Prosecutors Office

Within the walls of many buildings in Medina, there are stories of people, families, and businesses. Some harbor more than others but one thing's for sure, as the residents of Medina built from the ground up in the late 1700s, the history started to grow as well. Today, on the south-east corner of the square there stands a brick building which has been there since 1872. George Gruninger built the building where a wooden one once stood for Lucius Cook Sturges. Sturges and his wife, Caroline, made their economic contribution to Medina as much as one could back then. While Mr. Sturges sold tin and cookware before becoming the county sheriff, he also, along with Mrs. Sturges, worked in the real estate business, often negotiating new shops with the same customers. Going back further, before the bricks were even laid, there stood a white, wooden house, the childhood home of Dr. H. Durham. Who, remembering Medina fondly around the year 1843, wrote a letter to the Gazette in 1898. Charles Castle, another inhabitant of the previous home, other than being associate judge for some time, also functioned in the politics of Medina, having signed a petition to repeal an act that contributed to the desegregation of Ohio in 1846. The outside of the building has never been changed much until the mid-1900s. However, a renovation that may have caught the eyes of a few in 1904 was the addition of electric light bulbs to the house, lighting up Medina as a new hub of industrialism.
By the time the ownership of the house had been passed to the Gensemer’s, the walls had seen two doctors offices who also used the building as their residence. As the Second World War came to a closed, the use of funeral homes became widespread in America bringing hospitality to an event that was once held in the front room of the home. The importance of funeral homes and their business was brought out by those who lost their loved ones but wanted to keep them close and cherish them forever. Also during these times in Medina, economic rivalries between business owners tensed, many entrepreneurs found themselves adding other businesses onto their already existing ventures. For example, many funeral home directors, such as Glenn Gensemer, would also sell furniture, adding an economic edge. After 30 years of keeping the building in good shape, as well as working for his father until 1972, Richard Gensemer, sold the land to the First Federal Bank of Wooster. However, Mr. Gensemer didn’t lose hold on keeping the building in it’s original appearance. Through the 1970s as Medina went through modernization Mr. Gensemer’s willingness to renovate but still uphold the original character led to many other buildings becoming restored to what they once were.

Images

Medina in 1843

Medina in 1843

In the letter Dr. Durnam wrote to the Gazette, not published until 1939 and which filled an entire page, he spoke of the fond memories he had as a young boy in Medina. Dr. Durnam lived in the white wooden house that Lucius Sturges would later move down to South Court St. Including a peach tree in the backyard of his home, the Sargents, who lived next door, and the apple orchard, which used to be between the courthouse and the Sargent's residence, his memories help construct this map of the square, created by the Community Design Committee, which illustrates how Medina looked in 1843. Judge Charles Castle also lived in the house for the time that he was an associate judge. The building had burned down once in Medina's historical fire of 1848. Image Courtesy of the CDC View File Details Page

The Medina Firefighters

The Medina Firefighters

After the Civil War, the north suffered from having to pay taxes to account for reconstruction in the south. Industrialism and expansion slowed and the population of Medina actually decreased from the 1870s to the 1880s. This picture, c. 1875, shows the Medina fire brigade on Court Street where the Sturges home is seen in the background. Prior to when this picture was taken, Medina had been burnt to the ground a few times, the latest in 1870 when the firefighters of the village were those who wanted to help. The home at this point did not have a fence which would be added in the 1880s. Image Courtesy of Susan Mckiernan. View File Details Page

Election Parade of 1896

Election Parade of 1896

In this picture, nine little boys parade around the square, holding a picture of William McKinley. As the year of 1896 started to come to a close, McKinley's 'Front Porch' campaign had been a huge success, bringing the voters to him in his nearby home of Canton, Ohio. With only 585 people voting in the village of Medina, McKinley won Medina with 441 of the votes being for him. After the death of Caroline Sturges in 1896, the building passed between the hands of two doctors, as well as others in Medina such as T.D. Brown and H.H. Brainard, all within 50 years. Image Courtesy of Susan Mckiernan View File Details Page

Soon to be Bank, 1972

Soon to be Bank, 1972

After the Gensemer's bought the building, they turned it into a funeral parlor with housing upstairs. After graduating from Medina High and attending college, Richard Gensemer joined his parents in the business. After almost 30 years of service the Gensemer Funeral Home was sold to First Federal Bank of Wooster when the Gensemer's and Waite and Sons merged their businesses in 1971. Richard had told the Gazette that the new owners agreed to maintain the buildings originality. However, when the bank moved into the lot, they planned to add a drive thru. The addition of the savings and loans bank on the square brought the services offered for 26 years to the people of Medina. Image Courtesy of Medina Gazette, 1972 View File Details Page

Current Building on Broadway St.

Current Building on Broadway St.

Once First Federal had bought the building, they added a drive thru and took down the large porch put on by Gensemer. Two other banks had bought the building before selling it to the county. Today, it is the home of the County's Prosecutor's office and also the annex of the New Courthouse. Along the west side of the square there are shops and cafes where Medina citizens and visitors could buy works of art made by Medina residents or maybe sit down for a nice lunch. On the east side, however, there is the working government of Medina County. If this building had been remodeled or taken down, the square would be incomplete, which is why it is important that we refrain from taking away the original beauty of Medina. Image Courtesy of Katie Salai View File Details Page

Audio

Memories of the Gensemer Funeral Home

The vivid memories of Linda Conley recreate what the inside of the Gensemer Funeral Home looked like over 40 years ago. View File Details Page

The Gensemer Family

The Gensemer's, as described by Linda Conley, were extremely friendly and all around great people. Her account brings to light who the Gensemer's were as people living in Medina and how much they cared for the town they lived in. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Elizabeth Salai, “Prosecutors Office,” Discover Medina, accessed May 26, 2017, http://discovermedina.org/items/show/219.

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