131 Wertz Ave NW
Canton, OH 44708

History & Architecture
The Canton area is home to a wide variety of wonderful historic structures.
Here are some stories of their history and architecture:

(NRHP. 1975)
Central Plaza
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.

(NRHP 1982)
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.

owners have carefully and sensitively modified its interior to create offices, respecting the original architectural integrity of the structure.

(NRHP, 1982)
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 century.

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.

(NRHP, 1979)
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.



2010 - Canton Preservation Society
Last update 02/14/2024