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Before the rubber boom, Akron was primarily a publishing town. In the late 1800s, German immigrant and entrepreneur Paul Edward Werner moved to Akron and began a small printing business that turned out a local paper called Akron Germania.
But by 1897, Werner had grown his company from one print shop into a huge publishing firm with business in 22 countries worldwide. In addition to the Germania, he also printed the reference text Encyclopedia Britannica and several other publications. Press operations took place in a giant, 11-building complex on Union Street in Akron. Across the street, on the corner of Union and Perkins, Werner built his office.
Designed to resemble a medieval castle in his native Germany, Werner’s business office stood a majestic three stories high. The grand arched entrance opened to shiny hardwood floors, spacious typing rooms and a cut stone staircase leading to Werner’s personal office above.
After Werner’s contract to print Encyclopedia Britannica expired, its owners accused him of trademark violations and sued him, driving Werner into bankruptcy. The Union Street warehouses were bought by another company and eventually burned down in a fire. All that remains today of Werner’s empire is his office, a little castle on Union and Perkins, where his name over the main entryway ensures his legacy is not entirely forgotten.