The Dress Bridal Boutique

241 South Court Street is a small building tucked away in the edge of the historic Medina Square's border. It is built in the Victorian style, with a bay window and a cast-iron front. Today, the front concrete step slumps in the center; a silent tribute to all of the owners and businesses it has housed. On this website, you can find a comprehensive exhibit and examination of this site throughout Medina, Ohio's history.

According to Medina City's Community and Design Committee, the building first housed Andrew J. Nelson's Candies & Nuts Shop. In 1934, Ernie Pelton took over the space and ran a grill of his own. This was replaced by the Medina Tap Room in 1945, followed by an antique store run by Paul and Jane Kolicki. After the antique store came Mud Mothers Pottery Shop, All Fired Up (which has since moved to another location on the square), a bakery called Creme de la Creme, and finally The Dress Bridal Boutique.

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The Dress Bridal Boutique

The Dress Bridal Boutique

Sara Recker is a woman who is proud of her store and her relationship with clients. Her wavy brunette hair bounces as she talks about the impact her bridal shop has had on the town of Medina - and the impact Medina, in turn, has had on her. Married in October 2009, Mrs. Recker claims to have caught "bridal fever" - a social disease that just couldn't be assuaged by office work, work in Cleveland, or anything without a personal connection to the clientele. Sara wanted a small town to work in, one that, in her words, had a "small town feel without being in a small town". And according to her research, Medina needed her: a bridal store had once existed on the Square, but in 2009 there was nothing of the sort. "It was something I saw the community needing," explains Sara. Brides-to-be, mothers of the bride, and teenage girls bound for prom certainly appreciate Sara. When females walk into the inviting building, they are greeted with a fuller view of the white dresses inside. Chalkboard paint and announcements written in pink and yellow right onto the black walls ("Prom dresses 50% off!") lend a modern edge to the nearly 150-year-old interior. Exposed brick covers the walls, above white wainscoating. Capping it all off is the "1879" cornerstone, which probably denotes when the place was built. Peeking out from a rack of colorful, silky prom dresses is a jewel-like stained glass window, with a faded R.I.P. inscription that is nearly impossible to decipher. As Sara puts it, the store lends a "modern sense to the historic part of Medina". Image Courtesy of Erin Straslicka View File Details Page

The History

The History

Spring always brings bees and busyness to the Medina Square. Its historic atmosphere combined with the numerous, quaint shops and small town feel draw people from all over Ohio and even out of state. Ultimately, Medina's beautiful architectural exterior aids in community growth and financial gain. More history lurks under the surface. In a four-foot-tall, all-dirt basement, a sealed hatch door is apparent, with steps that lead up to open it. Elaine Lamb, a former owner, suspects that before the addition of a back room, the hatch was an exterior cellar entrance. In the Tap Room era, kegs were thrown down this opening to be stored in the basement. Modern gossip holds that the building is haunted by the spirit of a housekeeper from the hotel that used to exist across the street. When exploring Sara Recker's store, you'd never guess it. The atmosphere is upscale, pristine, and friendly - a dash of New York, SoHo style in a revered block of local history. More history lurks under the surface. In a four-foot-tall, all-dirt basement, a sealed hatch door is apparent, with steps that lead up to open it. Elaine Lamb, a former owner, suspects that before the addition of a back room, the hatch was an exterior cellar entrance. In the Tap Room era, kegs were thrown down this opening to be stored in the basement. Modern gossip holds that the building is haunted by the spirit of a housekeeper from the hotel that used to exist across the street. When exploring Sara Recker's store, you'd never guess it. The atmosphere is upscale, pristine, and friendly - a dash of New York, SoHo style in a revered block of local history. Image Courtesy of The Medina County Historical Society View File Details Page

Mud Mothers

Mud Mothers

Mud Mothers Pottery Shop was begun by Elaine Lamb, who is not only a potter but an enthusiast of local Medina history. She bought the store in 1986, after running a store with a friend since 1975 in nearby Victorian Village. Her motivation was to expand her business, which consisted of not only her own pottery, but the jewelry, rugs and cards of others, gleaned through numerous purchases. Pottery was an outgrowth of the era, when clay evolved from pieces of necessity to functional creations of art. The 1970s and beyond, Elaine says, was a period in which retail loyalty was not uncommon (Elaine herself made it a rule to only buy handmade pieces made in the U.S.). It was easier to start your own business then, too, and Elaine attributes the reluctance to work under a boss to "the hippie movement".This was a period when art was growing, members of the counterculture movement were entering the workforce, and building one's own business was relatively simple. Image Courtesy of Elaine Lamb View File Details Page

