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Medina Sandstone Society seeks nominations for Hall of Fame

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 July 2024 at 10:30 am

39 buildings have been inducted so far in Hall of Fame at City Hall

Photo by Tom Rivers: Robin Hill Manor on Platten Road in Lyndonville was inducted in the Medina Sandstone hall of Fame in 2023. Robin Hill also includes an arboretum with about 250 varieties of trees.

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Society is accepting nominations for its Hall of Fame, seeking to recognize prominent buildings made of Medina Sandstone that are well-maintained and architecturally significant.

Since the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame was created in 2013, the society has inducted churches, public structures, private buildings and other civic sites, such as the Civil War Memorial at Mount Albion Cemetery. There have now been 39 inductees.

The four inductees last year included the First Baptist Church of Medina, Hamlin Beach State Park, Robin Hill Manor in Lyndonville and the Masten/Mundion home in Ridgeway.

The plaques and photographs are on display in the main meeting room of City Hall. The Hall of Fame will be open from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The Sandstone Society will be there to welcome some of the 520 cyclists on the “Cycling the Erie Canal” adventure which stops in Medina. The community is also welcome to see the Hall of Fame, which includes a new kiosk about Medina Sandstone sites and history.

This year’s Hall of Fame class could include nominations from previous years not already selected, and any new nominations received by July 15.

To nominate a site, fill out a form: www.sandstonesociety.org/hof-nomination.

Criteria for consideration will include age, beauty, longevity, structural soundness, and architectural uniqueness. If possible nomination information should have full background and documentation, and, at the very least, should give a name and phone number to be contacted for further information or a website.

Medina Sandstone tour on May 9 features Hall of Fame sites in Buffalo

Provided photos: Two historic Medina Sandstone structures will be the focus of this year’s Sandstone Society Hall of Fame Tour, scheduled May 9. At left is Buffalo’s historic Richardson Hotel/Olmsted Complex. At right is St. Louis Church at 780 Main St., Buffalo.

Posted 16 April 2024 at 11:03 am

By Ginny Kropf and Tom Rivers

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Society has announced the itinerary for its 2024 Hall of Fame Tour on May 9 in Buffalo.

This year’s tour will feature a visit to the historic Richardson Hotel/ Olmsted Complex, and St. Louis Church. In addition, there will be a drive by of several other prominent Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame honorees.

The Richardson/Olmsted Complex was in the inaugural class in 2013 for the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame. The massive complex of the former Buffalo State Hospital was designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson and the surrounding grounds by Frederick Law Olmsted. This was the first major work on which the two collaborated. At that time it was considered to be one of the most architecturally significant designs for an asylum, a style that became known as Richardsonian Romanesque.

Construction started in 1871 and the two imposing 185-foot towers of the Administration building have been a highly visible and striking landmark in north Buffalo since 1880. The central pavilion, with its lofty Gothic towers, adjacent wards A and B and the four flanking wards are all built of reddish-brown Medina sandstone that was quarried in Hulberton, Orleans County. The heavy, rough-faced stone walls are set off by plainly finished blocks of the same material for doors and windows. Part of the site is now used as a hotel.

The St. Louis Catholic Church went into the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame in 2014. The church, at the corner of Main and Edward Street, was constructed from 1886 to 1889. This Gothic Revival church is built of red Medina Sandstone.

Heavily influenced by German design features, the distinctive front facade consists of two 128-foot side towers and the magnificent 245-foot center steeple and open-work spire. Perhaps the church’s most distinctive feature, this center spire, similar to the spires on several German churches including Cologne Cathedral, is the tallest open-work spire ever built completely of stone in the United States. It is also believed to be the only remaining open-work or pierced spire in the U.S.

The Medina Sandstone tour day will begin with a welcome at 8:30 a.m. by Medina Mayor Marguerite Sherman at the Sandstone Hall of Fame located in City Hall on Main Street.

The tour bus, a 47-passenger coach with bathroom, will leave at 9 a.m. and arrive at the Richardson Complex at 10:15 a.m., where guests may choose to take a leisurely tour of the grounds and museum or join a docent-led tour of undeveloped areas of the Richardson/Olmsted Complex.

At 11:30 a.m., there will be a luncheon will be served in the Glessner Room at the Richardson Hotel. The bus will leave for St. Louis Church at 12:30 p.m., where a 45-minute tour is planned at 1 p.m. The bus departs for Medina at 2 p.m.

Cost for the tour is $95 per person or $90 for stonecutters (Sandstone Society members). Checks are due by April 26 and should be mailed to Medina Sandstone Society, P.O. Box 25, Medina, 14103.

Anyone with questions or wishing more information may contact Sue Holland at (585) 721-3809 or at shollan2@rochester.rr.com.

4 more inductees go into Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 October 2023 at 9:04 am

Sites include First Baptist Church in Medina, Hamlin Beach State Park, Robin Hill Manor in Lyndonville and Mundion home in Ridgeway

The new inductees in the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame include from left going clockwise: First Baptist Church of Medina, the Masten/Mundion home in Ridgeway, Robin Hill Manor in Lyndonville, and Hamlin Beach State Park.

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Society inducted four more sites into the Hall of Fame during a ceremony on Thursday.

