- Amish Country
Hall of Fame first opened on Sept. 7, 1963. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton, Ohio in the northwest corner of the city, just off Interstate Highway 77. Highway exits for both northbound and southbound traffic are clearly marked on the freeway.
Literally hundreds of other signs on lesser roads in the Canton and Stark County area guide the visitor directly to the Hall of Fame site. Canton is located approximately 40 minutes south of the Ohio Turnpike (I-80) and about one hour north of Interstate 70, another major east-west artery. I-77 connects directly to both of these major routes. Canton is also located on U.S. Highways 30 and 62. Canton lies approximately 50 miles south of Cleveland, 100 miles west of Pittsburgh, 120 miles northeast of Columbus and around 225 miles from such centers as Detroit, Cincinnati, and Buffalo.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton, Ohio, for three primary reasons; (1) the American Professional Football Association, later renamed the National Football League, was founded in Canton on September 17, 1920. (2) the Canton bulldogs were an early-day pro football power, even before the days of the NFL. They were also the first two-time champion of the NFL in 1922 and 1923. The great Jim Thorpe, the first big-name athlete to play pro football, played his first pro football with the Bulldogs, starting in 1915. (3) Canton citizens early in the 1960's launched a determined and well-organized campaign to earn the site designation for their city.
The original two-building complex, containing 19,000 square feet of interior space, was almost doubled in size when a $620,000 expansion project was completed in May, 1971. The expanded three-building complex contained 34,000 square feet of interior space. A second expansion costing $1.2 million and adding a fourth building was complete in November, 1978, and increased the Hall's size to 51,000 square feet. A third expansion project, a $9.2 million program that increased the Hall's size to approximately 83,000 square feet, was completed in October, 1995.