Washington Square
(AKA the Hoover Farm)


1930's Aerial view of Hoover Park
(Courtesy N. Canton Heritage Society)


1930's Aerial illustration of Hoover Park from the first Hoover Co. convention
(Courtesy N. Canton Heritage Society)


The 250-350 year old Bur Oak
(Courtesy N. Canton Heritage Society)


Hoover Farm House
(Now Hoover Historical Center)

(Courtesy The Hoover Company)


Historical Hoover Vacuum ad (ca 1930's)
(Courtesy The Hoover Company)

 

 

 

 

 



Washington Square is a site at the corner of Market aned Easton that formerly resided within Plain Township which was the location of the Hoover family's original 1800's farm, and company recreational facility, Hoover Park. Also on the site is a company-owned Historical Center, and a number of original farm buildings, preserved in period style.

In the early 1990's Hoover and its parent corporation, Maytag, determined that many of the Hoover land holdings would never be needed for expansion, and a number of the old farm plots were sold of, including a sizeable portion of this location.

The original 1994 development plan for the 250 acre plot was a sizeable retail facility, which came to be known as the Maytag Mall.

A number of area citizens concerned about a number of issues, including decreased property values, increased traffic and infrastructural problems organized RAMM (Residents Against Maytag Mall) in 1994 to formally oppose the existing plan.

RAMM made itself highly visible at township and North Canton City council meetings as an ardent voice against the development, which created strong opinions in the otherwise conservative community.

Faced with the possibility of a divided community and possible ill will towards future development projects in the North Canton area, the developers, the Hoover Corporation, and the City of North Canton created an alternative plan. The new development included the annexation of the land into the city, and would consist of a planned urban development (PUD) consisting of a smaller 22 acre retail complex, 85 acres of housing and office space, 50 acres donated to Walshe University, and 75 as a reserved park for the city of North Canton. In addition the 250 year old Bur Oak on the Eastern part of the grounds would be preserved. The original Hoover farmhouse would be moved nearly 100 yards, and the Hoover Park facility would remain.

The measure was placed on a referendum and recieved 78% of the popular vote.

Washington Square is an example where community activism succeeded in creating positive change in the shaping of a community. However, It also eliminated some of the innocence from the area, as there is an informal policy for city employees not comment on political matters, members on both sides reported that there were threats to their well-being during the process, and that one of the developers now has a full-time PR representative.

In moving the farm house, technical difficulties were encountered, and it was no longer eligible for inclusion in the national registry of historical lnndmarks.

The project is also one of Stark County's first examples of a Planned Urban Development, consisting of integrated business, residential, and recreational/open areas. PUD's are currently considered to be one of the more responsible methods of development, and area realtors hold this plan of development as one they hope to rely on more in the future.

However, Washingotn Square seems to be one of the few instances of PUD's in Stark County, although they have proved to be highly desirable in other parts of the nation. Being that development is driven largely by the free market in Stark County, the lack of these developments can be attributed by a lack of offerings by developers and a lack of demand or awareness by consumers.