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Historic Downtown Medina, New York

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Published on Apr 1, 2012

Historic Downtown Medina, New York

Medina, New York is a quaint Victorian village, nestled on a wide bend in the Erie Canal where the canal traverses the Oak Orchard River. Incorporated in 1832, the village thrived and prospered, most significantly in the years following the Civil War.

Being home to many industries- furniture, foundries, and stone quarries, Medina boomed during the Gilded Age. During that boom, numerous impressive buildings appeared, many built of the now famous Medina Sandstone.

Commercial, residential, and ecclesiastical structures born of this great age earned Medina a well-deserved reputation as a beautiful, flourishing community of prospering businesses and grand homes.

Most all of this historic architecture survives today and has been carefully preserved, most notably the collection of downtown commercial architecture. It is the envy of many communities.

It's not a museum or historical facade. Its a living place where you can shop, interact, and feel connected. Few spots offer such an authentic American experience, and the village is increasingly becoming a destination.

An article posted in the Toronto Sun in May 2010 by George Bailey states:

"When you walk the historic downtown you can breathe in the smell of history. Their main street echoes of the nineteenth century. Tucked side by side are clusters of aging Medina Sandstone buildings that have changed little since they were constructed during the boom times of the 1830's -1900's."

More on Medina from Bailey at: www.torontosun.com/2011/04/29/locals-in-medina-ny-say-hello

In a similar article published in the June 2011 edition of Buffalo Spree, writer Bruce Eaton has similar things to say about Medina:

"...those who want to spend a few hours soaking up some strong vibes from the Boom Years of Yore are well-advised to head east to the village of Medina. ...With only a few modern buildings in sight, it's possible to stroll up Main towards the canal and imagine that Grover Cleveland still resides in the White House."

Indeed, Grover Cleveland did once stroll these streets. His young bride, Frances Folsom, resided for a time on the north end of Main Street. A historic marker identifies the residence.

The collection of buildings in the Downtown Historic District appear on both the National and New York State Registries of Historic Places. One needs only stand at any place along the wide thoroughfare and see why- a stunning collection of nineteenth century Italianate buildings built of brick and sandstone in a thriving business district. It is truly is a slice of genuine Americana.

Arrayed along the historic thoroughfare are numerous shops and restaurants- everything from antiques to gourmet coffee, gourmet pizza, books, cookies, yarn, candles, gifts, tea shop, fresh produce, and a bistro with a classically trained chef.

Any time of year is a great time to visit this historic village, but fall offers some unique opportunities. While the community can be reached via the usual NYS routes (NYS 90 to Pembroke 48A to Rte. 77 and Rte. 63 to Medina; Rte. 31 straight to Medina; or Rte. 104 to Rte 63, south to Medina), fall foliage along the back roads of Orleans/Niagara offer not only spectacular fall color, but a bounty of fresh fruits (apples!) and vegetables from the farm stands that dot the route.

Google map a scenic route that will take you winding along the Erie Canal to the village and motor along historic West Center Street (Rte. 31E from Middleport, NY) to see a magnificent collection of Victorian homes, or visit the Medina Railroad Museum at http://railroadmuseum.net/ and take a fall foliage train ride to the historic museum located adjacent to the Downtown Historic District.

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