A historical marker is found at the site of the old mill and dam on the Big Sioux River.
Its text reads: “In 1862 E.W. Sargent and L.N. Crill constructed a flour mill and dam just north of this site, where the high bank of the Big Sioux River offered a splendid location for waterpower. H.D. Barr hauled the lumber for the first buildings, which included a hotel at Second and Reed Streets, which housed the men employed in constructing the dam and mill. Mr. Sargent also opened a general merchandising store just south of the mill.
On May 22, 1872 Mr. Sargent and Mr. Crill platted the town of Portlandville. They originally intended to call the town Portland, but since there was another post office in Iowa by that name the Post Office Department added “ville” to the name. In 1882 a petition for incorporation was decided upon by a vote of 41 to 16. The new town was christened Akron, a name selected by Mr. Sargent since he felt that the old name was too long.
In 1880 the first bridge across the Big Sioux River was built, connecting the town to the Dakota Territory. In the summer of 1899 the old bridge was destroyed by a tornado and in 1900 a new steel span bridge was erected on the same site.
In 1905 the Akron Milling Company, using the waterpower from the dam, installed the first electric light plant in Akron. In 1915 a bond issue for $18,000 was voted upon to build a new power plant and water system in Akron. This was the first election held in Akron in which women were allowed to vote. The bond issue passed and a new power plant was built at the corner of First and Reed Streets. The dam was no longer needed and was dismantled.
The Old River Road was low and often flooded, so a new bridge and highway were built in 1962 about a half mile upstream. The old bridge was finally removed.”
The historical marker was placed here by the Akron City Park Board in 2005. It is on the west edge of the business district near the river.