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4 sites will go into Sandstone Hall of Fame on Oct. 22

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 October 2015 at 12:00 am

File photo by Tom Rivers – St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Medina was one of the inductees in the first class for the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame in 2013. A new class with four sites will be inducted on Oct. 22 and includes two buildings in Orleans County.

MEDINA – Four new magnificent structures will be inducted in the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame on Oct. 22.

The Medina Sandstone Society welcomes the public to the induction ceremony from 1 to 3 p.m. in City Hall, 600 Main St.

The Sandstone Society created the Hall of Fame in 2013 and has inducted 10 sites in the first two years. Another four will be inducted on Oct. 22. The new class includes two sites in Orleans County and two buildings in Buffalo, said Don Colquhoun, a member of the Hall of Fame Committee.

“All four are terrific examples of Medina Sandstone and I think the public will be pleased,” Colquhoun said this morning.

The 68-foot-high tower in Mount Albion, a Civil War Memorial, was inducted in the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame in 2014.

The Sandstone Society wants to highlight the long-term stewardship with many of the buildings, and Herculean restoration efforts for many of the sites that likely would have been demolished.

The first class in 2013 included six structures: Pullman Memorial Universalist Church in Albion, St. Mary Catholic Church in Medina, the Medina Armory (now Orleans County YMCA), the Richardson Olmsted Complex in Buffalo, St. Paul’s Cathedral in Buffalo, and Saint Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester.

The following were inducted in the Hall of Fame’s second class: Delaware-Asbury Church (Babeville) in Buffalo, St. Louis Church in Buffalo, Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Mount Albion Cemetery, and St. Peter Cathedral in Erie, Pa.

For more on the Sandstone Society and its Hall of Fame, click here.

Historic walkway is reset by Pullman Church

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 September 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers
ALBION – Local stone mason Neal Muscarella has been busy the past three weeks at the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church. He has reset and repaired the front steps and pavement stones by the church at the corner of East Park and Main streets in the historic Courthouse Square.

After resetting the sandstone pavement stones, Muscarella worked on a section today between the sidewalk and the street. He is putting concrete in that strip, which will help to hold the sandstone sidewalk pieces in place.

Muscarella, an Albion resident, also spent two weeks repointing mortar on the historic church. He was in a cherrypicker lift removing old mortar and putting in mortar between the pink Medina sandstone ashlars in the church’s towers, chimneys, and above the roof line.

Pullman Memorial received assistance for the project from the St. Lawrence District of Unitarian Universalists Chalice Lighter funding program, and the Medina Sandstone Society in Medina.

The Chalice Lighter program receives donations from Unitarian Universalists across New York State. Bill Lattin, the retired Orleans County historian, is chairman of the buildings and grounds committee for the church. He worked with Muscarella on the restoration work.

Ghost Walk, lecture series will raise funds for chapel at Hillside Cemetery

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 September 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Visitors walk out of the chapel at Hillside Cemetery in Clarendon during an open house last September. Volunteers and the town are trying to raise $225,000 for repairs to the chapel, which was built in 1894.

CLARENDON – Genesee Community College history students will immerse themselves in Holley history as part of a ghost walk at Hillside Cemetery on Oct. 3.

The students will serve as guides and “ghosts” of some prominent residents from Holley’s past who are in the cemetery.

This will be the first ghost walk at Hillside. Derek Maxfield, a history professor at GCC, is working with the Clarendon Historical Society on the event, which begins at 7 p.m. and will be a fund-raiser for the restoration efforts at the cemetery’s chapel. Admission is $10.

“This chapel is an important piece of local heritage that we shouldn’t lose,” Maxfield said.

He praised the Historical Society for getting the chapel listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and for pursuing grants and cleaning up the building, made in 1894 from local Medina sandstone.

The society is trying to raise $225,000 to restore the chapel, which needs a new roof, wooden window frames, some mortar repointing and repainting inside.

Derek Maxfield, shown here as a guide last October at Philemon Tracy’s grave at the Batavia Cemetery, is leading a ghost walk on Oct. 3 at Hillside Cemetery in Clarendon. Tracy is one of the few Confederate officers buried in the North. Maxfield said ghost walks are a way to highlight local history and draw attention to historic cemeteries.

