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Canton, OH: Home of NFL

Canton, OH is located in northeast Ohio and is the county seat of Stark County.  Canton was founded in 1805 by Bezaleel Wells, the land surveyor who laid out the original plots of land.

Canton grew very slowly throughout the early half of the 19th century, due to the lack of adequate transportation to and from the city.  Canton refused offers to connect the city to the Erie and Ohio canals, for fear that standing water would bring disease.  Canton also initially refused offers to run railroads through the city.  This lack of any major mode of transport inhibited its early growth, and it did not officially become a city until 1838.  By the 1880’s, however, Canton became a major manufacturer of iron and agricultural implements.  Railroads were eventually connected to the city and its goods shipped around the world.

United States President William McKinley is Canton’s most famous resident.  McKinley was the last US President to have served in the Civil War.  He served with distinction during that conflict, rising from private to the rank of brevet major.  He was elected as governor of Ohio in 1891 and 1893, and then elected President of the United States in 1897.  McKinley had previously served in Congress as the Republican’s tariffs expert and that specialized knowledge influenced his presidency.  He oversaw institution of several tariffs whose aim was to decrease foreign competition and strengthen the American economy.  His presidency did enjoy economic success, perhaps as a result of these strategies.

McKinley’s presidency is notable for the 1898 Spanish-American war, in which America acquired ownership of Puerto Rico, Guam, Cuba and the Philippines.  That same year, the United States annexed Hawaii.  The Spanish-American War is regarded as one of the first examples of American interventionism in foreign affairs.  The U.S. entered the war on behalf of Cuba, whose residents were in rebellion against the Spanish.  The war was a decisive victory for the United States, whose superior naval fleet brought the conflict to a speedy resolution.  John Hay, U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, described the Spanish-American War in a letter to Vice President Theodore Roosevelt as a “splendid little war.”

President William McKinley was assassinated shortly into his second term and his vice president Theodore Roosevelt took over as Commander in Chief.  McKinley’s presidency is generally regarded as better than average, with a strong economy at home and the U.S. beginning to show its international strength.  Unfortunately for McKinley, his presidency is often overshadowed by that of his predecessor, Roosevelt.

In the early 20th century, Canton saw the organization of America’s first professional football league.  In honor of this, the National Football League made Canton the destination for the Pro-Football Hall of Fame.  The NFL was founded in Canton, Ohio in 1920, though it was called the American Professional Football Association at the time.  Ground was broken on the original site in August of 1962.  Throughout the years, the Hall of Fame has seen numerous expansions.  Inductions are held at Fawcett Stadium on the Saturday before the Super Bowl.

 

Sources:

http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Canton,_Ohio

https://cantonohio.gov/?pg=history

http://www.cantonpalacetheatre.org/history

http://www.cmefonline.com/history-of-canton-ohio.html

http://www.profootballhof.com/default.aspx