In 1833 the Madison County Board of Police appointed surveyor John B. Peyton to select a geographical center for a new county seat and to lay it out in blocks. In 1834, the land for the town was legally incorporated — a lively community of 400. This was the beginning of our town, now molded by 160 years of history into its present distinctive character. It was an early farming center with cotton fields worked by many slaves--a fact that later caused the area to be the only county outside the Delta with blacks outnumbering whites four to one. Some of its affluent citizens built beautiful antebellum homes. It became a big railroad, lumber and saloon center. Battered by two Union invasions in the Civil War; challenged by the financial and political chaos of the Reconstruction; decimated by the yellow fever epidemic of 1870; rocked economically by the collapse of the lumber and sawmill heyday in the Depression of the Thirties; torn by racial strife in the 1960’s: our town has survived to remain a friendly, progressive community, still appreciative of its colorful past. Proud to share the humor and the romance of it’s distinctive Southern personality. The 160 year-old town has come a long way in restoring structures and attracting new businesses to the central business district. In 1982, the Canton Courthouse Historic Square District was officially entered in the National Register of Historic Places and declared one of the three best examples of Greek Revival architecture in the state. The Register cited the beauty of the diverse cornices, facades, and pediments of the original buildings with their neoclassical and Italianate architecture. A combination of work, organization and money through the Canton Redevelopment Authority, the Chamber of Commerce/Main Street Association and public and private investors who have attempted to restore this quaint Madison County town. In attracting merchants to the central business district, Canton has developed several incentive programs. Through the partnership created with the public and private sector, Canton has recaptured the feeling of "stepping back in time" while re-creating a Central Business district that is positioning Canton for its place in the twenty-first century. (Canton CVB [edited to fit in allotted space])

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