Maxfield is pleased his students have shown a strong interest in the ghost walk. About 20 have already jumped at the chance to help with the event.

Maxfield and the students are looking through biographies of notable residents in the cemetery. The students will do their own research, developing the characters for the ghost walk.

“Any historic preservation project gets my attention,” said Maxfield, who is on a committee that picks “Heritage Heroes” from Orleans County. He also was coordinator of the Civil War Initiative the past four years through GCC, including from 2013-15 at the Medina campus.

Maxfield, the GCC History Club and the Clarendon Historical Society also have developed a lecture series at the chapel as part of “Hillside Heritage Events” in October to benefit the restoration effort of the chapel that was built in the Gothic Revival style.

Hillside Heritage events will include a series of evening lectures, without technology. The chapel will be lit only with oil lamps inside the chapel itself at Hillside Cemetery, just south of the village of Holley. Lectures begin at 7 p.m. and are free, though donations to the restoration fund will be gladly accepted.

The lecture series includes:

Oct. 26: GCC Associate Dean of the Orleans County Campus Centers and Historian Jim Simon will present “The Philosophy of History: What Does it Matter?”

Nov. 2: GCC Associate Professor Derek Maxfield will present “Victorian Death and the Civil War.”

In addition, retired Orleans County Historian Bill Lattin will give a lecture at 4 p.m. on Oct. 3, the day of the ghost walk. Lattin will speak in the chapel about Victorian Mourning Art.

Other heritage programs are being planned for Oct. 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the day culminating with the ghost walk from 7 to 9 p.m.

St. Mary’s Parish will celebrate 150 years in Holley

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 August 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

HOLLEY – The St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Holley will kick off the beginning of its 150th anniversary year with a big celebration on Saturday.

There will be a Mass at 5 p.m. officiated by Bishop Richard Malone, leader of the Buffalo Catholic Diocese.

In celebration of the Feast of the Assumption, the parish will have its annual procession through the Public Square with a statue of Mary (pictured above). That procession will begin at about 6 p.m. at the church at 13 South Main St.

A party will follow at 7 p.m. with food and music. The Social and Education Center will also include a historical memorabilia and artifacts related to St. Mary’s Church, St. Mary’s School and St. Mark’s Church in Kendall.

The St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Holley held services in this building on East Avenue, formerly called Canal Street. The parish moved to a new building in 1904, the current church made of Medina sandstone.

This photo shows the Rev. James H. Leddy, the parish priest from 1888 to 1898.

This postcard shows the new church not long after it was built in 1904. The postcard is part of a historical display being put together in The Social and Education Center.

The church remains a dominant and well-maintained landmark in Holley.

John Dellaquila has been a member of St. Mary’s for 50 years. He is pictured next to a statue of St. Rocco from the former St. Rocco’s Catholic Church in Hulberton. The statue was recently refurbished and is proudly displayed inside St. Mary’s.

The church in St. Rocco’s was built in 1906. The parish continues to put on the St. Rocco’s Festival. This year it will be Sept. 6. The festival has been an annual tradition since 1976.

Dellaquila said the parish has been energized with many younger members and the parish priest, Father Mark Noonan.

“We have a very young vibrant crowd that is doing more and more,” Dellaquila said. “It’s still a small parish and the people are friendly.”

Some of the artifacts at St. Mary’s include this book of recipes from the St. Rocco’s church members.

Church historians found this copy of a pew rental payment for $4 for the first quarter of 1899.

Portraits of the priests who have served the parish will also be displayed. The man in the lower right, John Castaldi, is the first priest to serve the parish. Castaldi led the parish from 1873-1875. In the parish’s first few years, it was a missionary church connected to the parish in Brockport.

The interior of St. Mary’s includes many stained-glass windows and ecclesiastical art.

Middleport Church is an enduring, dominant structure

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 July 2015 at 12:00 am

Our Sandstone Heritage

Photos by Tom Rivers
MIDDLEPORT – In this small village in Niagara County, the top of a large church made from Medina sandstone looms over trees and downtown buildings that are blocks away.

St. Stephen’s Catholic Church may be on a side street, but it is a dominant building in the community. I was passing through Middleport on Tuesday evening, and I had to get a few pictures of this church at 21 Vernon St.

