This coming Saturday, August 6th, Medway will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of its founding. The one-day event will be taking place at the Medway School on Middle Street. Events will be taking place throughout the day into the evening. These events include a Cruise-in, kids activities, a historical display, food and merchandise vendors, and live music into the evening.
Rev. Archibald Steele, a Presbyterian minister of the Honey Creek Presbyterian Creek Church, platted and drew up the plat of Medway. It was acknowledged before Samuel Smith, a Justice of the Peace, on August 24, 1816. It is located halfway between Dayton and Springfield thus giving it the name of Medway. The majority of the plat is located in the southwest corner of Section 19, Township3, and Range 9, while the western edge lies in the southeast corner of Section 25, Township 3, and Range 9. The size of the lots are 8 poles by 5 poles or about ¼ of an acre. The streets are 4 poles wide, the alleys are one pole wide. There are 89 lots total in number.
Jacob Hershey came from Lancaster County, PA, and purchased many of the lots. He is credited for building the first home in Medway and operating the first post office. He advertised land for sale in the Lancaster, PA, newspaper. In 1840, about 60 members of predominately German descent emigrated from Lancaster, PA, and came to the Medway area. Among the group was John Herr, a bishop of the Reformed Mennonite Church. Many of these men were skilled laborers and successful farmers. Many of the homes they built are still standing today.
Medway has had many changes in its history from a town with a rich milling industry with several gristmills, a sawmill, Woodbury distillery, a woolen factory, and a cooper business east of town near Sharps Corner. In 1900, Medway was selected to be the location of the Dayton, Springfield, and Urbana Electric Railroad powerhouse. This brought a tremendous change to the area as many residents found employment with this new factory. It also brought many new faces into Medway. Men found jobs such as motormen, firemen, conductors, engineers, welders, linesmen, blacksmiths and general laborers. Tecumseh Park also opened in 1900 and huge company picnics, some involving thousands, were held there over the next 25 years or so. The Ladies Aid Society from the Methodist Church provided food for a lot of these picnics. Medway had two hotels at one time and several groceries that did a good business. With the coming of the automobile the thrill of the electric railroad died off. They stopped producing electricity at the powerhouse in 1921. By the mid-1920s many companies discontinued using Tecumseh Park for their picnics. The last run for the electric railroad took place on October 29, 1938, and the tracks were removed soon after.
Many large factories in Dayton and Springfield offered many jobs in the area around the time of World War II and afterwards. The population grew rapidly and many subdivisions were added to Medway and the surrounding area. Many others were employed at Patterson Field and later Wright Patterson Air Force Base.