Medina Journal-Register — “This is something that will be here forever, like the sandstone itself.”
Indeed, Medina sandstone has been used in structures throughout Orleans County, New York State and various parts of the world since the mid-1800s. As Bob Waters of the Medina Sandstone Society said, the stone is quite ancient and everlasting.
“It took Mother Nature 400 million years to turn sand into sandstone,” he said, alluding to the longevity of the structures made with the rock.
Waters welcomed a small crowd to Medina Village Hall Thursday afternoon at the inaugural induction of the Medina Sandstone Society Hall of Fame. The committee tasked with naming the first Hall class was made up of Jim Hancock, Dave Miller and John Slack.
“It’s kind of exciting to have people here from other communities interested in this,” Hancock said. “It’s really gratifying to us to see they feel this is important, too.”
Miller said the process of determining the first inductees was enjoyable.
“It was a great opportunity to see buildings in Western New York we were not aware of,” Miller said, “and we hope it extends and continues and people recognize that there are so many beautiful buildings featuring sandstone.”
Together the committee joked that they are trying to get the Sandstone Society to authorize an expense account for travel to London’s Buckingham Palace, where some Medina sandstone is reportedly part of the structure. “Bob (Waters) said we’ve got $100 to work with,” Hancock chuckled.
Slack said the Hall of Fame committee is already looking forward to next year’s class and will eventually map out road trips to scout future nominations. It is expected, according to the committee, that the Hall of Fame inductions become an annual event.
As for the first-ever Medina Sandstone Society Hall of Fame Class, it includes six structures, all of which call Western New York home. The class includes the Medina Armory (currently housing the Orleans County YMCA), St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Buffalo, Pullman Memorial Universalist Church in Albion, St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester, St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Medina, and the Richardson/Olmsted Complex in Buffalo.
Each inductee is featured on a plaque that was created by Takeform. The local graphics company, owned by Bill Hungerford, donated both time and materials to the Sandstone Society for the Hall of Fame effort.
Representatives from each structure were on hand Thursday evening to accept the honor for their respective buildings.
Ryan Hanrahan and Dina Zinone, part of the management company of St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester, accepted their place’s award.
“Obviously to be the first of something is quite an honor,” Hanrahan said. “We always knew we had a cool building, so this enlightened us even more.”
Barb Filipiak, a trustee with St. Mary’s, accepted the honor on church’s behalf. She said it was something of which the church, and community, should be proud.
“I couldn’t imagine have a Sandstone Hall of Fame in Medina without St. Mary’s,” Filipiak stated. She praised the Sandstone Society for creating such a “wonderful thing” and for working to draw interest from younger generations.
“It’s important to have young people involved in this, too,” she said. “The society has done a wonderful job of blending the village’s heritage with the new, and the village is as much fun to be in now as it’s ever been.”
The village mayor, Andrew Meier, said the Hall of Fame will serve an important purpose.
“It reminds both locals, and the world at large, that this place matters,” he said.
As for the Hall’s location, Hancock said the Village Hall is “historic in its own right because it’s made of sandstone.”
He added, “It’s the perfect location because the visitors center is here and they can see the Hall of Fame whenever they stop by. It fits with the community.”