SECTION 4—CANTON TO MASSILLON—7.9 MILES
The route of the 1928 Lincoln Highway between Canton and Massillon was, and probably still is, the most congested section of the route across Ohio. As they were in 1928, Canton and Massillon are the first and third largest cities, respectively, on the route of the Lincoln Highway in Ohio. Based on a traffic study in 1927, which counted vehicles at over 1100 checkpoints in the state, this section included the busiest checkpoint in Ohio. A daily average of over 5500 vehicles passed through a checkpoint here when it was the route of U.S. 30, including a daily average of 485 trucks. Of course, those numbers would be higher today, but thankfully, the bypass around Canton and Massillon keeps building its way to the east, alleviating some of the congestion, and diverting most of the truck traffic.
Today on this route, it is difficult to tell where Canton ends and Massillon begins. Actually, the communities of Reedurban and Perry Heights lie between the corporate limits of the two cities, within a three-mile area that is still part of Perry Township in Stark County. Between those two communities, Canton's Tuscarawas Street becomes Massillon's Lincoln Way, and the tourist can begin to watch for several establishments bearing the Lincoln name. Most noteworthy (from east to west) are the Lincoln Motel, Lincoln Way Motors [watch for the copper penny signs], and the Lincoln Theater [best-looking marquee on the route].
One new Lincoln Highway landmark in this section was erected in August 1996. A replica version of the concrete posts set in 1928 was dedicated with special ceremony in downtown Canton at the Stark County Court House. The court house is the centerpiece of an attractive downtown, and the four angels with trumpets high on the clock tower are perhaps the most unique feature of any of the Ohio court houses on the Lincoln Highway.
Constructed in 1870, and enlarged in 1893, the Stark County Court House is the centerpiece of downtown. The four angels with trumpets high on the clock tower are one of the most unique feature of any Ohio court house on the Lincoln Highway.
An original concrete post was relocated to a new position along the route in downtown Massillon. This post is in the green space at the southeast corner of Lincoln Way and First Street, not far from the Lincoln Theater, but on the opposite side of the street. The new home of the Massillon Museum fronts on this green space area.
As historically important as professional football is in this area, high school football may be even bigger. The renewal of the high school rivalry between Canton McKinley and Massillon Washington is one of the biggest games of any Ohio football season. As witnessed by the orange and black decorations in almost every storefront on Lincoln Way, no scholastic football team in America is more beloved than Massillon's Tigers.
Also downtown are two outstanding murals. One of these murals, near the southwest corner of Lincoln Way and Erie Street, features a wonderfully realistic canal scene. This is a tribute to the city's location on the old Ohio and Erie Canal, which connected the Ohio River and Lake Erie. The Ohio and Erie Canal was one of two major canal projects in Ohio which proved to be successful for at least two decades in the mid-1800s. The other was the Miami and Erie Canal, which the Lincoln Highway crosses at Delphos. The second mural is yet another tribute to the local high school football team.
Massillon is also the site of the Four Chaplains Memorial Viaduct, an impressive engineering project that is dedicated to the memory of four chaplains who lost their lives at sea during World War II, when the troop ship Dorchester was sunk by a German submarine off the coast of Greenland. Originally opened November 11, 1949, the viaduct was refurbished and rededicated in 1993, and has been called "the crown jewel of a $10 million flood control/grade elimination project of the Massillon Conservancy District." It spans three railroad properties, the Tuscarawas River, and a four-lane highway just west of downtown Massillon.
Historically, this route was also part of Main Market Route No. 3. Later, it was designated as Inter-County Highway #68, or Canton-Massillon Road. In the 1920s, the route was also designated as State Route 5, then U.S. Route 30, typical of most sections across the Buckeye State.