Visit the entire endangered 1930s Akron Beacon Journal building

The Akron Beacon Journal building in Akron. (Karen Schiely/Beacon Journal/ file photo)

The Akron Beacon Journal building at 44 E. Exchange St. has landed on Preservation Ohio’s List of Ohio’s Most Endangered Historic Sites for 2019.

The nonprofit group, which bills itself as the state’s oldest historic preservation organization, included the Akron building this month when it released a list of 13 structures that it considers to be at risk.

The Akron Times-Press opened the downtown landmark in 1930, and it became the Beacon Journal’s headquarters after the two newspapers merged in 1938.

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The Beacon Journal was editor and publisher John S. Knight’s first newspaper after he took over the business from his late father, C.L. Knight. The company developed into the Knight Ridder chain, which at one time owned 32 newspapers and employed 18,000 workers.

GateHouse Media, which bought the Beacon Journal from Canadian company Black Press Ltd. in May 2018, intends to move its Akron offices later this year to another unannounced downtown location. GateHouse leases the Exchange Street building from Black Press, which has not said what it plans to do with the block once the newspaper moves.

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“This year, Preservation Ohio received more nominations for this important list than ever before, which confirms both that much of our state’s historic properties remain at risk and that interest in preservation is growing across Ohio,” Executive Director Thomas Palmer said in a prepared statement.

The group, which has compiled the list for 26 years, said sites being named include one or more of these factors: demolition threat, abandonment, neglectful owner, deterioration, obsolete use, lack of funding for repairs, location or development.

Preservation Ohio jumped the gun on the impending move, though, calling it the “Former Akron Beacon Journal Building.”

According to the group: “The landmark former home of the Akron Beacon Journal, constructed in 1929, is constructed of sandstone and occupies a full city block in the heart of the city with an iconic corner tower. While operating in this building, the paper was awarded four Pulitzer Prizes for its work. Now that it is vacant, the future for its 230,000 square feet of space is anything but certain.”

The endangered site list also includes Defiance Junior High School (1918), Hayden Mausoleum in Columbus (1920), the German Furniture Co. in Middleport (1872), Libbey House in Toledo (1895), Gebhart Tavern in Miamisburg (1811), Unionville District School in Lake County’s Madison Township (1855), the Macon Hotel and Lounge in Columbus (1888), the Traxler Mansion in Dayton (1910), Lincoln Elementary School in Middletown (1922), the Caretaker’s House at Oak Grove Cemetery in Delaware (1850s), Kern Tavern in Chillicothe (1840s) and another newspaper building, the Dayton Daily News (1908).

For more information about Preservation Ohio, visit

Mark J. Price can be reached at 330-996-3850 or [email protected].

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