Monday, April 30, 2012

Mentor's Other National Landmark- Bardons & Oliver Inc. & Wildwood Cultural Center

The John G. Oliver House was built at 7645 Little Mountain Road in 1908 as a summer residence for early Cleveland industrialist Oliver, co-founder of Bardons & Oliver.  George Bardons and John G. Oliver founded their machine tool firm in 1891 and operated it in various downtown Cleveland sites thru 1988.  Oliver made frequent visits to England and it was his love of the English Tudor Revival style that led to his Mentor summer home design.  The 25 room mansion situated on 35 acres was built by Abram Garfield, youngest son of our twentieth U. S. President.  The hey-day of Oliver's summer estate ran thru 1924. John Oliver hosted small parties on the top floor and used the oak floorboards as his dance surface.  'Wildwood' was willed to his daughter Margaret Oliver Collacott as a living trust for her daughters.  The granddaughters sold the property in 1980.  The City of Mentor turned the former Oliver House into a cultural center and secured National Register of Historic homes status on the structure in 1981. 

2012's calendar of events at Wildwood will follow its usual pattern.  The Wildwood Singers will present their "Love is in the Air" concert this Friday, May 4th.  The Annual Plant Sale follows May 19th.  June 27th features a unique comedy club event and July 15th is reserved for a family fun day and picnic.  Since 1984, Wildwood's Garden Club manicures and maintains flower beds on the grounds as well as sponsoring various school / community events.  Hiking trails ring the mansion and may be experienced by park visitors daily.  Wildwood paints a vivid picture of life in the first half of the 20th century. Do stop by and experience still another hidden gem in our county history.

Some facts gleaned from 2011's  Roses to Retail - Barbara Snell Davis-author

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