Pro Football Hall of Fame Opens

Wooded parkland was donated from the city and a civic fund-raising campaign had, by February 8, 1962, acquired pledges totaling $378,026.

Ground-breaking for the original construction was held on August 11, 1962, and on September 7, 1963, the building was first opened to the public.

The original two-building complex, containing 19,000 square feet of interior space, was almost doubled in size when a $620,000 expansion project was completed in May, 1971. The expanded three-building complex contained 34,000 square feet of interior space. A second expansion costing $1.2 million and adding a fourth building was complete in November, 1978, and increased the Hall's size to 51,000 square feet. A third expansion project, a $9.2 million program that increased the Hall's size to approximately 83,000 square feet, was completed in October 1995.

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.

Canton, Ohio was selected as the location for the Hall of Fame for three reasons: First, the NFL, then known as the American Professional Football Association, was founded in Canton in 1920. Second, the now-defunct Canton Bulldogs were a successful NFL team based in Canton during the first few years of the league. And finally, the community of Canton successfully lobbied the NFL to have the Hall built in their city.

Groundbreaking for the building was held on August 11, 1962. The original building contained just two rooms, and 19,000 square feet (1,800 m2) of interior space. The Hall opened in 1963.