The history of the American Football Hall of Fame goes back decades. The idea was first created in 1962, thanks to an editorial campaign by the Canton, Ohio Repository newspaper. City leaders had won the honor as the designated site for the National Football League Hall of Fame. The construction on the hall was started on August eleventh of the same year, and the public opening was held on September 7, 1963. The Hall of Fame contained nineteen thousand square feet and covered two buildings. On the opening day there were seventeen players inducted into the Hall of Fame.
In 1970 an expansion was planned for the compound, at a cost of more than six hundred thousand dollars. This expansion added a third building and another fourteen thousand feet to the complex. The expansion made it possible to include more areas for display, plus a research library, a gift shop, and even a movie theater. In the late nineteen seventies another expansion was completed, this one at a cost of one point two million dollars. A fourth building was added together with another space increase, bringing the complex to fifty five thousand square feet.
In the early nineties a third expansion was constructed at the Hall of Fame. Another building was included, and after this expansion the complex has more than eighty thousand square feet. Today the American Football Hall of Fame has been seen by more than two million visitors, and is a popular tourist destination for football fans all over the USA and the world.
Canton, Ohio was the most logical place for the American Football Hall of Fame when the idea was first discussed. This was the founding location of the American Professional Football League, which later became the NFL, in the year 1920. Even before the league was founded Canton was a place known for football. The Canton team, the Bulldogs, were one of the earliest powerhouse teams in professional football history. In the early nineteen sixties the city leaders decided that pro football needed a Hall of Fame, and then worked very hard to make this concept happen in their city.
The American Football Hall of Fame has adopted the mission to honor, preserve, educate, and promote the public about the history of American football. Today this mission goes far outside the city of Canton, Ohio. There are loan programs that allow historic football memorabilia to travel across the country, so that the public can see and learn about these football artifacts. The hall also has lecturers and information available, and there are youth outreach programs that are intended to interest young kids today in sports.
The American Hall of Fame started out as a small museum in Canton, Ohio, but over the years it has grown into much more than just a museum and shrine to football in America. The Hall of Fame helps to promote the positive values of football in society, and to honor players who have made large contributions to the sport itself.