With its country lanes and wide open spaces, the city of Norton has retained much of its rural feel despite being in a county made up of urban centers and busy suburbs. Its decades-long resistance to amenities like central water and sewer have held back its business growth while serving to attract conservative families and professionals. Residents are fiercely loyal to their schools.
Location: In the southwest corner of Summit County, bordering Barberton, Akron, Copley Township and the borders of Wayne and Medina counties. Transected by Interstate 76.
Norton started out as part of “Wolf Creek Township,” organized in 1816 as part of Copley, Wadsworth and three Medina County townships. Two years later, it was separated into its own township, and took the name of an early property owner, Birdsey Norton.
The two brothers who founded The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. came from Norton. Frank A. and Charles W. Seiberling were raised on the Seiberling Farm, which is still in operation on Greenwich Road.
The city holds a yearly Apple Cider Festival in September, with a parade, fireworks, crafts and attractions. Begun by the Lions Club in 1988, recent events have been held at Columbia Woods Park.
Please note: As the area recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are altering their hours of operation. Be aware that the information reported in this list may change.
• Silver Creek Metro Park is more than 1,000 acres and has several entrances leading to various features, including an archery range, bathhouse, boathouse, hiking trails, a cross-country course and a disc golf course. For a full lineup of all the activities at this county-run park, visit summitmetroparks.org/silver-creek-metro-park.aspx.
• The Winery at Wolf Creek, 2637 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road, is on a hill that overlooks miles of unbroken nature and the Barberton Reservoir. In addition to the indoor tasting room, there is a lot of room outside, on a lawn and beneath a covered patio. Open seven days a week, visit wineryatwolfcreek.com for seasonal hours and a live music schedule.
• A community centerpiece, Columbia Woods Park is at 4060 Columbia Woods Drive. The complex includes athletic fields and courts, a huge playground, picnic areas and a profitable pavilion. Learn more on the city website at cityofnorton.org.
• The Lake Campground and Swim Park, 2678 S. Hametown Road, is a favorite of many campers. In addition to pet-friendly camping spaces, the facility features a lake with a lifeguard, concession stand, sand play area and profitable pavilions for events. To prepare for the upcoming season, visit thelakepark.com.
• Barberton Speedway may be named for the bigger city to the east, but it’s technically in Norton, at 3363 Clark Mill Road. The oval racing has been a staple in the area for more than 70 years. This year’s season opens on April 23. barbertonspeedway.net
• Best of Grandpa’s Cheesebarn is an outlet of the original in Ashland and operated by the fourth generation of a family business. Located at 3916 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road, the store offers samples of its cheese and sells homemade chocolates and fudge. grandpascheesebarn.com
• Loyal Oak Golf Course, 2909 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road, has been drawing local golfers since the first nine holes opened in 1929. Known for being wide open, scenic and not too challenging. loyaloakgolf.com
• The Funky Truckeria, 3200 Greenwich Road, bills itself as “artisanal tacos with worldly influences and a southern California flair.” The food truck operators opened this brick-and-mortar restaurant, which still keeps a fast-paced food-truck style. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am to 9 pm thefunkytruckeria.com
• Two of the restaurants that made neighboring Barberton the “Chicken Capital” are actually in Norton. Hopocan Gardens is at 4396 W. Hopocan Ave. (hopocangardens.com) and the Village Inn is at 4444 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road (facebook.com/VillageInnNorton). Both serve an Eastern European style fried chicken that has been a popular staple in the area for decades.
• Wolf Creek Tavern, 3044 Wadsworth Road, offers fine dining in a historic building that sits on a 19th century crossroads and once housed a Prohibition-era speakeasy. In addition to salads and gourmet sandwiches, there are entrees ranging from Hot Honey Salmon to Gnocchi Chicken Paprikash. The restaurant is open 4 to 9 pm Tuesday through Thursday, 4 to 10 pm Friday, and 11 am to 10 pm Saturday. Find the full menu at wolfcreektavern.com.
• Sweet Henries Ice Cream, 1365 Gardner Blvd., has been a family-owned favorite since 1974. It also touts a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, seven days a week. For hours and a peek at the menu, visit sweethenries.com.
• The city is also home to the Wolf Creek Players, a local community theater group that presents three productions per season. Proceeds are used for future productions and scholarships. The troupe has June performances of “All My Murders” – an audience-participation murder mystery by Eileen Moushey – planned for Houston Hall, 3069 Houston Road. For times and tickets, visit wolfcreekplayers.org.
• For garden lovers, there are two options in Norton, both named Dayton. Dayton Nurseries is a large nursery and garden center at 3459 Cleveland-Massillon Road. Learn more about its offerings, as well as its garden club or educational seminars, at daytonnursery.com. Down the street, at 4474 Cleveland-Massillon Road, you’ll find the separate Dayton’s Flower & Garden Center, mostly focused on flowers, shrubs and trees and everything you need to grow them. Learn more at daytonflowerandgarden.com. Both businesses are open normal business hours seven days a week.
Founded: Organized as a township in 1818, and became a city in 1969.
School and mascot: Norton City Schools, the Panthers