Cora Munson House

Cora Munson lived a life characterized by will power, charm, and a little mystery. Her family history started with Lyman Munson Sr., Cora's grand father, and his decision to make the 700 mile trek to Ohio. He came with only 25 cents in his pocket, a wife and daughter, and an ox team. The Munson family grew, and Cora was born in 1857. She fell in love with the now "Munson Home" years before she moved in. Attending school in Medina at the time, she passed it every day on her way to and from school, admiring the unique side porch, ornate woodwork, and overall cozy appearance. It was her wish to live there, and she was ecstatic when the family moved into the quaint Italianate Victorian home.

This house served as more than a house however, sharing Cora's same qualities of charm and mystery. The Munson family was famous for holding séances, coaxing various spirits into Medina from the past. The family also maintained a hardware store, and Cora ran it single-handedly up until 1938 exemplifying independence and creating a legacy having entered a man's profession with such grace. Along with running the store, Cora was extremely involved in the community.

In 1985, the Munson house was moved from its original location. There was fear of demolishing the old home, destroying a precious piece of Medina's history, but the effort of caring Medina citizens kept the home standing.

Images

Moving the Munson House, 1985

Moving the Munson House, 1985

In 1985, disaster struck the Munson home when the city planned the construction of a new parking lot, right where the house was standing. It was a pivotal time, proving the modern necessities of life more important than local history. Many battles were fought, and for awhile the citizens thought the house was doomed. Ironically, the city faced an immense amount of rain at this time, and some thought it was the doing of the Munson spirits, unhappy with the situation. However, in early November 1985, the house finally did move, relocating to its new home, on S. Prospect Street. Today it is the Community Design Committee, which houses various pictures and documents of the city. Image courtesy of the Medina Historical Society. View File Details Page

The Munson House, 1877 & 1985

The Munson House, 1877 & 1985

In 1956 when Cora Munson died, she left her home to the historical society, where they met until 1985, when the house was in a place no longer convenient for the city. Medina City decided they needed the space on 231 East Washington Street for parking. A normal house would have been torn down almost immediately, but this 108 year old house, although old, was still up for a fight. The Community Design Committee took over in an effort to save the house from demolition. Images courtesy of the Medina Historical Society and Ali Nelson. View File Details Page

Cora Munson

Cora Munson

Cora fell in love with Charles Blakeslee, the boy's choir director at St. Paul's Episcopal church. The couple got married in the Munson Home. After they left for their honeymoon in Mount Vernon Ohio, the people of Medina were shocked to see only Cora return, without her husband. Some believed that he had left her to return home to Mount Vernon, and others have concocted stories over time, but there was only one woman who knew the truth. Mrs. Velma Cochrane, a close friend, was the only person Cora told her secret to, and Velma kept the secret for the rest of her life, taking it to grave. Image courtesy of the Medina Historical Society. View File Details Page

Public Square 1868

Public Square 1868

Cora took pride in teh county in which she lived and focused a lot of her efforts on beautifying the public square during the 1910s. This was a time when many cities all across America were participating the 'City Beautiful Movement,' a nationwide pledge to beautify America's big cities like Washington DC and New York. Cora got involved by joining the local Civic Improvement Association, and helped to transform the sparse park above into the lush green square known today. Image courtesy of the Community Design Committee View File Details Page

Albert Munson & the spirits

Albert Munson & the spirits

The Munson House was never truly empty. Albert Munson was known for conducting seances while his daughter Cora kept notes. Prominent figures in Medina, the Munson's had connections to other prominent figures of the time. These connections helped them to reach their friends' spirits. A good friend to Munson, President McKinley was contacted often. He told Munson how he was having a difficult time adjusting to spiritual life. Following her father's death, Cora continued to conduct seances in the house. She also left plates at the dinner table for her family members, but they were turned over, signifying that they were with her in spirit. Image courtesy of the Medina Historical Society View File Details Page

A. Munson & Son Hardware ad

A. Munson & Son Hardware ad

Walking into Home Depot today you wouldn't likely be looking to buy a sulky plow or a curtain stretcher. A. Munson and Son sold items to assist in the lives of customers much like modern-day hardware stores do for customers today. Medina was a farming community so many of the supplies sold were centered around the needs of farmers. Image courtesy of the Medina Historical Society View File Details Page

A. Munson and Son Hardware Store

A. Munson and Son Hardware Store

One Lucky Dog Bakery, set on the square, is a different kind of store, not selling the usual grocery store goods. This uniqueness is a quality traditional to the building. When Lyman Munson died two years after his father, Albert Munson, it was up to Cora to run the store. It was unheard of for a woman to be working at all, let alone running an entire store! Cora ran the store well and the Munson name is still displayed over the store to this day. Image courtesy of the Medina Historical Society View File Details Page

Audio

Judy Davanzo on Medina Family Tradition and Cora as a Businesswoman

In this audio clip, Judy Davanzo shares the importance of family togetherness, and staying in one's hometown. Medina in the early 1900's was known for being family oriented, with children staying in the house where they grew up, instead of moving to a different town or city. Judy also speaks of Cora's life in Medina, specifically her success as a businesswoman. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Regan Donoughe, Ali Nelson, Paige Kovalchik , “Cora Munson House ,” Discover Medina, accessed July 24, 2017, http://discovermedina.org/items/show/29.

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