Canton was founded in 1805 on the West and Middle Branches of the Nimishillen Creek, and became a manufacturing center owing to its location with numerous railroad lines. After the decline of heavy manufacturing, the city's industry has since diversified into service economy, including retailing, education, financial, and healthcare sectors.
Canton goes back to 1769, when the site was bequeathed by a Delaware Indian to a white man and then sold to Bezaleel Wells, a surveyor from Steubenville. Bezaleel Wells, who laid out the first plot of land in the area, began selling lots in 1806.
The name Canton was selected after Bezallel heard of the death of a man he admired. This trader, Captain John O'Donnell, who had been the first to import goods from Canton, China to Baltimore, had named his Baltimore property "The Canton Estate." Weeks before Wells recorded the plat of Canton, he heard news of Captain O'Donnell's death so he named the new village Canton.
In 1811, the first schoolhouse was built. In 1815, Canton was incorporated as a village, 1834 as a town, and 1854 as a city.
Today, Canton has both a keen sense of history and an optimism for the future. Home to the Professional Football Hall of Fame and the McKinley Museum and National Memorial, Canton also offers a vibrant arts community and plentiful shopping and restaurants. The Canton lifestyle combines the best of metropolitan and suburban living.