- Amish Country
Canton was founded in 1805 on the West and Middle Branches of the Nimishillen Creek, and became a manufacturing center owing to its location with numerous railroad lines. After the decline of heavy manufacturing, the city's industry has since diversified into service economy, including retailing, education, financial, and health care sectors.
Canton goes back to 1769, when the site was bequeathed by a Delaware Indian to a white man and then sold to Bezaleel Wells, a surveyor from Steubenville. Bezaleel Wells, who laid out the first plot of land in the area, began selling lots in 1806.
The name Canton was selected after Bezaleel heard of the death of a man he admired. This trader, Captain John O'Donnell, who had been the first to import goods from Canton, China to Baltimore, had named his Baltimore property "The Canton Estate." Weeks before Wells recorded the plat of Canton, he heard news of Captain O'Donnell's death so he named the new village Canton.
In 1811, the first schoolhouse was built. In 1815, Canton was incorporated as a village, 1834 as a town, and 1854 as a city.
Today, Canton has both a keen sense of history and an optimism for the future. Home to the Professional Football Hall of Fame and the McKinley Museum and National Memorial, Canton also offers a vibrant arts community and plentiful shopping and restaurants. The Canton lifestyle combines the best of metropolitan and suburban living.
Over 100 years ago, communities across the nation donated their pennies to help build a spectacular monument to President McKinley. That monument is located on McKinley Monument Drive Northwest. this 26-acre national landmark is dedicated to the 25th president William McKinley, who is entombed there along with his wife and two children. The patio of the monument provides a fine view of downtown Canton.
The Saxton McKinley House in Canton celebrated its national debut as the home of the National First Ladies’ Library with a dedication ceremony and Victorian Gala in June, l998 with Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. Known as the Grand Lady of Market Avenue, the Saxton McKinley House breathes new life as the first ever facility dedicated to documenting the lives and accomplishments of America’s 41 first ladies and other important American women in history. Located at 33l Market Avenue South, Canton, Ohio, the library is as unique as the women it serves.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton for three primary reasons; (1) the American Professional Football Association, later renamed the National Football League, was founded here in 1920. (2) One of the earliest pro football teams, the Canton Bulldogs, were located in Canton. And after the NFL was formed, the Canton Bulldogs were the first two-time NFL champions in 1922 and 1923. The great Jim Thorpe, the first big-name athlete to play pro football, played his first pro football game with the Bulldogs, back in 1915. (3) The efforts of dedicated Canton citizens launched a determined and well-organized campaign to make Canton the site designated to be the home of Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Canton Classic Car Museum was established by the late Marshall Belden, Sr in 1978. The museum currently exhibits 45 rare and unusual classic and special interest automobiles. The gorgeous vehicles are complemented by the thousands of pieces of historical memorabilia displayed throughout the museum.