Founded in 1805 and the gateway to Amish country, Canton is rich in history. The city is home to a wide array of wonderful historical structures and the previous home of the late President William McKinley. From touring historic homes to visiting the Football Hall of Fame, there are plenty of ways to discover and experience the city’s history.

Touchdown at the Football Hall of Fame

Football Hall of Fame

Image via Flickr by josephleenovak

The National Football League (NFL) was founded in Canton in 1920 due to the popular Canton Bulldogs NFL team and successful lobbying of the community. The famed Jim Thorpe played his first pro football with the Bulldogs in 1915. The Football Hall of Fame displays a bronze bust of each enshrined member with touchscreen kiosks for bios and photos of the inductees.

The Moments, Memories and Mementos Gallery outlines the achievements of players via high-tech video. At the Lamar Hunt Super Bowl Gallery, visitors can watch a recap of every Super Bowl game to date. The Football Hall of Fame is located off of Interstate Highway 77 in the northwest corner of the city.

Stroll the City Streets

The Central Plaza area of Canton is dotted with historic structures. The Stark County Courthouse was built in 1817 and features a beaux arts classicism architectural style. Its imposing bell and clock tower marks the hub of the city. Its portico features four Tuscan columns with Doric capitals. The Carnegie Building on Third Street S.W. is a mélange of Roman and Greek architectural styles with an Ionic theme. It’s home to the Canton Public Library. Nestled on East Tuscarawas Street, the Landmark Tavern is the city’s oldest commercial structure. It was constructed in 1818 and features Greek Revival and Early Federal styles.

The Saxton House is located on Market Avenue South and was the previous home of President William McKinley. With its elaborate loggia and carved brackets, it showcases many Italianate features. Today, the Saxton House is headquarters of the National First Ladies Historical Site.

Visit the McKinley Memorial and Museum

The McKinley Memorial is the final resting place of President William McKinley and towers over trees with 108 steps leading to an impressive dome. The dome measures 50 feet in diameter and has a skylight with 45 stars representing the 45 states in the Union at the time. The McKinley Museum has a vast collection of artifacts and outlines the chronicle and life of President McKinley from his birth to his assassination.

Walk the Historic Neighborhood of Ridgewood

Ridgewood is an historic neighborhood with 185 homes that were constructed from 1919 to 1930. It is also home to an original farmhouse built by the popular Canton educator John Lehman. The designs and individual features of each home represent the vintage architecture of the period. The neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Historic Ridgewood Association continues to ensure that these valuable properties are properly preserved.

From football history to historic neighborhoods, Canton is a city with a story to be told.