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185 Ream St. NW
North Canton, OH 44720


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History of The North Canton Heritage Society

1960’s – North Canton Residents initiate a movement for an organization to preserve the heritage of their city.  They were interested in maintaining the ties to the previous name of New Berlin.

1961   — Census designated North Canton a city and spurred  an interest in creating an organization to protect its history.

— North Canton Public Library created a “Book Committee” in an effort to find someone to write a history of North Canton. None had been written or published to that point.


1972  —  Ruth Harpold Basner, a community resident, forms a “Heritage Committee” to respond to the Library request. By May the “Heritage Committee” had expanded to a team of 7.  Included were Basner, John and Penny Baxter, Joy Cox, and Libby Williams.

In order to formalize the organization, the Committee enlisted the law firm of Eberly, Lesh, Zielasko, and Casner to file the Articles of Incorporation with the Ohio Secretary of State.  Establishing The North Canton Heritage Society, Inc., a nonprofit corporation

John W. Baxter was the first duly elected President of the Society.

October 1, 1972
The North Canton Heritage Society opened its doors for business at its first location 815 North Main Street. The office was equipped, and a new home finally existed for pictures, memorabilia, and relics of our local community.

Its first major accomplishment was the Society’s publication of The North Canton Heritage Volume 1, 1805 – 1940, written by Ruth Harpold Basner.

1977 – By formal resolution, the North Canton City Council donated the City Hall Archives (1913 – 1940) to the Heritage Society.

1978 – The following year, the Society’s Board of Trustees, the governing body of the organization, formally revised the Code of Regulations. The policies and structure of the Society were updated, and the Executive Director position was established to perform the necessary administrative functions, and to serve as the curator of donations.


1982 – The Board of Trustees approved a job description for the Executive Director.

1989 – Code of Regulations was revised, the Board was reorganized, and the Society continued its course toward its own perpetuation. Under the leadership of Board President, David McDaniel, and Executive Director, Dale Kitzmiller, the Society was stabilized. Local residents affirmed their belief in the importance of the organization through a large increase in membership.

1990’s – NCHS approved a revised mission statement, and refocused on its purpose and goals. The Board acknowledged the importance of maintaining the store of materials donated over the years in an accessible, museum-like environment. An educational and outreach program emphasized cooperation with the North Canton City schools.

The Society has overseen the production of a documentary video, North Canton, Ohio: A Proud Past – A Promising Future, and the publication of North Canton: A Place in Time, a pictorial history book of our community by Paul Kieffer and Rebecca Ink Hall.

In 1998, in an agreement with the North Canton City Schools, we moved to the former Middle School at 200 Charlotte Street NW which gave better storage space for our growing number of items and artifacts.


In 2006, a new director, Kathleen Fernandez, a retired museum professional, was hired.  Together with the Society volunteers and interns from local colleges, she updated the exhibits, better organized the collections and digitized the Society’s photograph collection.


In mid-2011, the North Canton City Schools decided to integrate their kindergartens with their elementary schools and eliminate use of the Charlotte St. building.  They generously offered us space in the nearby Portage Street School.  As the rooms we were given had no separate entrance, the school gave permission for us to build a separate handicapped-accessible entrance.  We raised over $100,000 from local foundations and the public for our “Open the Door to History” project and moved to 185 Ream St. NW on April 30, 2013.