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DVD details the places, people of Medina's 200 years

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The Munson House, 141 S. Prospect St., Medina, is now owned by Charles and Beth Ramer. Judge Albert Munson used to live in the house. It is one of the homes featured in the documentary "200 Years of What We Call Home" now available for purchase. PHOTO PROVIDED

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MEDINA — Fifty or 100 years from now, we all likely won’t be around, but the “200 Years of What We Call Home” may survive and offer a documentation of what the city of Medina’s architecture was like through the years.

The documentary premiered Thursday night at Cool Beans Cafe. It is produced by Medina At-Large Councilman Bill Lamb and directed and edited by Matt Tomek of MedinaTV.

They collaborated on a documentary on the now defunct Medina Theater in January 2017, and decided to take another stab at recording history. In the most recent project, which started in the summer of 2017, Tomek filmed eight homes and a log cabin in the city.

Each has a story to tell.

The first dwelling that was built in Medina was a cabin in 1818 where Cool Beans is located today. That home has long since been torn down, but Lamb wanted to show a similar cabin that was built by the early settlers. The one depicted is located in Greenleaf Park in Sharon Township.

George “Skip” and Janet Baran spoke about their home at 536 N. Broadway St.. It was owned by Lathrop Seymour, one the city’s founding fathers. The street was originally called Broad Way and was 100 feet wide, which allowed wagons to turn around.

Lamb said with this being the city’s bicentennial, he wanted to produce something to correspond with Medina’s 200th birthday.

“Fifty years from now, 100 years from now, people can see where we came from,” Lamb said.

The film is not Medina’s only look back in time in honor of its big birthday.

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Medina At-Large Councilman Bill Lamb, left, Beth Biggins-Ramer and Charles Ramer came out for the premiere of the documentary "200 Years of What We Call Home" Thursday at Cool Beans. Charles dressed up as Judge Albert Munson, who used to live in their house at 141 S. Prospect St., Medina, and his wife dressed as the judge's daughter, Cora Munson-Blakslee. PHOTO PROVIDED

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Many characters have graced the chapters of Medina’s 200-year history. There was abolitionist H.G. Blake, for whom an elementary school is named, and W.W. Pancoast, a former Medina County prosecutor accused of killing his wives. Vernon Stouffer, who started the Stouffer frozen foods empire, went to Medina schools.

Their stories and more were included in an eight-part documentary, “An American Story: Medina, Ohio,” by Miles Reed, which launched back in February on MedinaTV. Each part is about 30 minutes and is done in a style reminiscent of Ken Burns’ documentaries.

Reed, operations director for MedinaTV, put in three years on the Medina history project so it would launch in conjunction with the city’s bicentennial.

“Our local history aspects are very global,” Reed said previously. “There are so many things I’ve found on this journey. It’s changed my perception of this area.”

Lamb’s piece on Medina homes allowed each of the homeowners to talk about the houses they love and the quirky little things that differentiate it from their neighbors’ homes.

As the film rolls along, the homeowners not only profess their love for their houses, but how much affection they have for the city.

Nancy Mattey’s house at 510 Wadsworth Road is a Greek revival home. Mattey said she believes a building in her backyard is haunted. She calls the ghost Angel. When she steps into the dwelling, she always addresses her.

“Hey, Angel, what’s up?” she said she says.

William and Michele Nichols’ home at 800 S. Court St. sits on the largest tract of land of any house in the city — about 7 acres.

It’s a Colonial Revival, which was built in 1950.

“It’s like being in the country, with all the comforts of being in the city,” Michele Nichols said.

One of the newest homes built in Medina — the city is pretty much built out and has little if any room for new houses — is Laura Gowe’s house at 231 E. Union St. It’s a Greek revival built in 2017. Above the fireplace is wood from her childhood home, which is dear to her.

“(The DVD) is a great period piece,” Lamb said. “It kind of memorializes where we are.”

The DVDs are available for $20 at Cool Beans, 103 W. Liberty St., and the Medina County Convention & Visitors Bureau, 32 Public Square. Proceeds will go to the Community Design Committee.

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