Monday, June 25, 2012

The City of Mentor's 'Gramma G'

'Gramma G' was Mentor's first and only woman mayor.  She lived in a red house behind the mansion in a park that now bears her name.  Her neighbors the Boltons, Kings, and Kreugers all recall as youngsters 'Gramma G'.  Born in 1899 Eleanor Borton was wed to President Garfield's grandson Rudolph H. For a four year period from 1952-1956, she served as Mentor's mayor.  In that time, Madam Mayor's vision set into motion the changes that transformed a small village into the county's biggest 1960's Gold Rush.

These 1950's accomplishments included teaming up with local businessman Ray Dawson to get Governor O'Neill to relocate the new Route 2 to free up 1000 acres of land for a Tyler Blvd. Industrial Park.  Her diligence in ending a gambling operation at the Old Newell Estate brought the residents what was originally known as Mentor Rec Park on Mentor Avenue.  This granddaughter-in-law also brought Ohio Water Service to the residents of Mentor.  Eleanor supplemented her $75 a month mayoral salary by finishing antiques.  It is even said that she painted the entire inside of the Old village Hall herself.

In time, Eleanor's vision led to the successful retail development along Mentor Avenue and North Center Street.  The 65 acre Mentor Recreation Park was renamed as a tribute to Eleanor in 1980.  While 'Gramma G' did not reside in Mentor in her later years, her passing in 1994 was an unofficial end to Mentor's only Woman Mayor and Gold Rush champion.

Originally posted June 25, 2012

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