I’d like to get inside to see what the big stained-glass windows look like.

St. Stephen’s in Middleport and St. Mary’s in Medina merged their parish in 2008 to become Holy Trinity Parish. The two churches share a priest, the Rev. Daniel J. Fawls.

I wasn’t able to find out when the church was constructed but I think it was from 1908.

Based on this stone, I would guess the sandstone church replaced a building from 1854 to 1908, with the new church openeing in 1908.

St. Mary’s in Medina, one of the most awe-inspiring church buildings I’ve ever seen in a small town, was built in 1902.

The rounded windows and arches is a feature of the Romanesque architectural style, which was popular in medieval Europe.

The church even put a stone cross up high on the top of the building.

This is an impressive site in a tiny village. Some other buildings nearby have sandstone in their foundations, but with this one it looks like every block, from top to bottom, was made of sandstone.

The Medina Sandstone Society is accepting nominations for the next class of the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame. Click here for more information.

Sandstone Society honors Bent’s Hall on its 150th anniversary

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 April 2015 at 12:00 am

‘Landmark structure’ key to Medina’s growth in the late 19th Century

Photos by Tom Rivers – Robert Waters, president of the Medina Sandstone Society, speaks at the podium during an unveiling of a new stone historic marker for the Bent’s Hall, the building in the back. Others on the stage include, from left: Medina Mayor Andrew Meier, GCC professor Tracy Ford, Sandstone Society member Jacob Hebdon, Kathy Blackburn, Lynne Menz, GCC professor and Civil War Encampment Coordinator Derek Maxfield, and Chris Busch, chairman of the Orleans Renaissance Group.

MEDINA – As the Civil War was nearing its end, Don. C. Bent of Medina was preparing to open the Bent’s Hall, a three-story structure made of Medina sandstone at the corner of West Center and Main streets.

Bent acquired the land after a previous frame building burnt to ground on Oct. 7, 1863.

The new building included space for stores and offices, with an opera hall on the third floor. It opened to great fanfare on Feb. 28, 1865.

The building is mostly vacant now, but a group of preservationists are working to stabilize the building with plans to again have the site be bustling with businesses and a home to concerts and other performances.

On Saturday, the Medina Sandstone Society presented a historic marker made in sandstone to the owners of the building, the Orleans Renaissance Group.

Robert Waters, president of the Sandstone Society, thanked the ORG for working to bring back Bent’s Hall and not let the landmark structure fall into ruin.

Jake Hebdon, left, and Chris Busch remove the cover from the stone marker that commemorates the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and the opening of Bent’s Hall – “This Grand Edifice.”

Waters spoke with many Civil War re-enactors gathered on Main Street in front of Bent’s. The events in Medina on Saturday – the unveiling of stone marker and a surrender ceremony to mark the end of the Civil War – was a celebration of “strength and durability,” said Waters, wearing a top hat.

“First, we salute our nation which rose from the Civil War stronger than ever and with growth in all directions,” he said. “Second, we honor this fine sandstone block provided by Don C. Bent giving early strength and movement for the growth of Medina. It was a landmark structure that led decade-by-decade to an entire commercial district of long-lasting stone and brick buildings. They still remain.”

Chris Busch, ORG chairman, thanks Robert Waters and the Sandstone Society for the marker.

The Orleans Renaissance Group last year completed important stabilization of the front corner of the building. The group needs to have the roof fixed and is working on plans for design and construction estimates for interior renovations at Bent’s Hall.

The Sandstone Society has presented several sandstone markers for historic sites and community efforts in recent years. The society wanted to show its support for ORG and its efforts with Bent’s.

“Thus the public will always know that Bent’s Hall is something special,” Waters said in unveiling the marker.

Chris Busch, chairman of the ORG, said the stone marker and the Bent’s building should remind Medina citizens, now and into the future, of the great sacrifices made by the community – serving in war and building enduring structures.

Efforts to restore Hillside Chapel featured at preservation conference

Staff Reports Posted 20 April 2015 at 12:00 am

File photo by Tom Rivers – The chapel at Hillside Cemetery was built in 1894 and is a focal point of the cemetery, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

HOLLEY – The community’s efforts to restore the chapel at Hillside Cemetery in Clarendon was highlighted during a panel discussion during a preservation conference last week in Geneva.

