words and photo by Amanda Sedlak-Hevener
Brittain Road, spelled with two T’s in order to differentiate it from the country of Great Britain, runs from north to south between East Market Street and Howe Avenue, ending right near Chapel Hill Mall. As a result, it cuts through a good section of northeast Akron. It’s easy to mistake Brittain Road’s name as a misspelled version of the aforementioned country, but this is not the case. Instead, the road is named after a former village.
In the early 1800s, the area now known as Akron consisted of a number of smaller communities. One of these, called Brittain, after the family who founded it, was located on what is now the northeast side of the city. It was surrounded by towns that still exist today, including Mogadore and Tallmadge.
The village of Brittain, which once consisted of a wagon shop, a one-room schoolhouse, a church, a blacksmith shop, and other pre-Civil War necessities, was founded in 1832 by John T. Brittain and his family. The land that the town owned was on the banks of the Little Cuyahoga River, making it a great place for a clay mill.
As time progressed and modernization took hold, Akron began to take over many of the towns and villages in the area, including most of Brittain. Another part of Brittain was also lost during the 1950s when President Eisenhower founded the highway system that we know of today, and the remainder became the Ellet neighborhood shortly thereafter. All that remains is the name of the street that was once known as Mogadore Brittain Road, and has now been shortened simply to Brittain Road.
//BIO: Amanda Sedlak-Hevener is a local historian. She has an M.A. in History from the University of Akron, and is currently enrolled in the MLIS Museum Studies program at Kent State.