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Massillon is a city in Stark Countymarker in the U.S. state of Ohiomarker. The population was 31,325 at the 2000 census.

Massillon, along with neighboring Cantonmarker, are principal cities of the Canton–Massillon Metropolitan Statistical Area. The metropolitan area includes all of Stark and Carrollmarker counties.

The Friendly Association for Mutual Interests founded Massillon, then called Kendal, on a estate in response to Robert Owen's success in New Harmony, Indianamarker to create a utopian society. The group of approximately 150 people, consisting of farmers, mill workers, and mechanics from the surrounding area, abandoned their communitarian lifestyle. The town center was eventually located along the banks of the Tuscarawas River and the Ohio and Erie Canalmarker. Massillon was named after Jean Baptiste Massillon, a Frenchmarker Catholic bishop.

Early in the 20th Century, Massillon was home to a brass era automobile maker, Forest City Motor Car Company; despite its name, the Jewel did not shine, and the company went under.

Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) provides bus service between Massillon and nearby Cantonmarker.

Little Steel strike

Massillon is the site of one of the most tragic instances of anti-union violence in the history of the United States. The Steel Workers Organizing Committee was attempting to organize workers at Republic Steel in the spring and summer of 1937. When the company refused to recognize their union, the workers struck.

A crowd of strikers and their families had taken to gathering nightly for a rally and dance in front of the union's headquarters. On the night of July 11, 1937, a citizen of the town failed to dim the headlights on his car as he approached the rally. City police assumed the worst and without warning opened fire with rifles and shotguns on the peaceful crowd. One auxiliary policeman shouted, 'Let them have it boys! Break them down!' Police pumped tear gas canisters into the fleeing mob; one officer raked the street and local houses with sub-machine gun fire. Wounded people who attempted to seek medical attention were shot at. The wounded sought refuge in the union hall's kitchen, where the walls became smeared with blood. The police hunted down fleeing families throughout the night, sporadically firing on anyone they found. Three men were killed, and a large number of men, women and children wounded.


Massillon is located at (40.795270, -81.522896), along the Tuscarawas River.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.9 square miles (43.7 km²), of which, 16.8 square miles (43.4 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.4 km²) of it (0.83%) is water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 31,325 people, 12,677 households, and 8,328 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,870.3 people per square mile (722.1/km²). There were 13,567 housing units at an average density of 810.0/sq mi (312.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.18% White, 9.39% African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.25% Asian, 0.34% from other races, and 1.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.96% of the population.

There were 12,677 households out of which 29.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.8% were married couples living together, 13.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.3% were non-families. 29.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 22.5% from 45 to 64, and 16.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 92.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,734, and the median income for a family was $41,058. Males had a median income of $32,021 versus $22,327 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,633. About 8.3% of families and 10.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.5% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over.


Public high school students in Massillon attend either Massillon Washington High Schoolmarker, Perry High School, Tuslaw High School or Jackson High Schoolmarker. Most attend Washington High in the Massillon City School District. Residents of Perry Township attend Perry High and residents of a small annexed section of Jackson Township attend Jackson High.


In Ohio and elsewhere, the name Massillon is probably most associated with the Massillon Washington High Schoolmarker football team, the Tigers. Distinguished Massillon alumni include Paul Brown and Ohio State Universitymarker graduate and former NFL All-Pro linebacker Chris Spielman. The Tigers are historically one of the winningest high school football teams in the United Statesmarker, second only to the Valdosta High Schoolmarker Wildcats, in Valdosta, Georgiamarker. Along with the Canton McKinley High School Bulldogs, the Tigers represent one half of what many consider to be the greatest high school football rivalry in the nation. Both Massillon and their fierce rivalry with Canton are subjects of the documentary film Go Tigers!.

In July 2008 Massillon was nominated as one of only twenty cities nationwide as a finalist in ESPN's "Titletown U.S.A" contest. On July 21, a rally was held at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium while ESPN filmed a segment that was aired on SportsCenter. Massillon finished fourth in the voting behind Valdosta, Georgiamarker, Parkersburg, West Virginiamarker and Green Bay, Wisconsinmarker.

While the first players known to be paid to play football are believed to have played for club teams in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniamarker area, perhaps the first great professional football rivalry was between the Massillon Tigers and Canton Bulldogs from 1903-1906. This rivalry predates both the NFL and the aforementioned rivalry between the Massillon and Canton high schools which continue to use the nicknames of these early professional teams. The Professional Football Researchers Association (PFRA) web site includes articles about the early years of this rivalry, as well as articles about the history of football through the 1970s.

Notable natives

Notes and references

  1. Clymer, Floyd. Treasury of Early American Automobiles, 1877-1925 (New York: Bonanza Books, 1950), p.63.
  2. Zieger, Robert H. The CIO, 1935-1955. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1995. ISBN 0-8078-2182-9 p. 62-63.
  3. DeLorme (1991). Ohio Atlas & Gazetteer. Yarmouth, Maine: DeLorme. ISBN 0-89933-233-1.
  4. All Things Considered, NPR, 20 November 2009.
  5. All Things Considered, NPR, 20 November 2009.
Charles Frederick McDew, Chairman, Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, 1961-1964

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