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Akron Unveils Rubber Worker Statue Honoring those in the Industry

0514 rubber worker statue unveiled.jpg
Miriam Ray
The bronze statue of the rubber worker, created by Zanesville sculptor Alan Cottrill, stands on a two-layered granite base, one shaped in the city of Akron and the other in the shape of Summit County. The state was unveiled Thursday, May 13, 2021. It is located in the roundabout at Main and Mill Sts. in downtown Akron.

The City of Akron has unveiled a new statue downtown dedicated to those who helped build up Akron and the rubber and tire industry.

Ohio Sculptor Alan Cottrill was hired by the city to create the statue. The 12-foot bronzed piece of art was inspired by the cover of David Giffels and Steve Love's book "Wheels of Fortune."

The statue sits in the center of a roundabout located at the corner of Main and Mills street.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan shared remarks before the unveiling.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan

“The city was proud to establish a tribute area for rubber workers and their families on the northeast corner of this intersection to provide visitors with an opportunity to safely engage with a work of art,” he said.

051421 akron stories team.jpg
courtesy of Miriam Ray
Miriam Ray, third from right, and Mac Love of Art x Love, third from left, led the Akron stories team that has been recording the stories of people's experiences in or remembrances of the rubber industry that once employed more than 72,000 people in Akron.

In addition to the statue, the city partnered with local artist Mac Love and his Art x Love to create the Rubber Workers Story Project. The campaign was founded by Akron resident Miriam Ray, as an initiative to collect audio and visual stories from Akron rubber workers and their families.

The stories will be transcribed and archived at the University of Akron's Rubber Industry Archives. Stories will also be shared online as well as through an interactive kiosk located near the statue.

Commemorative bricks are also being sold to anyone who wants to pay their respect to rubber workers. These are being placed in the Northeast corner of the roundabout.

Sarah Taylor
Akronstories.com is collecting stories and selling commemorative bricks that will fund the interactive kiosk at the rubber worker statue. The bricks are being installed in the area around the kiosk.

Updated: May 14, 2021 at 9:44 AM EDT
This story has been updated.
Melissa Meyers is a senior at Kent pursuing a major in broadcast journalism. Along with interning at WKSU, she is also involved with Kent State's student-run news station, TV2 News. She currently anchors and produces the 6 pm newscast. After college she hopes to get a job working as a news reporter/anchor.