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|Location||135 S Broadway St, University of Akron, Akron, Ohio, USA|
Quaker Oats Cereal Factory
|Location||120 E. Mill St., Akron, Ohio|
|Area||4 acres (2 ha)|
|NRHP Reference #||78002195|
|Added to NRHP||December 8, 1978|
Quaker Square is a shopping and dining complex located in downtown Akron, Ohio. Housed in a mill, factory, and silos built and owned by Quaker Oats, the buildings were bought by developers in the early 1970s who sought to create a unique, useful home for shops and restaurants. The buildings were bought by the University of Akron in 2007. The hotel has been converted to a residence hall. The retail space consists of several small shops and restaurants, and offices are on the floors above. Quaker Square is still open to the general public, with the ballrooms still available for catered events and conferences. The hotel no longer accepts reservations and the rooms are operated exclusively for student use.
The Quaker Oats company was formed by the merger of several businesses, one was the Akron-based German Mills American Oatmeal Company founded by Ferdinand Schumacher. Schumacher's facility, first built in 1872, was destroyed by fire in 1886, then was rebuilt at the same location. Those buildings formed the basis of the Quaker Oats Cereal Factory. The complex consisted of cereal production facilities, warehouses, and rail-siding sheds. Quaker Oats built 36 grain silos on the site in 1932. Each silo was 120 feet tall and 24 feet in diameter, and together they housed 1,500,000 bushels of grain.
The complex is now the only remaining visual reminder of what was once Akron's largest single employer. Quaker Oats terminated production in Akron in 1970. The entire complex was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
The facility was repurposed in March 1973, and reopened 1 April 1975 with four shops and an ice cream parlor.
The silos were converted into a Hilton Hotel which opened in 1980. Later it became a Crowne Plaza hotel. The hotel is built into the suite of silos and is famed for its 196 completely round rooms. (Source: "Quaker Chronicle" promotional sheet available at the hotel.)
The Trackside Grille & Ice Cream Parlor, a restaurant themed with railroads which run parallel to the building, also provides a narrative of Akron’s history. The Trackside Dining Room was constructed with the beams and columns of the factory building. (Source: "Quaker Chronicle" promotional sheet available at the hotel.)
The Quaker Square General Store offers oatmeal cookies, pie-baking classes for children, and "nostalgic" candy. (Source: "Quaker Chronicle" promotional sheet available at the hotel.)
Purchase by University of Akron
In mid-June 2007 the University of Akron bought the complex for $22,679,000 with plans to convert it into student housing and office space. The university planned to house more than 400 students in the converted hotel starting with the 2008 spring semester. In January 2008, the university began to use the upper floors of the hotel as a residence hall.
Under contract with UA, RDA Management of Fairlawn operated 95 hotel rooms on the four bottom floors of the silos for the following two years. The university agreed to keep those rooms available to the public for that period to give the city an opportunity to secure more hotel space for downtown visitors and tourists. On June 30, 2013 the hotel was closed and converted entirely into student housing but the rest of the facility including the stores and restaurant remain open to the public.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- Biliczky, Carol. "Akron’s landmark Quaker Square hotel to close Sunday". ohio.com.
- Richard C. Foran (January 10, 1978). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form: Quaker Oats Cereal Factory" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2015-02-08.
- University of Akron News - UA Buys Quaker Square Complex
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Quaker Square.|
- Quaker Square, about.com