The 10th anniversary class includes the First Baptist Church of Medina, Hamlin Beach State park, Robin Hill Manor in Lyndonville and the Masten/Mundion home in Ridgeway. There have now been 39 sites inducted since the Hall of Fame was established in 2013. The plaques and photographs are on display in the main meeting room of City Hall.

Hall of Fame Committee member David Miller, left, and Jim Hancock remove the curtain to unveil this year’s inductees. The committee also includes Reinhard Rogowski, Rollin Hellner and Tom Rivers. The sites are nominated and the committee visits and researches the sites. More than 70 locations have been nominated for the Hall of Fame. The Medina Sandstone Society board of directors gives a final OK for the sites included in the Hall of Fame.

Takeform in Medina has donated the plaques and display for the Hall of Fame each year.

Mindy Cogovan, a long-time parishioner at First Baptist Church in Medina, and Rev. Randy LeBaron of the church hold the plaque after the ceremony at City Hall.

First Baptist Church of Medina

The plaque for the church states:

“For 150 years, the First Baptist Church of Medina has been a landmark, one of the most iconic sites in the village. The steeple, peaking at about 150 feet high, is one of the first sights approaching the downtown, especially from Route 31 to the east.

The church was constructed between 1870 and 1873 at 203 West Center St. It is made of locally quarried gray Medina Sandstone and was built in an example of Gothic Revivalism tempered with influences from the then-even more popular Romanesque Revival style.

The Medina Tribune on Jan. 16, 1873, made the church’s dedication front page news, saying the Medina community could pride itself for having “one of the most elegant and substantial church buildings in all of Western New York.”

A congregation of 140 people contributed the $45,000 to have the church built on one of the best sites in the village, the Tribune noted.

The church’s members through a century and half have proven devoted caretakers of the building, ensuring its longevity and lofty presence for the community.”


Matt and Heather Mundion hold the plaque recognizing their home is now in the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame.

Ephraim Masten Homestead – Telegraph Road in Medina, New York

The plaque states:

“In 1819, Ephraim Masten and his wife Nancy came to Ridgeway and purchased 130 acres of land two miles east from what would become the village of Medina. They built and lived in a log cabin until 1831 when the family had done well enough to be able to construct a house of locally quarried sandstone to replace the log cabin.

Ephraim died in 1840 and his wife in 1872, but the home remained in the family for many succeeding generations of Masten descendants.

In more recent years, the home was occupied by attorney Vincent Cardone, who did considerable restoration work on the historic building, then industrialist Milford L. Phinney and family.

Most recently, Matt and Heather Mundion have further expanded and beautified the home using repurposed Medina Sandstone for new porch and patio areas and other interior and exterior improvements.

With its long history of restoration and stewardship, this historic home will soon be 200 years old!”


Robin Hill Manor is an not only an impressive Medina Sandstone home, the site includes an arboretum with about 250 varieties of trees.

Robin Hill Manor – Platten Road, Lyndonvillle, NY

“This beautiful home was built in the late 1940-1950 by Lyndonville residents William and Mary Smith and their children George and Marion Smith.

William and Mary Smith designed the Manor House and had drawings done by a professional architect from Rochester. It took them five years to quarry and cut the Medina Sandstone and build the house. George did most of the stone work and all of the interior wood and cabinetry while Marion and Mary finished the kitchen, hauling materials for the floors and staining the cedar shakes for the roof.

The house was finished in 1952. The family lived there until Marion’s passing in 2013, when Doug Pratt inherited the estate. He lives there and has set up the non-profit he Robin Hill Nature Preserve for the public to enjoy the 45 acres and more than 250 varieties of trees.

“Smith Pond” has been a beloved landmark for decades in Lyndonville, with many people stopping to admire swans and other wildlife. Pratt continues to make this “jewel” available to the community.”


Hamlin had a contingent representing the state park at the hall of Fame ceremony. In front, from left, include Ed Evans, winner of a Heritage Award for his efforts at the park and the former CCC/POW camp; Ross Lovell, park manager; and John Snyder, assistant regional director for NYS Parks. Back row: Members of the Friends of Hamlin Beach State Park: Sue Evans, Nick Kramer, Kim Walter, Jim Lugert, Patti Sullivan and Tom Dabrowski.

Hamlin Beach State Park – Hamlin, NY

“At Hamlin Beach State Park in Monroe County, the Medina Sandstone is everywhere – the shelters, bathrooms, culverts, fireplaces, fire pits, drinking fountains, retaining walls and a concessions building.

The entire park, which draws about 300,000 people a year, is a tremendous showcase of Medina Sandstone.

Hamlin Beach State Park was largely developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1935 to 1941, with state contractors then working on the park until 1952.

Operating from a camp on Moscow Road, the CCC employed local stone masons, carpenters, forestry crews, auto mechanics, truck drivers, rock crusher operators and road crews to build the park during the latter years of the Depression.

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has made recent investments in the park’s upkeep, and the Friends of Hamlin State Beach have pushed to make the park more accessible and its history more fully understood.”

Hamlin Beach includes many drinking fountains, fire pits and retaining walls, as well as the larger shelters and a bathhouse.


