What was W. E. Wright?
The W.E. Wright Co. was one of Akron's premier building materials companies. W.E. Wright Co. was located in downtown Akron, on Main Street just south of Cedar. The picture below was taken in the mid-1960s.
The Wright building has a distinctive curve to it. As a kid, I was always fascinated by its curve. Why the curve? The pacticality of the last century. The lot it was built on was against the curved railroad siding. The siding started at the main line running along the east side of Broadway Street. The curved siding crossed both High and Main Streets. After it crossed Main, the curve was reversed to the right. The siding straightened out to parallel Main St, behind Orleans St. It continued north through what is now Aeros stadium and terminated underneath the M. O'Neil Co. Back then,shipping by railroad was the only way to go. Each one of those doors in the building allowed for the simultaneous unloading of several rail cars at the same time. W.E. Wright Company specialized in heavy primary building supplies, brick, block and ready-mixed concrete. Its facility occupied the entire block from S. Main St to High St. Wright had an additional yard across High Street that extended to what is now Broadway. Before the mid-1970s, Broadway St. didn't exist south of Chestnut St, now Selle St. The Wright ready-mixed cement plant still in the same place.
The Leaning tower of Bowery Street
We all know the family photographer who has a hard time framing that picture of the family get-together. Put the same person outdoors, look what happens. The building is actually stood straight up. However with the slightest tilt of the camera anything can happen, thus the Leaning tower of Bowery St. This picture was taken by my father, also Andy January, on a Kodak Brownie box camera. For you photo freaks, he was using Kodacolor size 616 film. The negatives were the size of table napkins.
The great thing that picture shows that fifty years ago merchants didn't mess around. By walking throught that white door near the center of the picture, one could be assured of being able to buy Diet Pepsi, Liquor, and or course Beer. Those were wonderful straight forward times.
This was taken in December of 1962. This is looking south on Bowery Street at the beginning of what was then Wooster Avenue. This intersection is near the northern end of what became Opportunity Park. This intersection still exists. It's now where southbound Bowery ends at wood chip holding pen of Akron Energy Systems. Wooster Avenue is still exixts on the right for one block.
The building went away by the wrecking ball as the Opportunity Park Urban renewal progressed.
Places in Akron Some Time Ago
This is the original location of January Paint and Wallpaper. The building was located at the corner of Bowery and Thornton Streets. The exact address was 300 W. Thornton. The parking lot wrapped around the east side of the building, and the back end of the parking lot overlooked the Ohio Canal. This picture was taken in December 1962. There is a 1959 Ford in the foreground; behind it is a 1958 Mercury. Prices in the store were a little lower back then: a pan and roller kit cost 59 cents, and two gallons of Latex Flat wall paint was $5. The man in the left window is my father, Andy January, checking out the window display that I had completed. We changed front window displays every other week back then. We originally occupied only one side of the building, where the January Paint wall sign is. After a few years, we took over the other half of the building, too.
This building is gone, and in its place is a street. When you are sitting at the traffic light at Dart Avenue, waiting to cross Thornton Street, you are in the wallpaper showroom of January Paints.
I'll be posting other pictures of Akron in the future. Please send comments and photos of your own for posting.