The Canton area is home to a wide variety of wonderful
Here are some stories of their history and architecture:
Architect: George F. Hammond, Cleveland, Ohio
Architectural Style: Beaux Arts Classicism
The Stark County Courthouse is the third to occupy
this same site. The first, a two-story Federal style structure erected
in 1817-18, was replaced by a larger Italianate structure in 1868-70,
with a separate Annex (q.v.). But within less than two decades, the
second Courthouse was deemed inadequate. County Commissioners were
reluctant to undertake the costs of a new structure during the depression
years of the 1890s. George F. Hammond was accordingly commissioned
to revise and expand the existing structure. Hammond's "remodeling" actually
called for the construction of a whole new, larger building around
the body of the former. Hammond's plan focuses on the imposing bell
and clock tower which marks the center of the town, crowned by the
four "Trumpeters of Justice" once visible for some distance
along most approaches to the city.
The building actually has two porticos;an
elaborate pedimented design on the Tuscarawas Street side, and a
simple, single story portico facing Market Avenue. The Market Avenue
facade is punctuated by three window designs: rounded on the first and
second levels; bull's eye on the third, set in ornamented squares; and
rectangular on the top. The portico is supported by four Tuscan columns
with Doric capitals crowned by a balustrade. The Tuscarawas facade is a
Beaux Arts fantasy composed of three wide arches and finely rendered
vous-soirs supporting pairs of doubled columns, which rise to a
sculpted pediment of superb workmanship. Two important nineteenth
century Stark County industries are represented here: the manufacturing
of plows depicted in the left angle, and the raising of Merino sheep
seen in the right angle. The four central figures are allegorical
representations of Commerce, Justice, Agriculture, and Industry. The
areas between the windows of the top level are ornamented with a
lattice device in stone, and the cornice is adorned with overlapping
disks and a running laurel festoon. The clock face on the tower is set
in a florid arabesque, framed by doubled Corinthian pilasters.
236 Third Street S.W.
(The Canton Public Library, 1905)
Architect: Guy Tilden
Architectural Style: Beaux Arts Classicism
Industrialist Andrew Carnegie provided funds
for the construction of the Canton Public Library, asking only that
the words "Open to All" be inscribed over the door. Tilden
won a competition to design the structure, using simplified elements
of the Beaux Arts Classical style then in vogue. This blending of Greek
and Roman architectural styles popular in the Renaissance seemed appropriate
in a library design with its commitment to enlightenment. The two-story
facade is divided into three bays, the two window bays flanking a central
recessed portico. Label molds over the upper windows are framed by
pilasters with egg and dart capitals. Above, a plain, dentilated cornice
supports a parapet.
At the entrance, a stairway is flanked by two enormous
plinths, which carry tall Ionic columns. Pilasters behind the columns
repeat the Ionic theme, but here they serve to frame a large pedimented
doorway with a round-headed window above. In 1980 the Stark County
District Library — as it had come to be known — moved into
its new Market Avenue building, and the old building sold.
Subsequent owners have carefully and sensitively modified
its interior to create offices, respecting the original architectural integrity
of the structure.
501 East Tuscarawas Street
(Jacob Hentzell's Travelers' Rest, 1818)
Builder: George Stidger
Architectural Style: Eclectic
George Stidger came to Canton in 1807, and in 1814
purchased this property on Tuscarawas Street East, then the principal
east-west stagecoach route. The small tavern which he built here
in 1818 was a lucrative enterprise, which eventually passed into
the proprietorship of Jacob Hentzell. Hentzell's Travelers' Rest
was a popular stop for weary travelers throughout much of the 19th
Known for many years now as the Landmark Tavern, the building is Canton's
oldest commercial structure. It is eclectic in architectural style, due in
large measure to undocumented additions and modifications to the original
structure over the years. A major fire in 1920 caused extensive damage, and
it is uncertain how much of the building is now original, although a stamped
metal ceiling and tile floors survive from an earlier period. Other evidences
of the original structure include the support beams of the attic, which are
held together by wooden pins.
The fan window in the gable, second-story comer
pilasters, the low pitched roof with frieze panel along the roofline,
and the broken pediments of the dormers and gable are strongly indicative
of Early Federal and Greek Revival styles. The shaped Flemish gable
along the north side is an unexplained decorative anomaly, as are the
tile and acroteria along the peak of the roof and crowning the dormers.
The stucco exterior was added in the early 20th century.
331 Market Avenue South
Builder: Mr. & Mrs. George Dewalt, c. 1840 and
Mr. & Mrs. James A. Saxton, c. 1865-71
Architectural Style: Second Empire
The Saxton House is the only remaining residential
structure in which President and Mrs. William McKinley resided. Originally
the home of Mr. and Mrs. James A. Saxton, their daughter Ida was
born here. When Ida married Attorney William McKinley in 1871, the
wedding reception was held in this house. Through most of their marriage
the McKinleys did not own a home and were frequently in residence
with the Saxtons.
The rear portion of the house was constructed
in the early 1840s by George and Christiana (Harter) Dewalt, parents
of Catherine (Mrs. James A.) Saxton. About 1865-71 the front portion
of the house was added, using the Second Empire style then in vogue.
While the Mansard roof identifies the house as Second Empire, its many
Italianate features are worthy of note: the elaborate loggia which
sweeps across the facade and continues along the north side of the
building; the exquisitely carved brackets of the posts; the double
brackets under the eaves; and the windows, each with its own stone
segmental arch, which on the first level reach almost to the floor.
Most unusual of all is the large central wall dormer which interrupts
the cornice on the third level, and is hooded by a vast semi-circular
canopy supported on each side by bracketed piers and adorned by wooden
carvings. On each side of this elaborate device and elsewhere on the
Mansard roof, smaller dormers repeat the motif in a more simple fashion.
Between 1920 and 1979, the Saxton house was severely
misused as a multipurpose commercial structure, its original facade
largely destroyed and hidden behind a crude brick addition. In 1979,
a sensitive and accurate restoration of the exterior of the house was
undertaken, based on old photographs of the original structure and
the duplication of surviving details. Today the Saxton House is headquarters
of the National First Ladies Historical Site.
Descriptions and photos first appeared in the book Historic
Architecture in Canton: 1805 - 1940, published and copyrighted
by the Canton Museum of Art, 1989. Used with permission.
Revised 2009 with permission of original author.