The honorees at the Hall of Fame induction include, from left: Jennifer Wells-Dickerson with a Heritage Award for her efforts preserving the story of her great-grandfather, Pasquale DiLaura, a quarry owner who was influential in the stone work on the Parkway and at Hamlin Beach; Matt and Heather Mundion, owner of the Masten-Mundion home on Telegraph Road in Ridgeway; Mindy Cogovan and Rev. Randy LeBaron of the First Baptist Church of Medina; John Snyder, assistant regional director for New York State Parks and Ross Lovell, Hamlin Beach State Park manager; and Ed Evans, Heritage Award honoree for his efforts to preserve the history of the Civilian Conservation Corps camp/POW camp at Hamlin Beach State Park. Missing from photo: Doug Pratt, owner of the Robin Hill Manor in Lyndonville.

Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame seeks more wall space in City Hall

Photo by Tom Rivers: David Miller, chairman of the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame Committee, is shown last Oct. 20 when three more sites were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Miller and Jim Hancock, another committee member, asked the Village Board for more wall space in the main meeting room at City Hall.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 June 2023 at 3:49 pm

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Society has inducted 35 sites in its Hall of Fame and expects to keep inducting more in the next several years.

The Hall of Fame is in the main meeting room at City Hall. The Hall of Fame is running out of wall space.

Two of the Hall of Fame Committee members, Dave Miller and Jim Hancock, asked the Village Board to allow for more space for the Hall of Fame to recognize outstanding structures made of Medina Sandstone.

They suggested a wall that includes many portraits of past Medina mayors be used for the hall of Fame when it runs out of space for new hall of Fame inductees.

Mayor Mike Sidari said the Village Board will work with the Sandstone Society to provide more space for the display of Hall of Fame structures. Takeform in Medina makes the plaques of the honorees without charging the Sandstone Society.

The Hall of Fame started in 2013 and is seeking nominees for its 10th anniversary class.

The Hall of Fame includes churches, mansions, civic buildings, monuments and public works projects from Erie, Pa., to Buffalo, Batavia, Rochester, the Finger Lakes region and several in Orleans County.

About 70 sites have now been nominated for the hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame Committee wants to recognize Medina Sandstone sites with exceptional beauty, architectural uniqueness and longevity, or as Miller said, sites “that have the wow effect.”

Nominations should be made by June 30. People can nominate a site by filling out a form: www.sandstonesociety.org/hof-nomination.

(Editor’s Note: Orleans Hub editor Tom Rivers also is a member of the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame Committee.)

Aidan Paul awarded John Ryan Scholarship by Medina Sandstone Society

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 June 2023 at 6:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Robby Klino, a member of the Medina Sandstone Society board of directors, on Tuesday presents a $1,000 scholarship check to Aidan Paul, a soon-to-graduate senior at Medina.

Klino is a member of the scholarship committee. Paul wrote an essay and prepared a PowerPoint presentation on the topic, “What is Medina Sandstone?”

Paul will be attending Niagara County Community College to play baseball. He will major in business.

He said researching Medina Sandstone made him feel even more pride being from Medina. The sandstone is used in many remarkable buildings, near and far.

Klino praised Paul for going “above and beyond” in his scholarship application.

The scholarship is named in honor of John Ryan who opened the first Medina sandstone commercial quarry in 1837.

The Sandstone Society has now awarded eight of the $1,000 scholarships for $8,000 total.

Medina Sandstone Society seeks nominations for 10th anniversary Hall of Fame class

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 June 2023 at 1:11 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: The First Baptist Church in Holley was nominated for the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame in 2018. The church is shown in March.

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Society is accepting nominations for its Hall of Fame, seeking to recognize prominent buildings made of Medina Sandstone that are well-maintained and architecturally significant.

Since the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame was created in 2013, the society has inducted churches, public structures, private buildings and other civic sites, such as the Civil War Memorial at Mount Albion Cemetery. There have now been 35 inductees.

The inductees last year included the Erie Canal Culvert in the Town of Ridgeway, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Albion (including the parish’s lyceum and cemetery chapel), and the Ryan Quarry home owned by Robert and Maureen Christian on South Holley Road in Clarendon.

This year’s class could include nominations from previous years not already selected, and any new nominations received by June 30.

People can nominate a site by filling out a form: www.sandstonesociety.org/hof-nomination.

Criteria for consideration shall include age, beauty, longevity, structural soundness, and architectural uniqueness. If possible nomination information should have full background and documentation, and, at the very least, should give a name and phone number to be contacted for further information or a website.

Bus tour visits Medina Sandstone Hall of Famers

Photo by Tom Rivers: Bill Lattin, retired Orleans County historian, leads a tour of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Albion last Tuesday. Lattin discusses the stained-glass windows in the church that opened in 1897. St. Joseph’s was inducted in the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame in 2022.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 22 May 2023 at 9:00 am

ALBION – The Medina Sandstone Society took about 40 people on a bus tour last week of sites in the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame.

The “Sedimental Journey” bus tour returned after being cancelled during the Covid pandemic. The trip started at the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame which is in the main meeting room at Medina City Hall.

From there the tour headed to Albion to see St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church.

Photo by Dave Miller: Some of the attendees on the Hall of Fame bus tour walk in front of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

The church was dedicated in 1897. It was built of locally quarried sandstone in a Gothic Revival style on West Park Street. The sandstone Society last year inducted the church, and that induction included St. Joseph’s School and Lyceum on Main Street in 1905 and the chapel at St. Joseph’s Cemetery on Route 31, which was built in 1920. The lyceum is the first school to be included in the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Bill Lattin gave the group a peek at the inside of the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church. The church was built in 1894 and has more than 40 windows from the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company.

