As people stroll on a warm summer night through Medina Square enjoying the sounds of the summer music programs or cooling down with a yogurt, many are intrigued by the simple white wood building located at 56 Public Square. This building which sits among the famous firehouse, and more imposing brick structures seems an unlikely part of not only Medina history, but the country’s history since it was built in 1830. The Smucker building was one of the only structures that survived the two devastating fires in Medina.
The Smucker building is a popular place for small merchants. Over the years it housed a dentist’s office, a variety of stores, law offices, and insurance companies, but on April 12, 1861, this small building would become an important place that would help shape American history. On this day as the villagers in Medina went about their daily lives, hundreds of miles away on a small military fort in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, the first shots of the Civil War were ringing out. Word reached all young men in the area to volunteer for military service. The young men of Medina, were enthusiastic about supporting Abraham Lincoln and many quickly lined up at the Smucker building to sign up to fight the “War of Rebellion.” This small, unassuming building in the square, now would be one of the most important places overflowing day and night with young men wanting to fight for their country.
As the War continued into its second year, many young men in the area believed that General George McClellan was not the leader that was needed for the Union troops to be successful. The North was not doing well against Robert E. Lee’s army and many young men were not wanting to volunteer. The number of volunteers showing up at the Smucker building was becoming smaller and smaller each day. This decline concerned Medina native and Ohio Congressman, Harrison G. Blake. Blake visited 56 Public Square and wasted no time in writing a letter to President Lincoln on July 28, 1862. Not long after Lincoln received this letter, McClellan was removed from his position as leader of the Union army, and the young men soon began to visit the Smucker building. These young men of Medina would soon become a part of American history with saving the Union.