Alliance flourishes with growth in retail and residential

George W. Davis

Nestled in the northeast corner of the Stark County community, Alliance is making a commercial, residential, and business comeback.

Club 253 Restaurant, bar and music venue, Community Spotlight Alliance.  Tuesday January 21, 2022.

Struggling in recent years, the town is being remodeled with new housing and several retail, commercial and industrial establishments to accommodate new visitors and returning tourists to experience the changes already made and those under construction or modernization.


Alliance is 16.5 miles northeast of Canton and its 9 square mile area is bordered by Lexington and Washington Townships in Stark County, Smith Township in Mahoning County and the Township of Knox in Columbiana County.


The city was founded in 1854 when the villages of Williamsport, Freedom and Liberty merged as the Alliance and General JS Robinson introduced the name Alliance and referred to the intersection of the Cleveland and Wellsville Railroad and of the Ohio and Pennsylvania Railroad as the city. In 1889 Alliance incorporated and two years later Mount Union Village, founded in 1824, was incorporated into the city.

Alliance’s first mayor was Harvey Laughlin from 1854 to 1857.

Many national leaders have passed through the city en route to the U.S. presidency, including the 25th President William McKlinley; 20th President James Garfield; 16th President Abraham Lincoln; and Civil War General Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President. Other high-profile leaders who passed through town include Civil War generals William T. Sherman and Philip H. Sheridan, who stopped at the Sourbeck Dining Hall at Union Depot Station, historians say.

Strong points

The city is known as “Carnation City”. The nickname dates back to the mid-1800s, when Alliance physician and avid horticulturist Dr. Levi Lamborn purchased six pots of carnations to grow because they were not well known in this country. He named his favorite Lamborn red carnations. In 1876, when he ran for Congress against his Niles-born, Canton-raised friend William McKinley, he gave his opponent a red carnation before each debate, hoping it was a good luck charm. However, McKinley won, then became governor of Ohio and then president in 1887.

McKinley was shot September 14, 1901 while attending the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo and died eight days later. The Lamborn Red was renamed Scarlet Carnation, and in 1904 the state legislature voted to make Scarlet Carnation the official state flower in memory of McKinley.

To honor the state designation, which became official in 1959, the city holds an annual Carnation Festival, which this year is an 11-day event from August 4-14. Already in preparation and organized before the festival, the Queen’s Pageant at 6 p.m. on July 30 at Alliance High School, Princess Tea at 3 p.m. on July 24 at Alliance Country Club and the Heritage Baseball Tournament played from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. . July 24 on the lawn of historic Glamorgan Castle.

The festival will officially kick off on August 4 with a three-day downtown rib and food festival. Many other activities will fill the festival program at venues spread across the city. The Grand Parade on August 13 will be included. On August 14, a two-hour tour of Alliance City Cemetery from 2-4 p.m. led by historian Franklin Barrett and his wife, Michal, will wrap up the festivities. The Barretts will also lead the tour on Sunday, August 7 from 2-4 p.m.

Check the Carnation Festival website at for more details, including registering for some of the events.

Volunteer Kat Gritter looks after Skeeter at the Alliance Military Family Center.

Although the Veterans Family Center for veterans, serving military and first responders is located on Meese Road in Nimshillen Township, the Alliance Rotary Club has a vested interest in the program by sponsoring care for one year for Skeeter, one of the facility’s therapy horses. The facility is owned by Pegasus Farm in Marlboro Township, according to executive director Shelley Sprang. Tammi Gainer is the center’s program director.

Another nearby feature is the Beech Creek Botanical Gardens and Nature Preserve on Beech Street off US 62, where visitors can play on various fun objects, walk the trails, and learn about nature, including butterflies. in the butterfly house where friendly species will often greet you. close and personal.

The city is also home to Mount Union University, a private university founded in 1846.