The Preservation of Beauty

The Preservation of Beauty

The Square was awakened to pottery with the arrival of Mud Mothers in the mid-1980's. It proved to be a well-liked and popular gift shop. Elaine Lamb's pottery gallery carried the square's Victorian style into the late 20th century, furthering a legacy of charm and beauty in Medina. Lamb was a key individual in preserving the history and originality of the storefronts situated on the square. Image Courtesy of Elaine Lamb View File Details Page

And Back to a Bar

And Back to a Bar

Address of Medina Tap Room in 1948. This bar was a historical irony of sorts: Mrs. Letterly's Saloon had been closed down here by Prohibitionists about 70 years prior to the Tap Room's beginning. The Medina Tap Room has been described as a pretty unsavory place! Medina local Elaine Lamb recalls the red and green flowered curtains, covered with water spots, that didn't quite fit the windows of the little restaurant. Inside there was a pool table, a bar directly to the left, and a walled-in alcove in which beer kegs were kept. Medina resident Ralph Waite explains that the clientele of the "beer joint" was mostly older men. Since the bar opened in 1945, it may have played a role in helping then-elderly Spanish-American War (or younger World War) veterans deal with what was happening to their country - through drink. It seems the Tap Room was mostly open for those who wanted to really drink - not exactly the family atmosphere of Applebee's Bar and Grill, for instance. Only two owners are known to have managed this restaurant: Steven Jones and an R.A. Davis . The location acted as one of the three bars on the square, one of which was the Jam Bar (now Dan's Dogs). The doors remained open throughout lunchtime hours, welcoming the workingmen or businessmen who stopped by for a beer. (This was a popular section of the square for workingmen; it was once known as the Mechanics Block.) Mrs. Linda Conley remembers walking by the open doors and smelling pigs-in-a-blanket being served. Like Medina itself, the Medina Tap Room had a soft side. Mrs. Conley recalls the owner, a 6 foot tall man with a round face who was the epitome of "tough". But when he smiled, he was friendly and welcoming - completely embodying the spirit of his simple neighborhood bar. Image Courtesy of Sara Mullin Baldwin View File Details Page

In the Beginning - circa 1879

In the Beginning - circa 1879

241 South Court Street has been the location of many enterprises. The building was presumably constructed in 1879, according to the cornerstone mounted prominently on the interior of the building today. However, it is unknown if anything was standing on the site prior to the 1870 fire in Medina. One of the greatest things about this building is that it has retained, for the most part, its original appearance. In the 1960s, the Community and Design Committee began to renovate the square, to clear away the effects of "modernization" on the once-beautiful town center. However, local historian JoAnn King and former owner Elaine Lamb both say that this building has been largely unchanged by the passage of time. The building is, as King has said, "one of the best ones on the block" in terms of its historical accuracy. Image Courtesy of Erin Straslicka View File Details Page

Out of the Fire, a Saloonz

Out of the Fire, a Saloonz

In 1870 a fire struck and reduced 45 buildings to ashes. When researching history, discrepancies are often uncovered. One of these seems to exist when examining the beginning of the building. There is a cornerstone in the building that reads 1879. It has been assumed that this was when the building was rebuilt after the fire. However, a local historian (JoAnn King) has uncovered details about the store's history in 1874, five years before the store's supposed construction. In 1874, 241 South Court Street was better known as Mrs. Letterly's Saloon. Prohibition didn't begin until the 18th Amendment was enacted in 1920, but Local Option Laws made it possible for local governments to declare Prohibition in their towns. In the 1870s, Medina was at this point. Local bars, or "tipling shops" as they were sometimes called, were places that were targeted by the Women's Temperance League of Medina. The organization made several trips to Mrs. Letterly's. Mrs. Letterly facetiously agreed to stop selling liquor - if the organization would reimburse her for all of her alcohol. When the virtuous Prohibition women raised the money to buy Mrs. Letterly's alcohol, the bar was converted into a restaurant. Meanwhile, the League took Mrs. Letterly's liquor and poured it out in the street gutters.The Temperance League organized a sort of recognition dinner for Mrs. Letterly in her restaurant, where new customers came to honor her and buy 75' meals. Image Courtesy of The Medina County District Library View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Madison Sternberg; Michelle Yoo; Erin Straslicka; Veronica Toth, “The Dress Bridal Boutique,” Discover Medina, accessed July 24, 2017, http://discovermedina.org/items/show/19.

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