Project Client: Cascade Locks Park Association
Akron Project Number: 2003-02-R
contract with the Cascade Locks Park Association, the Community
Archaeology Program conducted Phase I and Phase II
archaeological investigations at the Schumacher Cascade Mill site
(33 Su 388) in Akron, Summit County, Ohio. The property is
adjacent to Lock 14 on the Ohio & Erie Canal at the last of the
Cascade Locks; a series of closely spaced canal locks specially
constructed to lift boats traveling on the canal up and down the
precipitous slope. The western edge and
northwest corner of the property is occupied by the concrete lock structure and an associated waste weir.
This lot, once occupied by Schumacher's Cascade
Mill, is now not much more than a small grassy area surrounding a small
woodlot that has grown up around the debris that has collected there
over the last century. When we initially assessed the lot and its
potential for geophysical survey, we were curious to see the
geophysical result caused by several major disturbances to the
historic site, caused by the construction of a high voltage electrical
tower, a mostly
buried concrete conduit encapsulating electric lines, and the
encroachment of a former asphalt company parking lot/dump that loomed
above the rear of the site. The Canal Towpath Trail
had crossed this property until the recent construction of a
bridge on the west side of the canal, traversing the
Grassy area of site 33Su388 viewed from the north.
Overgrown waste weir with tower in background
first building constructed on the project site was The Cascade Grist
Mill, it was built by in 1840 by William Mitchell. Ownership
changed hands a few times before Ferdinand Schumacher purchased the
mill in 1868.
By 1876 he had invested heavily in the structure by constructing a
state-of-the-art water power system, including a 36 foot "overshot" wheel.
He later built a coal fired powerhouse with 125
ft. brick chimney.
By 1891 , the once busy and powerful mill was converted
to a warehouse for lack of access to the railroad. A Sanborn Fire
Insurance map dated 1904 indicates that the building was Vacant and
dismantled and "owned by the Akron-Cleveland Fast Line Electric RR Co.
to be converted into Electric Power Sta".
The Akron Beacon Journal reported that on March 27, 1904 whatever was left of the building was destroyed by fire.
A 1921 plat map of the property identifies the property owner as Quaker Oats Company, and shows no building on the site.
Active mill c.1880
An article written for the July 21, 1925 edition of the Akron
Beacon Journal reminisces about the mill, stating that a chimney was
still standing at that time. The article was accompanied by a
photograph of the ruins of the mill wheel and chimney that was taken in
1923, “just before the wheel was torn out”
Photo from Akron Beacon Journal, 1925
We wanted to know if there was anything left of the
structure of the old mill and if they could be mapped using geophysical
methods such as electrical resistivity in spite of the disturbances to
the site? The image to the right is the result of the resistance
survey. Portions of the foundation of the upper left corner of the
building were evident in dataset and were verified upon
This information is an important source of information for the Cascade
Locks Park Association in the development of the park.
The Schumacher Cascade Mill is a contributing site to the Cascade Locks
Historic District that was listed on the National Register of Historic
Places in 1992. This project was conducted for compliance with
Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1996 (as