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5th historic neighborhood formed in Medina

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The sign for the Founders Way North Historic Neighborhood Association is expected to look like this. PHOTO PROVIDED

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MEDINA — A fifth historic neighborhood in the city has formed.

The Founders Way North Historic Neighborhood Association is up and running, although it’s still awaiting its official dedication. Councilman At-Large Bill Lamb, also the executive director of the Community Design Committee, said the dedication could take place in January.

Lamb said the committee has purchased two signs for about $800 apiece. They will be placed at each end of North Broadway Street — one near Friendship Street and the other near Homestead Street.

George “Skip” Baran is president of the nonprofit organization. He said the associated got its name from the fact that three of the city’s founders had houses on North Broadway Street — Lathrop Seymour, Rufus Ferris and David King.

Baran’s house, 536 N. Broadway St., was built by Seymour in 1834. It was originally between the original courthouse and the brick house on the corner on the square. It was later moved.

“They put it on rollers and rolled it down the street,” Baran said. “They moved ours the next block down. It has the cast iron fence around the outside.”

Seymour was a director of the county lands for the town of Medina. He also was the first county sheriff in 1818.

A second house was at 210 S. Broadway St., now site of the Medina Library. King owned the mansion on the corner of Broadway and East Washington Street that was built in 1833, according to local historian Bob Hyde on his website, Beyond the Storefronts. His website on the early history of Public Square is medinasquare.org.

The house was purchased in 1895 by Fremont O. Phillips, a mayor of the village, U.S. Congressman and probate judge.

Phillips left the square in 1905 and moved the house to 505 N. Broadway St. The reason is not known, but it was surmised that the square had gotten too noisy and commercial. He sold the prime lot to a local cattle dealer, Franklin Sylvester, who built a library in 1907 that would bear his name.

The Phillips house was moved on rollers on railroad track ties. In five days, it was up and on a new foundation. The house arrived in its new location — a dirt road in what was then a rural area — without any damage. According to Hyde, the family continued to live in the house during the move. The only complaint came from the youngest member of the family, Tom, who claimed that he “lost his marbles.”

Jim Gowe now owns the mansion at North Broadway and Union streets.

The third house, built by Ferris in 1825, remains at 325 N. Broadway St. Ferris is one of the first land agents for Elijah Boardman, who is credited for discovering Medina County in the 1700s. Ferris purchased 227 acres for $1 to create the county seat in what was Medina Township.

Baran, also a member of the design committee, said North Broadway at 100 feet is the widest street in town. It was originally named Broad Way because a wagon could turn around without having to back up in front of Ferris’ house. It was a stop on the stage coach line.

He said the boundaries of the association will be from Friendship to Harding streets on North Broadway, east to Jefferson Street and west to Court Street.

Baran said the association drew 45 people at its first meeting, but has drawn between 15 and 20 thereafter. It holds its meetings at St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church, 400 N. Broadway, on the fourth Tuesday of each month.

He said the association was started to build a sense of community by creating a strong social network. It also wants to promote the preservation of historic homes.

“We aren’t telling anyone what to do,” Baran said. “It’s not a homeowners’ association. It’s a historic neighborhood association. It’s designed to help each other, keep an eye out for each other, help people who are in need of help and try to help the neighborhood.”

Baran said it hosted its first block party last summer, which was attended by about 60 people. He said it might be the last association in the city.

“We have encircled the city with major neighborhoods,” he said.

The city has been supportive of these neighborhood associations.

“The mayor (Dennis Hanwell) has been to every one (of the dedications),” Lamb said. “It’s a benefit to the city.”

Baran said he will be at the Medina Library at 1 p.m. Jan. 13 when actors from the Show Biz Co. will portray characters from Medina’s early history. He will portray Seymour as part of Medina’s bicentennial celebration. Other actors will portray Austin Badger and Zenas Hamilton.

Officers for Founders Way North are: Baran, president; Brittany Troyer, vice president; Janet Baran, secretary; and Margaret Tournier, treasurer.

Founders Way North will join four other historic neighborhood associations in the city: Bankers Row; South Court Street; Water Tower District; and East Liberty Street.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.



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