Chapman Hall at Mount Union University.

growth and development

Alliance Mayor Alan Andreani said the city’s north gate on North Union Avenue (State Road 183) witnessed a 6.5-acre transformation of the former Brothers/Volcanic Heater brownfield. with state funding for remediation and transferred to neighboring businesses. Additionally, the old Alliance Rubber Co. was demolished with the help of Stark County Land Bank and purchased by Circle K for a 5,600 square foot convenience store with a 12-pump gas station.

The East Gateway on East State Street (US 62) is where the former 10-acre Value City complex was demolished, sparking recent interest in housing and retail. Single-family apartment complexes were also built in the corridor.

The South Union Gateway (state Route 183) is where the former McCaskey Register buildings are razed, creating a 3.5-acre redevelopment site.

At the West Gateway (W. State/US 62), the Carnation Mall will be redeveloped with Meijer as the anchor on the 45-acre site. Meijer’s neighbors are the recently opened Sarchione car dealership, TJ Maxx and Skechers stores.

Nine downtown commercial buildings and warehouses, which are no longer deemed usable, have been demolished for the redevelopment of commercial and recreational facilities. The latest downtown restaurant to open is Club 253, located at 253 E. Main St. The restaurant is open while owners Mark Barker and Michelle Hurle wait for their liquor licenses to arrive to open the bar sections and live music.

In the city’s industrial park, the Farm Credit Mid-America Credit Union is under construction and will join Columbia Gas, Mac Trailer, Robertson Heating and Supply, Trilogy and Winkle Industries.

Historical sites

The Haines House at 186 W. Market St., was built in 1834 by Jonathan Haines, a Quaker and abolitionist who became an Underground Railroad agent to help slaves fleeing the South. It became the Alliance Museum and Community Center.

The four-story Glamorgan Castle at 200 Glamorgan St. off North Union Avenue was built as the private residence of Colonel William H. Morgan.

The four-story Glamorgan Castle at 200 Glamorgan St. off North Union Avenue was built as the private residence of Colonel William H. Morgan in 1904 for $400,000, with solid stone walls. The exterior stone walls of the house were trimmed with white Vermont marble, white pine and cypress. The administrative offices of the Alliance City Schools are housed there.

Mabel Hartzell's historic home in Alliance.

Entertainment and catering

Don Pancho's is one of the Alliance's favorite restaurants.

According to Andreani, local favorites include A-Town Burgers & Brews, Aeonian Brewery, Burger Hut, College Inn, Don Pancho’s and Polinori’s.

National and regional restaurant chains include Applebee’s, Bob Evans, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chipotle, Grinder’s, Jalisco, Old Carolina, Papa Gyros and Texas Roadhouse.

One of Alliance's oldest businesses, Heggy's Confectionery, located at 1306 W. State St. near the Carnation Mall, opened in 1940.

One of Alliance’s oldest businesses, Heggy’s Confectionery, located at 1306 W. State St. near Carnation Mall, opened in 1940. It’s famous for its selection of roasted nuts, chocolates and candy. caramel. The staff also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. The store is closed on Sunday, according to Chris Sell, who owns the store with his brothers Patrick and Ryan.

Athletics, both academic and recreational, is a mainstay of youth activities in the city. Youth-specific performances take place not only in schools, but also at the Firehouse Theater under the auspices of the Carnation City Players.

Also in the fun category, the city owns Walborn Reservoir and Deer Creek Reservoir, which are leased to Stark Parks for recreational purposes. The reservoirs are connected to the city by a trail, which continues through Alliance as the Iron Horse Trail and extends three miles south of the city.

The city has an extensive network of parks including major parks Butler Rodman, Maple Beach, Thompson-Snodgrass Park and Silver Park with many recreational options. Thirteen neighborhood mini-parks provide opportunities for recreation and playgrounds. The Alliance Skateboard Park opened 15 years ago and is currently undergoing renovations. The Coastal Pet-Burnell Dog Park opened last year on West State Street and a new football complex is being developed on the north side of town.

About Alliance

Based: In 1854

Population: About 22,000

City website:

school district: Alliance City Schools

Department website:

Mascot: Airmen

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