News

RENOVATION OF BASEMENT DISPLAY AND RESEARCH ROOM

The John Smart House museum has recently undergone a major renovation project. . A capital improvement campaign launched in 2015 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.

Medina County Historical Society presents the 2016 Northrop Awards for contributions to local history. The Northrop award is named for Rev. N.B. Northrop who published the first record of Medina County history in 1861 and is presented annually to honor individuals and contributors to our local history.

Macy Hallock; a member of First Families of Medina County and a member of one of the leading business families in Medina County. He is a renowned expert in the local history and is always ready to share his knowledge. His hobbies and interests include guns, stamps, coins, postcards and civil war memorabilia. Macy has spoken to many groups over the years and encouraged interest in history and the importance of our local museums.

Robert Hyde: is a member of both the Medina County Historical and Genealogical societies. His family was one of the early pioneer families in Medina County that included farmers, county officials, and businessmen. He has served as President and newsletter editor of the Genealogical society. His current project is writing a historical inventory of businesses and buildings in the Medina Historic District.

Walk With Spirits Of The Past Program: This popular program started over 21 years ago and was launched from a similar program held in Warren Ohio. Friends who belonged to the Medina County Arts Council at the time were looking for another project to bring interest and entertainment to the public in Medina. After much discussion, a plan was created to include the Arts Council, the Medina Show Biz Company and the Medina County Historical Society. The program has gained popularity and now has over 70 scripts with dozens of actors and tour guides for a weekend in September. The shared resources of the three group was made possible by the founding members. Nancy Sprowls of the Medina County Arts Council, Donna Bica of Show Biz Company, and posthumous recognition to Marlene Jividen of the Medina County Historical Society and First Families of Medina County.

The 2016 recipients were presented the award December 7th 2016, at the annual reception held at the John Smart House museum. Tom Hilberg presented the award and Brian Feron accepted on behalf of Donna Bica who could not attend and in memory of Marlene Jividen.

CIVIL WAR SOLDIERS CONSERVATION PROJECT

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 mchs@zoominternet.net. 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

Photographs
Save-A-Soldier submission form

SCHEDULED TOURS

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

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 9am to 3pm 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 mchs@zoominternet.net