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Walk with Spirits of the Past highlights defining moments of Medina

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Four early settlers got together on the Fourth of July in 1816 and named the streets in what eventually became the city of Medina. The settlers are played by Zen Kotori, Carolyn Robinson, Vickie Jackson and Chadwick Sunday during Walk with Spirits of the Past on Thursday night in Medina's Uptown Park gazebo. BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE


MEDINA — The first Fourth of July celebration in 1816 in what eventually became the city of Medina was an important juncture in its history. Settlers congregated on the square that year and decided to name the streets. Actors from Medina Show Biz Co. portrayed the settlers Thursday, the first day of the 23rd annual Walk with Spirits of the Past event.

The settlers lived together in harmony, which evolved into Harmony Street.

Because it was the Fourth of July, the settlers were feeling patriotic. Washington and Jefferson streets were named after former presidents and another street became Liberty.

They also named Homestead and Friendship streets.

Actors Zen Kotori, Carolyn Robinson, Vickie Jackson and Chadwick Sunday re-enacted the scene of the first Fourth of July celebration. There were also two child actors, Ben Jackson and Tyler Skilskyj.

The walk concentrated on six stories from 1816-18.

Another story featured Eliza Northrop, the area’s first school teacher. Her schoolhouse, which was 16 feet by 18 feet, was finished in February 1817, but it didn’t have a chimney, front door or a floor. Those additions came later.

The school, which doubled as a church, had 23 students the first year.

“The Bible was our reader,” said Cyndi McClintock, the actor portraying Northrop.

Teachers were required to be able to read and do some math, and Northrop was paid $1 a week.

“People were against using public funds for education,” Northrop told her Walk with Spirits of the Past audience.

Students were required to attend school in the summer and winter, and they were off in the spring and fall to help with their family’s crops.

Piper Hadad and Madeleine Rogers portrayed Northrop’s students Thursday.

Northrop married Giles Barnes in 1818, and became Medina’s first bride.

Another story featured Zenus Hamilton, the first permanent settler in Medina. He arrived in the area from Danbury, Conn., in October 1814. His wife and family arrived about a year later.

“I saw wilderness as far as the eye could see,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton and his wife were portrayed by actors Charlie Richard and Germaine Wilson.

Settler Austin Badger built a structure on the square where Cool Beans Caf← is now. He said there was a tavern on the first floor of the building and common pleas court on the second floor.

When he arrived in 1818, trees covered the square. Badger eventually cleared the square of almost all the vegetation.

He had four wives and all of them died before him. He ended up settling in what is now Montville Township.

Badger was portrayed by actor Charles Ramer.

The walk, sponsored by Medina Show Biz Co., Medina County Historical Society and Medina County Arts Council, will continue 7-9 tonight and Saturday, and 4 p.m. Sunday at Miss Molly’s Tea Room. Tickets are $6. Sunday’s performance is $23 and includes a meal.

People are asked to meet behind the Medina County Administration Building, 144 N. Broadway St.

In case of rain, the event will be moved indoors at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 317 E. Liberty St.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.
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