The Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc.

supporting the arts, culture and preservation in Medina and across Western New York.

Category: In the News

Medina Marker Commemorates Frederick Douglass Speeches

Side 1 Douglass Sign F1     Side 2 Douglass Sign F2

The Frederick Douglass Historic Marker Initiative– a Medina project launched by the Orleans Renaissance Group, January 2015 is nearing completion.  The project will feature a two-sided NYS Historic Marker commemorating two occasions when Frederick Douglass spoke in Medina.

Douglass visited Medina and many places throughout Orleans County during his life.  The two instances commemorated on the marker are an 1849 appearance at the Methodist Episcopal Church which stood on Main Street until 1874. 

The second side of the marker commemorates an important gathering of African-Americans in August of 1869, celebrating Emancipation.  The gathering was widely publicized and attracted attendees from across New York State.  At that event, Douglass delivered a speech entitled “We are not yet quite free”– a speech that became widely known and today continues to be referenced in books, publications and scholarly works.   

Chris Busch, ORG President and coordinator of the project, says the marker commemorates Medina’s support of abolition and emancipation.   

“The Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc. along with all the donors and supporters believe that these moments in Medina history are of the greatest import and must be preserved for all generations to come.” said Busch. “Aside from President Lincoln, Frederick Douglass stands as the most significant and consequential figure in the 19th century who routinely placed his life in danger in the cause of freedom and justice. The fact that the Village of Medina and Douglass are intertwined in that great struggle is a tremendous point of pride and should stand as an inspiration to current and future generations.”

The sign is being cast by Catskill Castings, a foundry in Bloomville, NY. 

“Like so many projects before, this project wouldn’t have been possible without generous support from the community,” said Busch. “Again, folks immediately recognized the importance of commemorating Douglass in Medina and responded swiftly to see it done.” 

The cost of the project was nearly $1800.  The donor/sponsors are as follows:

Hon. James P. Punch

Christopher & Cynthia Busch

William Hungerford

Gabrielle & Andina Barone in memory of Vincent D. Cardone

Medina Sandstone Society

David & Gail Miller

Anonymous

Wilson Southworth

Nunzio T. Maiorana

Katherine K. Bogan, Esq.

Mark B. Kruzynski

ORG is working to have the marker in place by Friday, April 24 for an unveiling to coincide with the Education Day segment of the GCC Civil War initiative. ORG is currently working with Derek Maxfield, Asst. Professor of History and James Simon, GCC Medina Campus Dean, along with Nicole Goyette and representatives from the Medina Central Schools in an attempt to secure a nationally renowned Frederick Douglass reenactor for the event.

This project recently received national exposure, appearing in major newspapers around the nation via Associated Press.

Links:

Batavia Daily News: Medina Commemorates Frederick Douglass Speeches

Orleans Hub: ORG wants historic marker in Medina downtown for leading abolitionist

Washington Times: Marker Commemorates Frederick Douglass Speeches

Houston Chronicle: Marker Commemorates Frederick Douglass Speeches

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ORG Heads Up Interpretive Sign Initiative in Medina

Interpretive Sign #4 FINAL PRINT 2-18-14  The Interpretive Sign Initiative– a Medina project launched by the Orleans Renaissance Group late summer of 2013 has been completed.  The project features eleven “interpretive signs” that have been installed throughout Medina’s Historic Downtown District, creating a historic sign trail.

Chris Busch, ORG President and coordinator of the project, says that Medina has seen its tourist numbers increase each year and must take the next steps to make their visit to Medina a more meaningful experience.

“It can bring a historic landmark or event to life and allow a visitor to take home more than a picture and a memory— a deeper appreciation of our village,” Busch said.

Interpretive prints, mounting and additional coordination has been provided courtesy of Ken Daluisio of The Print Shop, Medina. Installation was provide by the Medina DPW and The Print Shop.  Review and editing of each sign panel was provided by Mr. Adam Tabelski.  Sign panels were researched and designed buy Mr. Christopher Busch, ORG.

“This project wouldn’t have been possible without generous support from the community,” said Busch. “Not only were the donor/sponsors generous, the response was extremely swift. Everyone immediately saw the importance of providing a visible, public interpretation of Medina’s history.” Donor/sponsors provided up to $500 to sponsor each individual sign and/or associated expenses.  The donor/sponsors are as follows:

• Sign #1: Welcome to Historic Medina.  This sign was sponsored by the Medina Business Association.