Photos by Dave Miller: The Pullman church was among the first inductees into the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame in 2013. The church was primarily funded by industrialist George M. Pullman, as a memorial to his wife and parents. The building was designed in an Old English Gothic style with Richardson Romanesque features. Its long, low horizontal profile adds to a unique design.

After Albion the tour headed to Rochester to see the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester, which was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 2017. The group was able to tour inside the All Soul’s Chapel at the cemetery.

The chapel was built in 1876 and is the centerpiece of the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. The building features a steep slate roof, supporting hammer beams and exquisitely designed stained-glass windows featuring the 14 Stations of the Cross made in Roemond, Holland.

There is also a companion 100-foot bell tower built in 1886 that houses a six crypt mausoleum, the final resting place for the bishops of the diocese, including Bishop Bernard McQuaid, founder of the cemetery.

The chapel, as well as the two gate houses, and 1.36 mile stone wall surrounding the cemetery are all made of beautifully preserved and restored red Medina sandstone.

The tour also included a drive-by of St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester, which was in the inaugural Hall of Fame class in 2013.

After Rochester, the tour headed to Palmyra in Wayne County to see the Zion Episcopal Church, which was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019.

The church was built in 1872 in a Late Gothic Revival style, an architectural movement popular in the Western world that began in the late 1740s in England. The church is built of sandstone with limestone trim.

The tour also did a drive-by stop at St. John’s Episcopal in Clifton Springs, which was inducted in 2018.

The tour’s last site was the Sonnenberg Manor in Canandaigua, which was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 2016.

The 40-room Queen Anne style mansion was built in 1887. The facade is rusticated Medina gray and red sandstone. The property is now under the New York State Parks System.

The Sandstone Society will be inducting its 10th anniversary class later this year. For more on the Hall of Fame, click here.

Albion native chronicles rise and fall of Medina Sandstone industry

Photos by Tom Rivers: Jim Friday, shown speaking last week during a Medina Historical Society meeting, talks about the sandstone industry in Orleans County. The cover of his book is at left. The cover includes an image of the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church in Albion, which is made of Medina Sandstone.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 May 2023 at 9:14 am

MEDINA – Jim Friday marvels at the immensity of the Medina Sandstone industry. At its peak from 1890 to 1910, there were 50 quarries in the county employing 2,000 people.

The county’s population in 1900 was 30,164, according to the census. (In 2020, the population was 40,343).

“That was a huge percentage of the workforce,” said Friday, an Albion native who lives in North Chili. “It was just a huge industry.”

Friday, 75, is a Kodak retiree and loves local history. He wrote a book about the local sandstone industry, “The History of Sandstone in Orleans County NY.” The 108-page book includes many photos of the county’s dominant industry.

He spoke about the big business last week during the Medina Historical Society’s monthly meeting.

The quarries produced stone in some of the finest buildings in communities along the canal. They were used in churches, mansions and other public buildings. The stone also was utilized for sidewalks, curbs and street pavers.

The quarries were independently owned and competed against each other. The owners brought in immigrants from Poland, Italy, Britain and Ireland.

Friday is a descendant of Polish immigrants. His paternal grandparents (John Piatek/Friday and Stefania Siebak) lived on Moore Street in Albion.  His maternal grandparents (Tony Rice and Rose Lucas) owned the farm at the end of Orchard Street along the canal in Albion. When he was a child, Friday spent a lot of time in Albion and often swam in the quarries.

He explores the geology of how and when the stone was formed, the rise and fall of the regional quarry industry and what remains today.

Jim Friday of North Chili was the featured speaker at the Medina Historical Society meeting last week at Lee-Whedon Memorial Library.

Friday presents this timeline of the Medina Sandstone industry. During construction of Erie Canal from 1817 to 1825 large deposits of sandstone were discovered. In 1836, John Ryan opened the first commercial sandstone quarry in Medina to supply stone for the second expansion of the canal.

In 1906, there were 50 quarries in the county, employing 2,000 workers. From 1919 t 1930, there were only a few independently leased quarries.

He includes includes vintage quarry photos from the early 1900s that give insight into the products, work conditions, methods and equipment used to quarry the stone. The experiences of some of the many immigrants who toiled in the quarries are presented along with photos of stone structures that remain as prominent reminders of a bygone era, Friday said.

The quarries were consolidated by New York City bankers, which led to the demise of most of the local operations. It was also cheaper to use cement rather than sandstone in buildings and public works projects.

For more information about the book, click here or send Friday an email at photos.JimFriday@gmail.com.

“It was a lot of fun to learn about the history of Albion and Orleans County,” Friday said. “The sandstone industry was huge in Orleans County, and it is interwoven with the history of the Erie Canal.”

Friday also serves as the coordinator of the orleans.nygenweb.net website that includes a wealth of local genealogy data about Orleans County. The late Sharron Kerridge and her friends were the driving force behind establishing this website.

Medina Sandstone Trust approves $5k in grants for local organizations

Posted 5 December 2022 at 8:52 am

Press Release, Medina Sandstone Trust

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Trust, a community endowment, just completed its eleventh year of making small grants to local programs, projects and organizations and the total in grants over that period comes to nearly $55,000 plus $8,000 in scholarships.

We’re pleased to announce the organizations selected in 2022 – each receiving $500 for their projects.

