Joe Reno

Joe Reno better known as “Black Joe” was one of the first African Americans to come to Medina. Joe came to Medina in 1836, working through his childhood as a porter and a barber. In fact he worked in the Old American Hotel. We believe that Joe was born sometime between 1814 and 1816. Because Joe was a highly respected man of Medina, may people came to him with the stories of Medina and there own personal secretes knowing that Reno will never tell a soul. It is said that when he died, he died with much of Medina history and the unsolved stories of Medina.
On the 20th of June, 1872 Joe heard a gun shot behind the hotel in an alley. Reno being the man that he was went to go and check it out, brought with him a broom handle. Joe saw two young men in the alley about the age of nineteen making a huge scene. Reno told them to stop doing what they were doing and to go about there business. But as Joe was walking away Erastus Hitchcock threatened to kill Joe. Firing his gun, only twice Hitchcock second bullet hit Joe in his face. Joe was now paralyzed. He was taken back by some men that had been near by hoping to save his life. Joe lived for a couple of day after his injury, but unfortunately he died suffering.

Images

The American House Hotel

The American House Hotel

The American House Hotel was built in 1838. The hotel was located on the corner of Court Street, and Liberty Street. Joe worked here as a barber and a porter. He had also saved the building from the 1st fire on the Medina Square. It has been said that he went on top of the roof while the square was burning and was hitting the sparks that hit the roof of the hotel to save it. These are just some of the things that Joe did to earn his respect in Medina. Image Courtesy of Gloria Brown View File Details Page

Joe Reno's House

Joe Reno's House

Joe Reno's home, located on the southeast corner of the square. He lived right next to the Chidester House, which was another hotel in Medina. When Joe was wounded from the gunshot that ultimately killed him, he was taken to the Chidester House. He lived on what was then called Park Street, or Akron Road, but it is now known as Washington Street. -Image Courtesy of Gloria Brown View File Details Page

Barber Shop Antiques

Barber Shop Antiques

A replica of one of the chairs that could be found in the barber shop. Being a barber wasn't a very high paying job, and was also a job were you meet many people. Joe would always have conversations when he would cut people's hair. This is were Joe would have got most of his information an secretes about people in Medina. -Image Courtesy of Gloria Brown View File Details Page

Map of early Medina

Map of early Medina

Dr. H. Durham composed this picture of what early Medina looked like. In the middle, it is clear to see the square and other buildings, like the American House Hotel, and Joe Reno's home. The picture shows how close Joe lived to the hotel, and how close he really was to everything. In early Medina, a lot of important places were located on the square, so Joe was able to to have easy access to most everything he needed. Image Courtesy of Gloria Brown View File Details Page

Murder Scene

Murder Scene

This alley way is located behind what is now present day First Merit Bank. This spot hold a piece of Medinas History and many people do not even know that. Joe Reno was a man of color who played a very important role in the beginning of Medina, being a a highly respectable man of his time and being a colored man makes him an even greater person. -Image Courtesy of Edgardo Cruz View File Details Page

Audio

Who was Joe Reno

This is a retelling of about Joe Reno life and how he died from Joann KIngs knowing some information about him. View File Details Page

Joe Reno Epitaph

Joe, an unsung hero. | Source: 2015 - 2016 MHS Sherri Hufford's Junior Language Arts Course. | Creator: Connor G and Kyle F View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Edgardo Cruz
Eric Rapenchuk, “Joe Reno,” Discover Medina, accessed April 27, 2017, http://discovermedina.org/items/show/103.
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