Pro Football Hall of Fame
The Football Hall of Fame in Canton.
On December 6, 1959, the Canton Repository, a newspaper in Canton, Ohio, called for city officials to lobby the National Football League (NFL) to create a football hall of fame in the community. The city had played an instrumental role in creating professional football. On September 17, 1920, the American Professional Football Association (APFA) formed in the city. This organization eventually became the National Football League. The Canton Bulldogs was an early powerhouse in the league, and it actually was the first team to win two championships in the APFA. Because of this history, Canton residents actively supported the city's efforts in securing the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Canton officials formally proposed their city as site for the hall of fame in 1961. The NFL quickly agreed to the city's proposal. To help convince NFL officials to locate the hall of fame in Canton, city officials donated several acres of land on Canton's north side to the project. Local residents also raised almost 400,000 dollars to help construct the hall of fame.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame formally opened on September 7, 1963. Initially the museum consisted of two buildings, but in 1971, 1978, and 1995, the Pro Football Hall of Fame experienced several expansions. As of 2007, the museum consisted of five buildings, covering 83,000 square feet. Nearly 200,000 people visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame each year.
As of this writing, the Pro Football Hall of Fame inducts between three and six new honorees each year. Generally, the inductees are enshrined each August, before the NFL season begins. The same weekend of the induction ceremony, the NFL holds the AFC-NFC Hall of Fame Game. One team from the American Football Conference plays against a team from the National Football Conference in an exhibition game. A game has been held in Canton every year since 1962 with the exception of 1966. When played in Canton, the game has always occurred at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium, the football stadium of a local high school.