• Sign #2: Main Street Historic District.  This sign was sponsored by Gabrielle & Andina Barone in memory of Thomas & Sara Calandra, former Medina Main Street business owners.

• Sign #3: Robert H. Newell & Co.  This sign was sponsored by Andrew W. Meier, Esq.

• Sign #4: Bent’s Opera House.  This sign was sponsored by the Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc.

• Sign #5:  The Erie Canal – Medina, NY.  This sign was sponsored by Dave & Gail Miller and Hartway Motors.

• Sign #6: Grover Cleveland & Frances Folsom.  This sign was sponsored by Rita Zambito of Zambito Realty

• Sign #7: Medina Sandstone.  This sign was sponsored by The Medina Sandstone Trust

• Sign #8: New & Modern: Electric Trolley.  This sign was sponsored by former Mayor Marcia Tuohey

• Sign #9: Medina’s Immigrant Heritage.  This sign was sponsored by Christopher & Cynthia Busch/Buckiewicz

• Sign #10: The Medina Fire Department.  This sign was sponsored by the Medina Firefighters benevolent Association.

• Sign #11: The New York Central Railroad.  This sign was sponsored by the Medina Business Association

Additional sponsorship of associated expenses was made by Mr. Timothy Elliott.

Links: 

WGRZ: Medina’s Downtown Historic District receives Interpretive Signs

WGRZ: Interpretive signs seen as way to boost Medina

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Buffalo’s Community Beer Works visits Bent’s

Ethan Cox and Greg Patterson from Buffalo’s Community Beer Works visited Bent’s today with an eye toward possibly establishing a satellite microbrewery there.

Their operation–which they describe as Buffalo’s first nanobrewery–has a quickly growing reputation for quality craft beers, including The IPA, which came in second at the Brewing News’ 2013 National IPA Championship.  But Greg and Ethan are about more than just beer, and they’re looking to use their operation to help foster a sense of community in towns surrounding Buffalo–one reason why they came to check out Bent’s, which not only stands in the center of Medina but could come back as the village’s cultural and commercial center too.

Read more about Community Beer Works visit to Bent’s Opera House posted by Mike Gaughn here at Bring Back Bent’s: Buffalo’s Community Beer Works visits Bent’s

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ORG Participates in the 2013 Civil War Encampment at GCC

IMG_1988The Orleans Renaissance Group joined forces with GCC’s Civil War Encampment, April 26-18, 2013 at the Medina Campus of Genesee Community College. This was GCC’s 2nd annual Civil War Encampment, the first was held in Lima, NY in 2012.IMG_1950

 

 

 

 

 

Civil War Soldiers, Civilians and Contingents will converged on Medina beginning Friday, 2/26/13. The weekend will included:

  • Parade down Main Street featuring Civil War actors in full regalia, Saturday morning
  • Tours of Bent’s Hall & Opera House, Saturday 11 AM to 3 PMCW1 Bents
  • Civil War Battle Re-enactment, Saturday 2 PM
  • Cotillion, Saturday Evening, featuring City Fiddle from Buffalo
  • Displays and Dioramas at GCC Medina Campus throughout the weekend

Proceeds from this event supported the Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc. and the Bent’s Opera House restoration.

FXPhotoStudioExportedImage 6

GeneralsCW2 Bents

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Preservation League Names Bent’s Opera House to Seven to Save list of endangered places for 2012-13

ALBANY, April 27, 2012 – The Preservation League of New York State has named Bent’s Opera House in Medina to its list of the Empire State’s most threatened historic resources, Seven to Save.

Bent’s Opera House is an imposing three-story corner commercial building constructed of the famed Medina sandstone. It is an anchor building in the Village of Medina’s Main Street Historic District, designated at the local, state and national levels. It opened on February 28, 1865 with three store fronts on the first floor, mostly offices on the second level, and an ornate performance space on the third floor. The Orleans Renaissance Group Inc., (ORG) an arts not-for-profit, is now the owner of this handsome but neglected resource. Since the performance space has not been used for decades, water damage, structural issues and deferred maintenance threaten this landmark.

“Since 1999, Seven to Save has mobilized community leaders and decision-makers to take action when historic resources are threatened,” said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League. “A Seven to Save designation from the League delivers invaluable technical assistance, fosters increased media coverage and public awareness, and opens the door to grant assistance for endangered properties.”

