Stephanie Eckstein led the meeting, which focused on the many historical aspects that are present in Canton. The Canton Heritage Council will be a division of the Trigg County Historical Society. The difference between the two is that the Trigg County Historical Society looks at historical significance in Trigg County and the Canton Heritage Council focuses on the Canton area.
"The main objective is to restore Canton as a historical area so that the total history of Canton is not lost," said Eckstein.
In the late 1800's Canton was a booming community in western Kentucky. It was actually bigger in size than Nashville was at the time. Canton was the second largest steamboat stop between Evansville and Nashville. Many famous and historically significant people visited Canton and stayed at the Canton Hotel.
The Canton Heritage Council would like to restore the historical aspects of Canton and make it into a place where people visit because of the historical significance. "If the appropriate aspects are put here the economic growth of the area will continue," Eckstein said.
Eckstein said that the Canton Heritage Council would like to focus on several main buildings as the beginning of the historical reconstruction. The Canton Baptist Church has been a topic of controversy since the decision to tear down the old church. The Canton Baptist Church congregation has given consent for the old church to be moved to a new location. However, if the building is moved it will lose its historical significance. "Right now we are working with the church to see if we can come up with alternative plans," Eckstein said.
The Canton Hotel is currently being restored to the original state of its glory days. Other plans include restoring the Masonic Lodge. Eckstein and the council would also like to see the United Colored Baptist Church building get restored. "There is a very rich black heritage here and we want to be able to tap into all of those aspects of the community," she said.
There are other plans to help bring back the history of the Canton area. "As we preserve buildings we want to reconstruct structures that have been torn down," said Eckstein. The schoolhouse, the post office and even a general store are all being considered to be rebuilt in their original locations.
The Canton area has four places that have major historical significance and could be marked as historic sites. The Mississippi Indian Ground and the many cemeteries from the 1800's are two of the possibilities. Boyd's Road, the road to Canton, was the first main road through Trigg County and the Cumberland Steamboat stop in Canton helped make Canton into the booming community that it once was.
The Canton Heritage Council will be hosting a benefit dinner and silent auction to help with the reconstruction of Canton. The dinner will be held on May 20 at the Lake Barkley Convention Center. Tickets are sold for $30 in advance until May 17 and will include dinner and entertainment. Anyone interested in tickets or donating to the silent auction can contact Stephanie Eckstein at 924-3367.