Here, along the Towpath Trail, the Cascade Locks tell the story of Akron's early industry. The steepest section of the Ohio & Erie Canal was between Akron and the Little Cuyahoga River. In a single mile, 15 locks, or "steps," were necessary to enable boats to climb the Continental Divide. Locks 10 through 16 form the Cascade Locks Area.
The two buildings north of the parking lot and adjacent to Lock 15 are some of the oldest structures in Akron. The Mustill House and store, built between 1825 and 1850, served the local community and the people traveling the canal. The area was designated as National Historic District in 1992 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Schumacher Cascade Mills site boasts a large open space with several walking paths and interpretive signage explaining the rich history of the site. It was originally home to the Schumacher Cascade Mills, owned by Ferdinand Schumacher, who once owned a quarry in Deep Lock Quarry Metro Park. The large red, metal waterwheel sculpture stands where the mill’s water wheel would have stood, at approximately the same height. The building inset on the wheel gives the visitor a glimpse at just how large the structure was in reference to the wheel.
Present throughout the area are native wildflower species, flowers brought by immigrants from Europe, and weeds carried by man, horse and canal boat. The tree population reflects both invasive plants and native trees that are able to flourish in inner-city conditions. Birds seen in this area include robins, blue jays, sparrows, cardinals and red-tailed hawks.