Canton is the home of professional football in America, with the NFL being founded in a car dealership garage there in 1920. In the early 1960s the leaders of Canton thought it would be a good idea to build a Professional Football Hall of Fame, having seen the success that Cooperstown, NY had with the baseball one.
The distinctive building, in the shape of an upright football coming out of the roof, was expanded in the mid 1990s to it’s current 80,000 + square feet.
As you enter the rotunda you are greeting with a life sized statue of Jim Thorpe, one of the best athletes of all time. Jim, who was a Sac and Fox Native America named Wa Tho Huk (Bright Path), won Olympic Gold Medals in the Pentathlon and Decathlon, played American Football, Professional Baseball and Basketball, and excelled at all of them.
Winning his gold medals in 1912 Stockholm Olympics; when he was presented his gold medals from King Gustav V, the kind said “You, sir, are the greatest athlete in the world”, to which Thorpe (being a true American) replied, “Thanks, King”
The first exhibit hall displays equipment from the early days.
The Bust Gallery of all of the Hall of Fame players is especially impressive.
Throughout the day the docents presented different programs; we watched one on the evolution of the helmet.
There was an exhibit on professional leagues other than the NFL.
Finally as you reach the end you are greeted by a Super Bowl trophy.