• Beds from Brian, Inc. to provide Pack n’ Plays, fitted  sheets, pajamas, blankets and bed pillows for children in need through Care Net Center, Genesee Orleans Ministry of Concern and Holy Trinity Outreach requests for the 2022 holiday season.

• Boxwood Cemetery Commission to help offset the cost of rehabbing the stained glass window in the Silas Mainville Burroughs Memorial Chapel at Boxwood Cemetery.

• Genesee Orleans Ministry of Concern to their client services fund which provides assistance with services including prescription co-pays, personal hygiene items, dental care and short-term emergency housing.

• Joint Recreation Commission to help with the cost of summer programs which include Arts & Crafts and several field trips.

• OCALS Learning Services to purchase advertising and public relations materials to be used in seeking new students and volunteer tutors.

• YMCA to assist in covering the costs of scholarships, funding for field trips, special events and guest speakers for youth in the YMCA Summer Day Camp and Kinder Camp.

• Orleans Renaissance Group to erect an interpretive sign in State Street Park to honor the Burroughs family who resided on the property in the nineteenth century.

• P.Raising Kids Child Care Center to help with the cost of installing a CCTV security system.

• Go Art! to help with the cost of the 2023 Day of the Dead Celebration.

• Medina Historical Society for funds to cover historical program speaker and publicity costs.

Donations to help grow the Medina Sandstone Trust can be made at any time to the Sandstone Society, Post Office Box 25, Medina, NY 14103.  Or, make an online donation at our website’s Gift Shop. Gifts to this 501(c)(3) are tax deductible.

3 more sites inducted into Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 October 2022 at 9:16 am

St. Joseph’s in Albion, Canal Culvert in Ridgeway and Ryan Quarry House in Clarendon recognized by Medina Sandstone Society

Photos by Tom Rivers: The Medina Sandstone Society added three sites to its Hall of Fame at Medina City Hall. There are now 35 sites in the Hall of Fame which was established in 2013. Pictured from left include: Brandan Simon, west region canal engineer for Canal Corporation (representing the Canal Culvert); Maureen and Robert Christian, owners of the Ryan Quarry home on South Holley Road in Clarendon; and the Rev. Richard Csizmar, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Albion which was recognized for St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, its lyceum on Main Street and the chapel at St. Joseph’s Cemetery on Route 31.

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Society inducted three members into the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame on Thursday, bringing the total to 35 sites that have now been recognized since the Hall of Fame was established in 2013.

The three new inductees are all in Orleans County and include the Erie Canal Culvert in the Town of Ridgeway, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Albion (including the parish’s lyceum and cemetery chapel), and the Ryan Quarry home owned by Robert and Maureen Christian on South Holley Road in Clarendon.

The Hall of Fame includes churches, mansions, civic buildings, monuments and public works projects from Erie, Pa., to Buffalo, Batavia and Orleans County, Rochester and the Finger Lakes region.

Dave Miller welcomes about 30 people to the Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Thursday in the main meeting room at Medina City Hall. The Hall of Fame plaques are all made and donated by Takeform.

David Miller, Hall of Fame Committee chairman, said the Sandstone Society wants to showcase how the local quarried stone was used to build so many magnificent sites.

“What a wealth of beautiful buildings that have come out of the ground in Orleans County,” he said during Thursday afternoon’s Hall of Fame ceremony at Medina City Hall. “We need to appreciate them.”

About 70 sites have now been nominated for the hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame Committee wants to recognize Medina Sandstone sites with exceptional beauty, architectural uniqueness and longevity, or as Miller said, sites “that have the wow effect.”

Miller said the Sandstone Society welcomes more nominations. (Click here for more information.)

The Canal Culvert on Culvert Road in Ridgeway was initially built in 1823 for the Erie Canal. The current culvert was built in 1911 when the canal was enlarged. This is the only spot where traffic can go under the Erie Canal.

While the Hall of Fame features many ornate churches, mansions and civic structures, the Canal Culvert is the first inductee that served a more utilitarian purpose as a public infrastructure project.

The culvert has a 7 foot, 6 inch clearance, with a peak height of 11 feet inside the tunnel.

The stone tunnel is 200 feet long, 11 feet high at its peak and 19 feet wide. It is an iconic site in Orleans County, and is one of a kind on the 524-mile-long canal system – the only place where you can drive under the canal. The site has been featured on Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

The culvert was originally built in 1823 and was enlarged when the canal was expanded. The current culvert was built in 1911 as part of the Barge Canal enlargement.

The stone arch structure has a reinforced concrete prism liner directly above it, said Brendan Simon, west region canal engineer for the Canal Corp.

“The structure is near and dear to the canals,” Simon said. “I don’t know of any other structure like it on the canal system. Our staff is passionate about maintaining key pieces of infrastructure like the stone arch culvert.”

Simon said the Canal Corp. is gearing up for the 200th anniversary celebration of the Erie Canal in 2025. That year Buffalo will host the World Canals Conference.

Photos by David Miller: The Ryan Quarry House has been lovingly restored and cared for by Maureen and Robert Christian. The home was built in 1863 from stone likely obtained from the nearby banks of Sandy Creek. A former quarry on the property is now a 2-acre pond. This farmhouse became the office building for the Ryan Company quarry beginning in 1920.

The induction of the Ryan Quarry House at 4160 South Holley Rd. in Clarendon is the first Hall of Fame inductee that has a direct link to a Medina Sandstone quarry operation.

