Monday, February 8, 2016

Saving Mentor's History Part II

In recent years- news stories, on-line postings, and social media of all types seem to reflect a dumbing-down of the American mind to the point where the knowledge of history, especially local history is no longer deemed necessary.  Community residents may live there for less than a decade, thus honoring or remembering places, persons or things from the past holds no connection.

The first hand memories of many of the old time residents that were passed down generationly are rapidly being lost as the current generations, for the most part, do not have any interest in those memories.  Even Mentor's 50th Anniversary Lecture Series in 2013 and a file cabinet full of historical Mentor documents in former Kathie Pohl's Mentor Economic Development Office garner minimal attention.  This makes Thomas G. Matowitz Jr.'s newest book about Mentor all the more important.  Like the previous six books (see below) that came before his, this new publication celebrates the history of neighborhoods, buildings and names that dotted Mentor, Ohio.

Looking throughout the county, one finds dedicated historical societies of varying sizes in Fairport Harbor, Wickliffe, Perry, Willoughby, Willoughby Hills and Madison.  Some are housed in historical buildings such as a lighthouse, school building  or prominent estate.  Another one or two have had their municipalities commit a building or room to their efforts. This is true in Willoughby, Willoughby Hills and Eastlake.  Mentor, the county's largest community has yet to have a dedicated collections building.  For a brief time Mentor's history fell under the umbrella of the Lake County History Center when it called President Garfield's House its home.  Mentor's explosive growth in the 70's & 80's saw much of its early historical prizes razed for progress.  Their remnants were lost to time.  After 1983 the history of Mentor has traveled with the LCHS to Shadyside and its current location in Painesville.  Part III will look at some of Mentor's past - lost to time.

Past Publications about Mentor, Ohio History -  not all still in publication
  • History of Mentor Headlands and Vicinity, 1957
  • This is Lake County, 1964
  • Mentor-A Retrospective, 1988
  • Mentor: The First 200 Years, 1997
  • Roses to Retail, 2011
  • This is Lake County -updated by LCHS, 2015

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