Tucked away on the second floor of the Media-Upper Providence Free Library, the volunteers of the Media Historic Archives Commission work diligently scanning pictures, organizing memorabilia and documenting the history of Media. These dedicated volunteers have amassed an impressive and extensive collection of pictures, documents, maps, deeds and collectibles which tell a compelling story about the residents of Media long ago. A visit to the Media Historic Archives website is like travelling back in time.
The archives were created in 1987 from the personal collection of Frank Lees (1918-1999), a lifelong resident who donated the material to the Borough of Media before his death. Frank Lees’s collection contained the vast treasure trove of pictures and glass negatives from Stephen H. Appleton (b. 1854) of Media, Pennsylvania. Mr. Appleton was editor of the local newspaper, The Delaware County American, and also worked as a professional photographer around the turn of the 20th century. Many of Appleton’s photographs were used in legal cases such as pictures of accident scenes and criminals which can be seen within the collection online. He was a member of the local branch of the Freemasons (George W. Bartram Lodge No. 29 of Media) and the Delaware County Historical Society and was living in Media during the borough’s Semi Centennial in 1900.
Appleton was married to Deborah T. Haddock with whom he had several children, including Alfred Appleton and Susannah P. Appleton (1898-1977). Stephen Appleton died in 1909.
The Media Historic Archives Commission (MHAC) acts as a custodian for archival materials relating to the Borough of Media and neighboring communities. Included in the archives are thousands of photographs, maps, scrapbooks, movies, tape recordings, newspapers, memorabilia, and other artifacts. Pat Lemly kept the MHAC active for 17 years as chairperson and oversaw much of the organization of the Appleton collection. This past year Adam Levine was elected as chair of the MHAC. Mr. Levine worked for several years scanning and cataloging the Appleton collection for use on the MHAC website. A ledger that Mr. Appleton maintained along with extensive online searches, helped Levine identify the people and places in the photographs. With help from Walter Rice, Jr., the collection was uploaded to the new Media Historic Archives website. Whether you are a history buff or not, the Historic Archives website is a fascinating collection of pictures that tell the unique story of Media.
Besides keeping the vast collection cataloged and available, the Media Historic Archives Commission answers inquiries regarding the collection. Most recently Nativity BVM Parish in Media was able to obtain information from MHAC for the parish’s 150th anniversary and the Media Fawns cheerleaders found information on their organization going back years. The Historic Archives Commission also assists the Media Historic Architectural Review Board when they require pictures for projects within the borough.
Since the archives started as a personal collection, it is not a comprehensive resource with information on every house, family, and event in Media’s history. To peruse a list of resources on the history of Media and Delaware County that go beyond the limited collection of the MHAC, see the FAQ (frequently asked questions) listed on the MHAC website. Currently, MHAC member Walt Cressler is going through the borough to take pictures of every structure in Media so that a complete picture of Media Borough will be available for future generations.
MHAC meetings, usually held on the 4th Thursday of the month, are open to the public. Please visit the Media Borough website calendar for meeting dates. No meetings are held in July and December. Meetings begin at 7 p.m. and are held in the archives room on the second floor of the Media-Upper Providence Free Library (MUPFL), 1 East Front Street (at the corner of Jackson Street), in Media.
The MHAC actively seeks to add new items to the collection. You may contact the MHAC commission at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have something to donate or lend to the archives.
The archives are open by appointment only. Email the Media Historic Archives Commission at email@example.com to request an appointment or for other inquiries. While the MHAC tries to respond in a timely way to all inquiries that come our way, the five volunteer members of the MHAC have other jobs and responsibilities outside this commitment, so your patience is appreciated.
Members of the commission serve 5-year terms. The current commissioners are Adam Levine (Chairperson), Katherine LoRusso, Stephanie Gaboriault, Walter Cressler, and Pat Lemly. Sayre Dixon is liaison from Borough Council, and Michael Pahides is liaison from the MUPFL Board. Besides the many items displayed on the Historic Archives website, a sampling of the collection can be seen in two display cases on the second floor of the Media-Upper Providence Free Library, 1 E. Front St. (at the corner of Jackson St.), in Media.
Many thanks to all the volunteers of the Media Historic Archives Commission who keep and protect our borough’s history.