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.

Medina Newspapers Online

Did you know that we have digitized the earliest newspapers in our collection? That’s right, the library is always open online! We have the Medina Tribune (1861-1945), the Medina Register (1882-1911), the Medina Daily Journal (1903-1932), and the Medina Daily Journal and Register (1932-1933) available online. The Medina Daily Journal and Register (1940-1974) and the Medina Journal Register (1974-2014) are available on microfilm only. Village minutes are also available on microfilm.

Each page has been scanned with OCR to make the pages text searchable. However, because a machine converted the images to text it isn’t always 100% correct. You can view the converted text by clicking on the text link at the top of the image or click on the pdf link and use the find tool (press ctrl and F on your keyboard) to have the computer search the text on the image. Once you find your information you can print or save the image as a jpg or pdf.

To see what is available right now click here or on the image above.

1915 Murder in Shelby

Slaughter on a Snowy Morn by Colin Evans tells the true story of  the 1915 murder of a wealthy landowner and his housekeeper on Salt Works Road in Medina, NY. Charles Stielow, a German immigrant, was convicted of the crime and sentenced to the electric chair. He was convicted based on prejudice, false evidence, and lies. He was a victim of circumstance; he was German in a time of large scale anti-German sentiment, he had a low IQ and he could not read or write.

This is the story of Charles Stielow as much as it is a story about humanity, politics, and the revolution of forensic science.

WNY Wednesdays with A.L. Swett

mhs-swett-electricToday is WNY Wednesday. What is that you might be asking yourself. Well let me tell you, WNY Wednesday is when we focus on things of local interest. We will be highlighting our local history collection, books, dvds, maps, and online resources. We will also be highlighting local organizations and their collections and events.

This week the focus is on the A.L Swett Electric Light and Power Co. A community member recently donated a fantastic collection of ledgers which show the accounts at Swett Electric from approximately 1880-1910. Additionally, we have newspaper articles and Village of Medina Board Minutes which discuss the building of the dam, the cost for the street lamps, and more. There are several books about Medina history which discuss the Swett Electric Co. too. All of our materials are available to the public; however, most of this collection must be used in the library.

A kiosk was created at Glenwood Lake by a local boy scout working on his Eagle Scout project. Inside you will find information about the lake, Swett, and his company. The Medina Historical Society has some great photographs, we have copies of several including the one shown here.

Heinz POW Camp

heinz-pow-campIn 1943, the first Italian Prisoners of War arrived in Medina. 156 prisoners were sent to Orleans County of which 71 stayed at the H.J. Heinz dormitories. During their time in Medina, POW’s worked at the Heinz factory, local farms, and the Lyndonville Canning Company. After Italy surrendered, the Italian prisoners were sent home and German prisoners came to Medina. At one point German prisoners held a strike because they were not allowed to smoke in the Heniz factory or loading platforms. The Heinz POW camp was closed in 1946 and the remaining Germans sent home. During the intervening years up to 300 prisoners and 50 MP’s lived and worked in Medina.  During WWII, approximately 372,000 German POW’s were held in camps across the United States.

The library has many newspaper articles about the camp and the prisoners, including the escape of two prisoners. We also have books and photographs.

Above is a photo of the Heinz dormitory prisoners were housed in. One of the actual camp bunks can be seen at the Medina Historical Society Museum. The Museum has several upcoming events in the fall including Ale in Autumn when you can see it.