Stories of Support

Reymann Roots: Reflecting on the Atlantic Foundry Demolition

Apr 17, 2024

Demolition of what remained of the Atlantic Foundry in Akron, Ohio, began on March 7, 2024. This effort to clean-up and remediate property led by the Summit County Land Bank is a positive action for the betterment of Akron; however it is a bittersweet event for the Reymann family.

The Atlantic Foundry was formed in 1905 by Charles Reymann and four fellow immigrant foundrymen. They named their new business the Atlantic Foundry Company as a tribute to the ocean crossed in search of better lives. A year later, the foundry building was destroyed by fire. Undaunted by their loss, the five men rebuilt the foundry. Their business grew rapidly in industrially booming Akron. What began as a small unpretentious foundry grew with and within the city. To meet the growing demands for iron, in 1910 they built a modern iron foundry. In 1919 they added a steel foundry and began a steel casting business. By this time Charles’ partners sold their interests to him and he became the sole proprietor and President of the Atlantic Foundry Company.

Over the years since its beginning, the Foundry expanded its operations. The original force of 12 employees grew to nearly 450. The Foundry employed many Reymann family members. In 1955, Charles’ first-born son, Charles, assumed leadership, followed by son Marcel in 1973, and finally Charles’ youngest son, Thomas, became President of the Foundry in 1983. Unfortunately, due to the exit of tire manufacturing by most of the Akron-based rubber factories, as well as depression in the oil industry, declining foreign business and softening demand for iron molds and steel castings, the Foundry became unprofitable.

The behemoth foundry, once the largest in Akron and an icon among the city’s industrial and entrepreneurial businesses, ceased operations in 1989. All assets were liquidated, and the blighted property on Beaver Street was sold. Though no longer having ownership, the memories and emotions tied to the Foundry remain firmly rooted in the Reymann family.

Still, change is a good thing. The 13-acre parcel of land in Akron’s Middlebury neighborhood that once clinked, clanged and spit fire is silent, but is destined for new purposes. The demolition is a major milestone in the revitalization of Akron, and will undoubtedly bring many future growth opportunities for the city. And the Reymann family will take solace in the fact that they were, and continue to be, part of Akron’s great history.