An orphan, Harrison Grey Blake -- better known as H.G. Blake around the Medina community -- founded the old Phoenix Bank in Medina, Ohio in 1845. Blake initially bought a general store and added an iron cage, or safe, to the back room, thus creating a bank. The three story building had other businesses on the first floor, while the second floor was used for office space, and the third floor housed a social club and a 500-seat theater.
Unfortunately, the second fire on the Medina Square in 1870 destroyed the bank. The safe, however, survived. After this calamity, Blake rallied the citizens of Medina to begin rebuilding the structures damaged or destroyed by the fire. He put forth his bank as the first business to lead this movement, hence the name the Old Phoenix Bank, deriving from the mythical phoenix known for rising from the ashes. From this pivotal moment in Medina history the bank continued to grow and open other branches.
In 1981 Phoenix Bank merged with First National Bank of Ohio. Then, in 1995 the bank changed its name to its current title of First Merit Corporation. First Merit Bank now has 169 branches and 224 ATM machines serving mainly Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. It continues to maintain a branch on Medina Square at the site of the first Phoenix Bank.