Blossom Road is paved with Steels Corners. Oh really?

Certain names of cities, neighborhoods, or streets always spark heated debates in newsrooms over spelling and punctuation. An example in Summit County is also part of a question we received for our “OH Really?” team.

Every time I cross Cuyahoga Falls towards Blossom it’s a bit of a time travel experience for me, especially at one particular intersection. There was the Gold Circle department store, replaced by the offices of a chemical company. The Bob’s Big Boy next door? It is now a Mexican restaurant. Up the street, the State 8 Roller Dome and the Akron Agora are long gone, as is the BK Drive-In and its one-hole mini-golf course. They were all once clustered near the corner of State Road and Steels Corners Road. And that brings us to a question from Jon Secaur from Kent.

“My dad – he wasn’t an ordained minister or anything – but he spoke in churches to replace people on vacation. And there was a Steeles Corners Christian church right there. That’s how I first knew it, just like a little guy, going with my family to hear my father preach in that particular building.

“Growing up in this area, I always knew Steele’s Corners, spelled STEELES, three E’s in all. And lately I’ve noticed a lot of stores, businesses and addresses dropping that third “E”. I’m guessing it’s named after someone named Steele, I wonder who it is, and I think we’d like to honor them by spelling their name correctly.

take me to church
The church building is still there, now called Steeles Corners Community Church – three E’s, no apostrophe. I couldn’t reach their pastor because it turns out that Easter is their busy season. I briefly spoke with their business manager, who told me that the church was established in the 1950s. And all of their documents since then have shown inconsistent spelling and punctuation for Steels Corners.

Steeles Corners Community Church was founded in the 1950s and its business records show a myriad of spellings and punctuation for “Steeles” ever since.

take the falls
For clarification, I contacted Kelli Crawford-Smith. She is with the City of Cuyahoga Falls Community Engagement Department and says it all started with the Steele family, with three Es, and the road that bears their name today.

“According to engineering records, the road was originally opened in 1889, but at the time it was called Botzum-Wyoga Road.

But people had informally called it “Steele’s Corners” since the 1830s.

“The road is named after Adam G. Steele, who lived in the area in the early to mid 1800s. He operated a watermill at Mudbrook in the early 1800s in Northampton Township – and now this land is in the town of Cuyahoga Falls. Mr. Steel probably lived up the road, but it is not possible to determine exactly where from our existing records. There was a school at the intersection of State Road and Steels that was built in the early to mid 1800s and it was called Steele’s Corners School.

Aim for the nickname
Thus, the region attracted a nickname that ended up sticking. But how is it written?

“Officially it’s ‘Steels Corners.’ It has been spelled many different ways over the years, it was spelled ‘Steele’s Corners’, ‘Steel’s Corners’, ‘Steele Corners’ and then ‘Steels Corners’ which is how it is spelled now. Steele—we talked about Adam G. Steele—spelled his name STEELE.And then when the road was renamed in 1945, the “E” at the end of “Steele’s” was officially dropped, which we gave “Steels Corners” without “E”.

“We do not find in the archives [why they did that]; it just says that when it was officially renamed, they dropped the “E”. But it had been spelled so many different ways. I’m sure just trying to make things smoother, or maybe more standard, they eventually dropped the “E”.

Crawford-Smith says this is the first time the city has received this question.

“It was pretty exciting for us because we were able to dig into some old engineering records on our end and do a bit of historical research. It’s not a frequently asked question, so we’re glad it told us came because we learned something new with everyone.

So, for now, we have learned that Steels Corners Road is written with two E’s and no apostrophe. And there’s nothing in the historical records to explain what happened to that third E and apostrophe that honored Adam G. Steele. Now, if we could just solve the mystery of Kamm’s Corners or Corner, there would be peace in the ideastream newsroom.

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