New York Central Railroad: Small Stone Station
The museum began its history as a small stone building with only a single ticket agent to assist passengers and answer NYCRR telegraphs. Facing complaints from local business leaders, the Village of Medina petitioned the New York Central to build a larger structure that could meet the demands of the expanding manufacturing village. In 1905, the New York Central tore down the small structure to begin construction on the 300ft freight house that stands today.
Read article from the 1905 Medina Tribune referencing this event.
New York Central Railroad: Freight Depot
Right from the start in 1905, the NYCRR Freight Depot was utilized by the numerous local manufacturing companies; most notably the Heinz Pickle Factory right down the road. In fact, four out of the original twenty-two freight doors were devoted specifically to exporting Medina made pickles. In 1937, Heinz expanded their factory to include a loading dock of their own, however the Freight Depot was still a central point of distribution for regional products for the next three decades.
Village Square Furniture Store
Following the decline of the railroad in 1963, the Freight Depot was sold by the NYCRR to the Thomas and Helen Hickey who at the time owned a thriving furniture shop on Main St, Medina. The Hickeys used the large space as a warehouse for the next four years until consolidating their inventory into the newly opened Village Square Furniture Store. The furniture store saw great success for decades until the Hickeys decided to retire in 1991 after 45 years together in the furniture business. It was then that Marty Phelps, founder of the museum, purchased the building.
Martin C. Phelps
December 13, 1941-April 25, 2017
Marty was born in Panama Canal Zone, Panama. He was a United States Army veteran having served with the 4th Armored Division; a retired City of Batavia Fireman; 50-year volunteer fireman; Chief of the “Lives Are Precious” Fire & Burn Prevention Program; volunteer youth counselor/advocate for arson-related crimes, burn victims and their families; and was the Creator, Director and Conductor of the Medina Railroad Museum and co-founder of GSME (Genesee Society of Model Engineers). He will be remembered as a loving, caring father and grandfather. His legacy will live on through his family and the Railroad Museum will continue to grow as he always dreamed.