Preserving the past, forging the future in Medina, Montville townships

Medina long billed itself as “The sweetest town on Earth” because one of its oldest businesses — the A.I. Root Co., founded in 1869 — was known worldwide for beekeeping supplies, candle making and honey production.

Root still makes and sells its candles in town and the Medina High School mascot remains a bee. But as the once rural village grew into a suburb of Akron and Cleveland, it embraced a newer motto: “Preserving the past, forging the future.”

A gazebo is at the center of Medina Public Square.

Medina remains anchored by its historic Public Square, with a gazebo and park at its center and shops, restaurants, businesses, county courthouses and a library lining its four sides. 

But as it grew — Medina had about 11,000 residents in 1970 and more than 26,000 in 2010 — the boundaries of the city expanded and people and business development spilled into adjoining townships, particularly Montville and Medina townships, where more than 20,000 additional people live. 

Brian Feron, president of the Medina County Historical Society, talks about the John Smart House on Aug. 1 in Medina.

History and highlights

Medina was founded in 1818 as part of the Connecticut Western Reserve, land claimed by Connecticut under terms of its charter by England’s King Charles II.

It was initially called Mecca, but there was already another Ohio community by that name in what’s now Trumbull County, so leaders changed its name to Medina. 

Why settlers chose Medina and Mecca are unclear. Both are ancient cities in Saudia Arabia and important in Islam. Early Ohio pioneers had no obvious strong ties to the Middle East or Islam, but Ohio settlers often named their towns after large cities elsewhere: Athens, Lima, Calcutta and Antwerp, for example.

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