The City of Youngstown, named for John Young, was incorporated in 1867. Mr. Young purchased approximately 15,000 acres (the entire township) for slightly more than $16,000 in 1797 from the United States Government through the Connecticut Western Reserve Land Company. By 1798 more families were settling in the Mahoning Valley between the Mahoning River and Mill Creek Park.
By 1820, Youngstown's population began to grow, as well as industrialization, with the opening of the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal. This waterway, abandoned in 1872, was replaced by railroads thereby attracting more people and industries in ever increasing volume. In 1877 the canal was officially closed and the property sold. The Railroad and industry purchased most of this property.
In 1876, the Mahoning County Seat was moved from Canfield to Youngstown, with the city's population growing to 33,220 by 1890. The first steel company was established in the Mahoning Valley, changing Youngstown industry from iron to steel which was the forerunner of miles of steel plants in the valley. The Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor, built in 1986, houses the exhibit By the Sweat of Their Brow: Forging the Steel Valley which shows the impact of the iron and steel industry on this area.
Youngstown is also known for its dedication to the arts. In 1975, the Youngstown Area Arts Council was established to support all visual and performing arts in the area. The Butler Institute of American Art, one of the nation’s most unique museums, is located north of the downtown area near Youngstown State University. Also in the downtown area is Edward W. Powers Auditorium opened in 1931 by the Warner Brothers, one of the giants of the motion picture industry.