The Mellett/Canton Daily News Building
The Mellett/Canton Daily News Building was constructed in 1912 for the Canton Daily News, a publication that started as the Canton News-Democrat. The newspaper was purchased in 1923 by former Ohio Governor James Cox. Cox was instrumental in hiring Don Mellett, one of the most famous journalists in the history of the paper. Mellett was a progressive journalist whose goal was to expose corruption in Canton. Mellett was shot and killed shortly after publishing two articles that claimed that local police were working in collaboration with a mafia-style group led by "The King of the Blac Hand." The journalist's death led to an investigation and the arrest of four individuals, including a deputy and the city's Chief of Police. Today, the building is home to the King and Whitmore medical billing company and several other tenants.
Backstory and Context
The Mellett/Canton Building was constructed in 1912 for the Canton Daily News. The Canton Daily News can trace its roots back to the Canton News-Democrat, which was founded in 1833. The newspaper became a daily print in 1878, continuing to grow until purchased by Canton businessman H. H. Timken in 1912; this was when the name was changed to the Canton Daily News. The Canton Daily news was notable for being a progressive, muck-raking paper during the 1920s. Former Ohio Governor James Cox purchased the paper in 1923, Cox went on to hire one of Canton’s most infamous reporters, Don Mellett, to the publication.
Don Mellett was a progressive journalist who specialized in writing about reform. Once in Canton, Mellett began working on exposing corruption in the city. In January and March of 1926, Mellett began publishing articles detailing his suspicion that there were agreements between specific criminal organizations and the Canton Police Department. This caused uproar in Canton; Police Chief S. A. Lengel brought a $50,000 libel suit against the reporter, Mellett also received threats from a crime family with a leader known as “the King of the Black Hand.” On July 16th, 1926, Mellett was shot and killed outside of his garage. An investigation took place, and four men were prosecuted for the crime, a bootlegger, an ex-con, a deputy, and the Police Chief S. A. Lengel.
The Canton Daily News Building was then given its new name in 1926, being known now as the Mellett/Canton Daily News Building. The building is now home to various new tenants; the first three floors are occupied by medical billing company King and Whitmire. There are also several law offices in the building while still having space for new tenants. King and Whitmire have spent $200,000, upgrading the building for future tenants.
Graham , Donald . Mellett/Canton Daily News Building . National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form . Published March 21st 1983. National Register of Historic Places .
Manning , J. R.. Mellett-Canton Daily News Building, https://landmarkhunter.com. October 8th 2018. Accessed December 12th 2019. https://landmarkhunter.com/183367-mellett-canton-daily-news-building/.
Brown, Gary. "The Monday After: Names of paper, publisher remain." CantonRep (Canton ) March 30th 2010. .