At the time of this writing, Mentor is the largest city in Lake County, Ohio.
Although not formally established until 1855, Mentor was founded in the late eighteenth century. In 1797, Charles Parker built the first cabin in the area, and by 1799, two families resided in the community. Residents named the community after the character "Mentor" in Greek mythology. Mentor grew relatively quickly, primarily due to the town's proximity to Lake Erie and the Ohio and Erie Canal. In 1815, residents established Mentor Township, and four years later, the Mentor Library Company opened the first subscription library in the Western Reserve section of Ohio. By 1840, 1,245 people resided in the community. Forty years later, the population had increased to more than 1,800 people.
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many Mentor residents earned their living as florists or horticulturalists. By the early 1930s, the community had earned the nickname, "Rose Capital of the Nation," due to the beautiful rosebushes developed in the city. During this same period, Mentor also developed a booming tourist trade, attracting especially businessmen from nearby Cleveland. These men sought to escape the dirtiness of Ohio's industrial cities.
Following World War II, Mentor continued to grow. By the late 1940s, most American families owned automobiles, allowing these people to live farther from work. Mentor experienced an increase in middle and working-class families. These people lived in Mentor, but many of them worked in Cleveland, Ohio, located to the west. In 2000, approximately fifty thousand people resided in the city.
Among Mentor's most famous residents have been United States President James A. Garfield and Jim Tressel, a football coach at The Ohio State University.
- Howe, Henry. Historical Collections of Ohio in Two Volumes. Vol. II. Cincinnati, OH: C.J. Krehbiel & Co., Printers and Binders, 1902.
- "Welcome to Mentor, Ohio: The City of Choice!" Http://www.cityofmentor.com/tacc5/content/homepage.aspx?js=1.