An Analogue Adventure into Minor League Sports Part Four: Akron Rubber Bowl

2012-10-02 3

Hello again, I come to you today from the ruins of the old Akron Rubber Bowl. Okay, so it’s not quite ruins but four years of abandonment really takes its toll on a stadium. Come with me on this journey into what happens to old stadiums.

Credits: 110isnotdead

In 1940, the University of Akron decided that having a single stadium for both baseball and football was no longer feasible. Buchtel field was relived of its duties, and thus gave way to the new Akron Rubber Bowl, aptly named for the rubber capital of the world, and home of Goodyear Tire Company, Akron, Ohio.

Credits: 110isnotdead

This stadium was state of the art back then, seating over 35,000 rabid fans and built into the side of a hill, which made entering the stadium a breeze from both ends. Fast-forward about seventy years to 2008. Akron has a shiny new stadium right on campus, Infocision Stadium, and has no further need for the venerable, if not outdated, old field. And that was that, the stadium was basically set to abandonment.

Credits: 110isnotdead

Four years later, my buddy and I are taking a trip to an Akron Soccer game (see last week’s riveting installment of the series) and we had some time before the game. I looked and saw that the old stadium is still there so we set off to check it out. After parking by the main gate, we realized just how abandoned the Rubber Bowl really was.

Credits: 110isnotdead

The word “post-apocalyptic” comes to mind when you look at the old Akron Rubber Bowl. It was as if they just left everything as it lied and took off. There were ever piles of unused 2009 football programs just strewn about. It really hit that this place was suddenly left to rot when we looked through a broken door window and saw knee braces, football cleats, and athletic tape just laying at the edge of the field. I had never seen anything like that.

Credits: 110isnotdead

But it’s not all dower though. It seems that the old stadium might get a second chance. It looks like a group wants to buy the stadium and make it into the home of the Akron Fire football team in the new USFL. Nothing is for sure yet but it is an exciting prospect.

Another cool thing about the Rubber Bowl is that it shares its space with “Derby Downs,” the local soap-box derby track. Sadly, no one was running at that time but it was cool to see something new like that.

Credits: 110isnotdead

So join me next week when I will bring to you another adventure that I get myself (and most likely my friends) into. These pictures might give you a hint on what to expect next (or it might be a complete giveaway).

Credits: 110isnotdead

But until next week, Happy Snappin’!

USFL Wikipedia
Akron Rubber Bowl
Akron University
Akron Fire

Tim Pawlak (aka 110isnotdead on LOMO) is a Librarian, writer, photographer and amateur historian (gotta use that History Degree somewhere). Massillon, Ohio (about an hour south of Cleveland) is where he calls home. He loves to get the feel of every new town he comes to and capture it on film. So if you make your way down the Tuscarawas River, you’ll probably find him.

written by 110isnotdead on 2012-10-02 #places #abandoned #35mm #football #kodak-gold-200 #location #rust #urban-adventures #akron #analogue-adventure #post-apocalyptic


  1. lizzyhn
    lizzyhn ·

    Your pictures made me a little sad. I grew up going to the Rubber Bowl. Akron Zips football, concerts, college events. I even marched on the field when I was in the high school band. I remember my dad and grandpa going to the high school match up every year on Thanksgiving morning. It might have been called the Turkey Bowl? I live over there now. Within walking distance, at least. We got excited about it getting used again. Fingers crossed. Thanks for showing it a little love.

  2. 110isnotdead
    110isnotdead ·

    @lizzyhn Thank you so much, you have just made my day. It makes me so happy when my words or my photos can touch someone like that or bring up some old memories. I sure do hope the old stadium can be reused. It is such a landmark for the region and I would hate to see it decay further. Oddly enough though, the actual field looks like it could be played on right now. lol
    Anyways, thanks again and I'll keep tabs on the USFL and if anything comes about with the stadium, I'll be sure to post it here.
    Take Care,

  3. slipnut
    slipnut ·

    I'm writing The Encyclopedia Of Jerry Garcia Music Venues. I'm interested in using the first photo you posted of the Rubber Bowl. I'd need it at least 1mb or larger. Jerry Garcia performed there on
    7/2/86 with the Grateful Dead. Bob Dylan sat in on Don't Think Twice.
    Please email me at

    Thank you
    Harry Angus

More Interesting Articles