Guest Author - Lynn McMonigal
Canton, Ohio, the country seat of Stark County, is a medium-sized town located south of Akron and Cleveland on the Nimishillen Creek. Originally a manufacturing Center, the city now boasts a service oriented economy. It also houses a thriving arts community, a vibrate sports scene, and a rich history. Planning a visit? Here are a few places you won’t want to miss.
The arts community of Canton features outlets for musicians, dancers, and visual artists. Visitors can take in a performance by the Canton Symphony Orchestra or Canton Ballet. Those who prefer the visual arts can take a leisurely tour of the Canton Museum of Art. All three organizations offer classes for everyone—from preschool age children to adults. Performances at the Symphony Orchestra and the Ballet are tailored toward adults or children, and the Ballet even offers children’s birthday parties.
More interested in sports than in art? Canton has something to offer you as well. As the birthplace of professional football in America, Canton was a logical choice for housing the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The original building, consisting of 2 rooms and 19,000 square feet of inside space, was opened in 1963, when the first class of 17 professional football players was inducted. The building has been expanded many times over the years, most notably in 1970, 1977, and 1993. The building now has over 82,000 square feet of space and 267 inducted members, with more players added every year. The day after the annual induction ceremony is an exhibition football game, which officially ushers in the start of a new NFL preseason.
Canton even has something special for the political junkie. William McKinley, the 25th President of the United States, lived and practiced law in Canton before he began his political career. Shortly after his death on September 14, 1901, talks about a memorial to serve as the final resting place for the assassinated president. A site was chosen in Canton, and on June 6, 1905, architect Harold Can Buren Magonigle began the excavation. The McKinley National Memorial was dedicated on September 30, 1907. The monument, which includes a 9 ½ foot bronze statue of President McKinley as he looked while giving his final speech in Buffalo, New York in 1901, serves as the final resting place for the President and his wife, Ida.
The McKinley National Memorial is not the only piece of political history located in Canton. Visitors can also find the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum. The city is also home to the only library dedicated to the First Ladies of our country. The National First Ladies’ Library opened in Canton in 1998. The first home of this library was the Saxton-McKinley House, which was the family home of Ida Saxton McKinley. The Library is dedicated to preserving the lives and accomplishments of 41 very special women, all of whom served this country as wife to a sitting US President.