08 8, 2019

The story of the Willoughby chemical weapons plant

By |2019-08-08T06:00:40-04:00August 8, 2019|

Lewisite_poster_ww2Did you know that Willoughby housed a chemical weapons plant during World War I?

Learn more about this surprising piece of local history during a special program at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 22, at our Main Branch.

Jeffrey Frischkorn, former writer for The News-Herald, will discuss the history of the Ben-Hur Motor Company plant (later home to the Ohio Rubber Company) that was converted to a chemical weapons plant during World War I.

Frishkorn will guide you through 100 years of Lake County history to tell the story of the top-secret chemical weapon agent called lewisite.

This program hosted in partnership with the Lake County History Center. It is free to attend and open to all. We only ask that you register to attend. You can sign up online at (440) 255-8811 ext. 247.

07 8, 2019

Akron during World War II

By |2019-07-08T06:00:10-04:00July 8, 2019|

Goodyear blimps had a very different role during World War II.

Goodyear blimps had a very different role during World War II.

The city of Akron, Ohio, had an outsized impact during World War II.

Its citizens served in Europe and the South Pacific. Goodyear built blimps that hunted Nazi submarines. And some of the city’s most renowned residents had a personal tie to the war.

Celebrated Beacon Journal artist Web Brown created cartoons that boosted morale. And Newspaper magnate John S. Knight lost a son in Germany. Five month later, he watched the Japanese surrender on the USS Missouri.

You can learn more about Akron’s role in World War II when author and historian Tim Carroll visits at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, July 22, at our Main Branch.

Carroll is an Akron native, and both of his grandfathers were drafted before Pearl Harbor. He wrote World War II Akron, which explains the city and its people’s role in the war. If you want to read the book before Carroll’s talk, you can borrow a copy from us or on Hoopla.

This program is free to attend and open to all. We only ask that you register beforehand. You can sign up online or call us at (440) 255-8811 ext. 247.

By the way, if you’re interested in history, we’ve hosted several programs and lectures about World War II — many of which you can watch online. This includes WWII veteran and Purple Heart recipient Bob Zonneville sharing his experiences from the front line.

Zonneville and local historian Thom Matowitz also spoke at the library to discuss what life was like for WWII veterans when they returned home.

Furthermore, our own Dr. John Foster — who, in addition to being a reference librarian, has a doctorate degree in history with a specialization in Modern German History — has given several lectures on WWII and the Holocaust that you can watch online.

Finally, we have hundreds — not an exaggeration — of books and documentaries about World War II that are free to borrow with your library card.

07 1, 2019

The Untold Stories of Mentor, Ohio, with Thomas Matowitz

By |2019-07-01T06:00:03-04:00July 1, 2019|

Thomas Matowitz, the author and local historian who literally wrote the book one Mentor, Ohio, returned to the library to share some of his best stories.

Matowitz is the perfect person to discuss prominent Mentor families like the Garfields, landmarks like the Wildwood Estate, and more. But he also has a mindful of spectacular Mentor stories that nearly nobody else knows, including:

  • Mentor’s only Congressional Medal of Honor recipient
  • the most fatal day in Mentor’s history
  • the tale of the WWII pilot from Mentor who is buried in Normandy.

For more from Matowitz:

Speaking of history, you can also join us for our 200th anniversary party at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 12, on our Main Branch lawn. Help make a community mosaic of Mentor with Gail Christofferson of Animal House Glass.

Also, Tom Todd, the Amazing One Man Band, will perform from 6 to 7 pm. Bring your lawn chairs or blankets, sit back and enjoy  a little bit of Jimmy Buffett. We will also have cake and contests. All are welcome and no registration is required for our party.


04 14, 2019

Travel back to 1819 at our Headlands Branch

By |2019-04-14T06:00:35-04:00April 14, 2019|

Woman_Churning_Butter_MET_DP827612As part of our bicentennial celebration, kids can travel back to 1819 during a special program at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 29, at our Headlands Branch.

Our friends from the Lake County History Center will teach kids about churning butter, threshing wheat and other chores that children would have had 200 years ago.

The program is fun, free and open to all kids from six to 12 years old. We only ask that you register beforehand. You can sign up online or call our Headlands Branch at (440) 257-2000.

By the way, we’re celebrating our 200th anniversary all year long with, donation drives, programs that celebrate local history, and (of course) reading! Get all the details here.

04 2, 2019

Library History in Photos: On the Move

By |2019-04-02T06:00:45-04:00April 2, 2019|

Mentor Library's first building of its own is taken on the road in 1960. Courtesy of David Gartner.

Mentor Library’s first building of its own is taken on the road in 1960. Courtesy of David Gartner.

As part of our bicentennial, we asked for your historical photos from Mentor Public Library. And, wow, did we get a doozy this week.

Local photographer David Gartner snapped some gorgeous photos on the day our original library building moved down the street.

A little history is helpful here:

For nearly the first century of our existence, Mentor Library didn’t have a home of its own. Our books were housed in private residences or, later, in Mentor Village Hall.

We finally moved up and out at the beginning of the 20th century when a Mr. Addison Goodall offered $1,500 to $2,000 toward a library building if our Board President James R. Garfield and the rest of the board could raise the remainder.

(To keep your Garfields straight, James R. Garfield is the son of President James A. Garfield.)

Abram Garfield, a famous architect and another son of President Garfield, designed our new building. It opened on May 31, 1903, at the corner of Center Street and Mentor Avenue.

Now, this building may look familiar. It still exists and currently houses the Confectionary Cupboard.

So you may be wondering (1.) why isn’t it a library anymore and (2.) how did a building move from Mentor Avenue to the intersection of Center and Nowlen Streets.

The answer to your first question: we outgrew our first home and moved to what we then called our Garfield Unit in 1960. You now know it as our Main Branch. It’s been expanded and renovated in the last 60 years, but it’s been one of our homes ever since. (Well, not counting the two years we needed to relocate to Tyler Road.)

As per the second question: the credit for saving that historical building goes to one heroic woman, Lila Moore Schaefer. Ms. Schaefer recognized the value of the building, purchased it and had it moved to its present location in 1960. She lived in the building and also used it to house her real-estate business until she passed away in 1964.

Then, insurance brokers Don and Marguerite Krueger purchased it. In 1979, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Thanks to David Gartner for making it possible!

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