the Cascade Locks Park Association puts on some pretty fun events for Akronites to get out and enjoy, and meet new people.
On Friday, October 21st from 5:30-830pm, you can join them for Locktoberfest (HA! Get it?). Enjoy German food, beer, music, story telling, lantern making, a night walk, and more. Be sure to check their website as well as their Facebook page for ticket information and more events.
Sidenote: I just found out that Summit County is named so because the highest point along the Ohio & Erie Canal is located here. I had previously thought that it was because the highest point in Ohio was here. Please don’t hold it against me. I am still new here. – RR