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Interstate 77 exit 107A: Canton Ohio

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Traveling along interstate 77 in Ohio there’s a town called Canton. Canton lies 24 miles south of Akron and 60 miles south of Cleveland. It was founded in 1805, became known as a village in 1822, then became a city in 1838. Canton was named by the person that originally surveyed the land, Bezaleel Wells. It is named after Canton, China. It was named in memorial to Wells’ good friend John O’Donnell, a trader.

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As of 2004, Canton was ranked 8th among the cities in Ohio with a population of 73,007. William McKinley’s tomb and presidential library are in Canton along with the Canton Museum of Art, First Ladies National Historic Site, Fawcett Stadium, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

William McKinley’s tomb and presidential library are located in the McKinley National Memorial. On these 22 acres you will discover the history of the man who served as President of the United States from 1897 until his assassination in 1901. This area (along with The First Ladies National Historic Site) is listed under the U.S. National Registry of Historic Places and is a U.S. National History Landmark.

The First Ladies National Historic Site was established in 2000 in celebration of the presidential first ladies of the United States. There are two buildings, an education and research center along with the Ida Saxton McKinley Historic Home. The Education and Research Center has varied information and learning experiences as well as a replica of the first White House Library attributed to Abigail Fillmore. The Ida Saxton McKinley Historic Home is the preserved home of the First Lady, built in 1841 and modified in 1865.

The Canton Museum of Art was founded in 1935 as a gathering place for artists to meet and exhibit their works. Today, it houses several permanent collections as well as featured exhibits. Once a year the library devotes space to high school students and they award scholarships for both college and CMA art classes.

Canton has the Fawcett Stadium where, each year, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game is played. It also serves as a stadium for a variety of high school and college games throughout the season. The Pro Football Hall of Fame was opened in 1963. There are 267 members of the hall of fame. With seven galleries and an appreciation of professional football, this could be an all-day experience.

Driving across I-77, Canton may seem small compared to other cities but this 25.48 square mile city is home of a wealth of history and entertainment.

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