Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Discover Medina

Medina Historical

Have you seen this site?  

Created by Shannon Conley's history classes at the Medina High School, this mobile app puts a lot of Medina's history right at your fingertips, literally. Just tap your smart phone or mobile device and away you go!

Every spring, Ms. Conley tasks her students to a historical research project and add it to the app. Focusing on the people, buildings, institutions and places of Medina County, the following are just a few of its offerings:

  • Ralph Waite
  • Dan's Dogs
  • Letha House
  • Spring Grove Cemetery
  • St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church
  • Austin Badger
  • The Farmer's Exchange
  • Rufus Ferris
  • The Medina Square with links to the Medina Court House, Cool Beans Cafe, Ormandy's Trains
  • Ella Canavan

The Smucker Building on Public Squareby Owen Ferris 

You can search the site from a box at the top of the page, or just browse the links on the map of Medina. Zoom the map in or out to see more selections.

While assisting the students with their research can be challenging, I always look forward to seeing what they have produced. 

Each topic includes a history, pictures and often, audio  or video snippets too! The app is available at the iOS App Store or at Google Play

Let me know which is your favorite topic!


The students came into the library for several weeks working on their projects. We were happy to help them, but sometimes were overwhelmed by the number of students coming in and the more intense research they were doing.  But, as you can see below, they appreciated our efforts!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Who am I?

  • Although I have been dead for almost 100  years, my name is still very well known throughout Medina County.
  • During the 1870 fire, I lost $4,200 in property, when my jewelry store caught fire.
  • I loved to ride bicycles. I would ride as much as 70 miles in one day.
  • I owned the first automobile in the city of Medina.
  • My first job was as a traveling showman, exhibiting the wonders of electricity.
  • I used a windmill in my backyard to power my printing press.
  • I was a school teacher for a short time.
  • I was president of the Board of Education for a number of years.
  • I was a member of the Anti-Saloon League.
  • I corresponded with Helen Keller.
  • The afternoon of my funeral, all of the businesses in Medina closed down. The schools were dismissed early.
  • I am included in a new book by best selling author, David McCullough.
  • The company I founded still ships its products around the world.
  • I wrote the first account of the Wright Brothers successfully flying their airplane. The world did not believe me!

Who am I?

Please send your answer in the comments section below. Comments and the answer will be posted in 2 days.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War

Military history is fascinating! At least it is when you have relatives that actually fought the battles, marched those trails, and suffered those privations. 

As I have been working a lot on my ancestors who served in the U.S. Civil War, I thought I had a decent idea of what those men endured. Until I read this book:
Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War  by Brian Matthew Jordan.

This book blows away old misconceptions and tells what it was truly like for the soldiers trying to return to civilian life. 

No one at the time understood what they had gone through and most didn’t want to believe just how horrible it was. 

The soldiers themselves had very mixed feelings, impatient to get home to loved ones but unsure of how to return to civilian life without their army comrades. 

And when it came time to ask the government to take care of their bodies & minds that were mangled by the war, they met resistance & disbelief every step of the way. 

Some parallels are drawn between the vets of 150 years ago and today’s veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Your mind will draw many more comparisons. Heavily recommended for anyone interested in U.S. military history, the Civil War, or how the US treats its veterans.

Reserve a copy here:

Thursday, May 7, 2015

1940's House of the Future

Typical Lustron Home
World War II was over. All the GIs were returning home. They wanted jobs, families and HOMES of their own. But there aren't enough houses to fill the need. What America did have was a surplus of steel that had been put aside for the war effort.

 An entrepreneur dreamed of putting these things together and in 1948 they started production of the ceramic-coated steel, pre-fab houses at the Lustron  factory in Columbus, Ohio.

These Plain Dealer  pages from27 June 2004 detail some of the special features and challenges of living in a Lustron Home.

Steel walls make hanging things easy, with
 just a few magnets

Most of these homes have since been re-sided and have lost the unique rectangular-siding appearance. The company only lasted a couple of years and went bankrupt in 1950.

Medina Gazette 16 Augutst 1949 p. 2

A gentleman involved in the assembly locally said 8 of these homes were built in Medina.

Only 3 are now known, two of which have been re-sided.
Medina Gazeette 8 Nov. 1949

The Ohio History Connection has been highlighting this little known part of the post war era in their publications and in their exhibits in Columbus.

If you are adventurous, travel down West Park Boulevard in Medina and see if you can find any of the Lustron homes there!