A Short History of North Canton, Ohio
The early settlers of the area were mainly German-speaking families from the eastern part of Pennsylvania, hence the name “New Berlin.”
As early as 1805 the first families began arriving in Plain Township where they found fertile and rolling land, clear streams and abundant animal life among thick patches of forests. They established their homesteads and while clearing the lands for their first crops they built churches and schools, some as early as 1814. Year after year new families of various backgrounds arrived, much like today.
Taverns, inns, wagon-makers, blacksmiths and general stores sprung up where the rutted wagon paths crossed; paths that led to mills by the streams eastward and west, and north to Akron, and south to the village of Canton. Soon at this crossing a village was founded. In 1831 the first 23 lots (in the area of City Hall) were surveyed and became the village of New Berlin.
By the 1870’s the village was a bustling trading center. In 1875 a business move occurred which was destined to create an international company that would dominate the lives of everyone who ever lived here. The Hoover family, whose homestead was east of the village, brought the family tanning business into town and established a leather factory. They made horse gear of all descriptions – collars, bridles, saddles and more.
In 1906, the village of New Berlin with a population of 865 became incorporated with its own mayor-council system. In the years before World War I, the streets were paved for the first time with brick, electric streetlights replaced gas lamps, sewer and water systems were laid, a telephone exchange was installed and the volunteer Fire Department was organized. A streetcar line ran through the center of the village, north to Cleveland, south to Canton and beyond. The already-established churches expanded and a larger school was built – all reflecting the growth of the community.
About this time it became apparent that automobiles would soon replace the horse and buggy. The Hoover Leather Factory would have to branch out and so they did. The family bought the patents for an electric suction sweeper apparatus that cleaned carpets. They began producing them in a corner of the factory. From 1908 through 1919 they produced leather products and expanded the production of the sweeper, finally phasing out the leather in 1919.
During World War I, another significant community event took place. All over America, things bearing Germanic names were being changed – hospitals, schools, towns, streets, even family names. So after a petition drive, New Berlin, population 926, changed its name to North Canton on January 30. 1918.
The years between the World Wars were filled with steady population growth and business maturity for the thriving town. The original Community Building had been given to the families of the community by W. H. “Boss” Hoover. It was a center for spiritual, physical and social betterment. From it were organized the North Canton Woman’s Club, North Canton Rotary Club, American Legion Post 419 and North Canton Public Library.
After World War II, even greater community expansion took place, with an eye to the future. The school system was enlarged by several buildings and the stadium was built. The community voted for a Charter form of government, amendable by popular vote and pro¬viding for maximum home rule. On January 7, 1961, North Canton was declared a city with a pop¬ulation of 7,727.
Of course, The Hoover Company’s growth around the world continued to have a positive effect on the city, along with numerous other businesses. North Canton continued to expand its facilities through¬out the ’60’s into the ’70’s with the replacement of the original Community Building YMCA and creation of Bitzer Park as the hub of the city. The Hoover International Office Building was erected along with City Hall and additions to the Library.
North Cantonians continue to keep the residential areas beautiful, continue to support the good school system and houses of worship, continue to provide ample park and recreation¬al facilities and continue to encourage cultural strength through an art gallery, local theater and thriving local history museum.
The Hoover Company ceased to be locally owned with its sale to Chicago-Pacific in 1985 and to Maytag in 1989. In 2006, Maytag was sold to Whirlpool and the Hoover Company was subsequently sold to Techtronics Industries and the local facilities were closed in 2007. Those were sold to developer Maple Street Commerce in early 2008. Since then, the Hoover District has attracted varied tenants, creating new jobs.
Today, there is still a spirit that equals and surpasses that of the early settlers who built the foundation of pride upon which the village of New Berlin grew into the City of North Canton – a great place to live.
Types of Businesses in New Berlin 1915 (Taken from the Farm Journal Illustrated Rural Directory of Stark County, Ohio. Philadelphia, 1915)
Auto sales: New Berlin Motor Car Co.; F ord Agency Co.
Blacksmith: J. A. Peters
Butchers and Meats: Wilbur J. Hug (W. J. Hug building)
Cabinet Makers: G. C. Schrantz
Cattle and Horse Breeders: Lone Cedar Dairy Farm-C.C. Holl, operator
Coal: G. F. Coal Co.
