On June 30, 2008 hundreds of people came out to witness history being made. The 1836 Richard Howe House was moved down Exchange Street from it original site next to the Akron Beacon Journal to its new site next to the Ohio & Erie Canal and Towpath Trail. Richard Howe was the Resident Engineer for the Ohio & Erie Canal from 1825 to 1832. The Howe House has been restored and serves as a visitor information center for the Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway, a meeting center, and as offices for the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition.
Located overlooking the Ohio & Erie Canal at 47 West Exchange Street, the Richard Howe House is a canal-era landmark in downtown Akron. Known as the "Howe Mansion" by travelers on the Ohio & Erie Canal, this 1836 high-style Federal structure was the home of Richard Howe, the Resident Engineer of the Ohio & Erie Canal.
As Resident Engineer, Howe supervised the completion of the Ohio & Erie Canal from Cleveland to Massillon, Ohio from 1825 to 1832. Howe's responsibilities included engineering and designing the canal prism and locks between Massillon and Cleveland, including the fifteen-step lift locks built in the Cascade Locks Park. Howe also designed the configuration of Summit Lake and engineered the portage of the Ohio & Erie Canal over the Continental Divide. Howe served as Resident Engineer until 1850 and facilitated the construction of the Ohio & Erie Canal to the Pennsylvania & Ohio Canal. This connection transformed Akron into a manufacturing and transportation center.
Richard Howe was also active in a variety of civic activities including the construction of the Summit County Courthouse and Jail, Akron Rural Cemetery, Akron Lyceum and Library Association and led a group of Akron residents to California to search for gold in 1850. Richard Howe's influence on the transportation history of Akron and northeast Ohio was significant and has had a lasting impact on the social and economic development of the region.
Today, the Richard Howe House is one of only two Federal-style homes in the City of Akron and serves as a historic reminder of Akron's early canal-era. Both the exterior and the interior of the Richard Howe House have substantial architectural elements and fabric that directly relate to the era of the Ohio & Erie Canal. Nearly all of the extant exterior features, including the stone lintels, door surrounds, and window fenestration, illustrate high style elements of Federal architecture.
The Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition has restored the Richard Howe House to its original glory as a regional landmark. The Howe House serves as an information center for residents and visitors to the Ohio & ErieCanalway National Heritage Area, as well as meeting and office facilities. Working in partnership with the City of Akron and our community partners, the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition celebrates the heritage of the Ohio & Erie Canal and stimulates community enrichment and economic development through the restoration of the Richard Howe House and Towpath Trail.