History Of Massillon
Massillon is located on the Tuscarawas River. Massillon is the second largest incorporated area within the Canton–Massillon metropolitan area.
The original settlment of Kendal was founded in 1812 by Thomas Rotch, a Quaker originally of New Bedford, Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut.
The town plat was established along the east bank of the Tuscarawas River, which was the surveyed route for the Ohio and Erie Canal being constructed to connect Lake Erie with the Ohio River. The canal section spanning from Cleveland to Massillon was completed in 1828. An offer was originally made to route the Ohio-Erie Canal through Canton but, the residents believed the stagnant water would bring disease and rejected the idea. As a result of that decision the canal was built through nearby Massillon. Ironically, the health of the Massillon residents improved due to the draining of nearby swamps into the canal.
Because of the Ohio-Erie Canal, Massillon quickly became a major port, known as the Port of Massillon, along the canal route following the canal’s completion in 1832. The Ohio & Pennsylvania Railroad brought its rails to Massillon in 1852. Massillon incorporated as a village in 1853, which included the towns of Kendal to the east and Brookfield to the west. When the population reached 5,000, Massillon became incorporated. That occurred in 1868.
During the 1800’s one company, Russell & Company, a company owned by the three Russell brothers, was a major contributor to Massillon’s economy. In 1842, they began manufacturing threshing machines and other agricultural implements. In 1852, they staryed train car manufacturing. In 1884, they became one of the largest producers of industrial and agricultural equipment in the world when they began producing steam traction engines.
The first locomotive “cowcatcher” and cab was invented and built in Massillon by Joseph Davenport. He owned the The Massillon Bridge Company which designed and built steel truss bridges throughout the Midwest.
Massillon also was home to an automobile manufacturing company between 1906 and 1909. The Forest City Motor Company produced approximately 1,000 of their Jewel automobiles before going out of business.
Massillon became one of the major steel and metal working centers of the world. By 1959, Republic Steel became the third largest steel company in the world, and employeed nearly one-half of the city’s workforce. The city continues to be an important steelmaking and fabricating powerhouse.
Massillon’s population was 32149 in 2010. It covers an area of 17 square miles and has 164 miles of streets.