Crimes & Disasters
Documents & Records
In 1900, Akron experienced its
worst riot in history, after the abduction and sexual
assault on the six year-old daughter of the Maas family
while in front of her home by Louis Peck, an
African-American who had recently arrived in Akron.
Around midnight that day, Peck was arrested at a train
station and brought back to Akron where he confessed to
the crime. The next day's newspapers exaggerated Peck's
confession and even printed the confession in red ink.
Due to threats of lynching, Peck and another black man
were moved to Cleveland for their safety. In the evening
crowds began to gather demanding for Peck and attempted
to search the City Building, but were barred by police.
Tensions escalated after police fired into the crowd
with over 100 shots fired, killing two small children.
The mob resorted to explosive dynamite in attempts to
get where they thought Peck was being held. At a point
during the riot, the mayor tried to explain out of a
window of a building that Peck was taken from Akron to
Cleveland, but the crowd refused to believe and
continued. The mob violence lasted nearly to 4:00 the
next morning after final searches for Peck in the Old
Court House and the Summit County Jail. In the aftermath
of the riot, both the City Building and the Columbia
building burned completely down. 31 men and boys were
later convicted of charges related to the riot.
Fire fighters battle the City
Remnants of the
First City Hall
The City Prison was located
in the basement of the City Building. The City Building was
destroyed by fire and the remains of the prison are pictured
Of 1900--The Darkest Night In Akron's History by W.B.