Posted by Terrence Dalton
The Rotary Club of Akron had the opportunity to learn about the Summit County Historical Society during our Tuesday, September 13, 2022, weekly club meeting.  Our speaker was Leianne Neff Heppner, who has worked at the Society since 1999, first serving as curator assisting with exhibits for the city and county, as well as county government records consultant. She has been the President and Chief Executive Officer since 2009 and looks towards the nonprofit organization’s 100th anniversary in 2024.  
History Within Reach. 
Founded in 1924, the mission of Summit County Historical Society is to preserve and interpret the history of Summit County and Akron, and to educate regional communities about the people and events that have shaped our rich history.
The Society, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation, owns and manages several properties including the:
  • Perkins Stone Mansion, home of Akron's and Summit County's founding family.
  • John Brown House, home of the internationally recognized abolitionist; and
  • Old Stone School in downtown Akron - a partnership with Akron Public Schools.
Perkins Stone Mansion:
Completed in 1837, the Perkins Stone Mansion was built by Colonel Simon Perkins, son of Akron's founder General Simon Perkins. As one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in Ohio, the Mansion is now a historical house museum whose objects and rooms not only bring to life the Perkins family's lifestyles over three generations but interpret the history of Akron and Summit County from Akron's founding to the turn of the century.
John Brown House:
Built circa 1830, by Benjamin O. Greene and Salmon Hoisington, it was rented by the Perkins family as the Stone House (today's Perkins Stone Mansion) was being built.  Colonel Simon Perkins purchased the structure in early 1844 and then rented it to John Brown and his family.
Old Stone School:
The first schoolhouse built in Akron was Schoolhouse No. 2, also referred to as the schoolhouse of Portage Township School District No. 2. It was erected sometime in the early 1830s. It is located at the corner of Broadway and Buchtel Avenue.
Akron at the time was a tiny village in Portage County's Portage Township. There was already a school in operation in the Township located in the nearby village of Middlebury, known as Schoolhouse No.1. (The dates and location for this school is unknown.) Much later Akron annexed Middlebury, but Portage Township Schoolhouse No. 2 is still considered Akron's first school.
While Ms. Neff-Heppner was able to touch on some of the highlights of the Summit County Historical Society, I would encourage all readers to check out their website for additional information on the three properties listed in this article.  You will find some very interesting facts about the history of Akron and Summit County.  The website is