The Canton Classic Car Museum exhibits 40 pristine and restored automobiles from yesteryear, which mingle among rare memorabilia pulled from the last two centuries. In one of the decade-focused rooms, a Packard hearse shares floor space with a 1937 bulletproof Studebaker, a car designed to protect policemen from bank robbers and dive-bombing pigeons. Cars like the 1966 Ford Mustang Convertible offset rare and little-known models such as the Holmes, built in Canton and declared possibly America's ugliest car.
Filling the walls and the spaces between the cars, oriental rugs and vintage Tonka trucks mix in with treasures from Canton?s bygone era. A fortune-telling machine from Meyers Lake Amusement Park stands ready to peer into the future, porcelain signs advertise businesses long since closed, and political keepsakes from President McKinley?s term remind viewers of a time when the political machine was focused on keeping outer space from crushing Earth.
In 1880, the final fasteners and sleepers on the Valley Railway were tightened into place. It wouldn’t be long before a billowing cloud of steam announced the arrival of the first train running through the Cuyahoga Valley, a territory that had served as a passageway for foot traffic for thousands of years. Over the next century, the railway contributed to the growth of commerce between Akron and Cleveland, changing ownership multiple times, and transforming from a freight train, into a passenger train, back to a freight train, and finally into a UFO.
Now celebrating its 41st year of passenger-rail service, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad transports sightseers over the historic rails through 33,000 acres of land owned by the National Park Service. With a year-round roster of trips, including wine- and beer-tasting excursions, passengers can set forth on morning, afternoon, and evening journeys that sweep past meadowlands, pinery, and rivers and give glimpses of native wildlife, such as fox, deer, bobcat mascots, and owls.
The NBA Development League affiliate of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Canton Charge regale hoops fans with basketball savvy from a roster stacked with talent looking to play their way into the NBA. Donning the same yellow-and-red color scheme of their affiliate squad, the Charge compete in the East Division of the NBA D-League. The team plays in the Canton Civic Center, where sounds of cheering fans and squeaking shoes echo off of rafters and occasionally create a high-pitched rhythm that the Charge Girls, the team's dance squad, can groove to.
Since 1976, craftsman Larry Pulka has constructed exact replicas of famed seafaring ships on a miniaturized scale. The Blue Water Majesty Museum displays his entire collection of model military and merchant vessels, allowing visitors to examine the intricate hulls, ornate decks, masterful masts, and hand-carved figureheads of dozens of watercraft assembled with old-fashioned woods. Nautical history buffs will appreciate the inclusion of several of our nation’s most important sea crafts, such as the privateer vessel Rattlesnake, whose full-size forefather floated the Atlantic during the American Revolution and blockaded England during the Beatles' British Invasion. A copy of the 1797-built Constitution uses Laotian boxwood, pink ivory, and Honduras rosewood to capture the essence of the warship, which won more than 40 battles.
Former congressional spouse Mary Regula founded the National First Ladies' Library after her own research of the subject failed to find a comprehensive resource for first lady lore. The result of Regula's efforts is two brainchildren that seek to bridge first lady-shaped gaps in historical knowledge: the Education and Research Center and the Saxton McKinley House. Guided 90-minute tours include access to each location. Begin by perusing the public portion of the Education and Research Center, which includes a collection of literature written by and about first ladies. Miniature reproductions of first ladies' dresses also make an appearance at select times, having been recovered from sneaky doppelgängers who used slapdash cloning machines to gain VIP gala access. A theater styled in Victorian aesthetic shows documentaries from a stock of more than 500 features starring presidents' leading ladies. Currently on exhibit is the Heroes of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a showcase of female Medal of Freedom recipients including Betty Ford, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, and Chief Wilma Mankiller (showing through September 9).
Tickets in these sections are first-come, first-serve, so book early for the best seats. Ticket-holders who arrive at 6:30 p.m. will also get to enjoy an informative hour-long discussion of the concert’s lineup of pieces and the fascinating stories behind them.