The Courtland Hotel/ St. Francis Hotel/ Stark County Offices (1905-1992)
The Courtland Hotel was an iconic building in early Canton. The building was constructed in 1905, being designed by one of Canton's most notable architect Guy Tilden. The hotel housed many iconic moments in Cantons history, including a conference by the suffrage movement as well as a meeting by the organization that would go on to become the NFL. The building changed names multiple times throughout its history. First, in 1948, when it changed from the Courtland Hotel to the St. Francis Hotel. The next change came in 1965 when it became the Stark County Offices. The building stood until 1992 when the building was destroyed to make room for a parking garage. The last remnant of the building is the main entrance, which still stands on the site.
Backstory and Context
The Courtland Hotel was constructed in 1905. Famed local architect Guy Tilden designed the Hotel. Tilden was one of Canton's most famous architects despite not having an architectural or engineering degree. Tilden was an architect in Canton during a period of growth in the city when the population grew from 13,000 to 90,000. The hotel had features of 16th-century Roman palaces.
The Courtland Hotel was host to many iconic moments throughout Canton’s history. In June of 1914, one of these moments occurred when suffragettes came to the Courtland. The president of the International Women Suffrage Association, Carrie Chapman Catt, and the president of the Ohio Association, Harriet Taylor Upton, met in the city for a conference and banquet for the women’s suffrage movement. Another notable meeting occurred in 1920 when the pre-courser to the NFL met in the Courtland. The American Professional Football conference was held inside the Courtland, decisions such as naming the organization the American Professional Football Association; the group also elected Jim Thorpe as their president.
The Courtland Hotel went under multiple name changes throughout its lifetime, the first of these coming in 1948. In 1948 the Courtland Hotel changed its name to the St. Francis Hotel. This was not the last name change that would occur; from 1965 to 1966, the building was home to the Stark County Offices. This historic building was demolished in 1992 in order to make an underground parking garage on the site. The last remnant of the building is the main entrance, which still stands on the site.
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Brown, Gary. "A Look Back: June 11, 1914." (Canton) June 11th 2015. .
"Canton was booming when NFL was born." Cantonrep (Canton) August 3rd 2010. .