The cemetery was recently included on the National Register of Historic Places and the Town of Clarendon and Clarendon Historical Society are working to secure grants to restore the Gothic Revival Chapel, which was built in 1894 from local Medina sandstone.

The chapel has been vacant and largely unused since the 1960s. Volunteers have cleaned it and are pursuing grants as well as funds from the community. Clarendon officials and volunteers were praised at the preservation for working to preserve the building before it suffers more deterioration.

Erin Anheier of Clarendon has worked to get Hillside Cemetery on the National Register, as well as helping to write other National Register applications in the community. She attended the conference in Geneva and was pleased to see the panel consider how to advance projects in smaller communities.

Photo courtesy of Erin Anheier – Panelists at the New York Statewide Preservation Conference discussed the fund-raising efforts needed to save the chapel at Hillside Cemetery. They brainstormed ways for smaller communtiies to tackle fund-raising efforts. The panelists include, from left: Cynthia Nikitin, Project for Public Spaces, Senior Vice President, Public Art Program Director; Roxanne Kise, Executive Director Western Erie Canal Alliance; Ruth Pierpont, NYS Parks Recreation & Historic Preservation, Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation/Deputy SHPO; Rick Hauser, AIA, LEED, AP, Partner In.Site:Architecture and Mayor of Village of Perry; and Wayne Goodman, Executive Director, Landmark Society of Western New York.

“The panel of seasoned experts in the fields of historic preservation, urban planning, architecture and small town revitalization, along with an audience of preservationists, brainstormed ideas for raising funds for the restoration,” Anheier said.

Wayne Goodman, Landmark Society executive director, commented that it was wise the community was addressing the building “before it was too far gone” as many communities wait until a restoration project becomes overwhelming.

All commented on the architectural significance of the building and encouraged the restoration. They particularly focused on its potential as a public space for the arts, including concerts, art exhibits, poetry readings, etc., Anheier said.

She would like to see a Sandstone Trail developed in Orleans County with the chapel serving as the eastern terminus.

Community members interested in contributing to the chapel’s fund-raising campaign can send tax deductible donations to The Clarendon Historical Society, P.O. Box 124 Clarendon, NY 14429.

4 grand sites – sacred and solemn – join Sandstone Hall of Fame

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 April 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – New inductees of the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame were celebrated during an induction program on Thursday. Pictured include, front row, from left: Father Michael Ferrick, rector of St. Peter Cathedral in Erie, Pa.; Stan Farone, trustee of Village of Albion which owns Mount Albion Cemetery; Jason Zicari, superintendent at Mount Albion. Back row: Keith Boerner, member of Church Council at St. Louis Catholic Church in Buffalo; Rev. Salvatore Manganello, pastor of St. Louis Church; Bill Lattin, member of the “Save The Tower” campaign in Mount Albion; and Scot Fisher, Babeville manager in Buffalo.

MEDINA – The second class of the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame includes towering works of architecture, and structures intended to inspire worship of God or reflection on the sacrifice of the dead.

The Medina Sandstone Society inducted three churches and a Civil War memorial into the Hall of Fame on Thursday. Society President Robert Waters said the new inductees are all “magnificent.”

Robert Waters, president of the Medina Sandstone Society, is pleased with the success of the Hall of Fame, which added its second class on Thursday.

Waters praised a committee – Jim Hancock, David Miller, outgoing member John Slack and newcomer Don Colquhoun – for its efforts in researching nominations, which total 31 over two years.

Hancock is the group’s chairman and he said visiting the sites has given him a deeper appreciation of the local stone’s role in so many of the most durable civic structures in the region and beyond.

The Sandstone Society also wants to highlight the long-term stewardship with many of the buildings, and Herculean restoration efforts for many of the sites that likely would have been demolished.

The following were inducted in the Hall of Fame’s second class:

Delaware-Asbury Church (Babeville)

The church towers more than 200 feet, made of brown Medina sandstone. It was built in a Gothic Revival style between 1871 to 1876. It has one of Buffalo’s most recognizable steeples.

It was originally the Delaware Avenue Methodist Church. It remained an active church site until the 1980s. It was slated for demolition in 1995, but public opposition put off the wrecking ball.

