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Local Medina County News

Medina gearing up to celebrate bicentennial

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    The 1944 movie "Main St. U.S.A." notes that on a Sunday in October, the opening of the new 35-bed Medina Community Hospital was celebrated.

    SCREENSHOT

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    Bob Hyde, of Medina, has worked 22 years on “Beyond the Storefronts,” which will be part of Medina’s bicentennial celebration. His project uncovered scores of pictures, like this one circa 1870 of Court Street in Medina, before a fire wiped out many of the buildings.

    PHOTO PROVIDED

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MEDINA — The city’s bicentennial committee wants to involve all facets of the community in celebrating 200 years of Medina history next year.

The celebration will kick off early — Nov. 17 — during the Candlelight Walk on Public Square with a toast to the community and a Founder’s Float with historic characters in costume in the event’s holiday parade.

Roger Smalley, director of the Medina Bicentennial Celebration Committee and a former member of City Council for 14 years, detailed some of the bicentennial events to members of the Medina Breakfast Kiwanis Club on Thursday morning at Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital.

Members also watched a 20-minute movie from 1944 entitled “Main Street U.S.A.” It was filmed in Medina, just before the end of World War II, and directed by Douglas Travers and produced by RKO Pathe News.

“This film was a window into our past,” Smalley said. “It was shown all over the country.

“It was designated as a morale booster just a month away from victory in Europe. It was sent to soldiers, too, as a reminder of what they were fighting for.”

He said the film was popular at the old Medina Theater and shows the dedication of Medina Community Hospital and a glimpse of the Masonic Temple, which had been built about 20 years before.

The temple was torn down last year to make way for a proposed parking structure.

Late football coach Sam Masi is shown in the film working with Medina High School athletes. The city has park near the corner of Gates Mill Boulevard and Pleasant Valley Drive named after the former coach and recreation director.

The film’s narrator says Medina was formed by Connecticut Yankees in the early 1800s. The city still has its New England flavor.

Smalley, 70, said topics of upcoming bicentennial events will include:

  • pioneer days;
  • black history;
  • Underground Railroad;
  • women of Medina;
  • schools;
  • industries.

“We’d like to include every aspect of our life in our event,” Smalley said.

He said the 20-person committee is looking for tour guides and sponsors. If residents have old photos they wish to share, Smalley said he would like to see them.

He’s also asked Root Candles to make a bicentennial candle for the celebration.

“We’re getting a lot of groups involved — the University Women and Medina County Arts Council (among others),” he said. “We’re going to invite the veterans to become involved. This was my first outreach to the local service clubs.”

For information, call (330) 722-9020 or visit medina200.com.

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

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