The house was likely built from sandstone from the banks of the east branch of Sandy Creek. This was in 1863 when there weren’t any commercial quarries in Clarendon.

This part of Clarendon and Holley would later have three quarries – Down’s and Gorman’s quarry in 1881, Gleason Place quarry in 1890 and the large Ryan Company quarry in 1920.

The Ryan quarry was adjacent to the house at 4160 South Holley Rd. and the building was used as an office building for the Ryan Company in the 1920s and much of the ’30s. Writing from Civilian Conservation Corps workers were found inside on the walls of the house during a later restoration.

Dave Miller of the Sandstone Society praised Maureen and Robert Christian for an extensive renovation and upkeep since they bought it in 1977. They credited their aunt Flo Johnson for saving the site when she bought it in 1950. At that point the site had been abandoned with a collapsed roof and trees growing up inside the house.

“She was told it was too far gone,” Mr. Christian said. “But she always wanted a stone house in the country.”

The Christians bought the house from her in 1977 and raised their three children at the house. Mrs. Christian said the sound of the nearby creek and waterfalls is peaceful and relaxing.

“We just love the history of it,” she said. “It’s built like a fortress.”

Her husband said the family has tried to maintain a part of the county’s sandstone legacy.

“That’s what it’s all about – being a steward of it,” he said.

Miller said the Hall of Fame would like to include more history of local quarrying families. The group welcomes biographies of families that were prominent in the local quarrying industry.

Photos by Tom Rivers: St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Albion is a new member of the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame. The First Baptist Church, right, is St. Joseph’s neighbor on West Park Street.

The induction of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church is long overdue, said Jim Hancock, a member of Hall of Fame Committee. The site was nominated this year by former County Historian Bill Lattin. It joins other Albion sites in the Hall of Fame including the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church, First Presbyterian Church of Albion, and the Civil War Monument at Mount Albion Cemetery.

St. Joseph’s Church was dedicated in 1897, built of locally quarried sandstone in a Gothic Revival style on West Park Street. The parish also dedicated St. Joseph’s School and Lyceum on Main Street in 1905 and then a new chapel at St. Joseph’s Cemetery on Route 31 in 1920. The lyceum is the first school to be included in the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame Committee praised Holy Family Parish for its care of the three sites for more than a century.

The Rev. Richard Csizmar, pastor of the parish since 1994, said many people over the years have given resources, time and talent to keep up the sites. The lyceum recently completed a $100,000 renovation, he noted.

“They’re so valuable, so beautiful, and so memorable” he said about the buildings. “They are gifts from God.”

The Medina Sandstone Society also highlighted the lyceum and chapel in the Hall of Fame induction for St. Joseph’s, which is in the Holy Family Parish.

Editor’s Note: Orleans Hub editor Tom Rivers is a member of the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame Committee.

Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame will add WiFi at City Hall

File photo by Tom Rivers: Representatives of St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in Rome thanked the Hall of Fame Committee for Hall of Fame recognition for the church on Oct. 17, 2019 when the church was inducted into the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame. Father Sean O’Brien is joined by the church’s maintenance director, Mark LaGasse, and office manager, Sharon Hansen. Jim Hancock, a member of the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame Committee, is at right. The plaques are made courtesy of Takeform in Medina.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 July 2022 at 4:35 pm

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame will be adding WiFi at the City Hall and Hall of Fame display in the building’s main meeting room.

That way people can access the Medina Sandstone Society website to see more photos and information about the local sandstone industry.

Dave Miller and Jim Hancock, representatives of the Sandstone Society, attended Monday’s Medina Village Board meeting to ask for permission to put in the WiFi.

“This would definitely add value to the Hall of Fame,” Miller said.

The Sandstone Society will pay for the installation cost and maintenance to have a dedicated WiFi signal in the building for the Hall of Fame and Sandstone Society.

The group is working with C&H PC in Medina to put in the WiFi system with an ethernet cable and router. The network will be separate from the village internet service for the village office, police department and fire department. That way there isn’t a security issue that would make the village networks vulnerable, Miller told the Village Board.

The Hall of Fame was established in City in 2013. So far 32 sites have been inducted. However, Miller said the society has identified at least 200 buildings made of Medina Sandstone. He wants to make that database available to people at the Hall of Fame who could access it by going to the Sandstone Society website.

Eventually, Miller said he would like to see a museum developed about Medina Sandstone that would tell a bigger story with information about quarries, immigrants, notable architects and other details.

A new group of Hall of Fame inductees is expected to be inducted in October.

Medina Sandstone Society seeks nominations for Hall of Fame

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 June 2022 at 4:39 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: A rainbow emerged after rain on Aug. 16, 2020 in this photo with the First Presbyterian Church of Albion, which was inducted in the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame in 2017.

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Society is accepting nominations for its Hall of Fame, seeking to recognize prominent buildings made of Medina Sandstone that are well-maintained and architecturally significant.

Since the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame was created in 2013, the society has inducted churches, public buildings, private buildings and other ornamental buildings/structures, such as the Civil War Memorial at Mount Albion Cemetery. There have now been 32 inductees.

The inductees last year included Bent’s Opera House in Medina, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Brockport, and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Canandaigua.

This year’s class could include nominations from previous years not already selected, and any new nominations received by July 9.

