Global True Lithuania Encyclopedia of Lithuanian heritage worldwide

Akron, Ohio

Akron Lithuanian community has a rather sad history: while Lithuanians there managed to establish their own St. Peter church in the 1910s, by the 1920s already their parish was made territorial - that is, its Lithuanian nature removed. The remains of it then dissipated and the church demolished.

The sole reminder of the city's Lithuanian past is its Biruta street where the church used to stand. It is named after Birutė (100 years ago often referred to as Biruta), a semi-legendary Grand Duchess of Lithuania (Grand Duke's wife). The area where Biruta street is now laid has been once owned by the Lithuanian Land Development company.

The start of Biruta street with the site where the Lithuanian church used to stand in front

The start of Biruta street with the site where the Lithuanian church used to stand in front

Akron is surrounded by the villages of another minority which saved its heritage much better: the Amish, who still live similar to the lifestyle they led 100 years ago.

Canton south of Akron is home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame where two of the most celebrated players are of Lithuanian origins - namely Johnny Unitas (original name Jonas Jonaitis) and Dick Butkus.

Dick Butkus at Pro Football Hall of Fame

Dick Butkus at Pro Football Hall of Fame

The map

All the Lithuanian locations, described in this article, are marked on this interactive map, made by the "Destination Lithuanian America" expedition (click the link):

Interactive map of Ohio Lithuanian sites

Click to learn more about Lithuania: Ohio, USA Leave a comment
Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Thank you for this helpful information. We are trying to locate information about my husband’s grandfather who was a Lithuanian in this area. Do you have any idea if the church records for St Peter’s Church are still preserved somewhere? Do you know which cemetery would have most likely been used by Lithuanians in Akron in 1924?
    I will appreciate any help or connections to other resources you can give me.
    Thanks, Leslie Howard

    • I don’t know about the records but I think you should enquire in the diocese. Lithuanians did not have their own cemetery apparently, in which case they tend to be spread among multiple cemeteries. Unfortunately, Akron was one of the few cities during “Destination Lithuanian America” field trips where we have been unable to find any Lithuanian or a related person to tell a story of the Lithuanian heritage there – it seems the community has totally assimilated or dispersed. As such, we know less about Akron Lithuanian heritage than about most other cities. We have visited the place of the church and marked it on Destination Lithuanian America map (it is demolished now, but the nearby street still has a Lithuanian name).

Leave a comment

No trackbacks yet.