"I went back to Ohio"

by Maureen McCabe on December 5, 2007

OhioIn the Columbus Dispatch series on Ohio’s big cities Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. talked about what is referred to as the Ohio Brain Drain   in an audio comment.  

Katz  says young people are looking for “diverse, distinctive and dense” in a community. He says bright, educated Ohio young adults are attracted to Chicago, Madison and Minneapolis. 

This is the part where the real estate agent in me wants to do a quick plug for Columbus… but I will resist… but graduates from Ohio colleges would be closer to “Mom” for the holidays in Columbus than if they head off to Minneapolis, Madison or Chicago… back to your regularly scheduled blog… about big cities in Ohio.

Wednesday the  Columbus Dispatch series focused on Akron.  Definitely a more upbeat story than the one on Dayton Tuesday.   Since 1983 (why does the Columbus Dispatch use  1983?) Akron has not lost population should say jobs not population unlike the other big industrial cities of Ohio.  Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown.   

The Columbus Dispatch article written by Mark Niquette does say of Akrons population historically:

“Akron, which once boasted of being the world’s fastest-growing city with a boom in the rubber industry boosting the population from 69,067 in 1910 to more than 208,000 a decade later, has lost nearly 30 percent of its population since 1960.”

But remember… no population loss since 1983.  The reason I question the 1983 is ‘The Pretenders’ song “My city was gone” was a hit in 1983….  Chrissie Hynde the lead singer of The Pretenders wrote the song about the city she had grown up in, Akron Ohio…

“I went back to Ohio

But my city was gone

There was no train station

There was no downtown. …

A, O, way to go Ohio”

The lyrics above  as quoted in the Columbus Dispatch article.  I lived in Akron from late 1983 to 1986…  I worked downtown at O’Neill’s (the O’Neill’s buying office was in the downtown store.)  The Columbus Dispatch article has a slide show of old photos of downtown Akron…  ooooooold.  Long before Chrissie Hynde came back from London (the London in England NOT the London in Central Ohio) and downtown Akron was all parking lots… and I moved there.

Working with a young couple from Akron  recently I got blank stares when I said “O’Neill’s” to them.  To them the department stores in Akron was May Company….

This fall Chrissie Hynde opened a vegetarian restaurant (or vegan?) in Akron.  VegiTerranean  is Italian / Vegetarian?  The Northside Lofts where the Chrissie Hynde’s restaurant VegiTerranean is located look exciting. 

 on an Akron Beacon Journal forum it says:

“When Chrissie Hynde’s opening number is the O’Neil’s department store jingle, you know it was a special night for Akron.”

Gee I don’t remember O’Neill’s jingle…

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Thoughtful Columbus Blog Post on the Dispatch Series on Ohio Cities | Cleveland Real Estate News
December 5, 2007 at 04:11 pm
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December 6, 2007 at 01:10 pm


1 Carole Cohen December 5, 2007 at 04:12 pm

Very interesting, I am sad for Cleveland that we lost population when Akron did not. I think when Chrissie arrived in Akron it still was much different than it was in the sixties.

2 Maureen McCabe December 5, 2007 at 05:37 pm

ooops Carol I was wrong I think it is no job loss since 1983… not no population loss. If you look at their figures the jobs thing is measure from 1983 the rest are from the 1950′s. I don’t know why I was reading it as population earlier today.

Akron Population 1950 was 274,605 and Cleveland was 914,808
Akron Population 2006 was 209,704 and Cleveland was 444,313

I’ll have to go see if I can correct it… cross out my error.

The chart for employment that is available online or was in Sundays paper shows Akrons Average annual jobs was up from 1983 to present.

I crossed it out and corrected it. Sorry.

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