Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Beyond the Storefronts

A web site dedicated to the history of Medina County

If you haven't already discovered it, I would like to introduce you to a new web site dedicated to the history of Medina County, Beyond the Storefronts

The site is the brain child of local historian, Robert Hyde. Bob is a life-long Medina resident and has Medina ancestors going back to the 1830's. Retired now, Bob was also the long-time president of the Medina County Genealogical Society and for many years, was the editor of their newsletter.

Bob was concerned that the history of Medina, as he knew it growing up and raising his family here, was disappearing. Wanting to preserve it and being a man of action, Bob started researching each of the buildings on Medina's Square.

He is ably assisted by Rebekah Knaggs, a student at the University of Cincinnati.

The web site is a work in progress. Not all the features are functional yet.Some of photos still need to be uploaded and some of the locations are still being researched.

Once you click on the enter button  you are taken to a new page that has some of the inspiration and history for the site. It also includes some sepia tone photos of Medina Square from around 1900.

After reading the history you will want to click on the Menu symbol in the upper right corner. Bob has broken the buildings down according to their locale in relationship to Public Square:

  • Westside of the Square
  • Southside of the Square
  • Southwest of the Square
  • Southeast of the Square
  • Eastside of the Square
  • Northside of the Square
  • Northwest of the Square
  • Northeast of the Square
The only sections with no entries yet are the Southeast and Northeast of the Square. Bob and Rebekah assure me that they are working on them!

Each occupant of a location is listed in Bold type and beneath the listing is the supporting information. If Bob has been able to find any pictures or newspaper clippings those are included.

Let's see what information is available using one of my favorite locations for an example, #2 Public Square on the Westside of the Square, 

2 Public Square is where the old Whitey's Army Navy Surplus store was and is the current location
Picture of building when Whitey's was there.
From the web site Beyond the Storefronts
of Courthouse Pizza. But the site starts with the past. The WAY past! This was the location of the first courthouse in Medina County and the reason that Court Street is so named. In 1841, a "new" courthouse was built on the opposite side of the square.  Didn't you ever wonder why none of the Medina courts are located on Court Street? Now you know!

Over the last 200 years the building has hosted these types of business:
  • Six different grocery stores
  • Three clothing stores
  • Three Five and Dime stores
  • Two Restaurants
  • Two Tin Shops
It was also once the Depot for the Electric Cars that connected Medina to Cleveland and Wooster. From 1916 to 1926, it was the Post Office for Medina. But its longest resident was Whitey's Army and Navy Store which occupied the site from 1959-2014. Whitey's was a family Christmas shopping tradition in our household. Now the delicious Courthouse Pizza occupies that spot.

As I said, the site is still a work in progress. The "Contact" link isn't working yet and what I would like to see is an index by address.

Bob himself has this to add about the site:

Thank you Kathy for the excellent introduction and instructions to my historical project of the Medina Public Square and Historic District titled "Beyond the Storefronts”.
This research project was started in 1995 and is now in near completion.  The uploading of historical data to the web-site,, is a complex operation and will continue to be a "work-in-progress" for several months.  When completed it will contain over 1500 Medina Square Proprietors and Occupants in over 100 storefront locations with over 300 photos and advertisements from 1852 to 2016. Enjoy what is currently available, but be patient!
I hope interested former or present residents that access web-site will offer to contribute additional photos and data for inclusion by contacting Robert Hyde at 330-725-4467 or
Thanks again, Kathy for your interest and help in "getting the ball rolling".

In recognition of all the contributions that Bob Hyde has made to the Medina community, The Medina County Historical Society has awarded him the Northrup Heritage Award for "genealogy and historical contributions to Medina County. "

Way to go Bob and all the Honorees!

Bob Hyde, on the left, accepting his Northrup Heritage
Award with fellow honorees, Nancy Sprowls, and Mace Hallock.

The Northrup Heritage Award is named for Nira B. Northrup
who wrote the first comprehensive history of Medina County in 1861.
It is titled The Pioneer History of Medina County.


Anonymous said...

Such a cool project! Do you know where the Northrup award got its name?

Kat said...

Northrup Award is for Nira B. Northrup who wrote the first comprehensive history of Medina County, titled The Pioneer History of Medina. It was written in 1861. All of the histories written since then have used his work as a springboard for their own works.

Anonymous said...

These are always wonderfully written. Since I got here in 1985 and didn't grow up and go to school here, I still know very little about the past history.

Thank you for such lovely pieces. It's one thing I always always read! and I don't do genealogy... keep up the excellent work!