Franklin Sylvester

The books were passed from storekeeper to store keeper, placed wherever they could fit, and financed by donations. The books of the Medina Library never had an official home, or librarian to take care of them until 1899, when a small building off of the infamous Medina Public Square was purchased. The space was very limited, and the members were few. It was not until a man named Franklin Sylvester came into the picture that Medina had a real library.

Sylvester moved from Bristol, NY to Granger Township when he was only 2 years old with his parents in 1833 and remained there the rest of his life. He descended from a family who was among the early settlers of our country. At only 9-years-old, Sylvester began working long hours on a farm. Fortunately, He was able to work his way up the rungs of the ladder to success. He became a business man who dealt in real-estate, raised and sold cattle and livestock, and was a board member of the Old Phoenix Bank of Medina. He was married to Eunice M. Reid, but they never had children. Because of this, Sylvester realized that there wasn't going to be anyone to carry his family name in Medina County after he was gone. Judge A. R. Weber, an acquaintance of Sylvester's for years on end, suggested to his wife and him that he could put up the money for a library in Medina County to keep his name alive. Weber was aware that Sylvester had the money to do it, and he knew how beneficial a good library could be to the city.

After much thought and deliberation, Sylvester decided he was going to donate the money for a library. Education had always been an important value to Sylvester. Throughout his life, he realized that in order to be successful, he had to have an education provided for him. He knew what it was like to both be uneducated and do manual labor, as well as what it was like to be on the other end of the spectrum. On December 31, 1904, Sylvester gave 10,000 dollars to be used for a library. The southeast corner of Washington and Broadway Streets were chosen as the site. But before a library was built, Judge Fremont O. Phillips had to relocate his house that stood on the lot that was chosen for the library. After his house was out of the way, construction of the library began in 1905.

On September 29, 1907, the Franklin Sylvester Library was open for business. It opened with 2,000 books on its shelves. Unfortunately, Sylvester passed away in May of 1907, without getting to see his library completed. But he did accomplish his goal. For his legacy will always live on in Medina County. Some residences even believe that his spirit still lurks inside the walls of the Medina County District Library.



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