Gym classes at City Hall and Swinging Bridges

Born in 1896, Reevalyn was 83 at the time of her interview in 1979. She attended the Medina Academy. At that time their gym classes were held on the third floor of City Hall. Her graduation ceremony in 1916 was held at the old Cook Theater on Park Ave. The National Guard left for Mexico on the day that she graduated. She went to work at her father’s insurance business on Main St. which was still a dirt road then. She remembered the first paving of Main Street, the commotion on Main Street when the Union Bank closed, the effects of the Depression on her father’s business, and later, feeding passing hobos.

Her father bought her first car in 1916, a Model T Ford, but she often used the train and trolleys. She recalled attending events at Bent’s Opera House, up on the third floor, even though her family never liked her to go there as they feared that nobody would escape if there was a fire. She attended movies at the Scenic Theater, on East Center St. (later Corky’s Bakery), Beth Burchell played the piano for the programs. She described the swinging bridge over the canal at the foot of Eagle Street; it was just a plank with wires to hold on to and it would sway all the way across.

Reevalyn worked in the insurance business until 1945 and then became the tax collector for the Town of Shelby, a position she held until 1974. Her husband, LaVern, was a farmer; they recalled raising pigs and selling them for 6 cents a pound and earning $49 for growing and hauling 4,000 bushels of apples to the Lyndonville Canning Company.

This an excerpt from one of our many historical transcripts. All transcripts are available to you for 2 weeks at a time.

1891 Medina

Did you know that Bent’s Opera House held a standing room only Prohibition Meeting? The Prohibition candidate for Governor, Hon. J.W. Bruce, came to Medina to gain support for his party and for himself. As the Prohibition candidate he expounded on the negative consequences of alcohol consumption.

Also giving a speech that evening was the Rev. O.H. Mead, a Baptist pastor. The reverend gave his full support for the gubernatorial candidate and the Prohibition party. The reporter at the event stated “Mr. Mead made an earnest appeal for the Prohibition cause, and his speech will long be remembered by all who heard it.”

To find this article and more, visit the Medina Historic Newspapers website, hosted by NYS Historic Newspapers. Each scanned page is available as computer transcribed text, a text searchable pdf, or a png image.

The article referenced above ran in the Medina Register on October 22nd, 1891.

WNY Wednesday 1879

bentsWe have a beautiful copy of the 1879 Historical Album of Orleans County. It contains illustrations of the scenery, private residences, public buildings, and portraits of old pioneers and prominent residents. Here you can see an illustration of Bents Opera House.


The album contains information about the county as a whole including the War of 1812 and the organization of the militia. It also contains information specific to the Village of Medina and the Towns of Ridgeway and Shelby. The Village of Medina section includes information on water power, stone quarries, churches and cemeteries. You can read about the political history of Ridgeway, the lives of early pioneers and early transportation. Shelby includes information about physicians, schools, and a list of men who enlisted during the Civil War. This is just a small representation of all the history you can find in the Historical Album’s 320 pages.

If you are interested in looking through the Historical Album, please call and speak with the Director to arrange a date and time.

  • Free E-Books