Progress Through Preservation
Progress Through Preservation of Greater Akron (PTP) was organized formally in July 1984 in direct response to the ongoing urban renewal policies continuing to change the faces of cities across the country as well as in Akron. Its mission remains to serve Akron and Summit County by actively encouraging and promoting the preservation, maintenance, restoration, and adaptive reuse of buildings, sites, and neighborhoods that are of historic or architectural significance.
PTP actively promotes and encourages the preservation, maintenance, restoration, and adaptive reuse of buildings, sites, and neighborhoods that are of historic or architectural significance in Akron and Summit County. They continually work to inform and educate the public on historic preservation issues.
Monthly meetings feature visits to a variety of historic preservation and adaptive reuse sites throughout Summit County and beyond and include presentations by guest speakers. The organization publishes a newsletter, provides speakers on various historic preservation topics, co-sponsors with the Summit County Historical Society an ongoing Architectural Heritage Awards program honoring outstanding preservation, restoration, or adaptive reuse projects in Summit County, and for more than 25 years led an annual clean-up of the Glendale Steps.
Founding members include:
Anita and David Meeker
Rex E. Sager
Ramona and F. Eugene Smith
Membership Tours & Partnerships
The First Annual House Tour featured the Simon Perkins Mansion and restored homes in the Highland Square area of West Akron. In the same year a walking tour along North Portage Path concluded with Irene Seiberling Harrison reminiscing in the old "chicken house" of her family's Stan Hywet estate. In 1986, a ”Stamp Out the Wrecking Ball" symbol designed by F. Eugene Smith was incorporated in the PTP logo as members protested the demolition of the 1906 Park-view Apartments listed in the Akron Historic Landmark Survey.
Since that time, PTP, a volunteer-led organization that now includes more than 250 members, has moved on to initiate or support a variety of historic preservation efforts in Akron and Summit County. In the process, PTP has worked in cooperation with the City of Akron, Akron Public Schools (APS), The University of Akron, Keep Akron Beautiful, as well as local, state, and regional community and historic preservation organizations including Cascade Locks Park Association, Summit County Historical Society, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Cleveland Restoration Society and its Preservation Resource Center of Northeastern Ohio, Heritage Ohio, the Ohio Historical Society, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) through its Midwest Office in Chicago.
Original & Early Projects
Sponsoring town meetings, preservation workshops, tours of historic homes and public buildings.
A Glendale Memorial Concert Series designed to raise funds for restoring the Civil War Memorial Chapel in Akron's Glendale Cemetery.
PTP has actively supported restoration of the Mustill Store and House at Lock 15 of the Ohio & Erie Canal.
Passage of the 1997 Akron Historical Preservation Ordinance.
Restoration of the historic Akron Civic Theatre on its original site.
In 1998, PTP commissioned an inventory of Canal-era structures in the City of Akron.
In 2001, at the invitation of the NTHP, PTP successfully participated in the Community Organizational Effectiveness Program, a 12-month process through which local historic preservation organizations evaluate their organizational structures and strategic planning processes following internal and external assessments conducted by the National Trust.
PTP has supported the reprinting of an 1880 guidebook on train excursions in the Cuyahoga Valley now being used by the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
The design and publication of an award-winning brochure on historic Glendale Cemetery.
In collaboration with local residents, the University of Akron, and the City of Akron, grave site documentation and preservation efforts at historic Middlebury Cemetery in East Akron.
Preserving Akron Public School Building History
During the past several years, PTP has actively participated in discussions with the Akron Public Schools, the City of Akron, and neighborhood residents on the future of Akron's historic schools.
In January 2006, PTP released the findings of an architectural feasibility study it had commissioned on the renovation versus replacement of Firestone Park and King elementary schools, both scheduled for demolition under the current APS Facilities Master Plan.
In 2007, PTP dedicated its placement of an historical marker at the Glendale Steps, a Works Progress Administration project completed during the 1930s and linking Walnut Street to a park the City of Akron had planned to create at the base of the steps but which was never built.
Most Recent Projects
In 2021, PTP joined forces with Friends of Keyser-Swain Farmhouse to advocate for the adaptive reuse and historic preservation of the iconic Keyser-Swain home in Cuyahoga Falls, formerly Northampton Twp. PTP served as fiscal agent for FOKSF so fundraising could take place for the storyboard signage that will soon be placed outside of the revitalized farmhouse.
In 2023, PTP nominated and secured the sponsorship to get the historic Glendale Steps listed on the prestigious National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The NRHP is our country’s official list of historic buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts worthy of preservation and it provides formal recognition of a property’s architectural, historical, or archaeological significance. The Glendale Steps qualified for the NRHP based on their architectural significance, as the work of master landscape architect Warren H. Manning, and for their association with the New Deal and WPA. Although the Steps need some repairs, they are remarkably intact and retain the original materials and design.
Preservation House is the former Portage Township Schoolhouse, built in 1870 and located near the corner of West Market Street and White Pond Drive. It operated as a schoolhouse from 1870-1930, then served as a City of Akron Public Library Branch from 1932-1958. From 1959-2008, the building was home to Fairlawn Park Garden & Civic Center. In March 2009, PTP signed a 10 year license agreement with City of Akron to manage and restore the schoolhouse. The restoration of Preservation House was completed in 2014.