Irish left their mark on Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 March 2014 at 12:00 am

When the Erie Canal was carved through Orleans County, Irish immigrants supplied much of the brawn to get the job done.

The Irish also worked in many of the local sandstone quarries, and one Irishman, John Ryan, opened the first commercial Medina sandstone quarry in 1837. There is a historical marker just north of Route 63 in Medina near the lift bridge that notes Ryan’s achievement. Later I will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by lifting a pint in memory of Mr. Ryan.

The Irish also founded the St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Medina in the 1830s and in 1904 they built one of the great buildings in Orleans County – St. Mary’s Church. That church in December was named one of the six inaugural inductees to the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame.