In 1918, Clark Gable grew bored with farm life in rural Palmyra and was intrigued by the rubber tire boom happening in nearby Akron. Against his father’s wishes, he dropped out of school and headed there to start anew.
Clark worked as an office clerk in the Firestone plant before moving to the Miller Tire and Rubber Company. He rented a room from a couple on Steiner Avenue, a short walk from work.
Here’s what Steiner Avenue looks like today…not exactly an area we felt safe hanging out in for a long period of time:
One night after work at the factory, Clark went to The Akron Music Hall and saw a performance of The Bird of Paradise. It was that night that changed the course of his entire life. Seeing that performance was all it took for Clark to want to be an actor. Persistent Clark started running errands for the company, sweeping the stage–anything he could do to be a part of the company. He finally appeared on stage for the very first time as a spear-carrier in one night’s performance.
The Akron Music Hall was a beautiful building that stood on East Exchange Street in Downtown Akron.
Sadly, this stately building, the site of Clark’s first acting job, was wrecked down in 1929 and in its place was built the local newspaper offices, now the Akron-Beacon-Journal.
Pictures of the building today:
Soon after, the theater company left town and so Clark had to join his father on an oil rigging job in Oklahoma. He never would return to his home state of Ohio.
That concludes my trip to Ohio! Thank you everyone for your support!