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.

Images

The Franklin Sylvester Room

The Franklin Sylvester Room

Located inside of the Medina County District Library is the Franklin Sylvester Room. It contains all of the information the library has about the history of the city. Here, anything from information about local leaders, to aerial photographs of the city, to records of the Medina County Gazette can be found. Featured on the wall, is a portrait of the man himself, Franklin Sylvester. It was very appropriately dedicated to him because he is responsible for the history of the building. Without his generous donation, The library as we know it would have never come to be. Image courtesy of Erin Winchester. View File Details Page

The Medina Library

The Medina Library

The Medina County District Library is still located in the original building that opened in 1907. Renovations have taken place in 1958, 1976 and 2008, but nevertheless, is still there and operating better than ever. In fact, Franklin Sylvester included in his will that the southeast corner of Washington and Broadway Streets will never serve any other purpose than a plot of land for a public library in Medina. Image courtesy of the Medina County District Library. View File Details Page

Portrait of Franklin Sylvester

Portrait of Franklin Sylvester

A large picture of Franklin Sylvester hangs in the Franklin Sylvester room in the Medina County District Library. It is there to honor him for all of the good he has done for his community as well as to commemorate the generous donation he made. He was definitely a very respectable figure. Image courtesy of Erin Winchester. View File Details Page

Young Franklin Sylvester

Young Franklin Sylvester

Sylvester's younger years included a lot of hard work. He did not get to where he was at the time of his death by sitting behind a desk his entire life. He knew what it was like to work, and to work hard for that matter. Working on a farm can really teach character and work ethic. These are important qualities that Sylvester possessed. At the point he was at in the picture, he had no idea that someday a library would be built in honor of him and his legacy would live on forever. Image courtesy of the Medina County District Library. View File Details Page

Modern Day Library

Modern Day Library

Modern-day Medina Library has a totally different appearance today than it did in 1907 when it was first opened. It undertook an entire new look in 2008 when major renovations were completed. It is now bigger and better than ever. It continues to gain new members, as well as countless new materials to be checked out. Franklin Sylvester would be proud to see what his donation evolved into. The library we have today would have never been possible for that man, and the wonderful leadership he displayed by making such a generous donation. Image courtesy of The Medina County District Library. View File Details Page

Audio

Megan Wolke discuses library memories

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Cite this Page:

Erin Winchester, “Franklin Sylvester,” Discover Medina, accessed April 29, 2017, http://discovermedina.org/items/show/60.
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