Thursday, January 10, 2013

John Brown House

Akron Empire welcomes guest blogger Juniper Sage who is sharing with us a tour she took of a local historical site: the abolitionist John Brown's home, located here in Akron.  Sage is a good friend of Akron Empire--she's not only the Den Mother of Dance Dance Party Party-Akron (the ladies-only dance group: but she also joined us last September for Akron Empire's Blue Line party to cheer on the runners for the Akron Marathon.  Thanks Juniper!  What an interesting connection to history Akron offers.

View of the John Brown house from South Portage Path.

John Brown House
by Juniper Sage

Because I did not spend my elementary school years in Akron – and hence was not ‘forced’ on field trips - there are many places locals take for granted that I have never seen. As an adopted daughter of the Rubber City, I am setting out to fix this, visiting our city's historical sites and encouraging others to do the same.

My first trek was to the John Brown House at the corner of Copley Rd and South Portage Path in Akron. This was the one time home of the aforementioned famous abolitionist.

An early photo of John Brown.

John Brown was fervently anti-slavery but he was also one of few that talked about violent means to the ends of abolishing slavery. He was involved in several murders and his attack on Harper's Ferry in Virginia led to a sentence of death by hanging. No matter his intentions his time spent in Ohio shows how involved our state was in the anti-slavery movement.

The name of the house is honorific as John Brown neither owned the house nor lived here for a very long time. He, his wife and somewhere between 9 and 11 children occupied the house while Brown was in a partnership with Simon Perkins, whose mansion is directly across the street.

The house you see here would have only been 2 rooms and a loft during the Browns’ occupancy; several rooms were added on after they lived here.

Items in the home are displayed by the Summit County Historical Society.

The Summit County Historical Society runs the house and uses the site to explain Northeast Ohio’s history with the Underground Railroad, Abolitionism and Brown’s own controversial life. No matter how you feel about Brown’s tactics in his fight to end slavery the house gives an interesting glimpse into the life of a man who was continually looking for a way to both feed his family and fight for his cause.

The volunteers at the house are very knowledgeable about John Brown and the history of the place but there is not a guided tour in the traditional sense. Due to the small size of the house one would only need to set aside an hour to see the home and take some time to read the collected information at the site. The house is open the fourth Thursday of the month from 4-6p.
For more information, please check out the Summit County Historical Society website:
For more info on John Brown House, click HERE for the link.

Want to share your favorite place, band, organization, or event in Northeast Ohio?  Are you interested in guest blogging for Akron Empire?  email us at AkronEmpire [at] gmail dot com.

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