Monday, March 11, 2013

Mentor at 50 - Vexillology circa April, 1988

Charles Parker, a surveyor for the Connecticut Land Company arrived in the Mentor marsh area in 1797.  His visit and the subsequent settlement of the area became a key moment in the history of the Western Reserve.  The name Mentor was borrowed from ancient history.  Mentor was the tutor of Telemachus, son of Odysseus.  Mentor became one of the original six townships.  From these humble beginnings Mentor began its storied history.  More than one hundred years of gradual growth merged in 1963 when the City of Mentor became a reality.

Vexillology is the study of flags.  Dr. Whitney Smith is recognized as the leading pioneer in this field.  He founded the field in 1957 and within two years his scholarly studies were recognized and sought after.  Flags are ubiquitous.  Land, maritime, country, state, city are but a few recognized places where flags are utilized.  Providing information or serving as a denotation is the norm.

In April of 1988, the Mentor flag was adopted as the official city icon.  Designed by Brad Frost, it was chosen from the entries submitted to the Mentor Headlands Amvets Post #40, Ladies Auxiliary.
The officially adopted flag maintains the burgee or swallowtail design.  A blue triangle represents Ohio's terrain and the stripes represent the historic modes of transportation.  The cardinal, the official bird of state and city sits in the 'O' which is Ohio.  Six stars representing the six original townships of the Western Reserve complete the winning design.

As Mentor celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, this little hidden gem is but one small heading in the larger chapter that is Mentor's History.  Programs begin next month that will explore various interesting facts about the City of Mentor.  Lectures and guest speakers remembrances will be held at Wildwood.  Visit the city website for more details.  Program flyers are now available at the Mentor Public Library and other city sites.

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