Massillon, Ohio

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Massillon is a city in Stark County in the U.S. state of Ohio, located approximately 50 miles south of Cleveland. The population was 31,325 at the 2000 census.

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

The Friendly Association for Mutual Interests founded Massillon, then called Kendal, on a 2,000-acre (8.1 km2) estate in response to Robert Owen's success in New Harmony, Indiana 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 Canal. Massillon was named after Jean Baptiste Massillon, a French Catholic bishop.

Early in the 20th Century, Massillon was home to a brass era automobile maker, Forest City Motor Car Company;[3] 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 Canton.


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 crowd. One auxiliary policeman shouted, 'Let them have it boys! Break them down!' Police pumped tear gas canisters into the fleeing crowd; 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.[4]

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