At 8245 Mentor Avenue you will notice the remnants of old stone wall, lovely rhododendrons and the front of a 1868 Gothic Revival Style home (center core, first and second floors). Today it is known as The Read House. Purchased by the Mentor Public Library in 2009, it is used now as a community programming and outreach center. What is not known by many is the history of this 1968 Heritage Home (#61). Today we explore the history of this local landmark.
The property now owned by the Mentor Public library is just 1.33 acres. In 1840 it was part of a 55 acre parcel owned by Elias Randall. In 1845 the property was transferred to Orrin Loomis. Oscar Loomis inherited the property in 1857, then valued at just over $300. A 1865 report indicates the property was reduced to 10 acres that year. 1867 begins the storied history of the house now standing on Mentor Avenue. H.C. King built the Gothic Style Revivial structure (porches came later). It remained in his possession through 1900 when Laura C. Harris gained title. George N. Dow took title in 1912. Alice Harshaw was granted the title in 1928 and held it until 1940 when Hoyt P. Downing assumed ownership. Just two years later J.R. Reed became the titleholder. Mrs. Catherine Reed held onto the home until its sale in 2009.
If you wander the property or visit the house during a library program, much is worth noting. Interior-wise a fireplace circa 1950, cabinetry, and leaded glass windows circa 1989 are noteworthy. An outside sojourn will reveal remnants of a stone wall entrance that at one time connected a 300' iron fence. The rhododendron bushes came from England in 1912 when the Dow family resided there. A barn structure that at one time housed four horses is part of the history of the property. Likewise an ice house was present. Cut ice came from Newell Pond, part of Mentor Recreation Park/Garfield Park.
The 'Read' House is just another hidden gem in the annals of Lake County history. Stop by in 2013 and celebrate Mentor's Fiftieth Anniversary with a visit to this local landmark.
**Information for this article was taken from the Mentor Public Library website and a document history of the home dated 3/9/68.