We have all heard Medina referred to as “the sweetest town on earth” and know about the Medina “battling (or musical) bees” mascot. There’s even a Medina County Bee Festival. All this because of one Medina man’s interest in honey bees and their well-being back in the mid-1800s — Amos Ives Root, founder of Root Candles, still based in Medina and making "The Best Candles in America.”
But back to the photo of the gentleman on what appears to be a really fun carnival ride. The image is in fact, A.I. Root flying in a Wright Brothers style airplane at the Medina County Fair in 1915. Very appropriate since Medina County Fair Week just ended.
Mr. Root, always interested in new technology, had read some "sketchy" news accounts about the Wrights, who were very secretive about their work and did not encourage reporters to cover their experimental flights. Therefore, in September of 1904, just three months after the brothers’ famous flight at Kitty Hawk in North Carolina, A.I. Root drove his 1903 Oldsmobile (another favorite recent invention) nearly 200 miles on primitive roads from Medina to the Wrights' hometown in Dayton, Ohio. While there he was present at Huffman Prairie when Wilbur Wright flew in a circle around the pasture, returning the plane to its starting point for the very first time. A.I. Root wrote about the event in his journal Gleanings in Bee Culture making him the "first reporter" to write about the Wright brothers' historic accomplishment.
"...these brothers have probably not even a faint glimpse of what their discovery is going to bring to the children of men. No one living can give a guess of what is coming along this line, much better than any one living could conjecture the final outcome of Columbus’ experiment..."
Gleanings in Bee Culture, Jan. 1, 1905
You can learn more about A.I. Root and his interest in bees, honey and the earliest days of aviation at the following websites:
The Medina County Fair, one of Ohio’s oldest, is celebrating its 173rd anniversary this year and many interesting things have happened over its long history. You might want to visit the Fair’s website to learn more about how this Medina County institution came into being and grew from a livestock show on Medina’s Public Square in the mid-1800s, to early “harvest display” days in the 1850s on just seven acres to the present-day weeklong event which draws over 110,000 visitor’s each year to its recently improved 92 acre site.