The Smucker House

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.

Images

Photo of the shell station next the The Smucker House

Photo of the shell station next the The Smucker House

During the 1940s, Medina began to see the rise in population and wealth. People began owning cars, and shopping in stores rather than making things at home. This period in time showed great growth throughout the country. The Great Depression ended, and the economy rebounded. The little white building on the square, still standing after a hundred years, had new owners. Goodyear Tires moved into the white building and the business flourished. Again, 56 Public Square saw the changing of the times and again the building had success. Image courtesy of Mr. Smucker View File Details Page

What the Building looks like today.

What the Building looks like today.

Lt. Col. Herman Canfield, died in the Civil War, at the age of 45, leading the 72nd regiment of Ohio. Prior to his service to the country, Herman Canfield began his law career at 56 Public Square. He turned his law office into the recruitment center for the Union Army. Canfield's last words, " I faced the enemy and fell," can still be heard within the walls of this monument of time and history that sits proudly on the Square. Image courtesy of Owen Ferris View File Details Page

the Smucker house in late 1990's

the Smucker house in late 1990's

The well-kept, white building at 56 Public Square was owned by the same family for over 100 years. Thirty- nine years ago, the family of Dr. Abner Nichols decided to sell the property. This was a difficult decision and at 106 years old, Mrs. Eurie Nichols, widow of Dr. William Nichols (son of the original owner), finally agreed to the sale. The family concerned with the belief that the deceased Nichols family members would haunt the building and the remaining family members, the new owner had to be the perfect buyer. That buyer,Thomas Smucker, promised the family that he would keep the building exactly the same since its construction in 1830. That promise has been kept. The Smucker Insurance building even after 39 years, will continue to be the small, white structure that survived two devastating fires on the southeast corner of Public Square. Image courtesy of Mr. Smucker View File Details Page

Penicl sketch by the YWCA

Penicl sketch by the YWCA

On April 12, 1861, farmers, shopkeepers, homemakers, bankers, and lawyers, had no idea that life would be changing quickly in the quiet community of Medina, Ohio. That morning the law offices of Canfield & Kimball busily began their day unaware that the first shots of the Civil War rang out in South Carolina. The small, wooden, building on Public Square in Medina, would soon become a place in history. The law office became the recruitment center for the Union army. This building, which survived two town fires, built in 1830, soon saw lines of young men out the door onto the street ready to fight for what they believed and maybe even die for those beliefs. Image courtesy of Mr. Smucker View File Details Page

Picture of the house and fire staion.

Picture of the house and fire staion.

Dr. Abner Nichols, relocated from Geauga County in 1882, where he brought property on Public Square to begin his more than 25 year career. This property located on the Square had a rich history. The little, white, wooden building survived two major fires, a successful law office and the Union Army recruitment center, now became home to a very popular dentist. Dr. Nichols and his son William's successful dental practice brought patients from all over Northeast Ohio. The Nichols's specialty in modern methods led to their success and once again this unassuming piece of property would continue to stand proud on the southeast corner of the square Image courtesy of Mr. Smucker View File Details Page

Audio

Mr. Smucker talks about past business.

Mr. Smucker talks about all the different places that were there before him. Also how he revived the building now. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Owen Ferris, “The Smucker House,” Discover Medina, accessed March 26, 2017, http://discovermedina.org/items/show/290.

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