Community Profile: Medina, Ohio

By Stephen Manuszak

Founded as the seat of Medina County in 1818, the city of Medina was originally named Mecca, after the birthplace of the Islamic prophet Mohammed. Because another Ohio town already had the name Mecca, the name was changed to Medina after another Saudi Arabian city. Most of Medina’s early residents were farmers, but the community grew significantly in the 1830s with the completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal, which was constructed to connect waterways with Lake Erie and carry freight traffic throughout Ohio. Medina experienced further growth and became an agricultural center with the completion of the railroad through the community in the 1880s.

After a fire devastated Medina in 1870, the town was rebuilt around a central plaza, and many buildings still stand in this historic district today. The public square is also home to a variety of celebrations for which Medina is known, including a weekly farmers market, an annual Ice Festival featuring ice sculptures, a Halloween Harvest Festival, and an International Fest with world music, food, and a bazaar with more than 75 vendors of arts and crafts from around the globe.

Medina County Courthouse
Medina County Courthouse. Photo by Mark Phillips, CC BY 2.0.

Fun Fact

We use the smiley emoticon today thanks to a computer scientist from Medina, Ohio! :-) Scott Elliott Fahlman, born in Medina in 1948, is credited with first using a typed smiley face in an online message board at Carnegie Mellon University in 1982. Its use caught on, and today we recognize a variety of typed symbols that express emotion.

Community Partner

Ohio Regional Music, Arts, and Cultural Outreach (ORMACO)

Founded in 2011, ORMACO works to make music, arts, and cultural programs accessible to all, with a focus on minority, disadvantaged, and rural populations. Their programs reach across Northeast Ohio and include art classes and a variety of music programs and workshops, including free violin and guitar lessons. In 2013, ORMACO hosted 24 events that provided arts activities to people of all ages, from children to seniors.

Residency Dates

October 6 – 12, 2013 | Baladino
March 30 – April 5, 2014 | Le Vent du Nord
November 16 – 22, 2014 | Shanren
February 15 – 21, 2015 | Paulo Padilha & Group


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