Look Up, Canton! A Walking Tour of Canton, Ohio
There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. This walking tour of Canton, Ohio is ready to explore when you are. Each walking tour describes historical, architectural landmarks, cultural sites and ecclesiastic touchstones and provides step-by-step directions. More
There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are preparing for a road trip or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a downloadable walking tour is ready to explore when you are.
Each walking tour describes historical and architectural landmarks and provides pictures to help out when those pesky street addresses are missing. Every tour also includes a quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on American streets.
Today Canton is best known to the outside world as the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But contemporary histories of Canton in the mid-1900s made no mention of Jim Thorpe and the Canton Bulldogs and an organizational meeting in the downtown Hupmobile dealership in 1920 that spawned what was to become the National Football League. Before there was an NFL Canton was known for harvesting tools and ball bearings and bricks and William McKinley, 25th President of the United States.
Bezaleel wells laid out the town in the flood plain where three branches of the Nimshillen Creek come together in 1805. Wells did future typesetters a favor and passed on calling the new settlement "Bezaleelville" and instead named the village after the town in China as a memorial to a trader named John O'Donnell, whom Wells admired. The nascent town was dealt an early blow when the great Ohio and Erie Canal was routed eight miles to the west through Massillon in the 1820s. But the canal age was destined to be short-lived and Canton's lack of water access to the Great Lakes and the Ohio River was rendered meaningless by the coming of the railroad.
Canton began making things in the early going - in the days before the Civil War as many as six kinds of reapers were manufactured in Stark County. Its industrial heritage placed the town in good stead when northeastern Ohio became a bustling center of the Steel Age. Town workers became skilled shapers of steel products, a reputation that convinced Henry H. Timken, a carriage manufacturer from St. Louis to build a factory in Canton to produce his new tapered roller bearings in 1898. Canton had its largest employer and became the world's biggest manufacturer of roller bearings.
As its manufacturing economy eroded Canton became an enthusiastic player in urban renewal. Our walking tour of the downtown core will pass many blocks that have been cleared on our quest for landmarks but we will start in a space that was always planned to be open...