Famed musician Ani DiFranco and her manager Scot Fisher purchased the building and now – $6.5 million dollars later – it has been transformed into a 21st century multi-purpose venue.

Fisher said the building’s new life has been part of the recent Buffalo revivial. He remembers when 20 years ago the sidewalk near the church was blocked off due to worries about falling pieces from the building.

He recalled when DiFranco walked into the church for the first time and saw the horseshoe-shaped balcony.

“What a great place for concerts,” she declared.

Fisher said the renovations have taken years. He is grateful the building has remained part of the Buffalo landscape.

“It’s no longer a church, but it’s a very special building in Buffalo,” he said. “We put our hearts and souls into saving this building.”

St. Louis Church in Buffalo

“The Mother Church” in the Buffalo Catholic Diocese was built in a Gothic Revival style from 1886 through 1889 and features the tallest open-work spire completely made of stone ever built in the United States at 245 feet high.

The two side towers are each 128 feet high. The church has room to seat 2,000 people.

The church completed a major restoration in 2002-03 that included slate roof repairs, tower restoration, exterior stone re-pointing and cleaning.

“It’s a wonderful structure and a beautiful part of the history of Western New York,” said the Rev. Salvatore Manganello, pastor of the church. “The parishioners do all they can to keep up the church as a beautiful place to visit and worship.”

St. Peter Cathedral, Erie, Pa.

It took 20 years to build, from 1873 to 1893. The Catholic Diocese based in Erie would run out of money on different occasions for the project, but Bishop Mullen kept rallying the faithful to get the project done, despite critics who deemed the church “Mullen’s Folly.”

The central tower stands 265 feet high with twin towers at 150 feet on each side of the main tower. It is a dominant landmark in the Erie skyline.

Hancock and the Hall of Fame Committee were awestruck by the grandeur and enormity of the church.

“We were overwhelmed by the beauty of this particular edifice,” Hancock said at the Hall of Fame induction inside Medina City Hall.

Father Michael Ferrick, rector of St. Peter Cathedral, accepted the award “on behalf of the people who worked in the quarry, on behalf of the people who built the cathedral, and on behalf of the parishioners who have cared for the church the past 122 years.”

The people in the church sacrificed to build the immense structure and to maintain it for more than a century “for the greater glory and to honor God,” Ferrick said.

There are now 10 Hall of Fame members and St. Peter Cathedral is the first outside New York State.

Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Mount Albion Cemetery

It took 11 years to raise the money and build the 68-foot-high tower on a hill in the back of Albion’s historic cemetery. The tower was ready in time for the country’s centennial celebration on July 4, 1876. It is a memorial for the 463 people from Orleans County who died in the Civil War.

It is a unique structure, with a spiral staircase leading to the top, offering a view to Lake Ontario and beyond.

The tower would gradually fall into disrepair and in the 1970s the village was considering blocking it off and perhaps demolishing it. But local citizens rallied, raising $20,000 for repairs. The tower was rededicated on July 4, 1976, the 200th anniversary of the country.

Bill Lattin, the retired Orleans County historian, was part of the “Save The Tower” campaign and delivered remarks at the rededication nearly 40 years ago.

He also spoke at the Hall of Fame ceremony, thankful for the people who worked to build the tower and those that pushed to save it.

“It remains today a pride in Mount Albion Cemetery and for our Orleans County community,” Lattin said.

Jason Zicari, the cemetery superintendent, also thanked the Hall of Fame Committee for choosing the tower.

“We’re very proud of our Soldiers and Sailors Monument,” he said.

Sandstone Trust has distributed nearly $20K in 5 years

Posted 4 March 2015 at 12:00 am

File photos by Tom Rivers – The Sandstone Trust provides some funding to Old Tyme Christmas celebration in Medina, which includes the Parade of Lights. The Medina Fire Department decorated its ladder truck for the parade last Nov. 29.

Press Release
Medina Sandstone Society

MEDINA – Medina area residents can be proud of their five years of support for the Sandstone Trust. The community endowment just completed its fifth year of making small grants to local programs, projects and organizations and the total in grants over the five-year period comes to nearly $20,000.

This was reported by Michael Zelazny, chairman of the grants committee, who distributed the most recent checks in January.

