Here is the origin of select street names in Akron’s Goodyear Heights:
• Battery B Street — Several Goodyear workers served in Battery B of the First Ohio Field Artillery, which served along the Mexican border during 1916 tensions. The group became part of the 134th Field Artillery and served with the 37th Division, known as “Ohio’s Own,” during World War I.
• Bingham Path — Clara Bingham, “the First Lady of Goodyear,” was one of the first women to work at the company and remained for 45 years. She was hired as a stenographer in 1898 and retired as a librarian. As director of women’s activities, she organized many women’s clubs at the company.
• Bowmanville Street — Goodyear’s first factory outside Akron was a conveyor belt plant acquired in 1910 in Bowmanville, Ontario. Goodyear also provided affordable housing for employees in Bowmanville. The Akron company discontinued operations at the conveyor belt plant in 2003.
• Huguelet Street — A member of the “Old Guard,” A.J. Huguelet joined the company in its infancy in 1898 and served as foreman of the industrial department, supervising 3,000 workers. After he died of Bright’s disease at age 44, the plant shut down for his funeral on Feb. 3, 1916. All employees were invited to attend.
• Java Avenue — Beginning in 1916, the Indonesian island of Java became a huge supplier of natural rubber for Goodyear. In 1935, the company broke ground there on a small factory that produced 300 tires a day. Today, a Goodyear plant in Bogor, West Java, can make 12,000 tires a day.
• Litchfield Road — P.W. Litchfield, a Boston native with an engineering degree from MIT, moved to Akron in 1900 for a job at Goodyear. He was in charge of manufacturing when the street was named. He rose to president and chairman and remained with Goodyear until his death in 1959 at age 83.
• Malasia Road — The southeast Asian country of Malaysia began to supply natural rubber to Goodyear in 1908. A sales office was established there in 1929. Today, Goodyear’s Malaysian factory employs 700 workers who produce “outstanding tyres.” There is no explanation for why the street name is misspelled.
• Pilgrim Street — This one involves psychic ability. The Goodyear blimp Pilgrim, “America’s First Air Yacht,” was the first commercial airship using helium. Its first flight was in 1925 and its last flight was in 1931. Since the street was named a decade earlier, its inclusion in Goodyear Heights is a bit of serendipity.
• Preston Avenue — Famed aeronaut R.A.D. Preston piloted the balloon “Goodyear” to victory in 1913 with engineer Ralph Upson in the American National Race from Kansas City and the International Balloon Race from Paris. The two men built Goodyear’s first airships and won the Gordon Bennett Cup.
• Seiberling Street — OK, this one might be obvious. Brothers F.A. Seiberling and C.W. Seiberling co-founded Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. in 1898 and developed Goodyear Heights.
• Sumatra Avenue — The Indonesian island of Sumatra became home of Goodyear’s first rubber plantation — 20,000 acres — in 1916. The company opened a 40,000-acre plantation in 1927 and a 33,000-acre plantation in 1931. In 2005, it sold its 95 percent stake in Sumatra to Bridgestone Corp.
• Vaniman Street — Airship pioneer Melvin Vaniman designed and piloted the first dirigible named “Akron.” He planned to make a trans-Atlantic voyage, but the airship exploded on a test flight on July 2, 1912, killing Vaniman and his four-man crew off the coast of New Jersey. Vaniman Street was the first in Goodyear Heights.
• Wingfoot Way — Goodyear’s logo was based on the winged feet of messenger god Hermes (in Greek mythology) and Mercury (in Roman mythology). F.A. Seiberling was inspired by a statue in his home. The Wingfoot Clan newspaper also took its name from the logo.
— Mark J. Price