Hidden Downtown

In downtown Canton, there are buildings we walk by every day, buildings that are older than our grandparents, that have witnessed stagecoaches and Model T’s. Many of these spaces are empty and undeveloped. But thanks to a handful of people with historical vision, they remain here, just out of sight.

It’s easy to ignore the past—the dark, forgotten spaces that once were so familiar. But the past formed who we are today, whether we remember it or not.

In downtown Canton, there are buildings we walk by every day, buildings that are older than our grandparents, that have witnessed stagecoaches and Model T’s. Many of these spaces are empty and undeveloped. But thanks to a handful of people with historical vision, they remain here, just out of sight.

“The lure of preservation, for me, is the fascination of resurrecting a historic structure and the story which unfolds in the process,” says Marshall Belden, real estate developer. “The images you see are of local buildings, parts of which have undergone some restoration, but all of which require a liberal dose of effort to finish. All date to 19th century beginnings and represent early Canton families, some quite well-known.”

These interiors are filled with a sense of mystery. Some spaces are large and expansive; others, small and confining. It’s easy to wonder who walked those floors years ago, and what deeds were done within their walls.

Most of us will never see these spaces. We walk by, not knowing they are here, just out of sight. They are hauntingly beautiful, bearing witness to the concealed secrets of history: the intrigues of the ballroom, the bedroom trysts, the weariness of the factory.

Angles and intersections create dynamic interactions between deep shadows and bright highlights. Colors are vibrant, rich and intriguing. They unexpectedly surprise, a welcome sight in a sea of dismay.

They’ve been here for years, a testament to our heritage, to our persistence—hidden treasures just out of sight.