Medina County Specialty license plate

Medina County will be celebrating its Bicentennial in 2018. We have submitted the application to the BMV for a Medina County Specialty license plate. Designs were submitted and the public voted on the #1 choice during the Medina County Fair. Once this plate is created, funds from the BMV in 2018 and beyond will be allocated to all the 501c3 Medina County historical societies. This program will assist all the township, village and city museums in our county.


The John Smart House museum has r complete the major renovation project stated in 2015. A capital improvement campaign raised enough funds to complete an exterior project to waterproof the foundation of the 130-year-old home and to install a new drainage system from the house to the city storm sewer system completed in fall of 2015. Phase Two began in the spring of 2016. The lower floor of the building had been closed to the public for the past two years due to excessive moisture and an unsafe floor. In March of 2016, Hansen Restoration Company started the job by removing and replacing the existing crumbling concrete floor , lowering the grade by 10" to provide more headroom and upgrading the electrical wiring and plumbing so that the basement can be used for displays and educational programs. The basement now has a new floor, new LED lighting , interior furnishings and climate controlled environment to last many more years. The historical society continues to seek donations and grants from individuals and corporations. In the last year, the society has received donations ranging from $10 to $10,000. Phase 3 will be a digitization project for some parts of the collection that we plan to launch in 2017-2018. The museum needs your help to preserve its rare antiques, photos, genealogy materials and priceless artifacts. Donations may be mailed to
Medina County Historical Society,
P.O. Box 306,
Medina, Ohio 44258.

Special Events
Special Events

Open Houses at the John Smart House

Just a reminder, we are open on the first Sunday of the Month from 1pm - 4pm. The John Smart House museum is located at 206 N. Elmwood Street in Medina. Please come see our newly remodeled basement and new displays. Any questions call 330-722-1341.


The Medina County Historical Society is very fortunate to have in its museum an amazing artifact. It is a collection Civil War soldier ambrotypes and tintypes framed together. There are 94 images in total, which are ambrotypes (images on glass) and 28 tintypes. Where did they come from and who donated them to the MCHS? We wish we knew.

The Historical Society was organized in 1922, and for 34 years members took artifacts from local donors and held on to them until they acquired their first museum, the Munson House in 1956. Unfortunately, they did not leave any written information about these artifacts, ie. donor, age, etc. So it is a mystery; there is no record of when and how the Civil War soldiers came to the MCHS. The second mystery is who are these guys? Are they members of a GAR post? Are they from one regiment? Is it a Civil War reunion commemorative piece?

We do not know, but we have an excellent team of Civil War experts who are looking. After some research, we discovered Edward Rettig of Medina a member of Company H of the 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry is included. The identical image appears in the printed history of the 8th O.V.I. along with the note that he died in 1861. As far as the other 93 soldiers, we do not know. It appears that three other men have an H on their kepi (cap) so this may be an infantry company, which usually numbered 100. We also know that the majority of men are wearing uniforms issued early in the war because they have more buttons on their coats. Initially, the 8th O.V.I. was organized on May 2nd, 1861 when President Abraham Lincoln called for each state to recruit men to serve for three months. Everyone anticipated the war would soon be over. When the term of the 90-day-men expired, the 8th O.V.I. recruited an additional force for three years. Many of those who served the 90-day term and survived disease and warfare, signed up once again. Edward Rettig did not survive, and that may be the case with other soldiers in the collection.

Now this is where you, the readers, come in. Included in this message is the entire collection in vivid color. As you can see, they are in various stages of deterioration, which is exactly why the MCHS wants to step forward and see to its conservation and restoration, but first of all we need to be able to identify more of the men. We are asking anyone who may have a family photograph or information of a family member who served in the Civil War and enlisted from Medina County, to please contact us at 330-722-1341 or Your ancestor need not have been a part of the 8th O.V.I. It has not been determined that this in fact a grouping from that regiment. Other regiments included Medina County men: the 42nd. O.V.I.; 72nd O.V.I.; 103rd O.V.I. ; 2nd Ohio Cavalry, and others. We would also appreciate any special insights you might have of the men in this incredible collection in terms of their uniforms, etc. We would like to tap into any knowledge there is out there. We thank you for your assistance. Joann King, President

Save-A-Soldier submission form


Scheduled tours of the John Smart House are available by calling 330-722-1341. We welcome school groups, organizations, tour bus groups, scouts, or any group that is interested in seeing the house. The following is a fee schedule for tours:

Club meeting held at the museum with a guided tour $ 25.00
1/2 day meeting with tour $ 50.00
Meeting, tour and use of kitchen facilities $100.00
Bus tours $3.00 per person
Schools and youth organizations No charge

Use of the house for extended period of time is subject to negotiation and contract.
The open houses on the first Sunday of the month, except for January and February and holidays, are free to the public, with donations gratefully accepted.


Membership dues schedule and policy:
Student/Senior $ 10.00
Individual $ 20.00
Senior Family $ 20.00
Family $ 25.00
Organizations $ 35.00
Patron $ 50.00
Corporate $100.00
Life (one-time payment) $300.00

Dues received September 1 or after will receive credit for the following year. Dues not paid by January 1 will receive a letter from the Membership Chairperson. Dues not paid by the end of the first quarter will terminate membership.

Hours of Operation

The John Smart House will be open on Tuesdays from 10am to 1pm. Call ahead to be sure the museum will be open, especially in winter months.

The public is always welcome to come tour the house during these hours and on the first Sunday of the month (1pm to 4pm, not open Sundays in January and February and holiday weekend during the year - consult the calendar if you are not sure).

Researchers are welcome on Tuesday during normal hours. Research during the Sunday open house is with prior notice.

If coming any distance please call (330-722-1341) first. There are times when the volunteer staff may be away for talks, outside meetings or there is a special tour scheduled.

Also consult the calendar, we will try to keep any closings posted!

We may also be reached at