People can nominate a site by filling out a form: www.sandstonesociety.org/hof-nominations.

Criteria for consideration shall include age, beauty, longevity, structural soundness, and architectural uniqueness. If possible nomination information should have full background and documentation, and, at the very least, should give a name and phone number to be contacted for further information or a website.

Bent’s Opera Hall inducted into Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 25 October 2021 at 8:05 am

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Brockport, St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Canandaigua also recognized

Photos courtesy of David Miller: Bent’s Opera House in Medina looks stunning after a three-year restoration effort.

MEDINA – Three new sandstone structures were inducted into the Sandstone Hall of Fame on Thursday, in a ceremony which also included recognition of five sandstone homes built by architect William Jackson between the 1820s and 1860s.

Inductees include the Bent’s Opera House in Medina, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Brockport and St. Mary’s RC Church in Canandaigua.

Jim Hancock, chairman of the Hall of Fame committee, said the first sandstone induction took place in 2013. Since then, including this year’s inductees, 32 buildings and monuments have been named to the Hall of Fame.

“Purpose of the Hall of Fame was to recognize beautiful structures made of our stone,” Hancock said. “Medina Sandstone can be found in buildings and roads across the United States, and from Cuba to Buckingham Palace.”

Hancock explained to be selected to the Sandstone Hall of Fame a nominee must fall into one of several classes – church, private residence, public building or any architecturally unique structure.

Criteria considered include its age, if it is still in use, it’s beauty and architectural uniqueness.

The 2021 class of inductees into the Sandstone Hall of Fame hold their plaques after the ceremony Thursday at City Hall. From left are Anthony DiPrima, director of finance and administration at St. Mary’s Church in Canandaigua, Karen Baase from Luke’s Harvest Kitchen at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Brockport and Justin Bruce, general manager of Bent’s Opera House in Medina.

Bent’s Opera House is one of the oldest surviving theaters in the entire nation, having been built at the height of the Civil War. From 1865 to the early 1920s, it was the cultural center of the Medina area. Its construction is of native Medina Sandstone, laid in a random ashlar pattern with a hammered finish.

The opera house was built by Don Carlos Bent, a wealthy local farmer, who secured the services of local sandstone builder Patrick O’Grady.

St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Canandaigua

The building was in danger of collapse in the early 21st century when it was donated by Bank of America to the Orleans Renaissance Group. They then sold it to Talis Equity, who took on one of the community’s most ambitious renovation projects in history, working more than three years to fortify the building and redesign it to include a restaurant, hotel and entertainment/lecture hall in the former opera house.

In accepting the plaque for Bent’s, Justin Bruce, general manager, said owners Roger and Heather Hungerford appreciated the honor, although they were unable to attend.

Anthony DiPrima, finance director at St. Mary’s Church, said the Sandstone Hall of Fame committee visited his church two years ago, but the church didn’t make the list for induction. Then the committee returned this year, and viewed extensive renovations which had been done to the interior of the building.

“We felt pretty confident our church would be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year,” DiPrima said. “This is the first honor I’m aware of that our church has received for its architecture, and with all our interior renovations, this is the cherry on the ice cream.”

St. Mary’s RC Church at 59 North Main St., Canandaigua, traces its parish back to 1843, when a small group of Catholic families began meeting. The first St. Mary’s Church was built in 1846, but by 1865 membership had grown, and a new church was needed. The old J. Albert Granger property was purchased in 1873, but construction was delayed to pay off the debt.

Construction of the current church was started in 1903. Architects were Gordon & Madden of Rochester. The building was dedicated Dec. 17, 1905.

The Building Committee was pleased with the use of pink Medina Sandstone and they got good terms for the sandstone and favorable railroad rates for the delivery of this beautiful stone.

In 2007, St. Benedict’s Parish was established when St. Mary’s in Canandaigua and St. Benedict’s in Bloomfield became clustered.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Brockport

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church at 14 State St., Brockport, has been a dominant, soaring presence on Brockport’s Main Street since 1855.

The congregation paid $6,897 to have the church constructed of Medina Sandstone from 1854 to 1855 in a Gothic Revival style. In 1903, a parish hall was added in Medina sandstone with a Romanesque style. It has been used as a church school, meeting space, gymnasium in the basement, stage on the third floor and was even set up as a hospital at one time for a week-long clinic for tonsillectomies.

St. Luke’s continues to be used for many outreach programs, such as food, clothing, music and ministry. The church has hosted the Brockport Ecumenical Food Shelf since 1972.

The church features several Tiffany windows, including two groupings of three windows. Tiffany created a scene of “The Nativity” at the narthex. St. Luke’s was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990 and was declared a “Historic Landmark” by the Brockport Historic Preservation Board in 2000.

Several people attended the ceremony from St. Luke’s in Brockport, including the Rev. Elizabeth Harden and members Bill Henderson and Karen Baase.

The Rev. Harden said she is from Utah, so Medina Sandstone was all new to her.

“This is an honor, for sure,” she said. “St. Luke’s has been so well cared for. The building has been repurposed several times to meet the needs of the community, so this is a fitting tribute.”

“Getting this recognition is amazing considering the number of places to be considered,” Henderson said. “I knew the church was made of Medina Sandstone, but I didn’t know about the Hall of Fame and Sandstone Society.”

Baase, who lives near Barre, said she was part of the group which gave the Hall of Fame committee the grand tour when they visited.