Confectionary and Ice Cream: Herbert Baughman
Creameries and Dairies: ValleyView DairyFarm
Dentists: M. M. Albright
General Store: New Berlin Exchange Company; G . W. Sponseller
Grocers: H. E. Foltz
Hardware: J. P. Gross Hardware Co.
Heating Apparatus: Edwin Willaman
Insurance: Farmers Mutual Fire Protection A ssociation of Plain and Jackson Townships
Laundries: Urias H. Ream
Lime and Stone: New Berlin Lime Co.
Millinery: Mrs. Etta Wise
Paperhangers: O. F. C rain
Physicians: J. B. Dougherty; George H. Phelps; W. C. Steele; W. .A. White
Undertakers: A. A. Reamsnyder
Important Addresses Timeline
315 N. Main Street
North Canton Buick Company-mid 1940s to 1955
Saveway Super Market-1955 to approx. late 1950s
Viking Foods-unknown time
Hummel’s IGA-1962- 1988
407 N. Main Street
Julius Brown Motor Company-1920s
Brown Chewolet Company- 1930s
Myers Buick and Chevrolet-1942 to 1960s
W & J Chevrolet Company–circa 1967
Spitzer Chevrolet-1984 to 2005
555N. Main Street
Willaman Sheet Metal and Furnace Company-mid-1920s to 1946
Corner of West Maple and Portage Street
Adam Schick’s grocery store
E. L. Garman’s Grocery Store-unknown time to circa 1913
A. B. Flory Grocery and Baking Company-circa 1913 to 1928
C. A. Hoss-1929
The Citizens Savings & Loan Company-1931 to mid-1990s
First Merit Bank – mid-1990s to present
103 S. Main Streel
Sponseller Grocery-late 1800s to sometime before 1910
Possibly the Garman and Foltz Grocery-circa 1913 to unknown time
New Berlin Exchange Company-1915 to around 1918
J.W. Edwards Groceries–circa 19l8 to approximately1922
Hummel’s Grocery Store-1922 to 1927
Acme Cash Basket Store No. 111– 1927 to 1950s
Smith’s Meat Market–early 1950s
Allen Cleaners & Laundry-1955 to 1960s
105 S. Main Street
New Berlin Banking Co.-1906 to 1931
Citizens Savings & Loan Co.-1931
H. D. Wise Insurance Agency–early 1930s until 1960s
J.L. Shafer Agency(Realtors and Insurance) 1960s
107 S. Main Street
New Berlin Banking Company-1906 to 1931
Harter Bank & Trust Company-May 29,1931 to 1953
North Canton Jewelers-1960s
Joannes’ Apparel S hop-1960s
J. L. Shafer Agency (Realtors and Insurance) mid-1960s to 1970s
109 S. Main Street
Burky’s Drug Store–early 1930s(at least) to mid-1930s
Cameron’s D rug Store-mid-1930s to late 1930s
King’s Confectionary-late 1930s to 1960s
Gilbert’ s Restaurant-circa 1967
113 S. Main Street
Schaeffer-Messerly Rexall Drug Store- 1916 to 1971
121/123 S. Main St. (121 not used until early 1940s)
Possibly the John C. Evans Restaurant–circa 1910s (possibly earlier) to early 1920s
Possiblyanother unknown restaurant that replaced Evans Restauarant (early 1920s approx.)
Jerry’s Confectionary-early 1920s to 1927
Burky’s Confectionary-1927 to the mid-1930s
U.S. Post Office – mid-1930s to approx. 1957
Karl’s Shop-July 1, 1957 – unknown time
George-Anne’s Specialty Shop – 1957 to at least late 1960s
125 S. Main Street
Reno Brothers’ Shoes and Haberdashery–circa 1925
(other stores here, but not enough information available to determine years for the companies)
127 S. Main Street
Possible site of Drukenbrod’s Tin Shop – until 1907
Possible site of Willaman’s Tin Shop – 1907 to early 1920s
Citizens Savings and Loan Company- 1924 unt1l 1931
George-Anne’s Specialty Shop – opened April 15, 1946 to 1957
Stipes – opened November of 1959 to unknown time
139 S. Main Street
Harter Bank-1953 to 1970s
Address information gathered from business directories, city directories, newspaper clippings, etc. housed at the North Canton Heritage Society archives. Please inform us if you have details to add to this chronology.
Click here for North Canton Business History