The inclusion of Bent’s Opera House on the Seven to Save list provides the opportunity for the League to work with advocates to develop a strategy for returning this multi-story historic building to full use. With so many opera houses in New York’s small cities and villages, solutions to the use, design, current code, and financial issues facing the building could serve as a statewide model.

“Through the Seven to Save program, we provide targeted support to seven of New York’s most important and endangered historic resources,” said Tania Werbizky, the Preservation League’s regional director for technical and grant programs for the Southern Tier and Western New York. “Whether sites are threatened by insensitive, ineffective or insufficient public policies, general neglect, or, in some cases, outright demolition, we have a proven record of working with community advocates to save a number of significant properties. The Preservation League is committed to helping revive this important building type as a means of enhancing broader downtown revitalization programs.”

Members of ORG have been busy formulating plans for the restoration and reuse of the building. Discussions have been underway to develop a phased restoration plan, including repairs to roof trusses, façade restoration, interior and exterior design renderings, and floor plans for envisioned reuse.

“This is immensely significant, and elevates the importance of preserving Bent’s Opera House across New York State and indeed, the nation,” said Chris Busch, Vice President of ORG. “This is an historic occasion, and we are grateful for the recognition and support given by the Preservation League.”

A reception marking the occasion will be held at the Shirt Factory Café, 115 West Center St., Medina, NY, Saturday, April 28th from 3 to 6 PM with a presentation by the Preservation League at 4 PM. People attending the reception will have an opportunity to see the Opera House in it’s “before” phase, learn about it’s rich history, and ORG’s vision for the future of the building.

Since 1999, publicity and advocacy resulting from Seven to Save designation has led to the rehabilitation and reopening of the Oswego City Public Library, the rebirth of Montauk Manor on Long Island, and the rededication of the once-abandoned George Harvey Justice Building in Binghamton along with successes at several other locations.

The Preservation League of New York State is a not-for-profit membership organization founded in 1974. The League invests in people and projects that champion the essential role of preservation in community revitalization, sustainable economic growth, and the protection of New York’s historic buildings and landscapes. It leads advocacy, economic development, and education programs all across the state.

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ORG and PLNYS Announce: Bent’s Opera House a Seven-to Save site for 2012-2013

ORG Tour & Reception 4-28-12MEDINA, NY The Orleans Renaissance Group (ORG) made a “special announcement” on Saturday, April 28, 2012 regarding the status of historic Bent’s Opera House in Medina, NY.

A reception marking the occasion was hosted by ORG on Saturday, April 28th, 2012 from 3 PM to 6 PM at the Shirt Factory Café, 115 West Center St., Medina, NY and included guided tours of Bent’s Opera House. ORG Board of Directors along with representatives from the Preservation League of New York State were on hand to announce Bent’s Opera House as a Seven-to-Save designee for 2012-2013. Several special guests and dignitaries on hand, including NYS Senator George Maziarz, NYS Assemblyman Steve Hawley, Orleans County Legislature Chairman David Callard and Tania Werbizky of PLNYS.

4f9e13014bd6a.imageThe Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) volunteer organization promoting the arts and preservation in Medina and Western New York. Their membership stretches across the Niagara Frontier and Genesee Valley. The restoration of Bent’s Opera House is the focus of their preservation efforts in Medina. Built in 1864, Bent’s Opera House was a bustling center for the arts through the early 20th century. (WGRZ: Bent’s Opera House in Medina is a Seven-to Save)

The historic Medina Sandstone structure is located on the northwest corner of Main and West Center Streets in Medina, and was donated to ORG by the Bank of America in 2009. Members of ORG have been busy formulating plans for the restoration and reuse of the building. Discussions have been underway with engineers and architects to develop a phased restoration plan, including repairs to roof trusses, façade restoration, interior and exterior design renderings, and floor plans for envisioned reuse. (WGRZ: Medina’s Bent’s Opera House receives designation from PLNYS)

The community had an opportunity during the reception to attend guided tours. Visitors saw the Opera House in it’s “before” phase, learned about it’s rich history and ORG’s vision for the future of the building. The event included wine tasting compliments of Leonard Oakes Estate Winery, canapés from Zambistro and live music. An exhibit featuring Bent’s Opera House history and plans for the restoration were on display at the Shirt Factory Café as well as promotional videos that have been produced for the ORG.

 

 

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