“We are pleased and honored to be recognized, and are so fortunate to learn more about sandstone,” she said.

Dave Miller, president of the Sandstone Society, shared the history of sandstone in the Medina area.

He explained sandstone was first discovered when the canal was dug in 1825.

“If it wasn’t for the canal, Medina wouldn’t be here, and we wouldn’t know so much about Medina Sandstone,” he said.

At least 30 quarries existed at one time, and a few lasted until the 1950s, Miller said. Most of Medina’s sandstone was used for roads.

Homes built by William Jackson are, clockwise from top left, 10598 Ridge Rd., 10923 West Center St. Ext., 11986 Telegraph Rd. and 3531 Fruit Ave. In the center is the original Jackson homestead at 3669 Fruit Ave., which was stuccoed over about 75 years ago.

Following induction of these three structures, Miller explained their reason for including the five sandstone homes designed by Jackson.

“This is a departure from what we’ve done in the past,” Miller said. “It goes back to last year when we couldn’t travel due to the pandemic. We wondered if there wasn’t something we could do to recognize the two dozen sandstone homes in Medina and vicinity. They are simple, but have a beauty of their own.”

Miller explained many farmers came to Medina from Central New York in the

1800s, built log cabins and then brought their families here. William Jackson was one of these settlers, who came to the town of Ridgeway in 1826 and purchased 100 acres of land. One of the earliest settlers in the town, he was also one of the first to build homes from what would later become known as Medina sandstone.

Pioneer History of Orleans County reports that “In a short time, he purchased more land which he fitted and cultivated into one of the finest farms in the area.”

This was before any commercial sandstone quarry had been established, but the Erie Canal construction had revealed readily accessible sandstone in Medina, some of it very close to the ground.

The five homes acknowledged by the Sandstone Hall of Fame include the original Jackson homestead at 3669 Fruit Avenue, which was stuccoed over about 75 years ago; 10598 Ridge Rd., 10923 West Center St., 11986 Telegraph Rd., and 3531 Fruit Ave.

Miller noted the similarity in the homes Jackson built – all have a center door with two windows on each side and five windows in the second story.

The Sandstone Hall of Fame is located at City Hall on the corner of Main Street and Park Avenue.

Nominations sought for Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame

Photos by Tom Rivers: This stone carving of a face is part of the Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia, which was named to the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame in 2017.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 May 2021 at 8:16 am

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame cancelled last year’s induction due to Covid-19 restrictions which made the committee reluctant to travel around the state and into Pennsylvania for site inspections.

The committee also didn’t feel right inviting the owners of the sandstone sites for a celebration, while Covid was so prevalent in the community.

But the Hall of Fame committee is ready to accept nominations again and to go on site visits. An induction ceremony is planned for 2 p.m. on Oct. 21 in Medina’s City Hall.

The Hall of Fame committee is seeking nominations for prominent buildings made of Medina Sandstone that are well-maintained and architecturally significant.

Since the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame was created in 2013, the society has inducted churches, public buildings, private buildings and other ornamental buildings/structures, such as the Civil War Memorial at Mount Albion Cemetery. There have now been 29 inductees and 59 nominees into the exclusive club.

People can nominate a site by filling out a form: www.sandstonesociety.org/hof-nominations.

This year’s class could include nominations from previous years not already selected, and any new nominations received by June 30.

Criteria for consideration shall include age, beauty, longevity, structural soundness, and architectural uniqueness. If possible nomination information should have full background and documentation, and, at the very least, should give a name and phone number to be contacted for further information or a website.

The Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia opened in 1889. It was built of Medina sandstone. The site utilizes gray Medina sandstone and red sandstone from Albion. It was built in a Richardson Romanesque style, with rounded windows and arches.

No new inductees this year for Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 September 2020 at 11:25 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame Committee members Jim Hancock, left, and Don Colquhoun unveil the four new inductees into the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame on Oct. 17, 2019. The Hall of Fame has 29 inductees. It was established in 2013 and is located inside Medina City Hall.

MEDINA – October has been a highlight in recent years for the Medina Sandstone Society. The group inducts honorees into the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame, which is located in the main meeting room of Medina City Hall.

The Sandstone Society created the Hall of Fame in 2013 and has inducted 29 sites in New York and Pennsylvania. Last year it recognized a mansion in Erie, and churches in Palmyra, Geneva and Rome.

This year there won’t be a Hall of Fame induction due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Jim Hancock, one of the Hall of Fame Committee members, said the group didn’t go visit nominated sites due to Covid concerns.

The Sandstone Society has received 59 nominations since 2013 and welcomes more.

“We weren’t able to do traditional travel to inspect and do research,” Hancock said today.

The Sandstone Society will resume the Hall of Fame induction in 2021, and Hancock said the committee looks forward to getting back on the road to visit the sites. Don Colquhoun and David Miller are also on the committee.

The Sandstone Society is looking to do a special recognition for some of the grand residences in Orleans County made of Medina Sandstone. Those sites wouldn’t be inducted in the Hall of Fame, but Hancock said the committee wants to recognize some of the homes that have been diligently maintained for over a century, some since the 1840s.

“It will be a different type of citation for beautiful and long-lasting homes,” Hancock said. “We haven’t decided how we want to do. It’s a work in progress.”

For more on the Hall of Fame, click here.

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