“Scores of worthy projects have been supported since 2010 and the grants have covered a wide range,” said Zelazny.

He said grants run from $200 to $600 or even $1,000 in unusual cases.

A grants committee approved funding in the latest round of grants for improvements to the veterans plot at Boxwood Cemetery, to the Medina Business Association for Old-Tyme Christmas, emergency dollars to fix porch damage at the Medina Historical Museum, dollars to The Arc of Orleans toward kitchen equipment for Camp Rainbow, support for Medina’s Civil War Re-Enactment in April, stone repair from frost damage at the Armory (“Y”), and continuation of student scholarships.

Over the past five years about 40 grants have been approved by a citizen selection committee which operates under Zelazny.

“Late each autumn we invite grant applications and even though the amounts given are small they are genuinely helpful to projects having a limited scope,” he said.

Zelazny gave a smattering of typical grants. Money for the local library to continue digitizing historic hometown newspapers, help to the local Historical Society for winterizing, help for the Parade of Lights in the village, dollars to the YMCA for stonework repairs and interior up-grading, help to the Orleans Renaissance Group in placing 11 historical plaques downtown for delight of tourists.

The Sandstone Trust provided some funds for the restoration of this wood frame chapel in the Millville Cemetery. The chapel has a Medina sandstone foundation. It was built into a hill and also served as a receiving vault and office.

The Trust has also provided funding to help in restoring a historic building at Millville Cemetery, support of yearly concerts through the Arts Council, help to Arc of Orleans for client trips and for Nutri-Fare, help to the Medina Business Association for installation of a downtown sound system, assistance to Orleans County Christian School, a Head-Start school on Ensign Avenue and family programs at Medina Junior High School, aid to Community Action for a literacy program, support to GCASA for a program called “Healthy Me” and to Hospice for its new Albion building.

When the Sandstone Trust was officially created in 2009, the society used an obsolete economic development fund which was inactive and in danger of being seized. A contract was written with the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo for financial management, a practice given by CFGB to over 800 such endowments. That management has been trustworthy, according to Zelazny, and the original $18,000 in seed money has multiplied five-fold.

In addition to Zelazny’s grant committee, a group of officers from the board of the Sandstone Society oversees the general plan and it includes Craig C. Lacy, Margaret J. Schreck, David C. Schubel, Robert E. Waters and Timothy J. Moriarty.

The founders of the Trust have had some “high spots” of success over the five years. In the summer of 2010, with the aid of a downtown thermometer, the Trust took in $35,000 in six weeks.

Annual donations to the Medina Sandstone Trust can be made at any time to the society c/o Post Office Box 25, Medina. Gifts offer a total tax deduction.

Medina makes Episcopalian church a local landmark

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 December 2014 at 12:00 am

Congregation sought measure as way to protect building

File photos by Tom Rivers – St. John’s Episcopal Church was built in 1832, making it the oldest remaining church in Orleans County. The church was featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not as “The church in the middle of the street.” Church Street splits by the church near the intersection with East Center Street (Route 31).

MEDINA – The Medina Village Board approved local landmark status on Monday for St. John’s Episcopal Church, a designation that will require any exterior alterations to the building to get Village Planning Board approval.

The church requested the designation for the building, which opened in 1832. It is Orleans County’s oldest remaining church. It was built with Medina sandstone before there were any commercial quarries.

This is the first Medina church outside a historic district to be declared a landmark. The Presbyterian Church is part of the downtown business district that is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The local designation could pave the way for St. John’s to pursue inclusion on the state and national registers of historic places.

Medina Mayor Andrew Meier praised the Episcopal congregation for seeking the local landmark status.

“I’m glad to see the church sees the merits in doing this,” Meier said at Monday’s Village Board meeting. “It is one of the oldest structures in the county.”

The village about five years ago sought to have other churches near the downtown district be declared local landmarks, but the First Baptist, United Methodist and St. Mary’s Catholic Church all opposed the move, saying they feared the designation could saddle them, making building upkeep more costly.

“I’m hopeful some of the other churches will follow suit,” Martin Busch, the village’s code enforcement officer, said after Monday’s meeting. “There is no reason to feel threatened. It’s a recognition of the historic significance of the building to a community.”